Birthday Central   2 comments


Another month another birthday. We celebrated Ian’s 72nd at, you guessed it, The Raspberry restaurant in Bouska with our dear friends Roger and Val, who live in Stelpe. Now for your Latvian lesson, raspberry in Latvian is avene,  just think ‘raspberry avenue’ but not ‘new’ rather ‘nay.’ I digress. We drove up to Stelpe on Thursday, Ian’s birthday, staying at Val & Roger’s. We enjoyed catching up with them, then having showers and going out to celebrate Ian’s birthday. Val strategically placed the table candle to commemorate the special day but none of us had matches to light it, lol. If you are wondering where the brick walls are shown in my birthday celebration, well, we sat in a different place with Lord and Lady chairs.

The celebration continued on Friday when we learned how to drive to the outskirts of Riga and take the tram in the  centre. Roger and Val are experts at this and have opened up for us a wonderful way to get into Riga without the hassle of driving in a crazy city with crazy people. I’ve driven in Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle and of course Portland but I would NEVER drive in Riga. Can’t anyway, haven’t a license here, lol. Now we can very easily park in a secure lot and hop a tram and away we go. We got off at the central market (pics next time we go, forgot camera, didn’t we?) and strolled through former blimp hangars filled with fresh meat and vegetables along with clothes, toys and household temptations. We came out the other side and what to our wondering eyes did appear? STOCKMAN’S!!!! I know, what is Stockman’s? It is a Finnish company on par with Marks & Spencer’s or even Debenhem’s in Britain maybe Nordstrom’s with food in the U.S. It holds a special place in our hearts as we can buy HP Sauce and Worcestershire Sauce, a life line to Britain.

You won’t get the best price in Stockman’s but you will get some of those things your heart longs to taste again, tastes from your former home. Our first time there we bought some dinner ware. Our everyday, all occasion service is made by Churchill in England and we found blue bordered pieces in Stockman’s and as the saying goes in Latvia, you see, you need (want) it, buy it!! Most likely you won’t see it again, and sure enough our patterned dinnerware was not available though the Churchill brand (est. 1795) remains in Stockman’s. We were conservative and only bought 2 bottles of each sauce because now we know how to travel into Riga, easily, sort of, lol.

We ambled our way into the centre of Riga, so we would know the way and made a stop at the  Monument of Freedom, or the Statue of Liberty. The flowers at the base of the statue are in remembrance of one of Latvia’s ‘Darkest Days.’

“Latvia’s Darkest Day

March 25, 1949. This date will always be written in the history of the Latvian State and people as the most tragic day in the 50-year history of the Soviet occupation. 14 June 1941 had already passed, (On the night leading to 14 June 1941, the Soviet authorities deported thousands of Latvians to Siberia) as had the year of 1945 and other years. But the broadest deportation of repressed individuals took place between 25 and 29 March 1949.

The residents of Latvia could not know that in the case of many individuals, their days of life in their homes or apartments were coming to a rapid end and that soon they would undertake the long and tortuous road to the Far East of Russia, many never to return.” To read the full article here is the web address: http://vip.latnet.lv/LPRA/latvias_darkest%20_day.htm

As noted in the article there were many such dark days, but this is considered the worst.

We will not forget this event as it falls on Ian’s birthday.

Freedom Monument

The Freedom Monument, so-called because of its dedication to “Fatherland and Freedom” marked by the friezes around the base, signals the beginning of Brivibas street in the centre of Riga. The monument proves that size indeed does matter, as at 42 metres high the monument is visible from many angles in the Central District, guiding the lost tourist to Brivibas. The woman at the pinnacle, known simply as the ‘Liberty Statue’ or affectionately as ‘Milda,’ holds three stars symbolizing the three regional parts of Latvia: Kurzeme, Vidzeme and Latgale. In perhaps Latvia’s prime example of tragic optimism, the statue was unveiled in 1935 during the very brief period of the nation’s actual freedom. Luckily, even the Soviets didn’t dare topple this symbol during their reign, and now it once again represents Latvia’s independence, where locals place flowers at the base to remember.”
address:
Brivibas and Raiņa


Freedom Monument email
Freedom Monument website



I have highlighted in the above commentary the area we live in, Latgale, the ‘e’ is silent and does not influence the pronunciation. On Saturday we turned toward home but not before a thoroughly enjoyable time spent at a local shop opening in Vecumnieki. Now this was a SHOP OPENING! It began with the local church minister praying a blessing and continued with costumed dancers and lots of music. The more we see of the Latvians and their culture the more our hearts are moved with admiration at their courage and resourcefulness. I am certain, as the nation who sings, the Latvian people survived so many years of oppression through their singing and dancing.

At this shop opening we had the privilege to meet friends of Roger & Val’s, Egils and Sondra, their 2 boys and  Norwegian visitors, some of whom have been previously. We left the opening gala and moved across the road to a cafe for tea, cakes and enjoyable conversation, a truly International event. It was hard to leave this gathering, especially Roger & Val but it was time to travel the 3+ hours to the place we call ‘home.’

I had hopes of seeing those harbingers of Spring, the storks, on the return journey and we were not disappointed. We saw 2 nests with their residents busily tidying the Spring/Summer homes. I saw a few more in flight and then we saw 3 moose crossing the road heading off into the wood. Love seeing God’s creation, up close and personal.

So today, Monday we begin Spring projects. Ian has the washing machine running but it has taken quite awhile as power tools are in operation on the chapel. It could take all day for a load and you wouldn’t hear me complain having gone so long without it. So work continues on the chapel and Ian is often found at the continual job of clearing drainage ditches.

On the left, our pump house, last week.  On the right, our pump house, this week. The one on the left is more photogenic but we rejoice to see the snow going even if it leaves a rather dull look. Soon the green will return along with further deeper thawing and even our running water into the mobile home.

In the photo on the left the bricks are piled tidily against the pumphouse wall on the right they are scattered on the ground, why? Spring arrives, the snow melts and things shift, ah well. It is my plan as the ground firms to help Ian by re-stacking the bricks he so neatly stacked previously. These are from the old brick stove in the old timber house. Ian at 72 could work rings around some 40 year olds but that is not a challenge I want to see him accomplish.

I leave you to enter into our joy today. At 3pm I have hung, to dry, our first load of laundry done in our machine since early November. Tomorrow, more will be done, hallelujah!!!! We have so appreciated friends who have invited us to use their machine but it meant a 120 Kilometre round trip to do laundry. So one more thing in life begins to return to ‘normal.’ Yes, it has been a hard and harsh winter but by the grace of God, His faithfulness and provision we have not only survived but triumphed, praise His Wonderful Name this week we celebrate and remember his death and resurrection. A Blessed Easter, one and all.

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Posted 29/03/2010 by ergliangel45 in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Birthday Central

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  1. What a GREAT picture of Ian…I would never believe he was 72 if you wouldn’t have mentioned it! 🙂
    I’m so happy for you to have your washer working and hoping it won’t be long until your water returns to the house too!
    Hugs!

    • He remains strong and rarely ever stops but recently he has begun to admit he needs to stop more often for a breather. I am doing laundry most every day now. We checked the pipe to the mobile home today but it is still a bit frozen. It shouldn’t be long before the water flows again.

      ergliangel45

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