Monday, 1 May 2017

More spring than winter!

A gorgeous sunset tonight, so hopefully another sunny day
tomorrow. I hope the wind dies down a bit but I doubt it. The
only good thing about the cold wind, it is drying out the
ground after all the wet weather, which means being able to
drive the car onto the land again, rather than parking at
the bottom or just on the crest of the hill, next to the girls'
alpaca house when it is not
quite so bad.
Finally we had more spring like weather than winter this week. There was only a couple of snow showers and of course Ian got caught in them. It seems every time he stepped out of the door on a few of the days this week that he got soaked with rain too. When it snowed there were mutterings about going out in the blizzard and fighting off some polar bears, but fortunately none of it has lasted and gradually the sun has shone more. Unfortunately the wind is bitterly cold and so we have to wrap up warm to sit outside and have coffee, worth it though to soak up some sun. I have to admit to getting more and more nesh with age though and Ian who used to be very nesh, is not as bad as he was (Nesh is an English dialect adjective meaning 'unusually susceptible to cold weather' Wikipedia).

Yup! It's been wet alright! Mr. P sure needs his teeth
trimming. At least he will get that done when he is sheared.
Now just need it to be a tad warmer for when we take those
nice warm coats off
It doesn't help Ian though that his zip has failed on his coat and needed a repair. I don't mind doing most sewing repairs but I hate doing zips, especially on clothes that already have been made. It is not as bad fitting a zip into a new item of clothing, but undoing seams to repair clothes is not my favourite job. In our village is a technical school though and they teach sewing for industrial employment, so I figured someone there would be able to fix the coat and some trousers that have also got faulty zips. I contacted someone we know there and she relayed the message to the teacher. So hopefully now we have dropped them off, they will get repaired. Not sure when, but sometime.
Rather pretty

Someone else expecting too. Ian got to feel their tummies
this week and felt some movement in Mari's and certainly
there seemed like evidence of babies in the other two
youngsters, like Aggie here.
We have had a few announcements this week, the first and most important of course is our son's announcement that grandchild number seven on its way. It is due somewhere towards the end of the year, so we are looking forward to a return trip to the UK to welcome the little one. The not so good announcement, however, is we had a cancellation for our Latvian Alpaca Adventure felting holiday. It is getting quite close now and the time will fly, so it would be good if we could fill this place as quickly as possible. If you know someone who would love to go on a crafty holiday with lots of excursions and accommodation and food included, then please do point them in the direction of our website (click on the link here) there you will see more details of the holiday and costs. If you need more information use the contact form on our website or use the email icon on this page (click on the envelope)
She found a rather nice spot there. There are two bags of
alpaca fleece to make it a rather warm and comfortable spot

Such a charming, "I've just woken up face"

Looking particularly cute and not her usual pesky self. She
has been threatened with declawing after another escapade
up on the greenhouse where she put holes in the plastic.
She also keeps jumping on the tables as soon as we put
out our merchandise and demonstration examples. She can
be fast asleep at the other end of the greenhouse, but as soon
as there is anything like preparations for visitors, she saunters
down. Quite a few were taking pictures of our oh so sweet cat!
Meanwhile I was hovering to ensure she didn't wander across
the stuff with her mucky paws. She has also been threatened
with the cat box next time.

Lady V with a mucky mouth. All of them have this as they
are eating grass close to the ground - not ideal but the
grass is growing so slowly at the moment and Ian has to
move the fences very frequently. Ian also felt Lady V's
tummy and he said she could possibly be pregnant, he
wouldn't be surprised, even though the scan didn't show
anything. She sure is showing all the signs such as standoffish
behaviour and sitting at a slightly odd angle but without any
obvious signs of discomfort. We do hope so, I am sure
she will enjoy retirement after that.
In preparation for the holiday I went off to Riga to see Ieva Prane who will be taking our first felting workshop. She is a textile artist who uses felt, rather than a felter who does artistic designs and so her approach is quite different to the usual approach. We were able to plan how the day will go and what she hopes to achieve during the day. We will also get to hear about her work and see some of her preparations for exhibitions.

Did I say it has been wet! 
It was a horrible day for driving though, it snowed where we are up in the mountains of Latvia (Chortle! Highest peak 312m) but elsewhere it just rained heavily on and off. I had one more appointment in Riga and that was to drop off some beads with Habibi jewellers. They are a couple originating from Aleppo in Syria and establishing a jewellery business in Riga. They also used to make jewellery in Aleppo too, but for obvious reasons they can't now. My parents were jewellers for a long time and owned their own shop, they have retired or at least semi-retired now and had some beads they were willing to donate, to help them along the way. So it was my privilege to get the beads from my parents when I was in the UK to them. It took me a while though, as I just do not go into Riga that often, but it was worth the effort. The beads were much appreciated and I am sure they will go into some lovely pieces.

Very wet and very cold and so not much grass to eat. Don't
worry they have hay they can eat, but I know they prefer
One of the issues we have had an ongoing battle with here in Latvia is over the heating. In some ways that is not sorted but the issues have changed. It used to be an issue between the heating provider - or not as the case maybe and the apartment block, now we are not sure if it is the apartment block or the heating provider. The heat we get at least now is consistent, but unfortunately it is also fairly cold., usually around 16C and our contract is for 18C +/- 2C. We are not sure if that is to do with the the recirculation pump our house management have put in or the company due to poor relationships with them. It is frustrating for sure. However, one of the reasons we have consistent heat is due to a change in company. The men who used to stoke the fires who were regularly drunk have been fired and now there is a regular supply of woodchip, they don't seem to run out like the previous company did.

Wonder if Tellus is thinking "When will it ever stop raining?"
Ian has been asking the same question for much of the week
What used to be a heating and water company is now just a water company and they have a new director. Unfortunately for him he has all the debts to sort out that were owed to the company, the new heating company did not get any of those. We had a debt with the water and heating company due to our argument with a lack of heat, which we documented. We refused to pay for something we were not receiving - heat! and they kept adding interest charges. At one point, however, the company offered an amnesty and agreed to cancel all interest charges if people would pay their debts. We decided it was a good opportunity to draw a line under the disagreement and worked out how much we owed minus the interest charges and paid up. Only the company disagreed with our calculations, partly due to some rather odd accounting on our bills. This has also been ongoing for quite awhile. We tried several times to get them to sort it and in the end just left it and refused to pay the sum. Now at least we feel the new director, who fortunately speaks reasonable English, is looking into it for us, especially the bills we highlighted as odd for their double interest charges.

Queuing up waiting for Ian to move their fence
This week has been a time of transitioning into caravan living. Our routine tends to now revolve around milk days, which are Tuesdays and Fridays. Our milk is delivered to our apartment block and so it means a trip into our village, which I time with getting the washing done, having a shower and any other chores that need doing while I'm there, such as printing or cleaning ready for visitors. Since there will be people in both apartments for much of the summer I need to get my act together and sort them both out, which means some rearrangement of stuff. I also water the tomatoes and pepper plants which are also waiting for the warmer weather so I can plant them in our greenhouse. Bit of an issue though, not just the frosty nights but also the caravan and chickens are still in the greenhouse, also waiting for the warmer weather. Still at least the rainy weather meant Ian spent time sorting out the caravan so we have more room - often a sign of spring. He also put in a new switch so he can switch the light off without having to get out of bed. I wonder how long I would have had to wait if I requested such a thing?

Gorgeous clouds tonight
Other signs of spring, we heard the first cuckoo of the year, my little daffodils are poking through and we had our first booked group. We were told the group spoke Russian and so arranged with our friend to come and translate into Russian, instead she translated into Latvian, which is easier for her anyway. We have no idea why they requested a Russian translation, although we suspect the tour guide was Russian speaking, even if everyone else were Latvian speakers. At least they were happy enough and it was good to see the men were engaging with the tour, sometimes they do not listen as well, but this time they seem more engaged than some of the women in the group.

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