Folks on occasion turn up at Ms jb’s office in the Vertical Village with gifts.
Often it’s unadulterated bribery (“Can I have an apartment please?”. “Can you open my apartment door? I’ve locked myself out”) but mostly it’s in appreciation of her being nice to people.
Which she is.
Sometimes it’s fresh trout, but mostly it’s little bunches of flowers from Oldies or some sweets from younger fans.
This collection turned up the other day from one of the ethnic German Russian families who had been back on a holiday to St Petersburg.
Simply as a “thank you” for being nice.
The story of the “Russians” (as they’re commonly referred to by people who don’t know any better) in the Vertical Village is an interesting one.
Russia had a huge ethnic German population, dating back to Catherine II’s proclamation of open immigration in the 18th century. The privileges that they were promised slowly eroded over the years until the Tsar shipped most of them off to Siberia, which was nothing compared to what Stalin had up his sleeve.
It’s a wonder that there were any left to migrate to Germany after the Soviet Empire imploded.
And emigrate they did – 1.7 million between 1990 and 2000. (German Basic Law provides for a guaranteed right of return if you can prove German ethnicity.)
Huge social impact, as you can imagine, with the kids marginalised (“The Russians…”) and their parents trying to come to terms with a culture to whcih they nominally belonged but didn’t really.
And most of them suffering ill-health from the deprivations they’d experienced over the years
A lot turned up in the Vertical Village, replacing the American forces when the Army realised that there wasn’t really an real enemy on the other side of the border anymore.
Ms jb took huge numbers of them under her wing, helping them with bureaucracy, vouching for them to get venues for weddings* and generally being there for them to talk to.
So that’s the story.
*Got invited to that one.
“Afternoon tea” was a place setting of a bottle of white wine, a bottle of red wine and a bottle of vodka per couple, with more food that I’d normally eat in a month in front of you