Monday, 19 February 2018

Everything changes and nothing changes

The sun has melted some of the snow off the oak tree
Well today, as normal, I am sat in the apartment that we have called home for the last ten years writing this blog, and yet the apartment is no longer ours. We signed some papers today to sell the apartment to an American family. Nothing changes yet though, as they are heading back to America later this week and we will gradually sort out and move out over the coming month or two. The paperwork is more a formality that needed to be done while they were in the country. The difference to us, is that this is now real, not just an idea. Now we have a proper timetable to work to. It is the slow closing of another chapter in our lives.
Ice-cream anyone?

Last week's frost on our orchard garden
We still have our other apartment of course and so we won't be out on the streets. The first and most pressing thing to do is to create more storage space. It is going to be tight for a while until we sort out what we are doing about a cabin and even then that will only be small, compared to this apartment we are vacating. I guess it doesn't help that house prices dropped so precipitously shortly after we moved here and never really recovered from that point. Still that's life and we are blessed in so many other ways here, for example with our land, alpacas, barn, caravan etc.
Iced flower heads

Ian has been having his morning coffee sat outside, some
It feels like we have been backwards and forwards to the big town this week, as we had to take a trip to the hospital for me to have an ultrasound. This was something that the gynaecologist wanted me to have after she visited our village in November of last year. It takes time sometimes to get around to these things! I have no idea what it was for exactly, but that comes with the territory when there are language barriers and I couldn't be bothered with getting more information. We are kind of used to it. I think the ultrasound was fine from what little I understood. It is a good job that we are conversant in gestures though, as sometimes that is the only way to communicate without being constantly on the phone. It works and sometimes it quite funny trying to work out what people mean. At least today we had an official translator for the legal stuff, now that wouldn't work with gestures of just using a phone so well.

A bit different from the frostier scenes last week
Some of our alpacas have been giving us a little cause for concern. First one of our youngsters, Freddie, doesn't seem to move his leg properly. He seems to swivel it as if there is something wrong with a joint and yet he doesn't seem to be in pain. Ian was concerned enough to decide he needed to see our vet. Since he is only small we decided to take him to her rather than drag her out to us. Well at least we thought he was only small, it turns out he was a bit bigger than we anticipated but still small enough to get in the car and sit on Ian's lap - well kind of. He is more fleece than anything, but still he took up a lot of space.
Mari is always up for the challenge of finding the food at
the back of the feeder. Is it any wonder she had to be scalped
last year to get the straw out of her hair

Not a good photo, but a picture of Ian with
Freddie at the vets. We were joking that
maybe we should bring him again later on
in the year as he was certainly attracting some
interest. You can't see the row of ladies all
lined up just out of shot, cooing over him
He was quite calm in the car and even when we took him into the vets and people were coming and going and fussing over him, he was still quite calm. We were quite surprised. The problem is that he wouldn't really walk about much, which means our vet couldn't see what the problem was with his leg. Like us, she couldn't find any painful spots or anything that seemed swollen, when she examined his leg. In the end we put him on a lead and took him outside, which Ian didn't really want to do because he hasn't been halter trained yet. He wasn't terribly happy about that and he jumped around and kicked on the icy car park. We were worried he was going to do more damage to his leg and so Ian got hold of him. For the first time ever that I know of, he squealed his displeasure and started spitting. I don't blame him though. Once inside again he calmed down fortunately. So we still don't really know what the problem is. He has been given some vitamin D and other bone and ligament type medicines to be going on with. Maybe it will improve when he gets on the grass, at least we are reasonably sure he isn't in pain anyway.
Winter sunrise

Freddie with his mum, Chanel
The other alpaca of particular concern is his mum, Chanel. She also has a problem with the same leg, which seemed to start after we got back from taking Freddie to the vet. Typical! This time we found a hot spot though and her foot was definitely swollen. She is on antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory. She now seems to be walking on her foot better, but she is a little shivery. She is quite a sweaty alpaca and we think this might be causing her problems in our current cold weather. Another issue with her is that whereas Aggie and Lady V seem to be responding well to the magic cream, it is hard to say with her due to her dark skin. It is easier to see if the red spots are healing on a white alpaca, not so easy on Chanel. She also seems to have a problem with lots of crusty skin and we are beginning to think she is one of those zinc dependent alpacas. The newer feed has less of that but more balanced in other things. We need to work out a way of getting more zinc into her and then see if that helps with her general skin problems. Sigh! At least the boys seem okay.
Aggie enjoying some sunshine and actually outside the
alpaca house.

My ski tracks from last week are still visible
In between all that I continue with my writing. It is a funny process for me. I always seem to be getting somewhere when it seems to throw up some missing aspect that needs addressing. When I address that, it then seems to be even further away from being complete. At least at the moment I feel like it is all coming back together now. I hope one full day will see it pretty much ready to go to my supervisor for looking at. Then I will probably get the other one back to do more work on. And so it goes, everything changes and nothing changes in that respect too. At least one piece of work should be finished by tomorrow and that is the brochure for our Latvian Alpaca Adventure. It has taken perhaps a bit too long, but better late than never. So watch out for the news later on this week.

Lady V. Despite her age, she still produces some lovely
So that's about it for this week, Ian has been spinning Lady V's wool in the evenings and we now have a collection of hanks lying on the back of the settee as you do. I actually read a real book. A non-fiction book at that. It was good to be reading again. It is a book by someone I "met" through this blog, called Bill or William as his book says. The book is called Jim Wrenn (by William Guerrant) and is based on a news article he saw about a lady who wanted a new home for her children because she couldn't look after them any more. He imagined what happened next. It really emphasised the precariousness of life before social safety nets and proper working conditions in factories, a situation that sadly many people across the world still face today, even though this was set in the early part of twentieth century America. I enjoyed the book particularly as it wasn't a rosy story, it was one that did not gloss over the hardships of life, especially in a rural farming community.  I look forward to the next book, as I understand that Bill is in the writing process too.


  1. I often don't leave a comment as I'm never sure what to say but I do enjoy reading about your life in Latvia.

    1. It's enough to know you enjoy reading Gina. Lovely to hear from you again


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