In what was to be our last week or so that we were in Archangel, we were invited to a surprise concert and a dance – ‘English dancing’ it was called. Who would be the partners, we wondered. Anyway, we knew that the concert was likely to be worthwhile and rumour had it that the orchestra was especially flown up from Leningrad. In curiosity and hope, a greater number of crew turned up this time. In due course we turned up at the Intourist.
While I walked in these lesser-seen parts of Archangel the infrequent ‘tram’ slid by, curious droshky-like transports which were a kind of open sled of large size and seemed to bring workers from the forests to change shifts, as it were. The occupants, if they saw me, never made any sign of life, but huddled together, sat or lurched as the ‘tram’ heaved its way up and down the wooden roadways. No-one spoke to me, but when I began to walk on a long curve back towards the river, I was suddenly checked by a sound I’d never heard before.