David Allott
R. and C. Thornton

Ruth Thornton


     Renata was always keen for me to experience classical Russian culture and she had bought tickets to a performance by the Lithuanian State Chorus of Carl Orffs Carmina Burana.
     I had arranged to meet Renata outside the venue, theTchaikovsy Hall on Ulitsa Gerzena. For some minutes I stood in the spring twilight waiting for Renata to appear. Just when I thought shed forgotten about me or the concert (or both) I saw a figure walking with a pronounced limp, hobbling along the pavement towards me. Renata arrived in a cloud of apologies and we made our way as quickly as we could into the concert hall.
     Im sorry, I cant walk any faster Renata simpered as we hurried along the concourse, I think I must have pulled a muscle in my leg, or perhaps my foot.
     The concert was long, punctuated as was customary by a long interval. Renata managed to fight through the pain of her injury and, heroically, made her way through the throng to the bar and tables of refreshments.
     An hour or so later and the concert was over. Renata and I spilled out into the street with the rest of the audience. We stood by the exit talking about the concert and by the time we said our farewells the street was nearly deserted. Renata set off limping down the street and after a short distance stopped, turned and waved to me. I waved back, but something was troubling me. Suddenly I realised the problem. Renata I shouted after her fast disappearing figure, Youre limping on the wrong foot..

Chris Thornton

- !

Would you like to come for tea? Chris asked.
Yes, Id love to came the reply.

     Renata Grigorievna was in Moscow, being invited for the first time to Chris + Ruths rooms in MGU. Ruth was not there to make the introductions; Chris had not been fully prepared for RGs arrival.

Knock on the door of room 604.

She enters, broad smile, petite and round, brown twinkly eyes she looks up at him.

Renata, come in. He leads the way into the living-room room of the two rooms. The furniture original 1920s: lamp, table, chairs, and shelving unit stacked with bits from the UK. All arranged in a higgledy-piggeldy fashion, there were all those things they had thought indispensable tea, marmite

     Her eyes took them all in, flitting left right, up down. Some products familiar, many not.

Would you like tea?
Oh yes,
broader smile, yes please. He boiled the kettle, made the tea and poured it.

Milk or lemon?
Lemon, please
and sugar?
oh yes, please eyes widening, smile too.

     They chat first impressions of Moscow; his work; her work. Hed been told she is fascinating, lively, a great story teller and he finds her so.
     But the smile is slipping and he has no idea why. They part a polite handshake. The first of many meetings, but this one had no squeals during, only afterwards.
     Shes told the story a thousand times (they say its her favourite we hope so!).
     Tea! Tea? Thats not tea tea has something with it.
     ! there it all was: biscuits, cakes, jam, chocolate !... and he offered only tea