Here's some random snaps of things we've been up to lately - many related to autumn, of course. Even after 10 years of living here, I am still amazed by the way our lives are so intricately linked to the seasons in Latvia. So this post is obligatorily about chestnuts and acorns and woolly jumpers. As it should be in late October!

At Kūgures on the weekend we made a menagerie of chestnut and acorn beasts. Lots of fun.
The building bug has bitten my parents, and a month or so ago they embarked on a dream of mum's to extend the Kugs living room to a kitchen area out the back...

In the spirit of Charlie and Lola (who are Mikus' favourite storybook characters at the moment), the next picture is named: "We have absolutely new jumpers and we will never not ever behave when mum is taking a photo" (thanks Oma for the very warm and gorgeous hand-knitted masterpieces)

We are into watching the amazing race at the moment, and this next one is from portrait photoshoot for the boys when they enter as a team. Art direction by Tiss... I wouldn't want to mess with the guy in blue!

Another early-autumn classic for Latvia is mushrooming. We don't do too much of it, because we are scared of picking the wrong mushrooms, although it is great fun to go into the forest with basket in hand, looking for funghii treasure in the undergrowth!! The pic below is a pan of chanterelles (the most basic mushrooms, and most edible, and unmistakeable!) which we picked a couple of weeks ago when visiting a friend in the country.

And here's one for the cat/old chair/red kettle lovers out there...


Our house is moving along nicely. We've had a complete change of work crew for the interior work and it really does look like we will be in by Christmas. So much so, that I have begun to imagine actually moving in and LIVING in the area. Our suburb, Āgenskalns, is a wonderful suburb just over the river from the old town - a challenging mix of the most gritty Riga life, and the most interesting and charming. It is an eclectic blend of 100 year old stately wooden homes, set back from the street in beautiful gardens with old trees - many of which have now been gentrified; plain old wooden "boarding houses", which contain many small one room apartments that were built to house workers in the early 20th century; and multi-storey concrete monstrosities, locally called "hruschovskas". Many of the smaller streets have simple names like "Bee Street", "Flower Street", "Bell Street", "Pigeon Street", and they wind haphazardly around with no sense of planning. Some of them are still dirt.
The centre of Āgenskalns is a striking old red brick market hall, which hums with food traders and second-hand clothes stalls most days of the week. A tram line rumbles through the heart of the suburb, and it is not unusual for strangers to stop and talk to you on the street. Some of the richest, and also some of the most downtrodden people call Āgenskalns home.
On Saturday, before driving down to the country, we stopped in at our new place to check out our new front door and then did a stroll around the block, to get acquainted with the neighbourhood, eat some ice-cream and take in some autumn colour. We started here...


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