It is March in 1998. The place is St Petersburg. In this historic city there is a school for students of the performing arts, many of them phenomenally gifted at a very young age.
Far away, it is also March in Northumberland. Here we see the unique piece of architecture that is Prudhoe High School, so ugly it is rumoured to have been built back-to-front. The most historic thing you will find here is a 2-month old Gregg's pasty.
In an exchange, who do you think would be getting the better deal?
The Russian students who came to stay were lovely. Extemely gifted, they put on several shows that were frankly way above the humble settings of the school hall. They were ever so nice, and boggled admiringly at Northumberland's rainy wonders, while the lads from Prudhoe boggled admiringly at their ballerinas.
We arrived at night in St.Petersburg, as did half our luggage in Paris. This was not to turn up until 3 days before we went home. Resigned to skanky underwear but eager to explore, we went our various ways to stay with our families.