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'What happens in Sibera stays in Siberia...unless it is covered by The Siberian Times'

British baby enjoys her first sleigh rides in remote Siberian village where she is being raised

By Anna Liesowska
11 January 2014

Latest addition to English peasant farmer Michael Ware's family enjoys her first Russian winter.

'So far the coldest has been around minus 20C, so it has been fine for Polina to go out'. Baby Polina with brother Alexander Ware and parents Michael and Tatiana. Picture: The Siberian Times

It is more than two decades since Michael swapped Somerset, a county in southern England, for Siberia, falling in love with our vast snowy expanses and a local girl, Tatiana, then 18, who became his wife. The couple have raised three children in their tiny village of Dubinka - Nikolai, now 20, Tatiana's son from a previous relationship, and their son and daughter, Alexander, 19, and Veronika, 17.

But now they're enjoying new arrival Polina,  nine months old, who is experiencing her first winter which is warmer than usual but has still dipped to minus 20C during her daily walks. Loving father Michael - who also has three grown-up children back in England - mixes Russian and English as he speaks to her. 

'Be careful', 'well, well', 'come on',  he tells her as he shows her a new toy. 

'Beresh vot tak, v ruku, i igrushka zvenit' (Take it with you hand, there, and it rings) .

'There was no proper freeze yet this winter, at least not compared with what we're used to,' said Michael, 56, who has experienced temperatures of below minus 50C on the family's small farm in Novosibirsk region. 'So far the coldest has been around minus 20C, so it has been fine for Polina to go out. 

'She seems happy with the weather and quite content when she's seated in her sledge. There aren't any other babies or young children in our village. Many people have left and there is now only our family and five others.

'Polina's outings are all about enjoying the views of endless snowy field and birch trees. Not the worst view - and later this year she'll be able to run around more which will be a lot more fun. She doesn't like it when its windy, she starts protesting after some minutes outside. 

'She is a cheerful soul, she seems to be content with herself and the world for most of the time - except for when hungry, of course.'

British baby enjoys her first sleigh rides in remote Siberian village where she is being raised British baby enjoys her first sleigh rides in remote Siberian village where she is being raised

British baby enjoys her first sleigh rides in remote Siberian village where she is being raised

'We were overjoyed to welcome Polina'. Pictures: The Siberian Times

Unlike other locals, the Wares celebrated a Western-style Christmas on 25 December, and they hope in the new year to be able to get more land. 

'Here we have our own vegetables  - potatoes, carrots, and cabbage. All clean, without supplements. Good for the children and ecological. We can certainly use more land'.

It was as the Soviet Union collapsed that Michael first came to Siberia on a trip for farmers to see how their Russian colleagues operated their collective farms. After a bitter divorce back home, he decided on a new life in the East, and was long ago accepted by the locals as one of them.

'I certainly have no regrets coming to Siberia, not at all, though I would like to see my friends and family more often,' he said. 'There have been some hardships, but I'm happy here. It's beautiful, a long winter with lots of sunshine and a nice mild summer. Plenty of clean fresh air, many beautiful places. 

'It's just a pity that I don't have much time to visit all of them. I went to the Altai Mountains and like them very much. I still haven't been to Lake Baikal but plan to go there soon'.

Michael has 40 sheep, 14 cows, ten hens and chickens, and several pigs. 

'Now Siberia is my home', he said. 'But nobody can change their own blood. I'll always be an Englishman'.

British baby enjoys her first sleigh rides in remote Siberian village where she is being raised


British baby enjoys her first sleigh rides in remote Siberian village where she is being raised
British baby enjoys her first sleigh rides in remote Siberian village where she is being raised

British baby enjoys her first sleigh rides in remote Siberian village where she is being raised


British baby enjoys her first sleigh rides in remote Siberian village where she is being raised

'There aren't any other babies or young children in our village. Many people have left and there is now only our family and five others'. Baby Polina with brother Alexander Ware and parents Michael and Tatiana. Pictures: The Siberian Times

The couple admit their new arrival was a surprise. 'I also didn't know if I was expecting a boy or a girl - we decided that the time to learn will be at the hospital', said Tatiana. 'Of course we were overjoyed to welcome Polina, and with the other children all big now, she has made us change our schedule a lot.

'But we don't complain. How can we complain after being given such a blessing?'

If Michael has one regret it is that he has lost touch with his three children back in England who he would love to see again one day. 

See more on Michael Ware and his family in Siberia: http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/features/these-days-mikhail-blends-into-the-crisp-snow-like-any-other-siberian-peasant-farmer/

Comments (3)

Anna you mention the baby is 'British'!!!! How can this be? The mother is Russian and the baby was born in Siberia!

However, it is a lovely story and we wish them well and hopefully her father will eventually be in contact with his children in England. Who knows they may want to visit Siberia and stay.

Lovely country and lovely people.
Valentyna, Perth, Scotland
24/01/2014 15:18
5
0
poor baby walking out at -20C! Can't even imagine it:)
Ricardo , Italy
14/01/2014 13:03
0
2
she is so sweet, little Polina, may she be health as well as the rest of Ware family
Nicola, Germany
13/01/2014 19:20
11
0
1

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