Happy happy

How wonderful to disappear into the wilderness of the Latvian countryside for over a week at Christmas. No internet, no TV, just a roaring fire in the hearth and lots of food and twinkling candles in the Christmas tree.  Amazingly this year, there has been no snow - it hasn't even fallen down under zero degrees during the day - which means muddy and grey behind the window.  This year we also celebrated NYE in the country - I had dreamed of doing so for years.  Much to our surprise, everyone we mentioned it to was willing to drive the two hours into the bleak snowless cold to celebrate along with us -  so we had a fun time days holed up around the fire, listening to and playing music, going in the sauna, telling new year's fortunes and playing board games.  The boys and the rest of the visiting kids went on several boys' own adventure expeditions around the lake (with bows and arrows and wooden swords and mum's mobile phone, for security calls and taking photos of wild animals).

When I was younger I was always the conservative party animal who stayed sober and drove everyone home at the end of the night. After that I was pregnant and breastfeeding for years.  Lately however I've found myself drinking more - perhaps its the whole 6-months-of-cold-and-dark-in-Eastern-Europe vibe?  Or maybe because I'm working more intensively?  Whatever the reason, this NYE I learned my lesson after having a close encounter with a bottle of moonshine distilled from homebrewed beer (google tells me that distilled beer is just whiskey, but I tell ya, this didn't seem anything like whiskey to me), and have vowed never to touch booze without international alcohol certification again.

New Years day dawned sunny and gorgeous, with a very light dusting of snow - like icing sugar - on everything, and the puddles slowly starting to turn into ice. And maybe it was the moonshine talking, but I must admit I was happy at the prospect of a little bit of real winter, bracing air, frozen fingers and toes - the way familiar landscapes are transformed into strange worlds when they are covered in snow.
So here's a happy one to all of you, hope you find beauty in your indigenous landscapes, with or without snow...

One way we told fortunes was by lighting a candle in a little boat - that each person swirled into a bowl of water.  The boat stopped at the person's fortune for next year (written on slips of paper around the outside).  Both Jem and I got "Many visitors from far away lands" - so we're waiting for ya!

Fireworks are legal here!  We had a rip roarer of a fireworks spectacular...

Boys and dog, off on an adventure

A slightly pained look for the 1st day of the year.  Do you like my new hat?

5 Responses so far.

  1. Hello Latvia,
    I do like your hat. You're very pretty, you know!

    Your Christmas and NY sound so pleasant and relaxed - bar the moonshine. How can such a concoction have such an appealing name?

    The weather in Brisbane has been mild too. Down south has been suffering a heat wave, and up here we've been skipping around in pleasant breezes and sunny days!

  2. Happy New Year beautiful! You will be pleased to hear that I am blogging again, and making stuff. It seems backwards but I am currently knitting arm warmers. They are for my stall at the West End Twilight Markets. It is slow going so I am starting now in time for winter. Thinking of Latvia at this time of year will provide me with much needed inspiration. Love Zinta.

  3. Liene says:

    Laimīgu jauno gadu! What a beautiful way to ring in the New Year, we'll have to try the candle-boat method of fortune telling next year. We had always "poured our luck", but the melting of metal is just a little too complicated...

  4. Fifee says:

    the hangover ah i haven't missed that recently in my motherhood induced sobriety!! Happy New Year to you and yours too. Love the pic of the boys heading off on adventure - taken from above it has the air of an epic landscape to it. Well done Jem?

  5. Alex says:

    Thanks for this lovely post and photos about your Christmas and New Year's activities. This year I really missed the snow I experienced in New York last Christmas - now I understand my family's and European friends' laments about how it's "just not the same" having Christmas in an Australian summer!

    And I think you need to try experimenting with a range of different home made spirits - if I was there I'd be your drinking buddy!

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