Thanks for dropping by, but Your Girl Reporter has a new home – I’ve started 2018 with a new website under my own name, Maria Spackman. All new content is being posted there, and I do hope you’ll join me.
The kitchen at our flat in Macdonnell Road in Hong Kong backed on to a dank, rat-infested space, a convenient landing spot for rubbish hurled from the windows above.
Mr Chan, the building manager, was a regular visitor and would organise workers to come and clean up the waste, set traps and write letters to the residents reminding them to use the bins.
On one of his visits, he called it a courtyard, which made it sound like something you could visit or stroll through, but we only ever called it ‘Out the Back’. I only ever went through it at a run and would have avoided the place altogether except for one very tantalising attraction. That’s where my father Jack Spackman had set up his darkroom. Continue reading
…The Bolshoi theatre serving whole meals in the foyer at interval… the Arts Theatre, home of Stanislavski, where I saw a play in Russian… the woman sitting next to me trying to translate it for me… the mechanical perfection of the circus… crowds lined up at Lenin’s tomb in Red Square… convoys of tanks moving at midnight to Red Square from different directions, rehearsing for the October revolution celebrations… the greyness and uniformity of the residential buildings outside the central area… dancing with Georgian dancers in a nightclub after a show… catching up with Australian travellers in kangaroo skin coats and being glad to hear that accent again… the telephone ringing in the hotel bedroom… and nobody there… a reminder that it was probably bugged….
These are my Aunty Joan Byrne’s impressions of Moscow in November 1969 when she arrived after seven days on the Trans-Siberian railway. She’d had plenty of time on the journey to ponder the realities of life on the other side of the Iron Curtain.