The following morning it was the lovely Lelda’s
turn to pick us up. It was an easy 11am start to the day, and needless
to say, Jonathan wasn’t ready, so we sat around chatting while we
waited, and seeing the guitar perched against the wall Lelda asked
me if I’d play something. Never one to refuse a pretty smile I strummed
away for a little bit, and then sang a song I’d written the previous
year (bearing in mind that it was January, that wasn’t so long ago),
which was still in the front of my mind called ‘So sad it’s funny’.
It’s a bittersweet song about seeing the funny side, or finding
life’s pleasures in amongst the chaos, and being able to focus on
the good stuff as the crap rains down. Sometimes easier to say than
do, but we try.
Jonathan managed to time his entrance perfectly
just as I was coming to a close (That or he was keeping his distance
until I’d finished singing), so the three of us then headed out
of the flat, down the five flights of stairs, and into the van.
Allowing Lelda the honour of shaking the
gorilla by the paw we headed off to experience the days amusements.
We started off touristing again, and on our insistence
Lelda started to teach us the Latvian national anthem. We massacred
that as we learned it, or at least the first verse and the van shook
with the dulcet tones of as “Dievs, sveti Latviju” as we headed
into town. We then proceeded to break into song at the drop of a
hat for the rest of the day with our new found masterpiece to everyone
else’s bemusement. I don’t think we got it right once, but we tried
We were taken to another of the local churches.
Once again it was a stunning piece of architecture from the outside
that didn’t quite live up to it on the inside. I was ‘told off’
by a lovely little old lady, for walking on the wrong piece of carpet,
which once again confirmed my belief that the worlds religions are
not run by priests, bishops, or cardinals, but by little old ladies
with a direct line to God and The Truth. I smiled my sweetest, ‘don’t
mind me I’m a dumb tourist smile’ as Lelda led me from the carpet
with what may have been embarrassment or amusement or possibly both.
Perhaps carpets are only for the worthy. Perhaps it was an antique
carpet (it certainly looked old, although more in the ‘it could
do with a good vacuum’ sort of way), or perhaps she was pointing
at my boots and waving her finger in an accusing style because she
didn’t approve of my fashion choices.
We met up with Martinch, and as the next stop on
the tour (the theatre) wasn’t ready for us (who is?) we went and
got on with the serious business of getting a cup of tea. Jonathan
hit possibly his emotional low point on the entire tour when he
was given something that tasted of cinnamon and not actual Tea.
I’m sure that there’s a nation of English people who will completely
understand his plight. I drank coffee and laughed. He did something
decidedly un-English, and got it replaced.
And then we had a run around the theatre, getting
a look backstage, understage, round stage and overstage. It’s quite
bizarre in that there’s something mildly ‘churchish’ about an empty
theatre when it’s devoid of the bustle of people taking or leaving
their seats or for that matter, an actual performance. Or maybe
it’s just that there’s something theatrical about churches.
The serious business of the day was to be held
at the local special needs centre. As we drove there over cobbled
streets, with Lelda vibrating on my lap I had to think long and
hard about how I was now, according to local custom, a married man.
We had fun getting the equipment into the special needs centre,
as the front doors weren’t wide enough to accommodate the walking
globe, although it is was somehow smuggled in later through a back
door. We were shown to a back room where we could get ready, where
the White Leg clowns, who’d, arrived before us were already in mid
We were then treated to a small show that had been
put together by members of the centre before we got to return the
favour. Following that Jonathan donated
some spinning plates, and we had a workshop, which started on plates,
and once again I ended up teaching people contact juggling. I was
amazed at the shear tenacity of some of the people there, but maybe
it’s one of those things that if you’re used to having to try hard
to achieve some things, you don’t mind trying that bit harder. It
makes it so much more of a joy to see their successes. It probably
also has a lot to do with the people who work in these centres.
I’ve noticed this in the UK too, that the people who work in such
places tend to be incredibly dedicated and caring people, and I
think that rubs off on the people who have the benefit of their
In amongst all this, I was pulled to one side and
asked if I’d make a quick juggling video. One of the best ways,
short of personal tuition, to learn new tricks, or at least to get
ideas, is to watch other people doing them on video. The obvious
benefit being that you can see where the hands are when the balls
are wherever, and if you can’t, you can slow it all down, until
you can. Obviously, there’s still another big step in that you have
to then learn how to make your own hands do these things, but it’s
a good start.
We then spent a while sitting around having coffee
while we had an ‘official’ meeting. The idea being that we could
work out what other things we could do in the future. I must admit
that my attention wasn’t really up to the mark at the time. Between
having just finished a show, the pleasures of translations (although
that was quite funny – Sulvita would go off on a great monologue
for about 5 minutes, and then, when she had finished, Ieva would
translate the entire thing down to two sentences. I can only assume
some words in Latvian are very, very long), and more to the point,
creatively at this point, I didn’t have anything to contribute as
I was still soaking up this trip, and as much as I was enjoying
it, my mind wasn’t geared up to working on a next one.