Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Are we nearly there yet?

"We are going on holiday" but what does that mean to a
two year old? Hahaha
We are on holiday! We being me, my daughter, her husband and two young children. Being on holiday though is quite a difficult concept for a two year old - the baby is oblivious to this anyway, all he knows is he has the attention of three adults in rotation. My two year old granddaughter, however, hasn't quite grasped that we are on holiday, all day, every day while we are away from her home. She has somehow managed to mix up being on holiday with the holiday cottage and so she thinks we are going on holiday every time we set off to go back to the cottage.

A tad damp don't you think? This is Lake Windermere
The weather has not been particularly good. In fact it took us an hour and a half yesterday to do a thirty minute journey due to the number of floods. This meant there were several places with only single file traffic. There was also a lorry stuck at one place it meant the cars had to drive on the pavement to get passed. If you take a look at the video on this link, you can see the lorry and the cars trying to get by. It is a good job we came up in the Land Rover.

Painting a picture on the touch screen
We decided to go to the Beatrix Potter Attraction in Bowness on Windermere, since it was indoors out of the rain and might entertain a two year old. The place is only small but they do pack in a lot of little scenes and my granddaughter was quite happy to see them all. A more boisterous, active child might not, but she is into books and has a good level of conversation for her age and so we had quite a chat as we went round. Her favourite part though was a touch screen table where she "painted" a picture. It was amusing to watch her use her finger to pick up the paint and then dot it onto the picture. She kept looking at her finger as if she really had paint on there before daubing the picture with it. Being out of season it was also nice and quiet and she had no competition for the activity. I dread to think what it would have been like in high season. Since she is getting quite bossy just lately (over tired we think) she would have probably told everyone that they would just have to wait. She tells people this with an over exaggerated shrug of her shoulders and by flapping her hands to lend her full weight of authority to the matter, as only a two year old can do.

No pictures this time of the Duddon. It is a bit difficult from
the back of a car and the roads are too narrow to keep
stopping and I think it would have tried the patience of a
certain little lady. Anyway typical stonework from the
Lake District
Today we went to the Duddon Valley. It is one of the prettiest and yet under visited valleys of The Lake District. At one end it has two passes that are some of the hairiest roads in the country with so many tight hairpin bends, both of them are also pretty steep. Hardknott into Eskdale, which we didn't take is the steepest. Coming over Wrynose, the other pass, at the top end of the valley it is fairly bleak and open, with many of the traditional hardy Herdwick sheep determined to make life difficult for drivers by sauntering along the road or trying to dart out in front of them. We had to crawl slowly towards a cattle grid before they cleared out of our way at one point. I am very familiar with the Duddon (you can see pictures from an earlier trip here, including the Herdwick sheep), as my Godmother used to own a hill farm in the area and we would pay regular visits as a family during my childhood. I often wondered if I would have been able to cope with life as a hill farmer in The Lake District and would loved to have given it a go and I guess it is one of the reasons for having our land and alpacas now. Just need to spend more time there at some point.

The weather might be dreary, but I still
love the Lakeland scenes, this is
Grasmere near where we are staying
Despite coming in from a different road to the one I was familiar with as a child, I still managed to find the track to the farm where my Godmother lived when I first knew her. I say when I first knew her, I arrived as a little baby to see her for the first time. I took my little granddaughter for a little walk while her baby brother was being fed and showed her the beck (brook) where I would fall in on a regular basis whilst trying to "fish" - I never caught anything, except perhaps a cold, but I don't think it really did me any harm. It was too cold and wet to go on a hike with a toddler and a baby today, perhaps another time, so I couldn't show them the isolated farmhouse that my Godmother retired to, up the very steep track. We had a picnic in the car though further along the valley at Ulpha bridge, a popular spot for those in-the-know and then headed to Broughton where we had a drink and a piece of cake (I am on holiday and it is back to the cake free diet later).

She wanted her photo taken, but all I
got was this serious look. Those are
her paintings in her rucksack. All 4 of
Before we came up to The Lakes it has been filled with a similar routine to last week, with an activity in the morning such as toddlers, messy play or pre-school and then my daughter doing some more renovation work while I baby sat in the afternoon and the evenings. All of us, including my son-in-law who was working on the house in the evenings, were pretty tired by the time we stopped to come on holiday and although they have a lot of work still to do, it has been nice to sleep in a bit and not have to be up late in the evening trying to get things done. I did try and help my daughter whilst the two year old was at pre-school but of course the baby had other plans. At least I moved a pile of tiles and picked up the loose plastic spacers, the sum total of my physical work on the renovations to their home.

A walk home from pre-school on one
of the few sunny days
Back home in Latvia Ian has been trying to do some more sorting of the third alpaca house. He has bought fence posts and on a particularly rainy day went to Jekabpils the big town to get some U-nails to attach the fence and a hole borer to make putting fence posts in easier. The weather hasn't been kind to him either and so the top pond is full and he hasn't got the fence in yet. He has wired in some lights and sockets into the alpaca house - next will be the kitchen and bathroom - only joking. Our plan will be to have an area where we can support any pregnant female should we need to and so already having lights and sockets means we can connect up an extension cable from the greenhouse without a problem if necessary.
Looking backwards down the hill towards the town

The leaves are still on the hedges here,
but I am guessing back home they
won't be
Ian has also being helping some neighbours to transport a couple of wild horses. These must have been a little wilder than the ones I saw recently and one did not want to cooperate and go in. It did eventually but a rear triangle got damaged and our neighbours have taken the broken one away to get another. I do hope they do and don't forget about it.
I love the colours of autumn

A house nestled in the valley with the stone walls
He has also been having some minor issues with the newbies, which is only to be expected as they settle in. One issue though is not so minor and that is our largest female alpaca, Veronica, is still taking exception to one of the newbies. Ian has been locking Veronica away in the training pen or separately in the paddock while the others are out in the field until we find out a way of dealing with the behaviour. At least the rest of the herd have accepted the new ones though. Hopefully we will get a reply from someone who deals with alpaca behaviour fairly soon with some suggestions as to what we can do.

A fern growing naturally in the moss covered stone walls
As you maybe able to tell from the title of the blog, my little granddaughter was not terribly patient in the car on the way up. We were hoping she would sleep a little longer than she did. The refrain "Are we nearly there yet", uttered by so many children on long journeys could equally be uttered by many on their life journeys. For some the refrain refers to the idea that the world will get worse and worse and worse and then Jesus will come back and sort it all out. I confess I believed that once, but I don't now. I believe that Jesus wants to sort it out through people, just like he has always done, as far as I am concerned. According to statistics the world is not getting worse, it is actually getting better in terms of crime rates and poverty. The world has always been a dangerous place to some degree somewhere. Catastrophe, as we have unfortunately seen in Paris but also elsewhere in this world has been just around the corner, but so has goodness, so has mercy, so has love. There are real hurting humans out there of many colours, who need other loving humans to give them homes, food but above all dignity. If we stop seeing others as barbarous backward heathens, or some variation of that and try to see the humanity and the needs, maybe we will stop thinking that all we need to do is bomb the life out of each other.
Not sure how much longer the iconic telephone boxes will
be around and so I thought I had better take a picture

A house on a grander scale
When I was younger we were afraid that the Soviets would set off a nuclear bomb and obliterate us in our English homes. What I didn't realise was that the same fear existed on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Different groups of people expecting annihilation from the other, separated by fear and a lack of knowledge of who the others were. If I could say anything that might make a difference, I would say go into the highways and byways and invite someone from a totally different background to eat with you. Talk about hopes and dreams and aspirations and see how similar they are. One by one around the table discovering how human nature longs for safety, hope and like I've already said, dignity.


Gunta said...

What beautiful country you are visiting. And I love your idea of inviting someone from a different background to eat. I can think of no better way than that to realize that we're not so different after all.

Joanna said...

The Lakes is beautiful even in the rain. As for eating as a way to get to know someone I can think of nothing better. I guess I have always enjoyed chatting around a table with at least tea and cakes if not a meal

karen said...

I spent a lot of time in the Duddon valley as a child, it really is a stunning place. Your Grand daughter will go far in life...love her shoulder shrug and her ''you'll have to wait''...lol.

Joanna said...

The Duddon is a special place indeed. It seems such a forgotten gem, but that maybe a good thing :D. Just think we may have even been in the same place and not known

My granddaughter certainly will go far, I have no doubt about that. Quite a remarkable little lady and of course I'm allowed to say that since I am her grandmother