The Pantomime

Day 2 of no shower. I needed action. I came prepared. Dry shower, dry shampoo, wipes for face, wipes for hands and body and wipes for “bits”.


Step 1 – banish John, I need space. Step 2 – smother body in dry shower. Leave to dry. Step 3 – use wipes as appropriate. Step 4 – spray on dry shampoo, massage into hair and brush into desired style. Not even the most tonsorially challenged could possibly desire that style! Step 5 – dress and readmit John. All that took me 40 minutes! I did get it down to a fine 20 minute art.

On our last trans Siberian train we christened the provodnitsa (coach attendant) Mrs Grumpy, because she was. This one we christened Miss Helpful, because she was. At the end of each carriage there is a samovar with a constant supply of boiling water.


We had brought oxo cubes and cereal bars for breakfast, cupasoup and ghastly “Mugshots” for lunch. Dinners were to be in the restaurant car. We had melamine mugs with us. The first time John went for boiling water he realised one of the mugs had cracked and the boiling water was running out. Little Miss Helpful immediately produced a mug for him. I quickly increased my Russian vocabulary by learning the word “do” meaning “until”. John toook the mug back to her and said “Do Harbin?” in a questioning voice. Nods of the head and “Da”. So we had the mug until Harbin. Definitely worth a large Toblerone. We had brought a few bribes, oops I mean gifts, and this was one. More big smiles and spassebos.

The restaurant car was at the other end of the train and getting there was an expedition in itself. We had brought locks to secure our bags so that we could relax when out of our compartment.


The carriages were lovely and cosy but the connections were something else. Snow usually accumulated between  the carriages and you had to be careful not to slip on the ice. You couldn’t keep your hand on the frozen metal handles or it would stick.


The food was really good considering the limited facilities.


It was never exactly stowed out. The one and only head waitress/barmaid/manageress seemed to spend most of her time playing solitaire on her laptop. When not cooking the cook did likewise. We knew our meal was about to be served when we heard a blast of “Clementine” coming from what seemed like a cheap doorbell.





One thought on “The Pantomime

  1. You certainly did come prepared. Six days sans shower. Hmmm. The dining coach looks very fifties and reminds me of East Germany when we first went the in the late seventies or early eighties.

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