The clocks went back one hour this morning, as British Summer Time came to an end. I woke up and went to make myself a coffee. I looked through the kitchen window to see the garden shrouded in mist. There were so many cobwebs glistening in the gentle morning light. Autumn has definitely arrived!
We have some friends from Australia staying with us at the moment. Yesterday, we took them on the London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames. We boarded our capsule as the sun was setting. The sky and lighting were quite dramatic.
It is not unusual in Kiev to see Babushka’s begging for money on the street. Kiev has been struggling economically since the revolution of 2014 and does not offer the social welfare programmes that are available in many Western European countries.
If these women do not have family to support them, they are often forced to beg for money on the streets. They sit very quietly and are not intrusive so begging feels an inappropriate word, really. This woman sat outside St Michael’s Monastery every day and she was so quiet and so still, she almost formed part of the tableau on the exterior of the monastery.
Each time we passed her, we put some Hryvnia (Ukrainian money) in her cup and each time she gave us the warmest smile and made a sign of the cross. It was a small interaction but it affected me each time. Life can be so difficult for so many people but hopefully we helped in some small way.