Monday, 1 February 2016


Some soggy looking alpacas. Notice Veronica our older and
more sensible alpaca in the background - she isn't venturing
far in the yucky weather
I had a Latvian lesson this week in return for letting someone make felt. My teacher is nine years old. One of her parents is English and the other American but she goes to a Latvian school and therefore is able to use both languages competently. I told her that I would have to ask her a word lots of times before it sticks but we had fun making felt anyway and have plans to make some presents. Trying to find a teacher has been a nightmare and so we will see how this works. Mostly she told me about her school and what she does, she told me first in English and then in Latvian so I could hear both. I think that worked quite well.
Soggy messes and the winter isn't supposed to be over yet

As the weather warms up the cut surfaces of the felled alder
trees start to oxidise
My young Latvian teacher's Mum is doing a Masters in Music Therapy and we often chat about studying and various aspects of our work together. She had a brilliant idea the other week of us having a writing day together. We would each work on our own pieces in the same room. It helped to concentrate my mind for sure and we occasionally shared what we had written and commented on that. I actually got two pieces of work completed in the morning, which was great. We both have a lot of writing that needs doing in the next few months and so hopefully we can work together some more and encourage each other in the process.
My attempt at painting an alpaca. I'm happy
with the way it is going but not happy enough
to say it is finished. At least it looks like an

A little cherub
Ian and I finally managed to work together to get something spun and knitted with the wool from the alpacas. Ian carded and spun the wool and I knitted this cardigan. This little cherub is my youngest granddaughter, so it seems fitting that the cardigan also has buttons from my grandmother's stash that I inherited. My grandmother was one of my teachers and an inspiration for knitting. Many of the jumpers (sweaters) we used to wear were knitted by her. I have to admit though my granddaughter didn't smile all the time whilst wearing the cardigan, she did find the collar itched a bit, which is a shame. Her Mum will try some fabric softner on it first and if that doesn't work will sew in a piece around the neck. At least there is plenty of growing room in it.
Remembering cold, sunny snowy days

On bus number two of four to get to Estonia. This is an old
army town in Latvia and would have been off-limits to
even most Latvians in Soviet times
I am up in Estonia again today. It is a long time since I have made it up here and on the way I stopped off in a small Estonian village for an interview with a lovely lady who has an open heart and an open house. An American couple helped me with the interview since they know the language and have known the lady for many years. I love hearing stories from people who have such a generous heart and although she has three of her own children, there are many more who claim her as a Mum in their own lives. She had invited two of her grandchildren to be there too and they were testament to her generous nature, as they were infused with it too.
The boys were locked in one day because the paddock was so
icy they were in danger of hurting themselves

The snow starting to go Wednesday
At least the welcome at this dear lady's home was warmer than when I set off this morning. Last week it had warmed up a lot and just about all the snow disappeared into a wet sludgy mess. However it snowed overnight and so there was about 10cm of snow again this morning and more than up here in the North ironically, but that is because it is at a lower altitude. I have come to expect warmer weather here in Tartu than back home in Latvia.
By the afternoon of Thursday it had largely disappeared
until today
A veritable river of water running where water does not often
run, except like now when the snow melts
We have just got the results back from the histological examination on Snowdrop's liver (our alpaca who died just over a week ago now). We need to talk to the vet to check that Google translate has given us a reasonably accurate translation - as far as it manages with Latvian anyhow - but it appears to say that the cancer was in her bile duct epithelium and had spread to her liver; it was also a fairly aggressive type of cancer. That possibly explains why she wasn't jaundiced and why she deteriorated so quickly. At least we can be fairly confident that there was nothing we could have done for her except to make her last days as comfortable as possible. It is always a worry in case we had inadvertently caused her suffering, but I think that we can be reassured that it wasn't the case here.
And this is the result, our temporary lake

Posted by Kripu Kasumarthy on facebook of ''You Blew Me Away''
Garden Sculpture by Penny Hardy.
As usual I have been pondering on life the universe and everything this week and one of the things I have been pondering on is dignity. The picture on the left set me off. It was posted by a friend on facebook and it first of all spoke to me of my cares being blown away by the whisper of God. It then it also spoke to me of those who have travelled so far in the face of such atrocities and losing little by little parts of themselves in the trauma. The Danish law that requires refugees to be searched and have their valuables removed to me is encapsulated in this picture too, where humanity is gradually being stripped away in the face of hatred.
Oh the joys!

The lady in Estonia reached out to her neighbours when they were in need. Even if they took her for granted at times, she still showed them much dignity. Some of those neighbours would often drink, losing themselves little by little in an alcoholic haze and yet she still reached out to them. All who came for help would be helped.

No comments: