Sunday, 15 May 2011

Not Seriously

One more set of photographs - these are not for toursits. It's something that cought my eye: things, people and places that were somehow different - funny? strange? Well, I will let you decide.

Part 2 - Riga not Seriously

Friday, 13 May 2011

Carpe Diem

This is the tree that I've been trying to "catch" for a few years now. Don't get me wrong, trees don't move much over here in Lithuania (unless we have strong winds), it's just that every spring I am very fond of its white blossoms and tell myself that I need to bring my camera and make a few photos. It's the first year I've acctually done it! Usually the petals would fall off and I'd regret thinking "I still have time, I will do it tomorrow". Oh, well once again I'm back to carpe diem subject, when I wish I would learn to live here and now enjoying everything what life brings to its full...

I hope I can start pulling myself together and stop thinking that everything's still in the future. Hmm... sometimes it isn't easy, but I must admit it is possible! One of these things was my journey to the neighbouring country - Latvia. I took my mum there for a long weekend. We haven't been anywhere abroad just the two of us for years and I don't think she'll be rushing to do this soon again. On the day we got there I got food poisoning and thought I'd end up in a latvian hospital... Oh, my did I feel rough... Anyway, I got better and we still managed to enjoy the trip, so I will leave you with some photos of Riga.

Just don't forget the falling petals and the wise latin phrase - carpe diem.

Part 1 - Riga for Tourists

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

All is Good

After the marathon of holidays (Easter, a few Birthdays and Mother’s Day, oh and the Royal Wedding) it is time to finally start enjoying spring and everything it brings.

The weather was improving pretty quickly: we’ve had some days that were perfect for a relaxing walk or a few hours in an outside café and even enough sun to get sunburned! Yet today we woke up to the strangest thing ever – frosts (I guess it happens every year, but it still always makes me think: how is that possible?). Frosts in May! I’m keeping my fingers crossed this doesn’t last as the trees are about to bloom and these conditions would simply kill the crops we are planning to get in the autumn.

While the cats are acting as solar panels, their fur heating up to about 40C, I’m hoping that soon I will be able to start transferring my seedlings to the garden. At the moment nearly every window in the house is blocked by trays, pots and boxes containing all kinds of green matter (the other windows are blocked by cats of course), so as you can imagine it is a bit messy.

Still – all is good. I can no longer imagine that we had big piles of snow and it was getting dark very early in the evenings. The first flowers are out and it’s definitely the prettiest time of the year (hmm… could argue of course, but lets just say it is).

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


Not only people are happy that the weather has finally warmed up. Our cats are sitting on the windows soaking up the heat and, whenever we are going out, we hear a loud "MEOW" meaning they want to come out too.

Birds should be very careful as these fluffy creatures, who have gained some extra weight during the cold winter, are eager to get some exercise trying to catch anything what's moving.

Some lazy portraits, before they rush off...

Mischievous boy with his loooong white whiskers:

And the very curious girl:

Monday, 4 April 2011

Mrs.Beeton's Bread 'n' Butter Pudding

Last weekend I planned to bake a cake or maybe a batch of cupcakes, but my plans had to be altered as I heard “when will you make me a bread and butter pudding?” just as I was reaching for the flour… I must admit it wasn’t the first time I heard the phrase this year. This constant nagging had to be stopped, so I gave in. (For Christmas, just like a little hint, I’ve been given a book called “The Best of Mrs.Beeton’s British Cooking”, so I couldn’t even use the “I haven’t got a recipe” excuse...)

It certainly isn’t difficult to make the bread and butter pudding and it tastes good, so if you ever decide to have a go, here’s what you need:

9 thin slices of bread and butter, crusts cut off

75g currants or raisins

grated rind of 1 lemon

grated nutmeg

40-50g caster sugar + extra for sifting

4 eggs

900ml milk (can be substituted by cream, if you want your pudding to be richer)

Butter a large oven proof dish. Cut the slices of bread and butter in half or into quarters, layer them in the dish. Sprinkle each layer with a bit of currants, lemon rind, grated nutmeg and caster sugar.

Beat the eggs with the milk. Strain the mixture through a sieve over the pudding. For best results leave it to stand for about 2 hours, so that the bread is well-soaked (you need at least 30 minutes for that).

Set the oven to 180C (350F or gas 4) and bake the pudding for 1 hour, until it has risen and is golden and set. Sift some caster sugar over the top and serve freshly baked.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Serious on the 1st of April

With just a few posts in March I‘m bravely taking care of this situation right at the beginning of April – I plan to have lots of good things to share. Well, there‘ll certainly be many posts on gardening and trees that turn white, sunny days on the beach and Easter. Meanwhile, even though I‘m posting on the 1st of April, I‘m going to be serious and comment on the photos that I took last Saturday.

The white stuff on the ground is snow and we didn‘t expect to see it, but as we travelled further in land, away from the Baltic Sea, I suppose it made sense for the climate to be just a bit colder. The aim of our journey was to have a look at some old manor houses, parks and pretty churches. We didn't go far and ended up in Šateikiai - a little village, now just a shadow of its previous glory.

At the end of the 18th century a noble family (Pliateriai) built a huge manor house and lots of barns, stables, a beer brewery, a water-mill, a gardener's house and other buildings, also established a beautiful park with many rare trees and a few ponds and funded the building of the church. At the time this little village must have been a cultural centre - the manor house had a concert hall and a painting gallery. Now it's hard to believe that the most famous Lithuanian painter and composer M.K.Čiurlionis chose to get married in Šateikiai.

The neglected park hides the ghostly buildings and it seemed a bit spooky with no people to be seen around...

The wooden manor house (we haven't got many of these left in Lithuania) has last been renovated in the end of the 70s! It could be turned into a nice museum or a concert hall, or a painting gallery, well, anything that would attract people who are fond of history and culture.

I'm not sure if the locals would cheer for that idea - they might be too used to their quite life and might be too busy with their agricultural duties, but I believe that our heritage has to be looked after, especially as we haven't got that many authentic manor houses.

At least the church, that looks too big for this village, doesn't seem to be falling down... I'm sure it's full every Sunday.

My poor shabby country with insufficient funds and stupid laws. I could find a lot of things to moan about... Yet it's still number 1, ask any Lithuanian!

Friday, 25 March 2011

A Change in Scenery

I haven’t posted for such a long time that I’ve been feeling guilty for not updating the photos – the snow and ice are gone and spring is finally here! (Although I think I should mention that we were back in winter wonderland this morning. It lasted just a few hours as the sun did its job, eventually…).

Fur coats can be hung in the wardrobes and hats and scarves can stay – the wind is still a bit chilly these days. But even though the dull and lifeless garden hasn't started waking up, it's time to sow seeds - tomatoes, paprikas, basil, stevia and loads of flowers. I'm afraid every year aesthetics wins over the practical and edible.

Sowing is one thing - just lay them out pretty and wait for the result, but when the seedlings start coming up I'm facing a bigger problem - they need to be put into separate pots. If you saw how many of my precious flowers have already appeared, you'd know why I am panicking... but this massive plant migration will certainly need a separate post!

Well, it seems that lots is happening at the moment: everything's going well at work (fingers crossed it stays that way or it can get even better, I won't mind), there have been many positive changes that are leading us closer and closer towards our dreams coming true, so it's not only my green fingers that have been busy - my mind has been engaged all this time too. That's why in my opinion I deserve a holiday or at least a few days of cat life...

When you think about it it's - have something nice to eat and then take a nap... another nap and some more tasty food... Although to tell the truth spring has changed their routines as well. They seem more eager to go outside and if you listened to some of the determined meows, you'd think they're stressed even more than we are!

Ah, everything's ok, so no more complaining. Just hope that spring can cheer us all up and remember - the more you sow, the prettier your garden (even if you are a vegetable and not a flower person).

Saturday, 5 March 2011


The first five days of March have been very winter like – no temperatures above zero, no sign of little white snow-drops and of course no wonder Shrove Tuesday is so late this year (on the 8th).

Will the old traditions help us to get rid of this forever lasting cold? Well, I’ll certainly be asking for this while eating round pancakes – the symbol for the coming sun, safety, stability and wholeness. Maybe if we all shout "winter, winter run away from our yards" it WILL get the hint?

Even though the view by the sea hasn’t changed much – the waves can’t reach the shore because of the ice, we must be in the transition period. The sun is coming out more often and the birds are singing louder (this morning I was amazed listening to a great tit - I could have sworn it had a loudspeaker!).

I'm really happy this is happening. I'm looking forward to spending more time outside. Meanwhile my window has been transformed into a small spring oasis - everytime I look at the daffodils, I'm certain - if it isn't here yet, it will come!

Soon? I hope.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Cold as Ice

It’s been very cold lately, but I couldn’t think of a way to capture this in my photos…

Staying at home, while the bright sun is flooding the rooms, you can be fooled into thinking that the spring has finally arrived. The second you leave your front door - it hits you! Then the song “Cold as Ice” by Foreigner comes to my mind and I can’t get it out while shivering in the icy wind.

Today, we were walking on the frozen sea; the temperature had dropped to only -7C, but I bet that these photos won’t reflect what I’m talking about. Yeah, what am I talking about? The sky is clear and light blue just like in the summer, the sun is shining like mad… but you’d better look down under your feet as it can get very slippery.

Have you ever been skating on the sea? I haven't, but I can prove that it is actually possible.

In some places Nature forces have formed icy terraces...

In other - pretty white lace ornaments.

The frozen water has incapsulated sandy hills, created by the Baltic waves.

It has trapped colourful pebbles and water bubbles...

And some seaweed!

No matter how spectacular it all looks, it’s very cold as well. I’m afraid on that you’ll have to trust me.