Monday, 30 March 2009

Grumble, grumble moan moan!!

Well they did it - Wednesday the threatened cut off happened, no heat on Wednesday night and this was the forecast for the following 3 days. As you can see it was pretty cold at night -13C and -10C, but judging by the temperatures it would have been switched off around Tuesday anyway, brrrrr! It is now rather irksome to see the chimney stoked up and knowing that the school and boarding house are getting heat but we aren't, so if you have a spare 3500 LVLs and wish to pay off the apartment's debt there will be some grateful people.

Just thought I would share something of Thursdays preparations to start on some revision. Of course there were the layers of clothes, although our flat is still quite warm despite no heat in the radiators it is not so warm when you sit around, and then there is the sunhat - sounds pretty stupid but unless I block out the sun that is shining through the windows I can't see the computer screen and if I close the curtains I am blocking out a source of heat, hence the sunhat - now I can see the screen and keep the heat flowing into the flat. You maybe relieved to know that we went and bought a second heater and that is making things much better after the duller days we had where we did not benefit from the rays of sunshine heating our flat. Just one problem with it though is we have to be careful where we plug the heaters in, they cannot both go on on the same ring as each ring only carries 16A (3.7KW max), neither can they both go on and then switch on something else like the kettle (we have resorted back to one you put on the gas hob) or the toaster, or the water heater as the flat total is only 20A or 4.6 KW with our voltage. For those of you who find that is completely meaningless, the average in England is 30A per ring main - usually that will be for each floor of a house, all heavy duty appliances have a separate circuit and the total for the house is 50A and that will give you 12 KW for the whole house or 4/5 heaters all going full whack. In other words we don't have as much power coming into our house without tripping fuses for much heavy duty appliances. 

I got the results for my assignment back and this time was not so good 54%, it was still a pass but I obviously struggled with the what was expected from an essay for this course. Fortunately I think I get the idea of where they would have wanted me to go, which is encouraging for the exam, but still got a lot to learn. Mind you one of the things I have been learning a lot about is the importance of the media and publication of the "statement of the obvious type publications". I am not talking about the gutter type press or the obsessed with celebrity type press but good reporting of the way things actually are, (not guesses about what they think they should be which we seem to be getting a lot of at the moment). Without good reporting you have an undemocratic unquestioning society. For instance last year there was a report by the Children's Society about childhood (a Church of England body not part of the Government like some thought at the time) and what was important for a good childhood, and for the most part it was absolutely obvious in its conclusions like "parents should love their children, each other and establish boundaries for children". Obvious isn't it? Well hopefully it is but it does make us go back to basics and say "Do I actually agree with that? and maybe even "Why do I agree?" It also included a lot of recommendations for the Government and maybe we would agree with them and maybe not but at least it starts a debate as to what is important and what can be done or shouldn't be done. We can blog away, or talk to others, or write comments to newspapers - an active citizenship, without it we are doomed - doomed to the kind of Government we deserve, dictatorial or unresponsive.

I told you last week that I had my first bites of the year, and this week I have more of them this week. I think I have worked out where the critters are coming from so next time I shall go armed and ready but for now I have found the wonder treatment................... toothpaste!!!! I wonder if it works a little bit like calamine lotion (that pink liquid stuff we used when we were kids), and it also has an anti-bacterial action which might help. I don't really care why it works or that my clothes are getting covered in white stuff because it is stopping the itching and I don't have to keep taking anti-histamines and anti-inflammatories just to try unsuccessfully to stop the itch.  

This week the flags were at half mast or flying but with black ribbons on top, this was to remember the Enforced deportations by Stalin when he sent 43,000 or 2.28 % of Latvians to Siberia and this included women and children who were deported and a quarter of them never returned. It is hard to imagine the upheavals that occurred at the time, the horror of the month when people disappeared. It is good to remember these things, especially when the security of a job, home and heat were guaranteed under the Soviet system but at the cost of freedom of speech and subject to the whims of dictators. 

One of the saddest things I saw this week was a description on one of the social networks sites describing where someone lives as the "Land of dying dreams". I mentioned that I seemed to have had a lot of dreams since coming to Latvia but they seemed to finish and they finished with dreams of death round about the time of the Spring solstice. I put the dreams of death down to spiritual forces unleashed by the worship of pagan deities and prayed for protection and for the power of God. But now I think it is also connected with the death of dreams in peoples hearts, the Latvians were so expectant, so hopeful that independence would bring great benefits and freedom but freedom and capitalism can be a hard task master and they lost all support from the Soviet state leaving them vulnerable and impoverished. They then joined the European Union with great hope that would help and sure the money started pouring in, major road projects were undertaken to turn the primarily dirt roads to tarmac, and improve the potholed main roads, many was handed out like sweets and the Latvians bought into the capitalist dreams, how cruel it must seem now. Where is all the praise now for the growth? For following the capitalist agenda, and the economic gurus? I have to agree that now more than ever Latvia needs to be shown that others care. "We need to provide our partner States with security that the EU cares about their fate," an MP from Poland said this week and although he was talking about connecting the Baltic states electrical supplies to the rest of Europe I think what he had to say should resonate through all of the EU. Right now Latvia needs support, yes they got into a mess, but they need help not derision."

Well here is proof that Spring is on its way, we can see some very sorry looking grass at last, which the deer are finding irresistible even in the very early evening, the hungrier they are the bolder they are becoming. We are also beginning to see the return of the migrant birds - Ian thinks these are storks but I am not convinced,..... but then again they could be .... hmmmm!


  1. oh no. kerrys not going to like the cold, shes worse than dad.

  2. We have got two heaters now and lots of warm clothing, hot water bottles, blankets and our friends up the road who have a wood stove. Does that help?

  3. Yes, says the 'friends up the road with the wood stove.' You can also sit and watch the storks in their nest at the bottom of our garden. So as they say, "Come on down" or up as the case may be.

  4. Oh than you Kathleen, we will sure be up there for a cup of tea and biscuits


I love to hear your comments and will always reply, so go ahead, ask a question or just say hi