As I said earlier on this year we have always said that we would never insist on our kids coming to see us at Christmas, if they do come then that is great but we will never insist on it as it creates too many issues for young folks trying to balance family commitments. We also said that we would cross the bridge of a childless Christmas when we came to it and that bridge has now been crossed and to tell you the truth, it wasn't too painful, just different. Besides crossing the bridge of a childless Christmas this year we also crossed the bridge of leaving behind being the parents of teenagers as our youngest of three turned 20 years old. Scary how time passes.
Just lately we have been looking into getting a chipper/shredder so that we can deal with the huge piles of clippings from the woodland that Ian has amassed over the last couple of months, hopefully making use of it for composting purposes and creating non-muddy paths in our polytunnel. As we hadn't seen any we thought we might have to import one from England but the other day we spotted one in Depot (a DIY store) while shopping for other bits and pieces, we hummed and harrhhhed and hummed and harrhhed some more before then deciding we had better buy it as it was less than the ones we were looking at in the UK and we wouldn't have to pay postage on it, it was also neat enough to wheel through the forest and shred on the spot as well. Perfect! At least we hope so. They only had the one so we didn't dare come back after taking some time thinking about it, this was one of our biggest "if we don't purchase it now, we may never see another one" purchases but it has got to be done when things are rapidly disappearing from the shops, even the shops are rapidly disappearing. You should have seen us dismantling the thing to get it into the boot of the truck to get it home in Depot car park on a freezing day though.
Ojars Kalnins, commented that if the Latvian crisis was a book it was in the opening chapters and that there would be many twists and turns in the plot, well the twists and turns have certainly continued as the courts tell the government it is unconstitutional to cut pensions and they must return the money to pensioners. That totally messes with the budget that the government had set with the agreement of the EU and the IMF. If the lending institutions insist that the pension cuts must stay then they are effectively telling the Latvian people that the rule of law means nothing, that the rule of money trumps democratic processes. So what for the New Year, something has to give either the IMF or the Latvian people, somehow I believe the Latvian people will be like David in David and Goliath, how or why I am not sure but I do know the constitutional courts have made the right decision, illegal decisions cannot be inflicted on the country by a lending institution, the Prime Minister accepts he can't legally force the country to do it and the IMF can spit with fury but if they have really learnt that the country has to be responsible then it cannot and must not over rule the rule of law of any nation if it is to retain any credibility. It has to work with the system that is in place.
Photo 1 Cold misty day in the village
Photo 2 Train in Sigulda
Photo 3 Christmas Tree
Photo 4 & 5 The hotel in Licupe, after and before the fire
Photo 6 Ice roads
Photo 7 & 8 Wintry scenes in Latvia