Monday, 17 June 2013

All change

Well here I am here in Jelgava, Latvia, sat in a café with Wifi, whiling away the time before I head for some doctoral seminars on methodology. Sound riveting? Stick an "ology" on the end and some folks switch off, but all this means is looking at different methods that I could use and others use, to do our work, in this case research. Always good to throw ideas around so that people can comment and hopefully we can then each improve our research methods and produce better results that have real benefit to the communities we serve, or improve the areas of research we are involved in. As my doctoral colleagues are in landscape architecture, that means it is important for the aesthetics of the place where people live, work and have their recreation, if our research methods are good and connect well with the world, then we can all be part of designing a better place or at least recognising what is important to keep intact. At least I have got over the first hurdle and found my way to a new city in Latvia by bus. It was just rather an early start, as the bus left my home village to Riga at 6:40am.

Pops and grandson having a great time!
It isn't just a change of scenery I have at the moment but a change of guests too. This last Wednesday we spent in Riga, as we took our youngest son and his family to the airport and collected our other son and his family much later on in the day. It did mean getting our neighbours to put our alpacas away for us, which they did quite happily, and it also meant I could arrange a couple of meetings with someone in the agricultural ministry and with someone who is instrumental in trying to get some green initiatives going in Latvia. Both were were such an encouragement to meet, knowing that there are people in this land, who are not out to serve themselves but to serve others and to make a difference, makes me more determined to try and help the best I can with my research.

Our son and his family took us out for a meal on their last day to say thank you, which was lovely and it was good to finish on such a high note when it was the first time they had all taken a holiday with us. Holidays with prospective parents-in-laws can always be fraught, so it was nice that we were able to relax and enjoy each others company. The high point of the meal was when I remarked that our little guest was surely going to become a scientist of a philosopher with her procession of logical thinking only for her to immediately retort, "When I grow up I'm going to be a princess!" Well that was me told!

Oh remember the saga of the shears,well eventually we got them by picking them up from the courier at the airport and lo and behold when we got them home they were not working. The company who sold them too us are being very helpful and have even allowed Ian to take the motor housing apart to see if there was a something stuck in the motor or a loose wire - which normally would invalidate the guarantee. In the many years that the company have been selling these machines, none have failed. They are going to send out a replacement immediately (via a different route we hope) and they will wait for our son to get back to the UK to take the broken shears back and they will even collect it from where he lives. It reminded Ian of the saga we had with an AEG drill that he bought and that had a fault with the chuck and it kept spewing out the chuck with the drill part in it, not terribly useful and when he took it back the salesman was also there and said that in his 20 years of working with AEG, he had never seen that fault before. Meanwhile two of our poor alpacas are still unshorn, but at least the temperatures are cooler this week.

I wrote the title earlier on in the week after my son arrived (trying to get some of the blog done beforehand so I can remember what has happened this week and fit it in so it is out on time) but last night as I thought about today, I did sense a change and the sweeter air this morning both filled me with hope and a sense of a new season. There are just days when we can know that something is about to change, maybe not in any obvious earth shattering way, but sometimes just a shift that leads down a path we haven't been before. Somehow, I feel that this week will open up paths for the days ahead, I guess I will just have to wait and see what happens, but it is nice to go into a meeting with that sense of the future whirling around my head. Maybe I'm just a dreamer.

One more thing before I wrap this blog up I passed my statistics course. I am so pleased to get that out of the way. Some of my future courses may look a bit tedious, but I feel that I should be able to get my head around them anyway, for instance copyright laws and that type of thing. It has to be done and should be fairly straightforward - at least I hope so.

(Just a note to say I will update the blog with photos tomorrow, they are on our other camera and I haven't got them with me.)


Liz Eph said...

very good to get to talk to the govt folks !

Joanna said...

It is indeed Liz and I always find it so surprising how open some of these very busy folks are

Natalija Janz said...

What an eventful time! Sorry I haven't replied to your last e-mail. I hope all is good now, but you are right, only in certain places you can do things the way we have to do them ;)

Joanna said...

Eventful is certainly the word for it. Still step by step we will get there