Monday, 14 December 2015

Having fun! Sort of!

Someone mention fun?
It has been an interesting week and believe it or not one filled with a lot of laughter and fun. Ian went to the hospital this week to have an ultrasound scan and we are happy to say "it's a boy!" We are considering putting the scans on the fridge - that's what everyone else does isn't it? Seriously though and at risk of too much information, what he did find out, is that it isn't prostate troubles as he feared. Instead it is a bag filled with stones attached to his bladder. It is an area that doesn't get flushed out and so there is a persistent infection and the reason the stones formed. So henceforth he will be known as Bladder Man! Oh yes! Ian has inherited his father's black sense of humour. When in doubt, you may as well laugh.
A gorgeous morning sunrise and if you look carefully, you
can see the alpacas out grazing

The green didn't last though and we have had another
dumping of snow. At least the over hand on the new alpaca
house gives them some shelter even when they are out
We had to hurry from the scan to the family doctor, as there was a urologist in the village that day, but when the doctor saw the report, she recommended Ian to go to a different urologist with more experience. We had to drag a friend in off his sick bed to come and translate this for us. It was amusing to us that we could understand most of the report because it was latvianised medical terminology and so we were able to help our friend out, who doesn't know those kinds of words and he filled us in on the general gist of what was being said.
But they still spent a lot of time indoors

Or gazing out onto the snowy scene. Lady V has been much
better behaved this week and isn't picking on our new
alpaca so much. Now she just acts like the occasional
grumpy old lady that she sometimes is to all of them.
Ian didn't have to wait long for the referral, he went off to Cesis on the Friday to see one of the best urologists in the country. Apparently the ultrasound technician (or doctor) had rung this consultant to tell him he had seen an interesting but unusual case. It makes a change for Ian to be on the other side of an interesting case after all those years of being a lab technician in a large teaching hospital in the UK. Ian's field though was leukaemia and HIV diagnosis using flow cytometry but they often saw unusual cases, due to the size of area they covered. The department covered tests for a population twice the size of the Latvian population and that puts in perspective the problems for Latvia with retaining highly qualified doctors. Anyway upshot of this is that he has to go for an operation in Valmeira on the 15th February. We deduce from this that it is fairly urgent, but not an emergency. We also found out that he is booked in as a private patient, which we don't understand the reason for and it will cost €700 and entail a week's stay as an in-patient. The family doctor rang our friend's wife and asked her what had happened at the consultants and so Ian is back off to see the family doctor in the morning - with translator and the further results. He might also be able to find out the reasons for the costs - maybe it is normal, we don't know yet. We thought we had been here long enough to be considered as normal residents.
Just for you Bill! A close up of one of the sheep

The fence around the sheep's winter quarters is now
finished. We had to clear the snow away around the
perimeter to attach it. Winter got a head start on us this
year, although it might warm up again and give us or
rather Ian, a chance to catch up and put the road markers in
Well that's enough of our medical woes, although as you can tell, we are not especially worried and making light of the matter. No point in worrying unnecessarily. That isn't all we have been laughing about though, laughter has also abounded over a discussion we had on communication. We often take these kinds of discussions to extremes. It started off as a discussion on what we value and how we interpret what the other one says. I am not particularly romantic at heart, but what I do prefer is respect for my ideas - you don't have to agree, but I do like it if you realise that I am not making some unthought out random statements when I talk. I put a lot of thought and research into my views, or I like to put ideas out there to test them. I don't mind being challenged on them, but I don't like to be talked down to - that is always guaranteed to raise my hackles. Ian doesn't do that, but I sometimes feels he puts too much emphasis on why something won't work instead of looking for ways it could work. We have come a long way though on that sort of thing, as you would expect from people who have been married for over 31 years now and can still laugh.
I think they are appreciating the shelter now and the beetroots
that are still in the ground under the snow. I dug up another
wheelbarrow full before they were moved in, but left the rest
for them to find, as they surely will.

There is that much space in the new alpaca house that Ian
has put in some hay bales to save lugging them in when the
weather is bad or maybe when I am looking after them in
That conversation though meandered away and we started talking about actions that have strings attached to them. In other words when we do something because we expect something back, or expect it to be taken a certain way - all that non-verbal communication that is so open to misinterpretation. Well Ian has now taken to offering me a cup of tea (my idea of romance) with no strings attached, although there maybe a bit of wool attached since that is all that is lying around, with my knitting and Ian's spinning. Oh we do get silly sometimes.
Oooh! Are these for us? 

It was shortly after this we realised that this was not going
to work.
Talking of romantic gestures and communication, most men bring home their wives flowers, chocolates or wine or at least something of that ilk. Oh no! Not my husband! He brings home a whole wild boar, all 45kg of meat of it. So the hunters made good on their promise to give us some meat! Some? Sheesh! The only problem was that after he had carried it up the stairs - in two parts I hasten to add - we realised we didn't really have the right equipment at home and so we needed to go back out to the land and finish carving up the beast in the barn, using an axe, garden clippers and kitchen knives. Oh such good fun! It was also freezing. Butchery is not our strong point, but we managed and we now have a freezer with plenty of meat in it and I must say, it is very tasty and surprisingly tender meat.
Dinosaur chops. We don't eat much meat normally and so
these may even do two meals for the two of us. We did give
up with the shoulder area and roasted that whole, but there
was so much meat that we are definitely going vegetarian
tomorrow for a few days at least and that is despite freezing
several helpings of the cooked meat.
Plenty of the white stuff again!
Some good news for me was that finally, finally, finally my paper on the wild boar conflict in the area where we live has been accepted for publication and now on its way to the publishers. Such relief! One down, two to go! Well at least two. I have also agreed to do a consultation loosely based on some of the research some students did for me last year. I had to rearrange the consultation for March, as it was going to be mid-February, but that works, as I will get paid too.
But it is wet slushy stuff, so sliding off the greenhouse
easily, thank goodness

She is so cute.
Some of you who have been following this blog for a long time know that our lives are very much based on our faith and our view of how we feel God leads us. We try to be open to change and listen to what he says. For me this is based on many years of prayer walking around our village, where I feel I learnt to tune into the Father heart of God. I felt guided, comforted and challenged by him and I sometimes felt I heard words from God to encourage and challenge others. This year and to some extent the year before has been a serious challenge to walking in prayer with God. There was even a time my faith wobbled, but at least I felt God's steadying hand on my heart.
Outside the apartment window

Our baby is getting big now
This personal pilgrimage in prayer was started by reading a book called "Listening to God" by Joyce Huggett. I found her guidance immensely helpful. I wondered from time to time where the book had gone to and realised I must have lent it to someone. When I went back to England my daughter-in-law gave me two books to take back that I had lent her and one of them turned out to be the Joyce Huggett's book. I have been reading this again in the mornings and I find it refreshing to remember some of her helpful comments, but also to re-read the sections where she found it hard to pray like she used to, due to the busyness of a writing and speaking schedule. She also wrote about the times she felt God was not speaking or even hiding, called by many "The Dark Night of the Soul." Re-reading this book has brought a lightness back into prayer times and a sense of reassurance for which I am very grateful.


  1. Another interesting week of varying activity. I hope all goes well for Ian and he doesn't suffer too much between now and having his operation.

    I've also enjoyed reading Joyce Huggett books. I find it interesting to re-read books I have read some years ago. Sometimes I've moved on in my thinking and often find that such books have been a catalyst to a deeper faith.

    Good news also about your paper being accepted for publication. Well done!

    1. Ian says thank you and he agrees, he hopes he doesn't suffer too much between now and the operation. At least it is not that far off.

      I wanted to re-read the Joyce Huggett book because I knew she had issues when life got too busy, but it hasn't really been that much of a problem to me before. I have to agree that I too despise over-busyness as she does and yet here I am sucked into it. It is a time for readjustments but I want to do that prayerfully not just launch into it.

      Thank you about the paper. As you know it has been a loooooong time in the process and I am glad it is finished now.


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