Monday, 23 March 2015

Don't panic! Don't panic!

Herkules or Herk as he is more often
known, is our oldest male. He is
castrated. He is looking a bit grotty here
due to the oil treatment he is having on
his skin. He is quite a good natured
animal though and stands quite well
and puts up with all the messing around,
not happily but he does do it. He will
quite happily eat grain from your hand
 I tried to organise quite a few meetings this week and failed. One will now be via Skype, so at least that works. One will be conducted during travel time to a seaside village for some more interviews and the other one postponed until April. Some you win and some you lose. I also tried and failed to get a couple of other people organised to send me information that was promised. I do despair at times of trying to get my life organised, when others seem to think that two or three weeks before an event is soon enough to let me know what's happening. It wouldn't be so bad if that was all I had to do, but I have got some dreaded deadlines looming again.

We have had snow showers over the weekend and today.
The return to cold weather was not very welcome, but the
trees did look pretty. It didn't show up so well on the
photos though and so I did a bit of playing around in iPhoto
This last week has been a time of reading, reading and yet more reading in preparation for a paper that needs to be finished by May 1st. So all the interviews need finishing and analysing plus the literature review done before the end of this month.That is for an 8000 word paper and on top of that I have two small papers to finish of around 1500 words and a presentation. I had forgotten about one of the short papers, but fortunately I set a reminder on my computer. Will there be more? Who knows! Depends on when I get answers to those questions I have been trying to find out about. What I do know though is my reading speed has picked up, but I do miss the chance for some deep reflective reading.

So as you can see, rather a dreary sight and not quite like
Thursday when we sat outside drinking coffee sat on
the hillside on our land
I have been trying to be good though and take a couple of day off to do something completely different sometime in the week. I usually aim to do that when Aggie and Herk need some treatment to their skin problems and I also aim to do that on a nice dry day. There is nothing worse than trying to apply ointment to soggy alpacas and is a waste of time anyway. Up until the last few days we have been enjoying some really nice weather, so it was the perfect opportunity to spend some time out on the land. On one of the days, Ian and I both went for a walk with Estelle and Aggie. They were very good but we were a little perturbed to see a dog roaming around that looked a lot like a German Shepherd. Not the ideal dog to have roaming around with livestock about. On another day I went out with Ian to get the milk and we took Aggie with us, so she got to walk up the road. I'm sure it would be good to help keep her toe nails short if she did that more often, but isn't really feasible all the time. I also helped Ian clear some trees that he had cut down and sifted compost to plant up some cabbage seedlings. It felt good to be out in the sunshine and fresh air.

We might not have seen the Northern Lights, but we did
get to see the solar eclipse. Ian took this picture with a
polarising filter and pair of sunglasses over the lens.
The morning was nice and clear and of course it started
to cloud over just as the eclipse was beginning,
but I think it makes for a great atmospheric shot
I noticed on the internet and via a friend's facebook post that there was good chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis. I hadn't realised that there were posts with details of imminent magnetic storms that give rise to the phenomena of the Northern Lights until recently and so it was quite exciting to know when they would arrive within a few minutes. I kept looking out, but couldn't really see anything, but we have street lights now and so of course it is not going to be so obvious. I decided to go out for a walk to see if I could see them, as we don't have far to go before street lights peter out. I still didn't see much, but the sky did look a little weird and lighter than would be expected for a night without the moon. As I was walking Ian drove up in the car and we headed out to the land instead to see if we could see it there. We had quite a romantic night out as we walked hand in hand up the hill - that's because Ian had the torch though. We still didn't get to see the Northern lights, well maybe we did but it was faint and looked like a glow in the horizon where there were no villages. Where we live is not very heavily populated. The sky was amazing there were so many stars that it was hard to pick out the constellations that are so familiar. It makes me wonder how the sailors in olden times managed to navigate by the stars when there are so many, especially since there would have been even less light pollution then, they must have seen even more than we could. I also got to see two shooting stars.

A bit grim really
We are still trying to sort out our heating issues as far as the bills are concerned. I have taken to emailing them and actually getting some pretty fast responses, which is quite remarkable. They are still not answering the questions, but at least it is faster. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we had changed our electric providers at the beginning of the year. I eventually found out we really did have an account with the company, even though we still don't have any paperwork for it and I dutifully entered the readings for the 1st March. I kept checking, almost daily to find out how much we owe. I even got a  friend of mine to look at it to see if I was missing anything. It wasn't me who was missing something it was definitely the electric provider. Finally on the internet a sum came up to pay and after a bit of hunting around I found out who to pay, so I paid the money for each property separately, only to find about three days later that I could have paid it all in one go and they actually sent me an email invoice. At least I now know how it all works and know they will send me an email. I feel happier knowing that. I am also happier knowing I can enter the reading on the internet.
A wee bit chillier than earlier on in the week

Lance Corporal
Jack Jones from
Dad's Army 
One of the news items this week, surprisingly more in evidence on Russian sites than anywhere else, was the Dragoon ride. It was a procession of American tanks mainly through the Baltic States meant to reassure everyone in Europe that the American army is around and also do some logistics and manoeuvres along the way. What I would like to know though, is it just posturing? It sure doesn't reassure me, it just reminds me of the unstable situation that people feel and perhaps the media is feeding. How unstable it is in reality I have no idea. It also potentially inflames the situation and I wonder if it might also bring back painful memories for people? I don't know! Maybe others feel reassured, I don't. I just have that scene going through my head in Dad's Army of Lance Corporal Jack Jones shouting "Don't Panic! Don't Panic" and then


ju-north said...

Pleased you are moving ahead with your reading/writing. You can sign up for Northern Lights alerts. Have you got the link? If not, I'll send it to you

Joanna said...

I am pleased to that the reading/writing is going ahead, it just seems so tediously slow at times.

I am following the facebook Northern Lights posts, so I am hoping that does the trick.

Bill said...

Being a child of the Cold War, I still can't get my head around the idea of American tanks rolling around the Baltic States.

May the sabre-rattling go no further than that.

Joanna said...

I too am a child of the Cold War and it still amazes me from time to time to think there was once a point in my lifetime when travel to this region was forbidden, especially as the child of a civil servant. So Amen to your last comment

karen said...

I know how you feel about the reading, not having time to leisurely digest, pushing to finish and hanging on to specific points. It becomes rather laborious at times when I prefer to think of it as pleasure. I remember it well from my BA and imagine you have even more pressure with your course. I didn't see the northern lights sadly but did get quite a good sense of the partial eclipse as it went very dark at 9.25 am that day and the birds were complaining loudly which added to the sense of ''strangeness''. I'm with you on the American it reassuring or unnerving....I think I would find it quite disturbing.

Joanna said...

I do wonder how I will make it work in later years. I think it is important to digest the material thoroughly instead of rushing headlong into planning. We shall see how it all pans out.

I imagine that darkness would not be helpful for you for your embroidery and photographing it would be an absolute no!

I am glad it is not just me who would find the presence of tanks disturbing rather than reassuring.

karen said...

it was only dark for a moment, 30 seconds perhaps.....quite eerie actually. I can imagine why Stone Age man would have been completely freaked out!

Joanna said...

Yeah me too! :D