Monday, 1 June 2009

Performances and parades

One of the joys of selling our house in England in April and making some profit is being able to give some of it away. We went to the local orphanage to meet with the director to discuss what kinds of things she could use for the children this year and as we are heading into summer she asked for some sports equipment. One of the requests was for four bikes for different ages and we had great fun while we were in Riga choosing them. Since our storage space is so small we decided to take them to the orphanage the following day, I forgot to take my camera so no pictures yet of the children enjoying their bikes. Our friend Chris who interpreted for us said it was great for the kids as they usually only get second hand things not brand new ones. We had wondered if the boys would be upset at getting "girls" bikes as they were the only ones with gears that couldn't be knocked off so are better for a large group of kids to share, as it turned out they were just as delighted and I was so blessed to see the kids riding round on the bikes and taking turns.

It did make me realise though that donating things is sometimes a bit of a performance. It is right that children say "thank you", I didn't really need to hear that as their faces were thank you enough but they need to be able to say it so they don't take things for granted, that I do understand. There was an expectation though of a bit of speech and everybody was assembled in order to hear it, but we hadn't got anything planned to say, we were just thinking of taking the first opportunity to get the bikes across to the orphanage so they weren't clogging up our basement, otherwise we wouldn't be able to get any of our gardening equipment out and we wanted the children to be enjoying them. I hope they weren't disappointed at the lack of drama over the giving. 

Our car was getting close to 20K on the odometer this month so needed to go in for a service. The car has certainly been a good buy for the area we live in and it has certainly stood up to the wear and tear that these dirt roads give it. 
Perhaps not very environmentally friendly but then neither are the roads to a car. The tyres don't stand up to nails though - they are not that rugged (maybe a tank would be but not car tyres) and this last couple of months we have had two punctures with rather large nails but it gives Ian a chance to practice his sign language at the local tyre shop. One big disadvantage though of living this far out is that we have to drive all the way into Riga to get our car serviced which takes around 2 hours and that is why we took the opportunity to get the bikes at the same time, no point in wasting a trip. Fortunately the garage also had a replacement window saving us yet another trip into Riga. Mind you Ian got them to save his rather creative back window just in case the same problem occurs again.

This weekend Ian and I decided to make the boundaries of the land we are going to be 
working on clearer. Ian was doing his he-man act with a machete, hacking his way through undergrowth while I played the glamorous assistant as a reference point - okay perhaps not quite the glamorous, I mean how glamorous can you look whilst dressed in a pair of wellies (rubber boots), a shirt designed to keep the mosquitos off, the obligatory jeans for protection and my Russian peasant look of anti-mosquito headscarf? (Still got bitten though, those little blighters get everywhere). One plant that seems to have survived the winter rather well including on the land  is Ground Elder. If you are a gardener you will be aware that this stuff swamps the grass and everything else in its path and although you can eat the young leaves like spinach it would not be advisable to eat all the plants that are growing as it can be a laxative in large quantities. Unfortunately the Ground Elder seems to be making a bid for a takeover of the land which we don't want so Ian has started strimming large patches of it, this did entail a visit to our nearest large town to buy a new strimmer (bush whacker) of course, the one he has is over 10 years old (I think!) and has done honourable service but would have died at the sight of all that Ground Elder and nettles. The only problem is that there is rather a large area to clear, 1 hectare (2.5 acres) down only another 5 (12.5 acres) to go! Only joking as not absolutely everywhere has ground elder in it, just seems like it. Should keep him out of mischief though. (The photo is from the land looking much nicer with its green coat on than it did in April after the snow had gone)

This verse was on the Open University Christian Fellowship forum this week and is such a gem of a verse that I wanted to share it.

Lam 3:21-23 Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: the LORD's unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. 

I love mornings, especially summer mornings when they are fresh and before they get too warm or with too many of the biting things out to spoil the day so I can really relate to this verse.

Our kitchen has now made it onto Victors website to add to his collection of impressive furniture. I do hope and pray his company survives though; of course many people are being cautious about big expenditures when there own jobs are at risk and so although his order book is full few want to proceed at the moment. Oh the complications of this crisis!

So at this time of crisis what do Latvians do? Well quite a few of them get drunk, unfortunately quite a few do that anyway but with more reason at the moment, and many get depressed and even without a crisis Latvia has a high suicide rate, so it was with amusement that I noticed on the online news sites that there was a parade of blondes in Riga on Sunday. There aim was to seek to cheer up the nation - what a noble cause! Wouldn't it be nice if the church thought the same way? So church let's wake up to the new morning with its new mercies and celebrate our wonderful God and spread some cheer.

Photos this week besides the one from the land are all from around the area near our apartment. In order they are Lilac bush, apple trees, our garden complete with teepees (for windbreaks of course), the land, the next allotment to ours with a row of tulips and the last picture was taken at 10:50pm and we still have another three weeks to go before midsummer night!!!!! One last thing, next Monday's blog maybe a little late as we will be in the process of travelling back from our short visit to England, wouldn't want to worry anyone now.

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