Monday, 24 January 2011

You've gotta smile...

Bit of a change from two weeks ago when we were sat in Oz!
You've gotta smile, otherwise you might cry. Laughter has been our safety valve and our help just lately. No we are not in denial, yes it was irritating at the time but it's life, it's tough sometimes. Things happen and if we can laugh and realise it is not the end of the world then we will get through it and get on. So what travesties have we endured this week?

The unfinished barn. Snow stopped play!
We arrived back in Latvia to rain, not pleasant when there is a lot of snow about, but useful for reducing huge piles of snow everywhere from mountains of snow to hills of it. Apparently while we were away there has been a lot of snow in Latvia which has resulted in utter chaos at times, places were cut off of course which is only to be expected, but also whole swathes of rural Eastern Latvia, Latgale, were without electricity for two weeks over Christmas and early January. Foreign crews from Sweden and Finland had to be called in to get areas reconnected as the local Latvian electric company were unable to cope with the scale of the problem. Latvia knows about snow and is usually well prepared but the type of heavy snow and the scale of it, overwhelmed this sparsely populated country. It also overwhelmed our polytunnel. Yes the very same polytunnel that took 5 months to get built and was built late in the season, which set us back last year right at the start of the rather short growing season. As you can just about see, two sections only are still standing and Ian managed to get in and knock the inches thick ice off the roof to try and save it. Much of the wood is salvageable we think, but until we can get in properly we can't be sure. It looks likes joints have failed rather than the plastic, which is what we thought may fail. We aim to rebuild it but next time we are going to try and put some more internal structure into it, using some of the leftover wood from the barn. At least we don't need the space for the tractor anymore as we have the barn - or will do when its finished (yes the snow stopped play there too) and we now have the two wheeled tractor to turn over the ground in the polytunnel.

A sad and sorry sight, our collapsed polytunnel
So, the polytunnel is down and to get to it we have been hiking across the snow in our snow shoes but to actually work on it and determine what can be saved we needed to get the tractor back to the land and clear space to work in. It would appear that is easier said than done too. The tractor just got back to the land and in the process of clearing space to get onto it when the rear window shattered, scaring the living daylights out of the driver, we got there just after it happened and I thought the driver was going to have a heart attack as he was white with shock. The driver was distraught but these things happen, like the glass on our oven door that would have to shatter while a friend was stood in front of it, this would have to shatter on someone driving the tractor as a favour as Ian cannot drive on the roads in a tractor here in Latvia. We laughed, we joked, we made silly comments and Ian went to get some plastic from our polytunel to cover the gaping hole at the back of the tractor. Well there had to be some use for the plastic now. Well our tractor is now parked up at our neighbours farm and Ian will make a temporary repair on it tomorrow before sorting out digging his way onto the land tomorrow. While he was parking the tractor up and sorting it out for the night, I was scraping the road of glass so it didn't get into people's tyres and cause an even bigger mess. Sheesh! The day started off so quietly too.

The tunnel created which protected our
vines which are all snuggly wrapped up
on the right
Other things have been niggly too, like the new four slice toaster we bought in England in October that was working when we left is now a two slice toaster, which in our household is a disaster. The internet keeps playing up - or rather our airport or wireless connection keeps playing up but in the grand scheme of things these are not important. While we have been sunning ourselves in Australia, our poor neighbours and friends have been struggling with snow, struggling with heat or lack of it, struggling without electric or intermittent electric and generally having a hard time and so who are we to get down with some inconveniences? Polytunnels can be rebuilt and thank God no one was in it when it came down, tractor windows can be fixed and an extra toaster was bought and we swapped the two slice toaster from our other apartment with our should be four slice toaster, so all is good! 

The view from the other side of the polytunnel. As you can
just about see both ends are still standing and it is the
middle that has collapsed forming a tunnel on one side.

The present left by our neighbours who
were keeping our apartment heated while
we were away.
We have many things to be grateful for, such as our neighbours that made sure our other apartment was heated when our friends who were going to do it got stranded when the snow reached chest height, our neighbours even left us a picture, a candle and fridge magnet as a little Christmas present. We knew that our apartments were in good hands while we were away and that is something to be very grateful for. Also amazingly when our polytunnel came down it didn't flatten the vines, the table and chairs, the small plastic greenhouse, the roof panels for the barn that had been stored in the polytunnel or the cement mixer. It has flattened the plants that were in there as an experiment but they were already killed off with cold when he who shall remain nameless left the door open when it was -10C outside, so no problem about that. It is bad, but not the end of the world, we shall learn, we shall start again only better and we move on, we won't dwell on it - well perhaps we will but only for the comic value we can get out of it.


  1. Wow! Where do you start with the polytunnel? I think I would have sat and cried. It's great that after the initial shock you can see the positives and even have a laugh. Like you say, you missed some of the really bad weather and lack of heating. I guess it's just the time and all the hard work it will take to repair the polytunnel. I hope there's not much more bad weather for you before the winter gives way to spring.

  2. Oh your poor polytunnel Joanna, after all the grief of getting it up. I applaud your attitude to life though and it is all summed up in the story of the toaster! You are so right, things can be fixed, people are more important.

  3. I know what you mean Mavis, but the good thing is the wood pieces were screwed together so those still in tact can be unscrewed. Unfortunately the weather is not for us today, it is snowing a bit heavier than it has been doing and drifting too. On past experience of the last few years we won't see the ground again until April

    Thanks Danast, that is an encouragement.

  4. learning from mishap and moving on taking what you have learnt with you is always the best thing to do. The snow this year has caused havoc everywhwere hasn't it.

  5. Very true Karen. We got caught up in the chaos in the UK but I think overall we got off lightly

  6. Promote your blog on mine.

    1. What is the name of your blog? House Church Connections in the Kingdom of God
    2. What is the url?
    3. How long have you been blogging? About 2 years
    4. What is your blog about? I write about house church from the kingdom perspective. When we meet under a tree in the forest here in Colorado Springs, we call it Organic Church
    5. Tell us one thing about your blogging experience that we might find of interest:
    About 300 to 500 people visit per day. About 1/5 are from Europe and 1/7 other countries.
    Bill Bremer

  7. Thanks Bill for the invite. There are some interesting articles on your blog, will have a peruse soon


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