Monday, 22 December 2014

It's greening up... or maybe not!

A particularly dark day. This photo was taken at 10:36am
The snow finally departed this week .......for a day or two. Hovering around zero is not pleasant, it is neither winter nor autumn and the days are dark, never mind the nights. Yesterday we had snow flurries on and off and then today it snowed gently most of the day, so once again we are back to the monotone white of winter again. I usually try and get out to the land at least once a week and try to pick the best day weather wise to go, normally I pick the wrong day though. If the weather forecast is good one day and not the next, you can guarantee that they have it wrong if I opt to go out to the land. I have been known to spend the day in the caravan knitting because of the dreich weather, when the day before had been relatively pleasant. Admittedly it is better than stopping at home all day.
Oh look! The technical school and accommodation block.
How long have they been there? And all that green stuff

It didn't last long though. This was taken today
Not that happy to see me. Actually I was stood in the
doorway of their side of the alpaca house and were waiting
for me to move.
The animals are not fond of me turning up. They think I will be doing something. I did take the chance to have a look at Herk and Aggie's feet to see how they are getting on after their problems earlier on this year. Aggie's are not brilliant, but they are not as bad as they were, same with Herk. We are trying to leave them alone, because putting oil on when it is cold is not always the best move, Aggie's would just provide a nice moist environment for bacteria and Herk's would probably freeze his skin. There is fine line between stressing the animal and not allowing it to get worse, so we will continue to keep an eye on them and try and catch any deterioration before it gets too bad.
Veronica is more nervous of me than all the others. Not
sure why though as she is rarely the one that needs
attention these days. She moans all the time I'm in the
alpaca house though.

This is Bella, although she is not looking quite
so grumpy in this picture
Our cat Bella has disappeared. She has done this before in winter time, but not for so long. We think the last time she found a willing person to take her in, because someone had cut a chunk of fur off - that sounds bad, but actually with their long fur and propensity for going into the sort of vegetation that clings, they often end up with matted fur and sometimes it is just easier to cut it away than try to comb it out. She has been away that long now that we will need to ask our neighbour to contact others to see if they have seen her. At least she is quite a distinctive cat - think multi-coloured grumpy puss.

Ian put up feeders in the youngsters section of the alpaca
house. It should stop them eating off the floor - in theory
We went off to school again this week. This time we were talking to an older group and so could add in a few more details and up the pace a little. It was funny that the teacher sitting in for the four lessons we took, would chip in and remind us of little details we missed from the first run through the talk. I also got to tell them a little of the research I am doing and explained the reason I was doing it was because we both felt that there was great potential in Latvia but people needed to be able to grasp it and collaborate to get there. Some of the students seemed to really connect with the comments, which was inspiring.
A dusting of snow for a change! 
It isn't just because I see great potential in Latvia I am doing the kinds of research into people led development, but also because I have a faith in a good God who will bring about a renewal of this earth. I also believe we have a part to play in that. In the Lord's Prayer it says "May your kingdom come, may your will be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven." God's kingdom here on earth, now! Today! Not some airy fairy time in the future. I don't believe in the earth burning up or Christians disappearing off and leaving everyone else in a mess. How horrid is that! I'll be honest and say that was an important concept to me once but not now. What is the point of doing the research I am doing if it is all going to burn up in an end time holocaust? What is the point in seeking long-term solutions to society's problems if it is all going to end soon? None at all. But what if we are meant to be part of the solution, part of the process of renewal? Then there is a point. The Left Behind Series has a lot to answer for and I don't think it portrays a loving God who sent his son to die for a world to be redeemed.
Diamonds in the trees. Yes I did actually
see some sunshine, in between the snow
When I got to the land, there was no
snow and I managed to dig over the
new Jerusalem artichoke bed. Then it
snowed and I wasn't sure what to dig
over after that. I knew there were a few
spaces that needed a bed of straw on
them, so Ian and I did that, but I
couldn't do any more.
Whilst in school we also got into a chat about a hot topic, immigration! I find it odd that some Latvians find the issue of asian people in the UK a problem, why do they seem to care so much about it? It is not their country after all. There is obviously a fear of the unknown, as Latvian society is not a particularly diverse one, although there are a mix of nationalities from ex-Soviet countries, just not further than that (although the Soviet sphere did extend to quite a few countries, which is difficult to remember sometimes). It is almost as if they forget that many of their compatriots are regarded as unwanted immigrants too, by some people in the UK. There seemed to be more to their objections though and I didn't understand it, until this week. One lady described the feeling in Heathrow as "like an occupation." So while I had been viewing the issue as a historical one from the UK's connection with primarily Commonwealth countries, i.e. ones that were ruled by Britain in former years, she was viewing it through the lens of the Russification of the Baltic countries during the Soviet era.

Our errant sheep have not escaped this week. Then again,
they've been penned up in there all week. No escaping from
that then.
There is a big difference though between the Russification by the Soviets and people coming from the Commonwealth, for a start Russification was imposed, but many of those from the Commonwealth were originally invited. The roots of British Asians also goes back further in time than when people were encouraged to come to fill roles left vacant by fallen soldiers in the Second World War and to staff the new NHS service. In fact the first Indian restaurant opened in London in 1810 and seamen from asia were settling in the UK in the 1600s after they were marooned there when they were refused passage back to their homelands by the East India Company. They had filled in vacancies in the crews sailing from India, but were not expected to travel back. Wikipedia has a whole section on British Asians and it is quite a fascinating read.

I love the colours in this photo of the grass  just covered in
snow and the dark clouds.
The topic did remind me though how we view many issues through different lenses. I understand quite a few of the issues that have stemmed from the Soviet times, for instance the coping mechanisms that means that people do not always deal with issues well, because to deal with issues in Soviet times could be dangerous, but obviously I still get caught out at times. The fact is that I haven't lived through the Soviet era, I have only studied it, so I cannot possibly understand all that it means to everyday people. I wonder though, how many times the Latvian youngsters fail to understand their elders, because they haven't lived through the Soviet era either. What tensions does this create! Something else to look out for too.


  1. You've made some great points there! Theologically spot on! (I think!)

  2. Trying to catch up here again! You are very perceptive to distinguish the influence that Russification had on the Latvian mindset. I can only try to imagine what it may have been like for those who stayed behind, but know only too well the psychic scars left on those who escaped when the Soviets re-invaded Latvia near the end of the war.

    I always enjoy my visits here and wanted to wish you and Ian a very merry Christmas. Hoping the dreich weather improves and that Bella is found again.

    1. Thank you Gunta for your comments. I wonder what the difference is between those who left and returned after the Soviet era and those who lived all the way through it. I haven't had the chance to compare those two groups.

      Glad you have enjoyed your visit and we wish you a very Merry Christmas too

  3. Some very interesting observations. (btw did you link this to Facebook as it didn't show up on my page?)

    1. Thank you Mavis. Arrgghh! I forgot about adding the link to facebook, thanks for reminding me


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