Monday, 19 October 2009

Chainsaw moments

We had some spare bolts made for our tractor this week, and when we went to collect them we found out that our local machinist also happens to be a cobbler - praise God! Of course you could all see the connection couldn't you, I mean it is totally reasonable to expect that the local metalworker would be a cobbler as well, isn't it?
Must admit that I was rather surprised at the combination. Anyway I had a beautiful pair of shoes sitting in my cupboard, lightweight and so comfortable but they had split after a very short time so it was great to be able to get them repaired and although it is not an invisible repair due to the nature of the split I do at least have a lovely wearable pair of lightweight shoes again. I do hate throwing out shoes which haven't been worn to death. Ian also decided to get his tow rope fixed as well, with all the work it has been put to it was starting to get a hole in it, as the hook had gone through the webbing.

Ian has still been chopping wood up this week but his chainsaw was not behaving again so it was given a serious talking to and then taken to the chainsaw hospital 45km away. It was not terminal but they told him it would be two hours before it was fixed so he decided to come home. On the way back it started snowing quite heavily, in fact at one stage it was whiteout, Ian noticed a car at the side of the road which appeared to be stuck (sound familiar?) and he stopped to see if he could help, it turned out to be one of the neighbours. Good job we got the tow rope fixed and the guy had left the tow rope outside our door that morning, not only that but Ian had been wondering why he had decided to come home when it was just a two hour wait and a half hour drive there and back, looks like it was a good decision at least for the neighbour.

Before I start this section let's play spot the difference? Answer at the end of this paragraph!
On Ian's way back from the chainsaw hospital he decided to check out some tarpaulins on the land to see how they are faring in the windy conditions, it was then that he discovered that one of our trees had landed on the road, Whoops! Someone had shifted it to the side but it needed logging up - busy day! Eventually he got to the tarpaulins to check on them but something wasn't right, something looked very different. The tarpaulin was fine but the tree? Ian had been logging up a fallen branch that must have fallen down at least a year ago if not longer but now the tree was missing more than a branch, it was missing a huge section. In fact the huge section we had stood beneath the day before. Ian really felt God speaking saying that huge structures that looked so permanent have broken that something had been released, the landscape has changed. What has shifted we aren't sure about but something has shifted. One of my facebook friends posted this "Listen.... the world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air.(Galadriel from Fellowship of the Ring)" and we could add we see it in the trees. I am constantly amazed how much of God's purposes are revealed in the natural world around us and I am looking to see what that shift actually means and where it will lead. Exciting times! Oh and by the way, the tree was so huge that it necessitated buying an even larger chainsaw and more logging, oh Ian is having a whale of a time.

Well criticism of Latvia continues this week this time it is the turn of the head of the EU finance turn to have a go. Other politicians though fear unrest, I wonder if I actually fear no unrest - what does it say about a nation that acquiesces quietly to such painful cuts? Although the minimum subsistence level is above the level of pensions various organisations are still asking for further cuts in pensions, taking pensions even further down past the level needed to buy basics! Back in 1992 an academic Maureen Mackintosh said "adjustment will continue to be impoverishing and destructive of long-term development unless the policy process itself can be democratised" in other words the reforms demanded by the IMF would be far less destructive and far more beneficial if the public were involved in the debate of what to do. The Latvians know that things need to change they are not stupid but they need to be involved in those decisions so that things will change throughout society not dictated once again, from above as has happened in Latvia by occupying forces for over 800 years. It makes the IMF demands no better than the Soviets in not giving space for democratic debate in their haste to "set things right".

The State Revenue service has not escaped the cuts either. 1500 jobs to go there and for those that remain there will be 32% reduction in salary. An object lesson in how not to motivate staff to produce a modern efficient corruption free service. How on earth these folks are supposed to carry on with their jobs with such savage cuts and remain motivated to working towards a well run service I do not know.

I found this comment this week on one internet site "We need people who care, who refuse to conform and who want to change the world. In short, we need a new passion for authentic human values. For there yet remain many miles, and many exits, on the road to full freedom in Europe." That kind of echoes what I said last week "I want to believe that Europe can arise out of this mess by demonstrating that they are stronger when they look out for each other instead of trying to solely support their own nations at the expense of others." Sounds like there are others who are looking for a new voice of reason, one not built just on getting the money side of things right, not reducing everything to a set of monetary units, like the joke that goes "they will be taxing the air we breathe next", or maybe it should be "wait until they find a way to package the air we breathe up and then they could sell it to us".

Last week I also asked if Bankers should apologise and I actually found an interview where a banker apologised for what has happened in the Baltics, you could have knocked me down with a feather. So here is what Lars Christensen from Danske bank said

"Of course one can question whether supervision has been good enough in the banking sector, but fundamentally I do not think that the major problem has been supervision. Rather I think some policy makers added to the bubble by being "cheerleaders" of the boom. However, the responsibility of the crisis have to be shared between commercial bankers, central banks and politicians. We all in different ways failed."

At least he admitted the bankers part in the fiasco, some honesty there at least. Bankers aren't solely to blame but they did play a big part.

I passed another milestone in my Open University course this week I got my final assignment back and I was very pleased with the result 70%, a merit (before any of my American friends start worrying, 70% is a very good score in the English system, the scores are 40%-64% - Pass, 65%-74% merit and 75% and above a distinction). This also takes me up to a merit overall in all three of my assignments, which gives me a good start for my exam tomorrow, just wish it wasn't in the morning as it means a very early start. Yuck!

Another milestone this week is that we finally got the land level, ready to put in the concrete mounting blocks for the wooden structure of the poly tunnel, as you can see it is not a pretty site and those boxes ready for the cement don't look too straight at the moment. The signs are not looking good for getting the tunnel up before the Winter. So possibly no early start for the veg this year then. Well not unless we get some nice dry not too cold weather, soon.

There are two photos of lichens and if anyone is a lichen buff then we would dearly love to know what type they are.


  1. I'm not a lichen buff, but they look VERY similar to ones we have here in Oregon.

  2. You must have some clean air around there then. Lichens don't tend to like pollution


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