It’s becoming something like the Groundhog Day driving this section of Russia. The hundreds of kilometres between cities always seem to take twice as long as thought – not so much because of the road conditions; certainly not because of too much traffic and despite spending practically every waking minute of the day driving. What is it then?

We’re driving east. And we’re not driving at night – the chance of hitting some deeper than expected pot-hole is too much. Plus, we haven’t a clue what time it is; we’re still running on Kazan time – our own little private time zone out of sync with our surroundings by 2 or 3 hours. But we can’t escape the fact that the sun is rising that much earlier every day and setting sooner and, with the short summer nights at these northern latitudes but falling asleep with exhaustion after dinner every night anyway, our body clocks are getting a little messed up and we’re in a kind of permanent state of jetlag.

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