Monday, 7 November 2011

Passed!

All finished and in working order
It passed!!!! The horse box passed its technical. Ian was so relieved to get that out of the way, even if he found one of the problems was the wrong type of bulb. The problem with changing the units meant that not all the old bulbs were suitable for the new unit, one needed a double filament for brighter lights when braking. He could kick himself for not realising sooner, but then again if he hadn't put in the wrong bulb, he wouldn't have noticed all the loose connections or corroded wires and they would have gone eventually anyway. Electrics on cars and trailers though are pretty difficult to diagnose, especially without sophisticated equipment. It just needs a nick in a wire, in an out of the way place and it becomes almost impossible to track down. Still it's done now and he can concentrate on other jobs like digging more trenches around the barn to drain all the water away when it rains or eventually from snow melt - well that is if we get snow, it has been so mild this autumn.

A gift from some neighbours
It has been all excitement around here just lately, the other week Ian arrived at one of the petrol stations (gas station) in our village, to find it being roped off. There were people in combat outfits - camouflage trousers (pants), camouflage jackets and big boots - it all looked pretty intimidating. Had there been a robbery? Was the petrol station or the company in trouble for corruption? Who were these guys and what were they doing? The petrol station remained closed all week and under surveillance or at least with security men sat in a van the whole time. We asked around and others seemed as bemused as we were, but eventually someone explained that Ziemelu Nafta, the petrol company, had been repossessed by the bank for non-payment. We eventually also found out on the internet that they have been reported to the "economic police" for unfair practices - I presume that means the fraud squad as we would say in the UK. It is a good job we have another petrol station in the village, otherwise we would face some very long trips to the nearest one.

The very useful fork lift truck that meant we got our
delivery. Not the most up-to-date or modern of machinery
but it was more than up to the job.
We also caused quite a bit of intrigue ourselves this week with the arrival of a shipment from the UK. We have learnt now to expect that we need to organise something to get shipments off the lorries, as none of them seem to carry equipment to get them off the lorry, nor packed in a way that makes them easy to remove. This time we were told beforehand that we needed a crane, well we didn't manage to obtain the use of a crane but a forklift truck that can take up to 5 tonnes did the job. One of our neighbours who owns a firewood processing company has the use of a forklift truck and so we organised for him to help us. The lorry arrived with a tractor trailer, a baler and a tipping box (it goes on the back of the tractor and we will use it to counterbalance the tractor for lifting jobs). Getting the trailer off the lorry was the easy bit, it was assembling the equipment to make it easier for us to take away, that proved a challenge. It wasn't the nicest of days, dreich as the Scots would say, damp, cold and foggy. We used the forklift to lift the trailer high enough to get the wheels on and remove the metal frame and pallets underneath - now that sounds simple, but it wasn't. The little baler which makes small round bales, not the huge monstrosities, that are difficult to move without a tractor, proved to be quite a draw as a number of folks came to ask what it was. The next day it was the turn of the little baler to be assembled which also proved to be an enigma in itself, as inside were packed the wheels, but how to get the wheels out without damaging the baler proved to be beyond all of us. Eventually Ian went home and phoned the company, who we bought it off, and asked them how to release the wheels. Of course it was simple but it did take three of us to do it, one each side to release a catch and one at the front to open up the compartment. It took us all afternoon to get the wheels on the trailer and all the following day to sort out the baler, remove some wood chippings to make cleaning up easier for our friend, as they are moving soon and the place has to be left tidy, and then to take the items back to the land and packed away. It was only supposed to be a short job and I was meant to have an afternoon of peace and quiet doing some reading for my presentation tomorrow (tuesday) for my course, but that didn't happen.

The baler fitted to the tractor to take it to its storage place.
Unfortunately we won't really know how it works for
another 8 months when it is hay cutting season once again.
You all know of course that I'm always right, never wrong - you must have noticed hadn't you? (And if you believe that, you'll believe anything!) The trouble is that in my head I am right and yet I know that is not always helpful. It could be feeling angry at someone for something they did and I know I'm right to feel angry. It could be the feeling that someone has gone off and done something stupid despite your warnings, oh a whole host of things, but sitting there feeling angry or feeling smug is not helpful. Sometimes I have to just lay those things down, put the past behind, and start again. These things happen in marriage, family and even between the closest of friends, but to hold onto the hurt or the anger is not doing anyone any good at all. I had to laugh though when God reminded me of a situation recently and I felt like "but I'm right!" and I felt like God say "and?" At that moment I felt like our youngest kitten, Bella, when she has been caught doing something she shouldn't, who chirrups her protests, while making a hasty exit from whatever trouble she has got herself into, as I muttered under my breath. A couple of my friends had posted the following quote on their facebook walls this week:

 Apologizing does not always mean that you are wrong and the other person is right. It just means that you value your relationship more than your ego. 
The trailer! A very sturdy piece of kit this and tips as well.
Lots of folks posted their likes, but I didn't. I don't like it! I like being right! I do know though, that in many ways the quote is true, not necessarily always apologising but certainly making amends. Building bridges is important. Not all bridges are meant to be repaired and it takes much more wisdom than I have to know when to build and when to just walk away. Fortunately I think God does give us the time to work through the issues, to come to a point where we can leave the past behind and move on.

On a separate note, it was quite a shock this week to read the recently released provisional figures from this year's census of Latvia. The census came back with the figures of 1.9 million Latvians remaining in Latvia, down from 2.3 million. It is thought that the final figure will be just over 2 million but is still shocking that there has been such a huge loss of people from this land.
Martins Bondars, a former bank chief executive, jokes that “Greeks demonstrate on the streets. Latvians buy a one-way ticket on Air Baltic”.
Very sad, but true in many ways. Latvians do not demonstrate their feelings very much, but get on with life and if that means moving away, then that is what they do. Many families only have one parent at home or even none, with children being brought up by grandparents. Still it is a shocking statistic and incredible to think that 5% of the population has moved away since the crisis descended.

Cute heh! You wouldn't think they had been rolling around
the floor, scratching and biting five minutes earlier would you?
Can't finish the blog on such a down note or without mention of our kittens. I mentioned last week that we have started taking our kittens to the greenhouse with us, hopefully to curb the mouse population that seems to have taken a liking to our greenhouse and particularly the polystyrene in our caravan. Well our youngest kitten enjoys the journeys out so much that when we put our boots on she often goes and sits in the basket in anticipation and is very disgruntled when we don't take her with us. Spoilt or what! The kittens love Ian though, so much in fact that they can't wait till he comes in and then use the litter tray! Aww such love, glad they don't love me that much. And finally! I really mean finally this time, I have found the perfect job for Ian. For anyone who knows him well knows he is serious about cycling, even if it is on a fixed frame in the dump room as we call it (the place where we dump all the stuff that we don't know what to do with just in case you are thinking of something else), just take a look at this site (link here), can't you just picture him on his bike while doing something useful?

These must be the craziest male turkeys ever! They both
patrol around together and make gobbling sounds in unison.
They don't fight but take care of the lady turkeys together.
They are not ours by the way. Maybe next year we will
get some?

This is specially for my friend Pauline. Ian found this stone
amongst the gravel. 

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