Spring Is Here: 2014

It was a strange winter. The Americans kept it all, leaving us Europeans with the floods and the flu. A nice man from Scotland bought winter tires I no longer had any need for. It took four days for the tires to get from London to Perth but at least we could both observe their progress from one depot to another on a tracking app. Then it did not snow all winter and I felt like a cheat.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi, despite the lack of snow, were a great success. Many people had feared about security and did not go, but it all went off without a hitch, thanks undoubtedly to the vast numbers of security personnel on the spot. Now that the games are over, they have apparently moved to Crimea.

The magnolia tree in the garden is in full bloom but there is a battle going on for its soul. It used to belong to red squirrels but now the gray squirrels have taken over. Russia has annexed Crimea, claiming, among other hard-to-comprehend things, that it had been Russia before it had been Ukraine. I wonder what it had been before it was Russia. The red squirrels are the good indigenous species, the gray squirrels the evil invasive kind from, where else, America. In fact, until these days, it has been an offence punishable by fines not to report the occurrence of the beasts in your garden to the British authorities. To the untrained eye, both kinds look equally nice.

The Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has disappeared into, literally, thin air. How is that possible? I kept looking for my iPhone recently all over our house and my office in London but could not find it or remember where I last saw it. I asked my iPad to find my iPhone, and there was the little bugger, on my desk in Prague.

According to Crimean and Russian sources, 96.77 percent voters supported the annexation of Crimea by Russia in a referendum discreetly monitored by international observers in ski-goggles and military fatigues without insignia. That’s a sloppy job. Brezhnev could do 99 percent without breaking a sweat. Stalin could do 110.

The British authorities apparently gave up on the fight against gray squirrels, or at least against the criminals who harbor them without reporting. President Putin has disclosed to the Russian Duma, that their country had been plundered for a long time. Dead right. The other day, I got completely lost trying to avoid the Friday afternoon traffic jam and drive around various roadworks in Central London. Well, not completely because two days later I found a penalty notice in my mail for being stationary in a yellow crisscrossed junction box, jammed between two twelve-wheel lorries ahead and behind me. Someone even took a picture of me and my car without asking, a clear breech of privacy rules.

Putin thinks we did not respect him. Some did, some did not. Whether what he has done is going to increase our respect for him is another question. The red squirrels are gone. The Malaysian plane is still missing. Hopefully, it has landed safely and someone will find it on their iPad. Spring is here.

Photo Credit: www.kremlin.ru

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