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Reading a borrowed copy of Tolstoy's 'Anna Karenina' at the age of fifteen inspired Catherine to learn Russian at school, a decision which ultimately led to a degree in Russian from Durham University and a life-long passion for Russian history.
She took her first trip to Russia during the Cold War. At a time when few westerners went there, she explored the country in an elderly Morris Minor car shipped to Leningrad on the deck of a Soviet freighter. Since then she has returned to Russia several times, most recently on her honeymoon in 2001.
Catherine, originally from Devon, England, now lives on a sailing boat in southern Turkey with her husband. She has a grown-up son and daughter.