…was to get that jacket fixed, for which I needed a needle and thread. And as it’s a woven wool jacket then I really needed a big needle and some thick thread, which meant finding a haberdashery.
Now I’m generalising, but in the UK many of the people who work in such places are slightly older ladies, and I doubt if a lot of them have much need for a foreign language, so I had to assume that the same may well be the case here… Which left me with the prospect of having to carry out my mission in Russian.
Hmmmm… Currently my Russian is… well, limited would be a polite way to describe it. I’m about half-way through an online language course, but my formal classes here don’t start until next week, and I don’t have a lot of experience practicing on real humans, so the thought was a little bit daunting to say the least.
Undeterred I found the name of a local haberdashery chain and got the receptionist at the hotel to find the nearest branch on their website. She also gave me the words for needle, thread and thicker, strangely none of which had been covered in my online lessons.
I headed out, wearing my poor broken jacket to help explain what I wanted to do, and found the shop fairly easily… but it was closed down. Fortunately there was a map in the window which seemed to indicate a new location across the street, and sure enough there it was.
On entering my hopes were raised as one of the assistants was fairly young, and more likely to speak at least some English, making my task a lot easier… She didn’t. I showed my jacket to the older lady and explained that I needed a big needle and some thick thread to mend it.
She disagreed and got the younger girl to poke the loose threads back into the jacket, telling me that if I tried to stitch it the material would pinch together and look worse. I insisted that I was quite good at sewing and would rather still buy the needle and thread, which I did.
I’m not going to post a picture of my handiwork as that would feel overly boastful (and I was already proud enough that I’d managed the whole mission without using any English so a fall may already have been heading my way), but I did go back the next day to show the ladies and they agreed that my work was ‘не плохо’ (nye ploha) meaning ‘not awful’.