Tuesday, 27 September 2016

A lovely time

Our family with my parents.
I'm not sorry the blog is late again this week, we had a really wonderful time with our family in the UK. Earlier on this year our youngest son surprised us with an offer to pay for tickets to fly to the UK for a long weekend, as birthday presents for us both (okay mine was in April but we won't quibble about that). He knows it is a little bit difficult for us to take a great deal of time off together to see family and our family have trouble getting across to see us, so a long weekend seemed like the best option. He also arranged with our daughter for the family to meet up at her house and he made sure that Ian's brothers, their wives and my parents knew about it too. I think the general consensus was that it was lovely to see each other for a happy occasion, rather than a funeral as seems to be the case more recently.
It is damp in the mornings now

A dew covered dandelion head looking like a diamond
encrusted flower
Before the weekend we were pottering about doing the usual tasks around the farm. There are so many harvesting jobs to do and we wanted to get many done before the weekend away and some possible rain. We celebrated Ian's birthday on Tuesday by digging up potatoes and then going to the hotel for a meal. We were dismayed though that there was no hot French Chocolate cake, which is one of Ian's favourite desserts. He had to make do with an enormous bowl of ice-cream instead.

Most of the tomatoes are now harvested. The
Amaranth seed on the left has been sieved and sifted
a bit. The bright red berries are the raspberries and
the bucket on the right is hemp seed for eating
through the winter. There is little point in keeping any
for sowing next year, it will have seeded itself all
over the plot anyway.
Our autumn raspberries this year have been a roaring success. Last year we only had a few raspberries before a hard frost then finished them off. This year we have had at least three bucketfuls already and there are still lots to come and no forecasts of frosts yet. The first ones were sweet but the last ones are not as nice, but they will be fine dried and in cakes. We are also still harvesting the green grapes so we are really going to miss the fresh fruit on our breakfast when the frosts come and finish them all off. We've been having fruit on our breakfasts straight off the bush or the vine since late June.

Playing nicely 
Posing for the camera
Grandad and granddaughter reading a book about our farm
that we gave to her one Christmas
On Friday we got to the UK and then had a mad dash through the traffic to see our oldest granddaughter come out of school. It is only a little thing in so many ways, but not one we get to do often, so worth the effort. I had to squeeze into the back of our son's rather small car. (don't ask what it is, I didn't take notes and I'm useless with makes of cars). The front seats are fine, but even I struggled with head room and knee room in the back and I'm only around 5ft (152cm) tall. The advantage though is that I could put my knees on the seat in front and snooze.

Our youngest son's partner, our daughter's youngest son,
our oldest son's youngest daughter and our youngest son's
partner's daughter in the background. Got all that? 
We were treated well and had Fish and Chips for tea (dinner!) our normal treat when we are in the UK. I was good and only had a very small handful of chips but nearly the whole fish, so was rather relieved that it didn't have a disastrous effect on my blood sugar. I would have been heartbroken if it had. The full English breakfast the following morning was good and our son even nipped out in the morning to get supplies in for that. We went out for cake and coffee at a nice little cafe on a street that had quite a few such places but it felt rather weird sitting there feeling quite foreign somehow. England in some ways feels like a different country to the one we left, or maybe we have just become quite comfortable on mainland Europe that England just feels different. It's hard to explain in some ways.  We did realise after a while though that we were not sat on the sunny side of the street and that was probably why the cafe we were in was quieter than the one across the road that morning though.
A strawberry offering from our youngest granddaughter

Our oldest grandson (son of our oldest son)
In the evening we had dinner with our son's partner's father. We had met before but not actually sat down with him to eat and chat. It was a very entertaining evening and nice to find out a bit more about Chile where he comes from. We had something in common as he had studied sociology in his younger years and so we could discuss the type of topics that you wouldn't normally chat about around the table or at least from that kind of perspective.

The dolls house is mine that was made for me when I was a
child by my Nan's neighbour
The morning of the family get together our son made pancakes for breakfast. Not bad for someone who didn't really do much cooking at home and when he did it was beautifully arranged but cold. Fortunately the pancakes weren't cold. Our trip up was not as eventful as our other son's the night before. He arrived with his small family at 11:30pm after a hold up on one of the motorways after a crash. On our way from the airport the few days before there was an enormous hold up due to another crash. Folks had got out of their cars and were striking up conversations with fellow travellers, it was that long a delay. I really do hate the traffic in the UK and is often something we mention when people ask if we would move back.

Two of our grandchildren playing with our great, great niece,
who were delighted to see and had invited herself.
Anyway, fortunately everyone arrived safely and we sat around and ate, talked and cuddled babies. A perfect type of day for me. One of Ian's cousins also popped in for a short while, since he was in the area. The little ones were really good and played well together. If they argued at all it was short-lived and heartening to see them getting on so well.

It looks like the youngest too are weighing up who has the
best vehicle. They are cute, at least I think so.
To finish off we took our oldest granddaughter off to school and then decided that rather than risk any more hold ups on the way to the airport we would set off early. We had a tour around Cambridgeshire, avoiding heavy traffic and had lunch not far from the airport. Quite relaxed and uneventful for our trip home. Unfortunately for us in Latvia we clipped a small deer that ran out in front of us. It did get up though and shakily went on its way. We also had an unexpected trip down memory lane as we had to take a route back home that we haven't used in years since they asphalted the road to Riga. One of the river bridges was closed to traffic overnight and so we had to take a detour. Still at least there wasn't the congestion like in the UK, although we sometimes think there are more cars on the roads late at night in rural areas than during the day.


  1. It sounds like you had a lovely long weekend with your family.

    1. We did Gina. We really appreciated our son's idea

  2. I remember when you received that phone call. Glad to hear that everyone enjoyed your visit. More memories to add to your family stories.

    1. Oh yes! You were visiting at the time. More memories and warm ones at that!

  3. Family time is the best. So glad y'all were able to do this.

    1. We are really blessed that our children have made the effort to do this

  4. happy days!! Your grandchildren look adorable....so precious

    1. Awww thanks! It was a precious time indeed :)


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