The Anonymous Widower

It’s Got Easier To Visit Belarus

I’ve visited Belarus before, as I wrote in this post called Belarus.

I enjoyed the trip to see England in qualification for the World Cup.

The outstanding thing I found about the country was the friendliness of the people. And that included the police! Before the match, they made sure that all fans could frantenise and exchange banners and greetings.

The Times today has a two-page travel article about cycling in Belarus. Tom Chesshyre enjoyed it.

He mentioned that there is now a five-day tourist visa waiver, which was introduced last year. That surely would be a lot easier than the Stalinist bureaucracy, I had to fight through at the embassy to get my visa in 2011.

I shall now return to Belarus.

February 10, 2018 Posted by | Transport | | 2 Comments

Whoosh At Langdon Park

I stopped yesterday at Langdon Park DLR station to take pictures of the so-called Whoosh sculpture.

I couldn’t find any details of who designed and made it, at the station. I shall go back for a look. I found nothing on return, but there is a bit here.

I aways think that works of art should be acknowledged.  When I went to see England play in Belarus, Minsk was full of unattributed modern statues.  But that’s communism for you!  Someone who is very good, might get some credit for it, when it should all go to the leader.

September 19, 2012 Posted by | Transport | , , | 5 Comments

The Tragedy of Belarus

They were talking on the BBC about the state of Belarus.  I don’t know whether they read it out, but I sent in this e-mail.

I went to Belarus to see England play two years ago.  Minsk was a friendly city, with lots of things to see.  After experiences of Moscow, supporting Ipswich, Minsk was totally different.  Even the police were complicit in exchange of banners, tokens and signatures between fans.


The visit left me with the optimistic impression, that Belarus would eventually be part of mainstream Europe, but time has shown me wrong. On the other hand, the history of the country has shown, that they are resilient and sort themselves out in the end, usually without great violence.

I do hope my optimism was not misplaced and one day I’ll return to the country.  By train of course!

February 20, 2011 Posted by | News, Sport, Transport | , | 1 Comment

Street Sculpture in Ipswich

I have always liked street sculpture and feel it is something that brings art to everybody, or in the case of Minsk in Belarus to the people.  There are some of the Belarus street statues on this page. I must add to this page, as I have lots of photos from when I visited the city to support England.

Ipswich has some good street sculptues or statues, which tend to be on the popular side of culture. Here’s the Giles family in the Buttermarket.

The Giles Family, Ipswich

It was erected as a tribute to the cartoonist Carl Giles, who lived in the town. Does any other cartoonist have a statue of his famous characters?  Or do they have the street named after them?

You might think a statue of cartoon characters is unusual, but the other two popular statues in the town are those of Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Alf Ramsey.  Can any other town boast two statues to their football managers, but none to any of their footballers?  I doubt it!

Here’s Sir Alf, on the touchline for the World Cup victory in 1966.

Statue of Sir Alf Ramsey, Ipswich

And then there is Sir Bobby in a much more animated pose.

Statue of Sir Bobby Robson, Ipswich

There is also a sculpture trail for Ipswich. Is Ipswich unique in not having any full-size statues of military or royal and often obscure figures in the town centre? There is only one statue of a prince in the town and he was Russian. But Alexander Obolensky is not rememberedso much for being a prince as for scoring one of the greatest tries in the history of rugby.

October 3, 2010 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lisa Kudrow

Lisa Kudrow is an actress I’ve never come across before, but then I’ve never seen any episode of Friends.   However, I’ve just seen her trace her family history on the American version of  Who Do You Think You Are?

Lisa is Jewish and many of her ancestors were murdered by the Nazis in Belarus. It was a moving story, but it did have a happy ending, when she was reunited with a Polish man, who had met her father years before.

I have been to Belarus to see England play football and it is a country with a lot of sorrows. It lost about a third of its population in the Second World War and it wasn’t until about thirty years ago, that it recovered to its pre-war level.  I showed some of the pictures, I took in this post.

I also wrote a piece for the East Anglian Daily Times about the trip.  It is in two parts.

Belarus – Part 1

Belarus – Part 2

Both these files are in a PDF format.

One day, I hope I’ll be able to Belarus again.

September 19, 2010 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

What’s Up With England?

I saw them in Belarus.  The way they played that night, they could have put at least four or more past Algeria.

June 18, 2010 Posted by | Sport | , | 2 Comments


With the post about Droyt, I felt I should put up some of the pictures I took of Belarus.

I’d actually gone there to see England play football and thoroughly enjoyed the trip.  The people were friendly, there was absolutely no trouble and we were blessed with some very good weather.  England won too!

Holocaust Memorial - Minsk, Belarus

Holocaust Memorial - Minsk, Belarus

This memomrial was tucked away in a quiet park behind the hotels.  Strangely, you can’t find much about it on the Internet, except for a small article about how it was vandalised in 2006.

Afghan Veterans Memorial, Minsk

Afghan War Widows Memorial, Minsk

This memorial to the widows of the Afghan War was built some time after the war actually ended.  The war doesn’t fit well in Russian history, but it made a serious mark on it.

English Wreath on the Cenotaph, Minsk

English Wreath on the Victory Memorial, Minsk

This wreath was laid by England supporters and the ceremony was totally unreported in any English newspapers.  I did manage to find a reference in a Belarusian News Agency and there is a bit on the British Embassy web site.

But then there was no trouble and newspapers have their stereotypes.

This is a getting to be a somebre series of pictures, so here’s one of the beautiful girls of Minsk.

Girls of Minsk

Girls of Minsk

There were so many and all were very well-turned out. But then one of their problems is that they outnumber the men considerably.

Minsk is also blessed with large numbers of street statues.

Street Status in Minsk

Street Statue in Minsk

None seemed to credit any of the scupltors.  I always like sculpture in preference to painting, I suspect because one of my uncles was a serious one.  He though, knew of the difficulties of making it a career, so he was earned his living as an engineer.  But a good one!

At Belarus England in Minsk

At Belarus England in Minsk

Note the police, who were friendly like everybody in Minsk.  There was no trouble at all.  And England won.

One day, I’ll go back to Belarus.  Perhaps in the Lotus.

September 24, 2009 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , | 3 Comments

A Real Soap Opera

Last week, in Waitrose I bought some liquid soap for the kitchen.  It was organic and it was in rather a plain bottle.  But it was made in Chorley in Lancashire, by a company called Droyt.

And then my housekeeper raved about it!

As the bottle had a small symbol that said Minsk 1893, the company needed a bit of investigation.  Did they have a tale to tell?

Yes!  And how!

The history is detailed in the Lancashine Evening Post.

The business prospered in Minsk under the name of The Victoria Fine Soap Works, the name reflecting the close ties Russia had with England at the time through its royal families.

It grew over the succeeding years and in 1913 a new factory was established in Saratov, on the banks of the Volga River.

Current managing director Chris Effendowicz remembers the tales his great uncle Pavel would regale them with, of standing as a child in Moscow and watching as Lenin and Trotsky swept past.

After the revolution, the factory workers were allowed to vote on who should continue to run the business and they elected to keep the family in charge.

That didn’t go down well with the revolutionaries and in 1921 the Danischewskys were forced to flee for their lives.

They perhaps didn’t make the best choice in that they chose to go to Germany.

With historical hindsight, and as the family were Jewish, Germany wasn’t a safe place to be. Particularly as Chris’s great aunt Helena, a journalist, wrote articles in the 1930s of the truth about the rise of Nazism and Hitler’s true plans. She was on his personal hitlist but despite this, was the only political correspondent of the time to have a one-to-one interview with Italian Fascist leader Mussolini.

The family came under increasing threat from the Nazi authorities. As Jewish employers they found themselves under more and more Gestapo checks.

So they moved to Chorley just before the Second World War and have been there ever since.

I hadn’t come across the company before, but as a child I did have one of their PC49 novelty soaps.  Many kids did! One is shown on Droyt’s history page.

September 24, 2009 Posted by | Business | , | 2 Comments

Pictures of Belarus

These are some of the pictures that I took, when I went to support England in Belarus.

October 14, 2008 Posted by | Sport | | 2 Comments