I’m so excited – my 15 minutes of fame is finally here! (Actually, it’s 22 minutes, but who’s counting?) I was just enjoying my morning coffee when the post lady pulled up outside. She jumped out of her car brandishing a fancy-looking envelope and I knew immediately that our House Hunters DVD had arrived. Read more
“Do you guys, like, work?”, the TV executive asks as she makes her notes. While I understand what she means by the question, it irritates me immensely. I try to be cognisant of how our life here differs from the “norm” and politely explain that we both work very hard, but that neither of us is currently earning a regular income. I can tell by her reaction that it isn’t the response she’s looking for. Read more
I’m starting to get excited. It’s been a strange winter here in Lithuania as global warming takes its toll on the weather. We missed out on deep snow and crisp, clear blue skies and instead had only a sprinkling of snow and almost perpetual greyness. While the gloomy skies have done nothing for my mood, the change in the weather does mean I can get started earlier than expected on my spring planting. Read more
Sometimes it’s hard to put your finger on why you prefer one thing over another – a place, a product, even people. Research has shown that when asked to explain our preferences we often unconsciously make stuff up. I love that idea. Perhaps it’s a kind of natural defence mechanism, to prevent us from looking weak or foolish in front of the rest of the herd. I digress… Read more
Not for all the tea in China would you get me to jump off a 216 m (706 ft) bridge into open space. While researching our honeymoon in South Africa I discovered the world’s highest commercial bungy jump off Bloukrans Bridge on the famous garden route. From the moment I mentioned the jump to Arūnas insisted he was going to do it. We travelled a little out of our way to get there and when the bridge eventually came into view and Arūnas saw a person dangling in mid-air he froze with fear. I spent a good hour talking him into jumping as he’d probably never have the opportunity again. Read more
The first time I made cepelinai I failed miserably. And the second time. And probably the third time. After that, I called it quits and resolved only to eat cepelinai that had been prepared for me by someone who knew what they were talking about – either at a restaurant or by one of our Lithuanian friends. Read more
Winter has final arrived here in Lithuania. It feels like we’ve been waiting for months for the snow to fall. We had a sprinkling in December and another in early January, but only now are we getting the thick blanket of snow typical of a Lithuanian winter. The sky has been grey for weeks. Now that the snow has fallen, hopefully the grey will give way to the clear blue skies and sunshine that make the snow sparkle like a million tiny diamonds. In the meantime, the snowy ground and grey skies are creating a very serene landscape, highly conducive to curling up with a glass of wine and a good book. I can live with that, for now. Read more
I realise it’s been quite some time since I last gave you an update on our house renovation project. I had taken so many photos during the renovations process that the task of sorting through them seemed overwhelming and I kept putting it off. Now that the festive season has passed I am using the short, dark days and miserable weather as the perfect excuse to curl up with my laptop and get lots of writing done. Read more
This is my favourite tree. Is it insane to have a favourite tree? Possibly. I don’t really care. In fact, if I’m honest, I don’t believe in insanity, no more than I believe in normality. What’s normal in one part of the world might be considered insane in another. The fact is, they’re just different. If we’re going to apply labels I’d prefer to hold with the Mad Hatter and say “We’re all mad here”. Read more
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and days of auld lang syne?
I’ve sung that song countless times, standing in a circle holding hands with my arms crossed, and never once thought about the lyrics. They’re in Scots English, so they’re not immediately understood. I treated them like most nursery rhymes I know – I just rattled off the words without any thought of their meaning. Read more
“We’ll never all fit”, I said in a slightly panicked tone as I looked out into our conservatory. It’s not a small room, but with the oversize Christmas tree and several chunky pieces of furniture there wasn’t much space left for dancing. There were 11 of us here for Christmas dinner and I was struggling to figure out where we would all sit, never mind where we would put the dance floor. Read more
I think the week between Christmas and New Year is probably my favourite week of the year. The stress of Christmas is behind us, tummies are full, hearts are happy and the fridge is full of leftovers. The weather is just cold enough that I don’t feel guilty curling up with a good book and a hot whiskey but not so cold that I can’t get out for a long walk with the dog to work off some of that stuffing. Read more
Oh Christmas Tree, oh Christmas Tree,
You know not how you’ve aged me.
As a child I always loved putting up the Christmas Tree. We had one of those fake, glittery ones popular in the 70s and a beautiful collection of colourful, sparkly ornaments built up over a number of years. Mam would put up the lights, ensuring they were perfectly symmetrical with one light at the top to reflect off the star. My sister and I would then add the decorations. When it was finally complete we would enjoy our first slice of Christmas cake and perhaps our first movie of the season. Read more