That cold and cough has been pretty persistent, so finally found myself at a medical clinic for what seemed like several hours with a doctor who has to be called - at minimum - 'a character'. The diagnosis? "A viral infection in my nozzle". And his recommendations? An enjoyable mixture of medical and folk remedies: a nose x-ray, hot red wine with nuts, honey and cinnamon, a steroid-based nasal spray, keeping out of draughts, cough tablets and salt water rinsing (the actions required to do this demonstrated at some length by a minion ear, nose and throat expert especially brought in to show me.)
Interspersed throughout with digressions on, for example: why nobody understands women, why women eat more than men and live longer (followed by a pause, and the comment that there were other things he would say but not in front of an Englishwoman); the differences in types of tea drinking by nationality, his attitude to instant coffee; how the deep, bright snow at his dacha led to snow-blindness; and problems with space at the clinic, that meant they don't have room for a separate resuscitation unit (they don't have a separate unit?!)
We were talking afterwards about his behaviour and trying to pin down the type - is it particularly Russian? - of a man who, with the confidence of his authority and age, acts like a cross between a circus ringmaster and a clown (as long as you don't laugh at him) thereby managing to be both friendly and intimidating. And of course, we (two women, one russian, one english) thought he was hilarious!