I have always admired the expressiveness of the Russian language. Popular turns of phrase that have become enshrined in everyday language reveal quite colourfully Russians' attitudes towards themselves and ongoing events. In particular I am struck by the way Russians reflect on failure with easy humour, as captured in the phrase 'they hoped for better, but it turned out as usual'.
As someone who has an instinctive aversion to over-praising members of the military (indeed, as someone who cannot help but shudder inwardly every time 'our brave boys' are invoked), I was more than a little surprised that the commemoration of the D-Day landings, which took place last week, brought a tear to my eye.
True, Putin is no Hitler. But it is a warning from history to those who believe his ambitions will end at Sevastopol. Crimea is a special case, we are told, because of its ethnic Russian population and importance in Russian history. The same arguments were made about the Sudetenland, and its German population, in 1938.
The whole humour in Allo Allo is based on the British cast executing extremely bad French and German impersonations. In The Monuments Men acclaimed actress Cate Blanchett pulls off one of the most hilarious stunts in her career by pretending to be French while Matt Damon hits the nail on the head with a purposely bad French accent.
Around the same time that a snake was gobbling up a sleeping drunkard in India last week, several artists and dignitaries assembled for a wine and cheese evening in the safe environment of the Polish Embassy in London. The reason for this gathering was to celebrate the city of Edinburgh's recent decision to approve construction of a monument to a bear with a storied past.
This Sunday marks the 75th anniversary of the Kindertransport, a rescue mission that helped save nearly 10,000 Jewish children from Nazi Germany bringing them to the safety of Britain before the outbreak of WWII... I would like to take the opportunity to commemorate the people whose experiences still inspire the work we do today, helping communities around the world in need survive and revitalise with dignity and pride.
As part of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent humanitarian network, The British Red Cross helps millions of people in the UK and around the world prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies, disasters and conflicts. The British Red Cross works with other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in the delivery of parcels as well as the IFRC and ICRC.
Despite opposition to the Afghanistan mission, the public holds their Armed Forces in high esteem and understands what is potentially at stake in the campaign. We can therefore be fairly confident that on this Remembrance Sunday, the efforts of the UK's Armed Forces troops, and those we have lost, will continue to be warmly remembered, and appreciated, by the British public.