Monday, 29 January 2018

It happens

A foggy snowy day
It's not been too bad this week, but just some of those things happened that you can do without. The weather has been iffy all week with snow coming and going, so we have no huge build up but it is wet and slushy with an expected freeze from tomorrow. That will be fun! Not! I can cope with snow, but ice not so much! I'm hopeless on ice as many who follow this blog will attest to. To-date I have seriously hurt two arms and one knee from slipping on ice and had a few more minor slips along the way. Oh well! Out with the spiked walking sticks next week to keep me upright along with the ice grips on the boots, or just not reappear until spring.
Slushy stuff. Ian has had to clear the drains to keep the water
flowing and stop it all icing up when it does freeze. Some of
the rivers are quite high due to blockages from ice build up

At least the snow falls off the roof but it is starting to push
against the plastic of the greenhosue
On Wednesday I had a good chat with a friend about how to move forward on helping the refugees. We tossed around a few ideas and ways forward and we hope to see where that goes. The youth at his church are good at meeting people from different cultures and so that maybe a good start. We hope to slowly include refugees in different events, so that everyone has time to adjust. The youth maybe used to different European and American cultures but of course it is a bit different when it involves Arabic cultures and so slowly, slowly is always a good move, but we think there is still potential to learn from other cultures. The Lebanese lady I met last week knew a thing or two about hospitality, which many of us in the West could learn from.
When you have an itch

You just have to get in there and give it a good scratch

Don't ask!

Somebody has a damp, mucky hairstyle
I have been working on the next two articles for journals. I only need one more to count towards a PhD but it is better to have two out there in case one is delayed in the process. The more the better as far as a future career is concerned, apparently. We'll see. I still have more ideas to put forward based on the research I've done that could do with testing, so I haven't run out of steam yet. Some days though it feels never ending, as if the end is still so far away and yet tantalisingly close. To use Sir Winston Churchill's words again:
“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”
Well I'm not writing the book just yet, maybe next year but writing articles and a thesis seem to go through the same process.

Some frosty alpacas
It hasn't all been writing articles for me, I managed a little felting too. I have been playing around with felted cuffs and a small landscape picture. I have been experimenting with ways to include embroidery into the felting without having the back of the embroidery on show. They still need working on and I was a bit disappointed with the result from embroidering onto dissolvable plastic. The embroidery didn't attach to the felting well and went a bit hard. It might need more washing and I might have to resort to some embroidery stitches to hold it in place. Still it was fun to try.
A white halo of frost

And this was as far as he got with the snow shovelling on
the day he hurt his back. Good job he wasn't heading for
the alpaca house
One of the things we could do without was Ian hurting his back. He was non too chuffed as he hurt it doing some snow shovelling. If he had shifted heavy slushy snow, he would have understood. If he had shifted a large shovel full, he would have understood. But no! He was shifting a half shovel full of very light stuff when it suddenly went. He was shuffling around like an old man the next day and I had to go out with him to help with clearing the alpaca poo. We also gave Lady V and George some vitamin D injections since I was out there anyway. Freddie will get his in tablet form when we give everyone else theirs, but George is still not into eating the grain yet and so we thought we would take the precaution of giving him an injection, so we know he has had a boost.
Before Ian hurt his back, he had been cutting wood in the
forest when he heard this tree creak. Good job, he heard it
otherwise it could have come down on him when he wasn't
expecting it. 

The tree was obviously diseased

But it does make an interesting pattern

Some wood clearing

Tracks in the wet snow
We also needed to go to the big town to get a forestry form filled in, but when we got there, there was a notice on the door. We weren't sure what it meant - mind you, in retrospect we could have photographed it and put it through Google translate. Doh! It might have saved us a trip. Ian thought that it might mean the office had moved, so we set off to travel another 10 minutes up the road to the central office only to find that everyone was in a meeting. It wasn't until later that we put two and two together and realised that the note on the door was probably to say that everyone was at a meeting. Still it was a bit of a wasted trip. We did manage to get some cash receipt books and get the details to the bookkeeper so she can register them for tax purposes and dropped off a whole load of receipts for her to sort out.
George doesn't look like he's sure of the white stuff outside

Freddie knows what to do with it, eat it!
Unfortunately the lack of success at the forestry office meant that Ian had to go today to sort it out. At least he managed this time and he also took a handful of forms for future use.  Why it is not available online and easy to fill in we don't know. Latvia is getting there with getting official forms online but it is not always easy as I have mentioned before. While Ian was on his travels he also went to get some new switches for the electric heater. They don't seem to be rated high enough for the heater, even though they should be. It is no wonder that heaters often end up with faults as they overheat the switch. It as if the manufacturers don't expect people to have them on full power for long at all, but what else do you expect when it is cold?
Outside with a thick warm coat. HIs inner fleece though is
much darker
Chanel, Freddie's mum with a smile on her face
My adventure for the day that I could do without was to go for a mammogramme. This is my first time and to give the authorities due credit, even though I live in a small rural village (or town if you are Latvian) miles away from any large hospital we still have travelling clinics such as a mobile x-ray machine. However, winter is not a good time to go to a mobile clinic. It wouldn't have been so bad if the doctor had printed out the form for me beforehand. I was told to go to the clinic after 2pm, which I did and after standing outside in the drizzle and melting snow for an hour I eventually got in. Why they didn't park the other way around so we could stand under the shelter I have no idea.
The bottom pond seemed to have shrunk lately, but the recent
melting snow has filled it back up again
One scruffy, damp looking sheep. This ewe is now nearly
a year old.
Anyway it was when I got in that I found out that I was missing this crucial piece of paper. I trundled off to the doctor, who I had tried to see earlier but couldn't find her at the time. Fortunately she was there this time. I got the paper and went back to the clinic. In the meantime the queue had lengthened and it was another 3/4 hour wait before I got in. I was a tad cold. It is a good job that it wasn't windy and I was dressed for the cold. I thought I deserved a hot chocolate and a piece of cake after that and so met Ian who was just finishing his day out on the land at the bakery before heading home.
The older ewe doesn't look nearly as scruffy as her daughter

The boys have taken to doing a lot of chewing on the alpaca
One of the things we made progress on this week was getting a date to go and start the legal work on selling the apartment we are currently living in. We hope to get that started in mid-February. We won't be out until mid-April but getting the paperwork sorted and payments made means we can start to plan the next phase - whatever that is.
Close up arty shot

I think Herkules is looking so perky these days

Eyre doing her grumpy cat impression

More snow

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