Monday, 8 March 2010

Sunshine rules! Ok!

Well it was 7 years this week since we left England and it is amazing how far we have travelled in the meantime. It is so hard to believe where we started and what we have done. I was a housewife with three kids at home 7 years ago, now I am a student again with no children at home. One child is now in Australia, another planning his wedding and another at Uni. Ian and I have moved three times internationally and visited many more countries as well. When I think of all God has accomplished in those 7 years, it makes me excited for the next 7 years; I'm up for a challenge!

So the start of the next 7 years saw us in Cyprus again. I said Ian had had a call to help out on a Friday and on Monday we had booked the tickets to travel, by Sunday we were in Cyprus where we spent a good week, Ian working hard in a lab and me studying hard sat outside in the garden (hard life isn't it?). In the Bible it talks about a Jubilee year as a time when you don't reap or sow but live off what grows naturally from the land, well we sort of did that in our first year of being in Latvia by living off our savings, the year after Jubilee is a time to sow and the third year is the time to reap what you sowed the year before. Last year new relationships were formed by Ian and old ones re-established meaning he spent two weeks working in Cyprus last year, this year has been the fruit of that. I also needed the sunshine and the fresh vegetables to boost my immune system, I finally shook off the cough I had had for weeks so worth the trip out there for me. Don't get too jealous though, we arrived back to even more snow than when we left even though we expected it to have been melting while we were away.

In travelling backwards and forwards to Cyprus we have discovered a really good airline, Czech airlines. The food is not bad for an airline, they even have metal cutlery, they describe one meal as a light snack but it is a whole baguette with ham, cream cheese and roasted red pepper which is included in the price, a rarity these days and their main meals are pretty edible too. It is just a very pleasant experience and would be even more so if the times of flights from Prague to Cyprus leg weren't so awful, we arrived at 2:30am and left at 3:15am. One of the best parts is the discovery of a brilliant animation Pat and Mat which is made in the Czech republic but it is classic slapstick stuff, we always look forward to seeing them on the in flight entertainment and you don't need to know Czech to understand it. Talking of food and airlines, I had to laugh at one bit of news out from United Airlines (an American airline) that they are going to introduce an organic option to their snack box range, does this mean that finally there is something in the box that is more edible than the box itself? Believe me their snack boxes are awful normally, so hopefully this is a step in the right direction.

I was spitting feathers at one particular news story about IMF's Mark Allen called out of retirement to come and sort Latvia out, the sense of smugness he has about the job he has done and the sense of rightness that the guy has left me astounded. The fact is that if he has been operating for the last 40 years he has not been doing a very good job. His experience is useless and is still putting the pain of adjustments onto the poorest segments of the population something the Icelandic people decided was not something they were willing to do in their nation judging by their referendum this week. If the IMF did proper assessments of the job they do across the whole of society and found their systems work then I would acquiesce to their knowledge but the only criteria they have is that the country pays back their debts and they believe the pain that is inflicted is fine because the poor will benefit in the end, something that is not borne out by experience, the poor suffer and continue to suffer even after the economy is supposed to be on an even footing. The pain is also only worth it when you are sat in your ivory tower and don't have to watch your child dying through lack of medical help or food because your suddenly expected to pay for it. At least in Latvia people are not dying for want of medical help (well not that I know of) but they do end up with big bills as one of our neighbours has and without the means to pay it.

Not sure if I am happy about the fact that the World Bank has agreed a loan for providing a social security net in Latvia. I agree with the fact that the poor do need additional support and there are plenty around judging by the numbers there are clearing paths in our village. Clearing paths is a job creation scheme for those without work, helpful when it has been very snowy but sad that there are so many needing the money. The problem is that a loan is a debt that needs repaying at the end of the day and is only necessary because of the bad debts that Latvia has got into and the stupidity of bankers greed in lending the money in the first place, the children of this nation have been mortgaged to the hilt now and it will be a long time before they will be free of it.

On a lighter note I was quite entertained by an article on a citizen's initiative in Naples. Claudio Agrelli set up an online community whose citizens never jump red lights, and they always use the pedestrian crossings in other words they always follow the rules, not something that Naples or Italy is renowned for. He is seeking to establish a community where people respect rules and actively participate in discussions on those things they believe would be good for the community which is brilliant really, anything that moves people to becoming active citizens with an interest in other people is to be applauded. Good citizens of the world unite

Photo 1 My spot by the pool under the palm trees
Photo 2 A lemon tree in the garden of course, not many of those in the UK or Latvia
Photo 3, 4 and 5 my more sheltered spot for windy moments
Photo 6 It wasn't warm all the time so nothing better than a seat by the fire to carry on doing some reading.


  1. Glad you had a relaxing time in Cyprus. By the photos, it looks a really nice place. And going back to more snow in Latvia than when you left!!! Brr. Here in the southwest of England last week (and this week up to now) has been really nice and sunny during the day but frosty at night - still need to defrost the windscreen on the car in the morning. Still I'm not complaining when I think of the North and Scotland who are still having snow and then I read your blog. At least last week I was able to get in the garden and start planting fruit trees and canes. Next week it will be some vegetables. Food first and flowers later!

  2. Thank you Mavis, it is indeed a lovely place and such a contrast. The only time I couldn't sit out in the garden itself was when it was windy and the palm tree was showering dates, not like the chill winds we have had in Latvia - fortunately not too many of those.

    People were only getting out in the gardens mid-April last year and it is looking pretty much the same for this year. There are some flowers under the snow somewhere, I'm sure!


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