Just been for a morning 'stroll' with the temperature a bitterly cold minus 24. When it is this cold you don't feel much like doing anything. I got hit with a heating and electricity bill of 190 lats (270 euro) on Saturday for January. That is 270 euro for a 45 square metre flat. And you know what? Despite having the heating on at full whack I still went to bed last night with three duvets on the bed and wore a jumper, pyjama bottoms, a hat and two pairs of socks. And I still felt like I was getting up inside a refrigerator this morning at 8am. I've even got thick ice on the insides of my window sills.
According to the LETA news agency the state fire and rescue service had to deal with a record number of house fires yesterday in Riga; local Latvians trying desperately hard to keep warm on a night when temperatures dipped as low as minus 30 in some parts of the country.
Five people froze to death in neighbouring Lithuania over the weekend while the death toll across eastern Europe now tops 300.
During my fast-paced walk this morning I was reflecting on the fact that back in November I was sleeping half-naked under the stars in Samoa, next to the sea. It was 28 degrees at night there, a full 60 degrees Celsius warmer than it was here last night. Just makes you remember how great the extremes are on this planet. It also makes me realise just how much I miss the Pacific.