Monday, 17 April 2017

Coming and going

The sunsets have been awesome though, but wintry
Right now our village is looking pretty with its dusting of white, only I’m not really appreciating this beautiful sight right now. We had a lovely spring week last week but this week we have had cold winds and snow showers. Oh well! This is spring in Latvia, so I can’t complain too much. Last week I managed to put some seeds in the ground, I think they will be fine as they will just sit there until the weather warms up and then probably come away quite quickly, since they are brassica type seeds. The seedlings, however, I have no idea. I decided not to peek under the fleece that is covering them as every time I remember it is covered in snow. At least the tomatoes that have germinated are tucked up at home on the windowsills

The wagtails came back recently but I bet they are not
impressed with the frozen pond
Turbjørn in thoughtful mood
This week has been more mundane than most. Ian has finally managed to finish off the chipping of all the branches from the trees he cut down the previous winter and he has started logging that up. We had to take a trip up to our neighbour to get the last of the hay out of her barn. We still have the big bales of hay but almost out of the small ones now. We just need the weather to warm up so that the animals can eat more grass. We have the alpacas out on the grass, but Ian has to move the fences often to stop them over eating it and the sheep we won’t let out as they would decimate the grass in a very short space of time - they are protesting muchly about that too.

One of the many dustings this week.

Ian has been feeling the cold just lately. Sometimes
one of his fingers goes white, once the circulation
shut off to two of his fingers. Such a shame as he
has been doing quite well on Gingko Biloba for
quite a while now.
We have stopped out in the caravan a few times and one night it was down to -10C in the greenhouse so a tad chilly for carvanning really. It isn’t impossible with enough layers of clothing, a quilt and a couple of blankets. The heater is also right next to Ian and so he can switch it on in the morning without having to get out of bed. That warms his clothes through too. At least in a small space the temperature soon warms up, well sort of. It’s all relative really. In summer we would be thinking those temperatures are too cold, in winter we have a slightly different perspective on what is warm and what is cold, unless the wind picks up and then any temperature feels cold. The northerly wind this last week did make it more unpleasant as well as the snow showers.
A rather good capture of Mr. P. It is hard to
photograph him usually

Have you heard the news?
We decided to try a new venture and set up an “Adopt an alpaca” package on our website. It’s a bit of fun but also every little helps with trying to earn a living out here on our land. We tried to think what we could provide but also what people might like when adopting an alpaca. So “a week’s visit from your adopted animal with a complimentary bale of hay?” as Ian put on Facebook. Well perhaps not, But there will be and adoption certificate, a Christmas card, a birthday card (as long as we are given the date), email updates and a fluffy keyring with a piece of fleece from the adopted animal. It is amazing how many people would like to take away a little piece and so we thought we would include that in the package. If you are interested take a look at our Facebook page here where you can see all the pictures and our website with more details is here
A fluffy Brencis keyring

Tellus and Mr. P looking for grass
We have had a trickle of visitors over the past week too, some to see the alpacas and errrr some to see the alpacas. Let’s be honest that is why most folks visit us. Ian at least managed a couple of sentences in Latvian when a lady with we think her grandchildren stopped for a look and couldn’t speak any English, which is exciting. Even more exciting though we got to hear that one of Ian’s brothers and his wife are coming out to see us next month. It is the first time anyone has been out from that side of the family and we are looking forward to showing them around our home.
Somebody is standing on their food! They also
broke the feeder this week

Ready or not! Here I come! 
Ian and I have been chatting quite a bit about home just lately. Yes we still talk about the calamity of Brexit and still wonder what it will mean for us, but also my supervisor came to visit and I needed to talk about the paper that I have to re-write. I was a bit stuck with how to present the complexity of home or sense of place. I read an article about identity and how living abroad changes your sense of identity, it loosens it somehow in so far as we are not totally British any more (whatever that means) but neither are we totally Latvian (lack of language doesn’t help) we are somewhere in between with a bit of something leftover from Denmark and the US thrown in there too. Each place has had an impact on how we think, where we feel at home and how we feel at home. England is no longer home to us, it’s okay to visit and see the grandkids, but it is not home.
We are not sure if our champion mouser is also
reducing the bird population again

Not sure who else will get the schematic I came up
with, but it sure helps me
I managed to come up with a diagram of little ships with anchors that travel through time and put out anchors into the different layers that make up our places that we call home or those we identify with. The more anchors the more like home it will feel, the more tied to a place. It could be family or friends who live there, the culture, or the physical landscape which is special to you. All have different values to different people. I’m not sure if I will use the schematic in the paper or not but at least it has helped me to organise my thoughts for the write up and that is a big help.
Eyre aka Floss in playful mood

There's actually grass there, before it got covered
again later on in the day
Not seeing the grandkids so much is a huge issue of course. At first we thought that they maybe able to come across more but that hasn’t worked out. Being across in the UK and helping my daughter out as well as seeing the others, was actually quite hard, because I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of just being with them. I was sat in church with my daughter and her family on mothering Sunday with these conflicting emotions and needing a word from God to quell the disquiet. There was no powerful preaching on the day and to be honest I am not sure I can hear much through crafted words, it is usually the off-the-cuff comments that catch my attention. This time it was the reading from Psalm 139. I helped one of the kids groups I helped out at to learn this one and I read it out at my one of son’s wedding. The part that resonated inside of me and quietened my anxious thoughts were the verses 7-10

Brencis out for a stroll
Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
Another gorgeous sunset, just before a short snow
At least it felt like encouragement to me to keep going and somehow things will work out.


  1. yes, I can imagine it must be hard not seeing more of your Grandchildren yet knowing your choices are right for you and Ian. I have missed coming here recently, life gets in the way and my dad has the finger problem too, same as Ian, he has ''industrial white finger''. (caused by tool vibrations working in the shipyard for years)

    1. I've missed your blog too. It has been kind of busy. It is still nice to be able to connect on Facebook though from time to time.

      Ian's father had industrial white finger due to working down the pits, but we do wonder if there was actually a genetic cause too.


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