Monday, 22 September 2008

Houses and bikes

The joys of communal heating - switch it on too early and the poorest suffer when they have to find the money to pay for it. Switch it on too late and those who have money switch away from communal heat. Such is the dilemma in our building, one more person leaves the system and there is no more communal heat and the poor are left without heat. Found out yesterday that one of the possible reasons we don't have heat could be because someone else hasn't paid their massive bills accrued over years. Heating is not expensive to us but when you are on 75 - 150LVLs pension then a bill for the heat can become a choice between eating and paying bills.
The good news we had an offer on our house it is a little lower than we would like so we will give it a week and see what happens. I know the markets are not great but we can afford to wait if necessary. We also signed a contract on Tuesday for the flat (apartment) we agreed to buy about three weeks ago, and we got keys for it on Sunday and showed our new tenants around. Unfortunately the people who owned the house had not finished clearing it out yet, and although we are legal landlords we are not legal owners yet until next week when we get the official registration with the new land book. I am sure it will all come together soon.  

It was Ian's birthday this week and to celebrate he decided to take part in a bike race on his new bike. It was well organised with a transponder on the bottom of each bike to record the finishing times and at the end of the race there was hot sweet tea (not a fan of sweet tea but since I was so cold I didn't argue and it was free) and a bowl of barley porridge and jam. At the end of a bike race we went to in England, when we saw our son race, all the racers got a free cake/quiche and juice or tea but definitely not porridge. (The pictures are from the beginning and the end of the race.)

It has also been a week of thinking and dreaming about our future and I am going to do some investigating about Development Management courses- maybe I will head for being a doctor after all, who knows, watch this space! I also had a dream of renovating a block of flats; in my dream we had made one flat into a communal area, and one was a warden's flat who's job it would be to encourage community, and a mix of rented and bought flats which were gradually renovated as money allowed. An interesting project but not sure we have enough money for that yet. Lol

We took our friends/tenants Ian and Kathleen to Jekabpils to look around the DIY places to decide how they would like their new accommodation decorated and fitted and to see a little more of Latvia and while we were there we went into the grounds of an old church that was being restored. I realised after a short while it was an old believers church and just as we were about to leave the grounds a lady came running up to us and sort of curtseyed and indicated that we could go into the church if we wanted to. The church was incredibly ornate and very religious but somehow it still had a peace about it, I did not feel quite so uncomfortable with it as I do some old churches with their religious spirits. The lady did not speak any English but tried a little Latvian, Russian (her native tongue) and German but none of us can speak enough of any language beyond a few basic words, as we left though she gave Kathleen and I a hug and said "I love you" in English. I had a feeling she is one of those in this country that have held onto a faith in a living God and although her expression of this is very different to mine, I still felt she knew something of God and sensed that in us. 

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