I definitely committed now.
Main booking: I’ve transferred the money to “the Russians” in Siberia. That makes it pretty difficult for me to back out. It means that I have lessons and accommodation for a month.
Transport: The instructions for applying for a Russian Visa say that I should not book my flights until I have a visa. On the other hand, the requirements for applying for a visa say that I need to have a fixed itinerary (that means airline tickets). Anybody spot the circular argument here? As usual, the answer is to take the risk oneself and pay the money, so I’ve bought the plane tickets; Heathrow to Moscow Domodedovo to Novosibirsk (LHR –> DME –> OVB). I’m flying InterAvia all the way, so at least I’m not changing carriers, there is plenty of time for the change, and the change all in the same airport, which is the most modern of Moscow’s several airports. In for a penny, in for several pounds!
Visa: Always a bit of a challenge. In my case things are complicated a little by being a UK citizen who doesn’t live in the UK. Things are also complicated by me not having a regular job. However, with a bit of help from an “agent” and a certain amount of original documentation, I think I have surmounted that obstacle. I hope I will know shortly because I sent the documents, the application forms and my passport registered post yesterday. If things work as I hope, then I should have the passport and visa back in a couple of weeks. It will be all right if it takes a little longer, but I will be biting my fingernails!
The only thing left to do, apart from pack my bags, is organise transport from Ireland to Heathrow. I expect I will use my old friend Eurolines (cheap, and effective but interminable) and stay for a few days in the area to catch my breath.