Monday, 12 March 2012

Spring? No not yet!

Our neighbours horse drawn hay rake, still where it was left
waiting to rake up hay before the weather changed last year
I'm not very good at anniversaries and birthdays and that sort of thing. Facebook kind of helps by reminding me when it is someone's birthday but that is a bit late if I actually wanted to send anything. And anniversaries are only remembered if I set them as alerts on my computer. Well I missed one anniversary last week. Ian remembered it on the day, but I forgot to comment on it in the blog. And the anniversary? It is on the 4th March 4 years that we arrived in Latvia to live. It's hard to believe that four years have flown by, but what a lot has happened in between times. We now manage a piece of land, two of our children are married, I am in my final year of a Master's course and we still haven't learnt much Latvian. We have made some lovely friends and are thoroughly enjoying being here, even if at times we still wonder what on earth we are doing here.

It was still deep on Friday
I did think of updating last week's post, but didn't think it was worth it as there was something else I had forgotten too. At the drumming concert we went to last week, we were sat on a table with another couple and fortunately the guy sitting there could speak English, it turns out he knew rather a lot of people we knew, in fact one of our good friends who is the reason we are even here in Latvia has stayed at his house quite a few times. Small world as they say. It was funny to start talking about someone and go "Oh yes! We know them too." He is a pastor of a church in Riga and as one young man went past he said, "that's our church's youth pastor." The brain cell started whirring into action and I thought "I know that face," sure enough I did, another person we both knew. The young man had been in the Netherlands translating for a team of Latvians that I had travelled with to a conference and Ian and I met him at another friend's wedding. It is strange to meet someone and know so many of the people he knew and yet we hadn't met, or not that I can remember anyway.

And yes, Ian was still shovelling snow this last week. Mind
you this was to clear the road to get the horse box down
This week has seen some glorious days and I had been stuck in a lot of the week writing up. One day I was looking at the weather forecast and I realised that Friday was going to be another glorious day but the weekend looked poxy as we say. The forecast was for warmer temperatures and a mixture of snow and sleet, so rather than miss the good weather, I declared that Friday was the new Saturday and took the day off. I'm so glad I did as that meant that I could enjoy the sunshine and walk around in the snow for what will probably be the last truly glorious wintry day of the year. I would have enjoyed it even more if I hadn't slipped on a sloping path that had iced over so hard that even my Yaktrax wouldn't grip. I ended up on my knees having twisted my ankle and there was no way I could get up easily without help and so my gallant hero, Ian, leapt to my assistance, that's twice this winter he has been my Sir Galahad. Makes a change from being laughed at anyway. Fortunately my ankle wasn't that bad and I could still sit in the greenhouse (20C that day) and sip coffee. We even managed to get the horse box into the barn, which meant Ian reversing it by car all the way down a hill with a sharp turn at the bottom and I kind of directing, well saying "stop, stop" and waving frantically every now and again when it was obvious that the trailer was not going in the direction that it should do or a bit too close to the barn door.

Horse box safely ensconced in the barn. It is now easier
for Ian to change the brakes and the wheel bearings
even if the weather changes.
I've changed my homepage on my internet browser this week, not momentous news I know. I like the range of articles in the Guardian, especially as they have a section on development, but I hate the language. It is almost as if they seek out uses of the "f" word. A report on the protest in Russia, seemed to single out any badges or banners which had on the "f" word to report and that was the final straw. The "f" word for me does still have a shock value, but not to many people around me, they think it is normal part of the language and indeed it is for some, but that does not mean that it should be bandied around in the English press. Now if all the banners had the "f" word in the protest I would have seen that a fit place to report it, but not the odd one or two and I am sure that the Russians have more in their vocabulary to express their protests and if they had then what were they? So it is back to the BBC for me, a bit staid and not as interesting at times, but at least the language isn't as bad.

Our kittens have grown but are still cute. Sophie has found
her voice just lately, driven us barmy today but we think
the dehumidifier is unsettling her, but we need it on because
someone didn't use the litter tray again!!!!!!
It has been a week of computers, partly as I am deep into writing up my thesis now that I have finished the research phase and also because I updated Microsoft as well this week from a very, very, very old version (in computer terms that is i.e. 2001). It was so old that it wouldn't update automatically and so all my settings were lost - that wasn't the real problem though, the problem came on updating the email client that proceeded to delete messages off the server, ones I had kept for ages. I wouldn't mind but I have done that before when changing email clients for work from Thunderbird that got corrupted and wouldn't update to Mail. It is something to do with the difference between IMAP and POP accounts - I don't know, but what I do know is I am not keen of what happened to my emails. I am a hoarder I know, but in some cases I was keeping them for reference. Fortunately really important ones were downloaded and kept separate but general emails were not and now I have lost a huge chunk of my past. It made me feel very grumpy.

In pensive mood here, but occasionally still shows herself
to be the livewire she was as a kitten
I am beginning to wonder if God is saying something through this though, there is something about hoarding that keeps hold of "things" as security and my security should not be in things, or emails but in God alone. I wonder what else I need to let go of? I had seen so many posts on hoarding, the good and the bad aspects of hoarding. It is good that we don't throw away jars, because it means I can process so much of produce from the year to eat over the winter. Hardly a day goes by when we don't tuck into some of the food prepared over the summer, and jars were handy the other week when we found maggots in the plastic packets (still finding the odd one, but I think we have got the infestation under control now). But how much other stuff do I keep that I should let go of, or is it more a state of mind that hoards, that I should let go of? This was on my mind when someone posted a link to a song called Pioneer by Rick Pino on YouTube (thanks Paul). Not quite sure how all the pictures relate to the song, but the lyrics were what caught my attention. "You travel light and you travel alone," well I don't travel alone as I travel with Ian, but travel light? Perhaps, in some ways, but I'm a hoarder and along the way I have accumulated stuff. A hoarder cannot be a pioneer, a pioneer cannot be a hoarder - too much baggage to take with you.
Leduspuń∑es or literally translated as ice flowers on the
greenhouse plastic

Rick Pino - Pioneer

Pioneer, Pioneer
Keep pressing onwards beyond your fears
And only your Father goes before you, to your own frontier
You're a Pioneer

Uncharted wilderness stretches before you
And you thrive on going where no one has gone
Still it gets lonely when darkness rears
So sing by the fire until the dawn

You travel light and you travel alone
And when you arrive nobody knows
But your Father in heaven, He is glad you can go
Cause those who come after you will need the road

And what you have done, others will do
Bigger and better and faster than you
But you can't look back, you gotta keep on pressing through
There's a wilderness pathway and it's calling you

Calling you, calling you
Keep pressing onwards beyond your fears

And only your Father goes before you, to your own frontier
You're a Pioneer

Hoarding? Getting a little crowded in the greenhouse just lately
So what do I let go of? Where do I go with this? I don't know, I just know the season is about to change as I finish this phase of studying and move on. I don't think it is moving countries, but just into the next season of life. It excites me that others will follow, but do things better, faster and bigger than I will, and so I am happy to tread the road for others if that is what is needed. Well I guess I had better press on.

Hard to believe that these will be uncovered soon. Once
the snow goes and the fence re-electrified then the wraps
will be off.
(I'll also post a poem from years ago (see I said I was a hoarder) of the questions that occurred to me as I thought about the pioneers who forged a route across America, when I gazed across the landscape from what was then home in Colorado)


  1. As you say 'It's a small world' but I'm always amazed how God connects the people He wants to connect. As Paul Leader says, 'connecting the dots'.

    It's nice to see a floor in your barn. I know you say you've been in Latvia 4 years but it is amazing all the things you have achieved and the connections and friends you have made, as well as doing your studies. Keep pioneering!

  2. You being one of those connections. Amazing how that happened and thanks for all your encouragement over those years.


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