Happy Birthday to Hitler and rebirthday to Jesus. Former Pope Benedict must have been confused as to which to celebrate most.
I can't quite believe that I am going to Russia tomorrow. It's a long-held ambition to visit the (possibly literal) haunts of Rasputin in St Petersburg, but it always felt like something that would be difficult to ever do. I am not sure how useful it will be with helping me write the new play, though I am hopeful I will lean on a secret handle in the Yusupov Palace and discover Felix Yusupov's hidden true confession of what really happened. It might just end up being a chance to spend three or four days writing without too many interruptions. With a bit of luck it will prove inspirational. At the very least it might count as a mini working holiday.
I think it's going to be pretty cold up there, but we've packed all our thermals and skiiing jackets. Apart from that I have no idea what to expect. I am just hoping we get in OK and all our visas and passports are up to scratch.
We went for a swim this morning before having lunch down by the river with some friends. A pint of beer and a Sunday roast is a nice way to spend the afternoon. We don't do this kind of thing enough. We got caught up in the rain on our way home, though for once we'd bought umbrellas with it. Though both umbrellas were pretty much knackered and so didn't really protect us from the elements.
In the evening I watched a live feed of Victoria Coren playing in San Remo EPT (poker tournament). I enjoy following her twitter feed when she's playing in big tournaments, but was glad to find out that the whole thing was being streamed online. And though she'd started the final table with the fewest chips, she'd made it to the last three, though was still the short stack when I started watching. But she had a good run and a bit of luck and suddenly found herself way out in front. And then justly went on to win the whole thing. It was very exciting.
We went to bed early, but next door were having a party (for Jesus or Hitler, it never became clear) and I found it hard to sleep. I was a little bit nervous about our trip. But excited too. I hope the ghost of Rasputin visits me in my dreams.