Arcardy is one of our Russian Leaders and visits us each year. He usually brings about 15 Russian students who are very wealthy but always good fun. Arcardy used to teach them Ballet, as he is also a Ballet teacher as well as an English Teacher and so they have known him for a long time. Arcardy is also 68 years old and smokes like a Trooper and drinks like a fish!
The No Smoking signs don’t mean a lot to him. He comes into the Office and never thinks to extinguish a cigarette before entering. His idea of political correctness has yet to be determined!
If we don’t answer Arcardy immediately ( regardless of whether we are on the telephone or not; in a meeting or not or even, ( as had been known once) actually in the Toilet ) he will make a nuisance of yourself until he does get his answer. I can recall speaking to a mother of a sick French girl and he came right up to my desk. He wasn’t really prepared to wait until I had calmed the anxious mother that her daughter was unwell but safe and so moved nearer and nearer to me until he was almost touching. ” Out of my space” I wanted to shout!
I moved my seat so that I wasn’t facing him anymore when suddenly a leg whipped over my face and down the other side. It was Arcardy. He was patently not going to wait and was trying to get my attention in any way he could . So whilst I tried to regain my composure, he limbered up at my desk and threw in the odd “ jette” just to show off
Another one of his tactics is to smoke right in your face. I have given up asking him to extinguish his cigarette before he enters the building but I do object to him sucking hard on his Sobranie and then blowing it out in my face. When I begin to cough – he laughs and feels he has won my attention, if nothing else.
He is always worried about keeping his Charges happy because a lot of them are from ex KGB families. He worries that if they go home unhappy, the father will send someone around to “ have a word” with him and that is something that Arcady doesn’t want to have happen. You can understand his thinking, I guess.
His latest reason for an appearance at my desk is that one of his students has thrown her mobile phone into the river. The father called Arcardy and told him to go into the river and try to retrieve it. Arcardy was torn between being sensible ( it’s a fast flowing river and we didn’t want it to be one man down) and keeping the father happy. In the end he came to me and asked if he could buy a mobile phone locally and have it back in time for end of lessons. He said that if the girl didn’t get her phone by lunchtime, the father would not be happy and he knew where Arcardy lived in Moscow. Its one of the times I saw Arcardy not only chain smoke cigarettes but drink down 3 triple espressos. You can imagine how nimble he was at doing exercises by my desk that day!!
Another time a Mother called him and said she wanted her daughter to see Edinburgh. I tried to tell Arcardy that Edinburgh was in the north of the country and we are firmly on the very most southerly point. That still didn’t satisfy anyone and he said that if we didn’t get her daughter to Edinburgh for the weekend, his head would certainly be on a plate!
So we spent the best part of the day hiring a private plane from Shoreham Airport to take the daughter; Arcardy and 2 of her friends to Edinburgh for the weekend. Arcardy wasn’t pleased at flying in a small plane and again had a few large shots of Vodka to calm his nerves…… and here is a tip from Arcardy – if you don’t want a hangover the next morning, always eat a whole cucumber when having a shot or more of vodka, Apparently it calms the stomach and settles the nerves, or should that be calms the nerves and settles the stomach )
When he was away for the weekend, he conscripted one of the older girls to be “ in charge” of his group. Of course this wasn’t really necessary because we always have one of our own Activity Leaders with the group, but there isn’t telling Arcardy anything, regardless and anyway, he says that if we don’t do this he will be “ reported anyway”! To whom, he never eludes!
I am, however, always sorry to see him go. His two weeks with us here in the Brighton always goes too quickly and I am sad when its time to leave. Taking him to the airport is usually quite a sombre occasion but I know that it wont be long before he drops me an email and books for the following year.
As they say in all the right places…. Nostrovia, which for anyone who reallys knows Russian will know that it is a miss-pronunciation of the word Na Zdorovie (На здоровье)
Anyway, in whichever language you speak…. Cheers!.. hic hic..
Until next year and safe journey home….