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Border's Olympic Blog - Settling in

I write this sitting in the restaurant of my hotel watching Cumbria's David King and his incredibly nice fiancee Stacey Kemp figure skating on Russian television in the Sochi Winter Olympics.

I'm not in the stadium itself at the moment because the figure skating goes on very late here and I have to sleep shortly. Tomorrow, bright and early, I have a meeting with our curlers who have serious medal hopes and I want to be at my best.

The Border region, and Lockerbie in particular, has produced a large proportion of Team GB's Curlers who are hoping to bring medals back with them and who certainly have the pedigree to do so.

I'm based outside of the main media village which has so far proved to have two main advantages. Firstly, I return at night to a hotel with a working TV, and also one with the kind of luxuries some journalists seem to have been missing out on- such as roofs and door knobs. I should count my blessings judging by what I have seen and heard from others.

Secondly, I have made a friend.

Tima was recommended as a reliable taxi driver who'd come to help me at all kinds of ungodly hours and wouldn't make the accountants at ITV weep. He is a good man. My Russian leaves a lot to be desired (despite having lived in Moscow for three years) and he has very little English. But over the last few days we have talked about a lot of things as he's ferried me to Sochi in the morning and back again in the evening. We've done a bit of politics, a bit of chat as to what the Olympics means to Sochi and today upon hearing that I have a fair bit of Irish in me he played me Caucasian folk music all the way to the train station on the understanding that I'd return the favour tomorrow with some traditional 'Irlanditze' music. At the moment he's down for a dose of the Pogues, let's see what happens. I meant to take a picture of Tima to include here, but I was distracted when he dropped me off and by the time I had realised the opportunity had passed me by. Never mind we meet tomorrow at 7:30am for a trip back to the action and a bit of Shane McGowan. I'll take his portrait next time, you may hear more of him.

He has been a real help to me, but to be honest, everyone I've met has been welcoming and friendly. As with our own Olympics there seems to be an army of volunteers assisting people. The IT guys in the Media Centre couldn't have been more helpful with when sorting out the gremlins in my computer. The police and security personnel are here in great numbers but not intimidating in any way and seem keen to be pleasant.

I also met with some ITN colleagues who proved that the locals aren't the only nice and thoughtful people here in Russia happy to help. Thanks Will.

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