Wow the weeks are speeding by. I'm now sat in England, in my son's house and not in Latvia. The kittens are being cared for by a neighbour and her small son. It did feel very strange to be saying goodbye to them, knowing we are leaving them for a longish time. One of them was especially cute and cuddly in the morning as if she was making us feel bad for going away. Heh ho! A seaside town on the south coast of England is so different to rural Latvia with the seagulls making a racket, so much traffic on the wrong side of the road, and so many houses and shops. It is odd to have culture shock returning to a land we once knew so well, but something we have become accustomed to.
The week has been a time of preparing for going away, making sure we saw people we needed to see, tidying up so we don't come back to a mess and preparing for a wardrobe that never arrived. The wardrobe is a long story indeed and I guess it will be ready for when we get back, well maybe.We have got used to things not quite going to plan in Latvia fortunately. I had wanted a wardrobe for a long time and we looked around in shops and never really saw anything that would work for us and so we ended up arranging for it to be made locally by the firm that made our kitchen, but things have been difficult for him as normal and possible delivery dates have slipped time and time again. Frustrating but in the words of one of our friends "It is what it is" and getting irritated or even angry won't help at all. So for the time being the clothes remain in plastic crates until we get the wardrobe installed.
We landed in England and immediately were taken to a small town for a cup of tea, some food and a meeting with some friends we hadn't seen in quite a while. Our friends are people we knew from our time up north and one of them goes back about 25 years, a long time indeed. Our friends have since moved down south and were visiting relatives in the area where our son lives. It all seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. The time was spent catching up and reminiscing much to the amusement of the cafe owners. We stayed for a long, long time and apologies were even made when our party was leaving for spending so long there, but all was forgiven as we had spent enough money in the process. Phew! Good job really as it was only a small place with eight of us crammed into a cosy nook, taking up probably half the cafe in the process.
Today was spent in the company of my son's niece and nephew, released from school last week for Christmas and needing some entertaining whilst their mum still works. Part of the day was spent in a play place, where scaffolding type constructions are covered in foam and children can get to run around, play hide and seek and slide down the slides. Perfect for running off lots of energy but oh so noisy for people used to the rural way of life, and there were so many people of different shapes and sizes! It was funny watching the little ones toddling around but we are definitely passed that stage in life of running around after our own little ones, well until grandkids come along and then we can pass them back. Watching our son dealing with his niece and nephew made us realise how far we have come from that young family who set off on adventures new to a small rural village in Derbyshire, that our friend who we had met up with again had witnessed, oh so many years ago. At that time we never dreamt that we would end up in a small rural village in Latvia, with our children spaced so far apart.
One of the things I forgot to mention last week was my book prize came and it's huge. I didn't realise it was an epic book of gargantuan proportions. Okay I exaggerate a bit, but it is only a bit. I haven't even had the chance to really sit down and absorb much of it at all, but I did get the chance of making pumpkin pie using one of the recipes; a recipe a little more geared towards the European palate with less sugar in it. It worked well.
I think it is encouraging to see younger people beginning to engage with issues, such as education by the 19 year old last week that I mentioned. This week the youngster hasn't even left school and yet he is engaging with the issue of evidence based medicine. I hope this young man does indeed become a champion for evidence based medicine, it is sorely needed but ...... and it is a big but, that extends to so called conventional medicine too. As conventional medicine is often derived from natural formulations, separated from other components with a greater risk of side effects, then it is not always better for you. Conversely just because it is natural does not mean it is safe. Just because it has been used for years and years does not mean it is effective. The problem is that conventional medicine is not always based on evidence either, as sometimes evidence is tricky to collect ethically, but evidence still needs to be collected somehow. So where am I on this scale of alternative vs conventional? Neither really or stuck straight down the middle. If over processed food is not good for us, then perhaps over processed medicine which ignores a more holistic approach, may possibly not be good for us either. Remembering that many drugs etc are researched by companies aimed at making money, should help us to remember to keep a healthy scepticism of their claims too.
I have to apologise there are no photos this week either. Never mind there will be some cute photos of alpacas next week when we go and see them - hope I remember!