Monday, 28 October 2013

From somewhere

A frosty morning in Tartu
What a week! Now let me get this straight, I'm in Estonia, it's 8:33pm at night on a Monday and therefore blog night. Right I think I have that all in order now. Can you tell it's been one of those weeks? It started off on Tuesday with one of those freezing cold days where the wind blows through you, just perfect for a train journey that didn't go completely to plan. I have two wonderful conductors to thank for making sure I got to my destination of Riga, otherwise I am not sure if I would have. One young man collected the train fare, but he didn't seem very confident with me, yet very chatty to all the other passengers, later I found out why. Just before I got to the station Valmeira in the north of Latvia, he came up with another conductor who spoke English and he told me that the train was stopping and we would have to take the bus for four stops. All well and good, but it wasn't immediately obvious which bus, that was because we ended up waiting about 20 minutes in the freezing cold for it to arrive. When I realised that it wasn't coming immediately a minor panic set in as I was meant to be meeting with someone. The nice young chap helped me work out what time I would arrive and I contacted the anthropologist I was meant to be meeting to make sure he knew I would possibly be late. The conductor chappy also made sure I was off the bus and back onto the train and alls well that ends well on that one, apart from being made to wait again in the cold before they let us, including the conductors, on the train. I was freezing by the time I got to Riga.

A beautiful but unwanted guest to our land. Stories abound
of these little fellas getting into chicken houses and causing
mayhem as they go into a frenzy and kill every sleeping
chicken in the hen house. This one will not be
causing mayhem
The meeting with the anthropologist went really well. It was nice to be able to talk about my observations of Latvian life and hear some extra pieces of information that made so much sense. It was also nice to hear it from someone who was firstly Latvian but also used to deeply observing his own culture. That's not to say I go around minutely observing my friends and neighbours you understand, it is just observations from trying to make our way around in a different culture to the one we grew up in. It is also the sort of observations made in trying to work out plans for ways forward in our community. We have both, observed the tendency amongst the authorities and NGOs to call something participatory, when all it is doing is ticking boxes for consultation with "the public" in a very loose sense of the word. I am glad we both agree that something has to improve for people to be given a genuine say in what is developed in this country of Latvia. I will see where this link takes me and I am pleased to have someone to contact to be able to ask questions when I am puzzled about something or need confirmation. Certainly worth having to catch the later bus for.

Three happy grandchildren. It was about the closest we got
to all looking in the right kind of direction with a smile
You may have guessed this wasn't a usual Estonia-Latvia backwards and forwards type of week, I have also fitted in a visit to the UK too accompanied by my lovely hubby. Only he wasn't very lovely this morning as I woke him too early. He was tired bless him, and we just arrived back from the UK yesterday (oh yes we missed THE storm) and so while it meant we actually got to lie in an extra hour yesterday and so 4:30am didn't seem quite as bad as it could have been, it did mean by the time we got back home we were not bouncing around and for probably the first time in our married life, he did not change the clocks before we went to bed, hence me being up too early. It was really 5:30am and not 6:30am like I thought. Heh ho! We'll live. The reason for visiting the UK was a chance over the course of the weekend to meet the family, our kids, their spouses, their children, my parents, my sister and her family. It was a bit of a take over, we took over a house, took over a cafe, took over a park (okay not really a took over as there was plenty of room) and took over a pub. I guess that's what happens when families expand. It was sad it couldn't be longer and I hope we can have some more times when we can meet, but for this season we take the opportunities as they arise, no matter how short.

Café takeover. We squeezed in, just with all the strollers
One of the things about travelling is you begin to realise how important toilets are. Not a delicate subject I know, but you know this is the stuff of life. Tartu train station in Estonia has toilets that are immaculate, up-to-date (apart from having to chuck your loo paper in a bin -trash can- rather than down the loo due to the inefficient drain systems) and they are free. Riga train station in Latvia has a lady who collects your 20 santims and next to her on a stick is a toilet roll from which you take your toilet paper before heading to the loo. The toilets are clean and yes you have to put the paper in a bin and not put it down the loo again, but why can't they trust you with a toilet roll? How much would it cost them to put loo roll holders in each toilet? Rome has a problem with the drains too and so despite the fact that Rome airport has modern looking toilet facilities that are regularly cleaned, the smell is awful - at least it was in the middle of summer when I was there. Modern and clean looking toilets with access to loo paper, preferably free so you don't get caught short without enough change says a lot about a place I feel. It reflects well and reduces stress. It made a difference today to visit a nice little cafe whilst driving back up North to Estonia which had lovely toilets. I badly needed a coffee to stay awake and the fresh out of the oven biezpiena cake (sort of like a cottage cheese cake) was wonderful, a log fire and clean toilets too - what more could you ask for?

The park takeover, yes they are all our kids and families,
well some of them anyway. I didn't manage to get
a picture of the pub takeover, I was too busy stuffing myself. 
Our animals played up for us, both before and after we went away. They seem just like children when the babysitter is about to arrive, making life difficult for the parents. Before we left, the boys escaped their fence and took a lot of rounding up and persuading to go in their shed and the girls were difficult too. The day we came back, the chicks didn't all go in without a bit of persuasion, the girls led us a merry dance around the paddock before we got them cornered and leashed up to lead them in and two of the big chickens got left out for the night as they weren't cooperating either. The boys had to be persuaded again to go in. Apparently tonight though, all but our cockerel were well behaved. From now on our cockerel shall be named chicken stew, his days are numbered. Think we've worked out why one of our chickens is missing this week and it doesn't bode well. Ian was working in the barn threshing buckwheat, which our chickens adore, when suddenly the chickens hurtled into the barn. Ian stood up to shoo them away, thinking they were after the grain when he realised that there was a bird of prey chasing them and got within a metre of one of them. Fortunately the bird saw Ian and executed an about turn and headed away, meanwhile our chickens went very quiet. We do wonder if that is the reason for the disappearance as they chickens have seemed a little subdued just lately.

House in Tartu
Not quite on the subject of animals or families but certainly something to do with the land we manage, we declined some bags of chemical fertiliser. We were offered several large bags of the fertiliser and we had to weigh up the pros and cons of whether to use them or not. A one off application, probably wouldn't do a huge amount of harm, but we decided that the possible risk to the soil organisms and the possibility it might just fertilise the weeds instead of the grass meant we decided against it. We'll stick to rotating our animals around more instead. We just have to work out how to do that and teach them to follow Ian to new pastures. May take time but I think we are getting there.

Monday, 21 October 2013

They're here!

APH2 (alpaca house 2 of course) complete with new
fence and gates
We had 203 sheep last week! "What! How did that happen?" is maybe racing through your brain at this point, especially if you have been following this blog. I had even hoped to have a picture of them, but that was not to be. You'll have to take my word for it. One of our neighbouring farms has lots of sheep and was running out of space to move them to and asked if they could put their sheep on our ski hill. We were delighted to accommodate them as it meant that we could finally get some mobile manure depositors up there, to put some added fertility into the ground to enhance the grass we grow next year. We have taken hay from the ski hill for the last four years and put nothing back into it and so it was more than ready for that. However, if you have been following this blog, you will know that we were expecting to get our next group of alpacas and sure enough they have arrived safely and I am assured they are tucked up nice and snug in their new accommodation, which Ian finished off this week.
Meet Estelle, Snowdrop, Veronika and Alicia.

The transfer in Riga! Helped along by some willing helpers
dragged out of the comfort of their beds on a Sunday morning
Come on girls this is your new home. You'll like it here.
I had hoped to get to see the girls before I took off to Estonia again, but it wasn't meant to be. It was partly my fault that I didn't. I have done that much research on the internet to try and find transport that matches up that I got a bit confused. I had decided to go in with Ian in the morning, see the alpacas and then catch the train, but since the ferry came in at 11am and my train, so I thought, was setting off at 12pm, that didn't give a lot of time. I did catch up with the transport people to tell them where they should be as they had set off in the wrong direction and fortunately parked up not far away, but I didn't really feel like asking for a peep to see what they were like, because I didn't want to disturb them too much and it was at the edge of the old part of Riga .... and I had a train to catch. We had already been joking with people that if they heard of some escaped alpacas in the middle of Riga, they would know they were ours, so I didn't want to tempt fate too much. I got to the train station and realised my mistake, after thinking that maybe I had missed it for a brief moment. Arriving early at least meant I got a cup of tea, a bite to eat and a much needed loo stop. Some friends of ours also came with us into Riga to help make sure the girls were loaded properly since I wasn't certain about being available to help and it meant they were there to help at the other end in the unloading. I gather it went without a hitch and even better than our boys last year. At least I have pictures and they are so sweet looking.
Hmmm! Nice grass! What do you think of our new place?
Veronica! She is pregnant along with Snowdrop
Our animals have been a bit odd this last week, I understand it is something to do with the time of the year, heading into winter and all that. Anyway maybe you know the scene from Chicken Run when the farmer says "They're up to something" well they were, some of our little chicks made their escape, some flew at the door and some tunnelled out. Ian got them back into the ark quite easily with a little persuasion of some food, unfortunately not necessarily the right ones in the right ark, since we have two from which they had managed to escape. We were intending on keeping them separate for breeding purposes and this made it a little tricky. Fortunately there are differences, but we are not confident we know them all yet as Ian hasn't spent the winter in the greenhouse studying them in his spare time. We did manage to work out the majority though - those that were being picked on were in the wrong ark. It was also noticeable that there weren't so many brown chickens in one of the arks, as previously there had been more or less equal number of brown and white ones. The little chicks weren't the only ones misbehaving, James our male chicken went for Ian and was swiftly reprimanded for it, but then he took off and we couldn't get him in. After a few minutes chasing him around and since Ian wasn't feeling well at all we decided to leave him to it and if he became fox food then so be it. The following day, the majority of the chickens including James did not stray far from their hen house for a change but one of the big brown chickens went missing this time.
Snowdrop, step sister to Herkules, one of our boys. Can
you spot the resemblence?
Alicia, she is the oldest one of the group. She was going to
go into retirement and hasn't had a cria (baby) this year but
her condition has improved enough for our seller to say she
maybe able to get pregnant next year. We do hope so, as
it will be nice to have some different colours amongst our
The chickens weren't the only ones making their escape this week, on the same night that James was acting up one of our alpacas was sat outside the wire fence when we came back to put them away. Ian had spent the day at home because of not feeling well and I had been sorting out our home, trying to make some sense of the mess in it. Fortunately Herkulees didn't run off, just sat down on the wrong side of the fence and when Ian went up to sort him out by laying the fence down for him to walk over, he walked straight in, almost as if to say "I've been waiting for you to turn up, so I can get back in." Somehow the wire was snapped, but not sure that Herkules our alpaca would have done that, maybe it was already snapped and Herkules being Herkules would have eaten his way under the other wires and before he knew it would have been on the wrong side of the fence.
Estelle, the baby of the herd, she is 2 years old and her
wool is incredibly soft. She will be mated for the first time
next year. Notice the sturdy fencing, that is to keep the
male out as much as anything. Or to keep the girls in maybe
New glasses! Not the most flattering picture, but at least I'm
We both got new glasses this week. Mine are varifocals and so I had to wait a while between getting my eyes tested and them being ready, Ian just needs some reading glasses and they were ready in about 20 mins. While we were in town we also got the piece of paper sorted out that allows us to get buildings registered on our land and hopefully they will now send the tax bills to us, instead of another place where they often get delayed, before finding their way back to us to pay. At least this is progress, we can now both read small print again and we get a step in the right direction for house building, well kind of...
Our giant orange pepper. It is getting to the stage where
the peppers need harvesting, green or not!
Ian having a chat with the new arrivals
The next piece of news is a little difficult to explain, but we ended up buying another apartment. We didn't set out to do this, but someone asked us to help, as theirs was being repossessed by the bank and they would be homeless otherwise. We don't intend to own it for long, otherwise our own dream of building a house will draw even further away, but we didn't feel we could let this family down, we tried to think what would God want us to do in this situation. Hopefully their circumstances will change soon and we can sort something out, but until then we now own three apartments and before you think us very rich, they are not expensive being situated in very rural Latvia. We did feel a little bit down as we knew we were risking our own house build, because savings won't last forever anyway and it was already beginning to look like we might end up living in just the basement of the house with no hope of building further up, but at least it would be warm, dry and cheap
Ian dug out the dried up pond a little more
so that we hopefully have more water next
year,. It looks a bit of a mess at the
moment. Still it is starting to fill with the
damper atmosphere and the occasional
rain. Still more is needed to recharge the
wells of locals before the winter. 
The Stockholm-Riga ferry which our girls arrived on
It was at this down point a strange thing happened. Ian had been playing hunt the trays that he uses to feed our male alpacas with, this is a regular game as they bury their feeding trays under the hay ... I'm sure they don't do it deliberately, or maybe they do ...... anyway on this particular day, Ian was looking at the gap at the base of the shed to see if the alpacas had hidden it there and spotted a whole load of eggs. Our chickens have been laying intermittently, which is only to be expected at this time of the year and so weren't too surprised that we hadn't seen many. Ian occasionally has a look around to see if he can find any, but not spotted many in odd places for a while. The little dears though had managed to accumulate 22 eggs and as Ian carried them back up to the caravan, the word that came into his head was nest egg! So call us daft or whatever, we think we will find a nest egg sometime, maybe when we aren't looking. So that raised our hopes again anyway.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Human Rights and big corporations

Don't just lie there! Do something! 
A bonus post? Maybe and perhaps not! Today is Blog Action Day and lots of bloggers around the world are taking to the blogosphere to post something on Human Rights today. So what do I have to say on Human Rights? Sometimes quite a lot - too much my children might say at times, but today I want to concentrate on the influence of corporations on human rights. This week was a sad week with the announcement that Monsanto are due to receive the World Food Prize for their contribution to agriculture. It was not just a sad day, it was a day of disgrace. And what has that to do with human rights? A great deal.

Don't let farming become like a prison
The world trade in agricultural seeds is increasingly dominated by fewer and fewer corporations with aggressive approaches to patenting genetic material. Farmers throughout time have grown plants from seed they have retained from their own crops, seeds that have adjusted over time to the specific conditions of the area and in so doing have increased the genetic pool from which we can derive the next generation of plants. Monsanto and other corporations like them, however, want the farmers to buy seed from them each and every year and woe betide you if you are found to have a crop that contains plant material with "their" genes in them, they will pursue you in the courts for that, even if that material has arrived in your field by means other than your own hand.

Seed for next year
Monsanto would have us believe that it is fair reward for investing in seed for improved productivity, but the reality is that the seed is bred with traits that means it is not affected by their own herbicides, which they are only too willing to sell you as well. The seed may also be selected for certain disease or pest protection, all well and good, but these expensive seeds can still drive developing world farmers to bankruptcy when crops fail due to the pests and diseases that they are not immune to.

Farming for the future
So what has this all to do with human rights? Farmers have a right to a livelihood and not be threatened with court action when contamination arrives in their fields. Farmers should also have the right to be able to sell their products to the markets they intend and the problem with contamination is that organic farmers or non-GMO farmers cannot sell their produced in the higher value GMO free market, they are forced to sell in the conventional market at lower prices. Farmers should have the right to buy seed at reasonable prices that do not leave them bankrupt, as and when they need and not have to rely on seed companies for seed every year. When the profits of farmers are reduced to a minimum and large corporations have increasing profits, something is wrong with the system. Let us fight for the farmer's right to farm in such a way that the profits are not accrued to the biggest in the market, the corporations. Let us fight for the right to healthy food, free of pesticides and herbicides. Let us fight for more sustainable food that does not rely on fewer and fewer seed types and fewer and fewer companies to supply those seeds.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Round and round I go

Looking handsome in anticipation of the ladies coming
next week. Wonder if he knows? 
Oh the weeks seem short at the moment, but I'm hanging on in there. My trip back to Latvia was a long one, with the train stopping at every little station along the way. Some of the little stations don't even seem to have habitation nearby and appear to be nestled in the middle of pine forests, but still there were people waiting for the train at these stops. I was much more organised this time and made sure that I got work done whilst travelling. At least that worked for the train journeys, but by the time I got the bus I was whacked and so took to gazing out of the mud splattered window. There were all these gorgeous looking coaches in the bus station with advertisements for Wifi on board, but that was not the case with the bus to where I live. I saw a tatty looking bus and thought that must be ours, I was wrong. It might have been tatty and run by the same company, but it was relatively clean. When my bus came around the corner I realised the mistake I had made, of course ours would be a two tone brown and green bus, just like our car at the moment is a two tone brown and red car.
One of Ian's fans, she even came up to have her chin tickled
James on patrol, looking after his ladies
The rest of the week seemed to be taken up with reading yet more papers and then having to make a hurried attempt at re-jigging my study plan. My first one required amendments and to carry on studying I had to make the changes. The study plan, basically outlines the next three years of my life and what I intend to do along the way and has to be accepted by the powers that be in the university. I should find out this week whether they have accepted the amendments. The worse thing is though when I looked through the study plan, I realise there are things outstanding that need to be done asap and to top all that there are things I need to prepare for next year now. Oh boy! Priorities, priorities. I managed not to freak out when my supervisor said I needed to prepare some sort of project title and outline to entice some Masters students to come and work with me next year on my project ..... all to be completed by the beginning of November. I understand totally why it is needed and why it is needed now and so that moves up the list. Maybe I will get a winter holiday if I work like mad.
A flush of green, it's growing
Ian with the help of friends has continued to clear the
forest of last years cut trees
I can't get out of the harvesting though, I managed to get all the potatoes dug up that have sat in the ground since we dug up the rest back in the beginning of September. The ground was still ridiculously dry for this time of the year and the day was gorgeous, it was nice to be doing something physical and not mental for a change. I did the job in two stints, as I took a trip up to our friends who are staying in our other apartment in the middle of my digging to show them the apple trees that still needed picking. My back needed a rest anyway. Our friend is hoping to make some apple pies and so I'm really looking forward to that and a visit wouldn't be a visit without a cup of tea and a chat would it? This Sunday saw Ian and I back out on the land, the first time I had managed to get out there in a week. It was nice to see what Ian has done, the barley growing well and to say hello to the animals again (we are more certain it is barley now, as oats are killed in frosts and we've had a few of them) . We also gathered in the last of the beans that are sat outside - oh yes! More beans! I have been reading about fermented food for chickens and beans will make a good addition to that.
And the waste branches have been
chipped for paths and road ways
I climbed all the way up to the top of that
I managed to cadge a lift again up to Tartu and was rewarded with a detour around Otepää in Estonia, as my supervisor had guests who had not seen the place before. Otepää is a lovely spa town and ski resort and it was a beautiful day to see more of this pretty place than I had previously seen from the bus. He took us to an observation tower and after wandering up many, many, many steps we were greeted with an immense expanse of gold and green forest (no wonder my legs ache today though). Apparently there were many lakes there too, but as they were in hollows they were not visible from the viewing tower due to all the trees. We stopped along the way to have a quick walk in the forest too as one of the guests wanted to see a lichen covered forest floor, as he hadn't really seen one before. It is quite an experience to tramp through a pine forest with an incredibly springy green floor, quite different to the pine needle covered forests of many other places. The place smelt of mushrooms but the only ones we saw were past their best - too late in the season obviously, such a shame as I would have loved some wild mushrooms to go with my baked potato and bean supper.
It was a long way down
But the view was worth it
All this travelling has often just been for one four hour lecture (we do have a break in the middle though). It would be nice but extremely demanding to have the lectures concentrated into less time, but that's the way it is and so I have to go along with that. This week I do have an additional lecture and had an appointment to see another of my supervisors, but that is not always the case. The higher education class is not a bad class at all and I'm getting to know a few of the other folks on my course. The last two weeks I have walked back into town with one of the other students, last week it was a young man who wanted to talk about some ideas he had and this week it was a lovely lass who was feeling a little unsure about the course. I hope I was encouraging along the way, but at least it was just nice to be walking and chatting and getting to know some fellow students better.
Ski jump in Otepää

A long way up, but we didn't go up there

Called the Holy Lake because it has been
blessed by the Dalai Lama

Monday, 7 October 2013

To Tartu and Back Again

On the road between Valka and Smiltene. A
nice place for a cup of tea
Actually that should say "To Home and Back Again," but it doesn't have the same ring about it. I had a lovely drive home from Tartu last week. Shame the sun didn't come out, which means the photos I took on the way back, don't bring out the best of the glorious autumn weather in the landscape. Still it was nice to be able to pull off the road for a sandwich and a cup of tea on the way home and just drink in the view, as well as my tea. It was a more relaxed ride back home than up to Tartu, as I didn't have to be somewhere for a particular time. The rest of the week was taken up firstly with trying to do some more studying and I'm making my way slowly through a mound of academic papers that I need to sort through to see if they are any use to my studies. I do hasten to add that is not a physical stack of papers but virtual papers sat on my computer - no wonder I need new glasses. I am also trying to write up some articles to go in journals using the information I gathered from my Masters and that has been an interesting exercise in trying to get the relevant thoughts together and not cram in every single point that I discovered along the way. Will it get any easier - possibly! Then again it might not.
Blueberry plants showing their autumn plumage. Pity they
weren't covered in berries earlier on in the year. At least they
look nice now
Black beans, navy beans, brown beans, 
I try not to do too much studying over the weekend, unless I have had a day off during the week. It doesn't mean I am not doing anything, but I am doing something different and this week it was harvesting, just for a change. We have been blessed with some extra help this week from the American family staying at our other apartment. They have helped Ian shift wood and I wouldn't be surprised if they would rather not see another piece of wood in their lives, but at least they should be warm enough in their stay and we have some wood brought across to keep us going too. They also sat and de-podded that whole box of beans that I posted the picture of, on last week's blog. That was nearly a days work for two in that alone. That didn't mean I got out of de-podding beans either. The beans I podded actually turned out a little different to what I expected, they must be crosses of different sorts and so there was a surprising variety of colours of beans. One group I planted were all black beans, but when I opened them up there were chocolate brown ones, navy blue ones, plain brown, purple and of course black. I'm not sure which colour I planted in another block but the beans I opened up were a mix of pink spotted ones, brown lined ones, plain brown and pinky red ones. It was quite a lot of fun and they did look rather like jelly beans.
You need to look hard at this one, but in the middle is a
seed with a tiny shoot. We are hoping this is barley and
we will see how that grows for next year. Another
experiment and we hope to have a little more success than
with the oats. We will probably bale it green like the oats
and let some go on to ripen properly and then thresh it.

The wild boar have reduced the amount of good grass for
the alpacas, so Ian enlisted their help in our middle pond
area where there is no water at all. There was lots of long
green grass, but they made short work of it. Saves him
having to strim it anyway. 
That wasn't the only harvesting I did. It was forecast for rain and so I decided the priority was not the potatoes that are still sat out in the garden (as far as I know anyway), as they won't come to harm unless the voles eat them, but the amaranth and quinoa. I started off processing the amaranth by rubbing the seed off the plants into a box, but that was taking far too long and was hurting my back, so I then took to just stripping the whole heads off and then spreading them out in the greenhouse so they didn't go mouldy. I was worried though that the cats might think this was a new kind of litter box and so made sure they stopped out of there. The quinoa wasn't quite ready and needs to dry more before the seeds would come off easily and so I cut the heads off and tied them up in bundles in the greenhouse. At least the rain won't spoil them and I hope they don't get too damp and mouldy in the greenhouse. Sometime I really need a drying room for all the harvest. That will definitely be on the list one year, maybe a one that can be heated with wood heat too to speed the up process in the damper time of the year. I somehow think it will be a couple of years before I get that done though.
We now know the new alpacas are due to arrive on the 20th
so Ian is busy getting on with the fence. Here are the fence
poles that have been painted in preservative
The wooden bridge that connects two of Tartu's many,
many parks
And after all that! Back to Tartu again. A different route this time though. My supervisor was going up on the Sunday from his summer home that is only 3/4 hour away from us, so I hitched a lift up with him. He has loads of apples at his place and so while we were there, we gathered a crate full ......and then a large bag full .......and then another carrier bag full. Plenty for eating, for juicing and making apple cider vinegar. Something to look forward to when I get back. There are times I have to remind myself that it won't be long before all the processing is done - apart from the squash in winter time, if they start to go off. I will appreciate all the stored produce though in the middle of winter I'm sure.
Cobbled, tree lined streets also abound
Paths paved with gold
Tartu at this time of year, is definitely a place paved with gold, in other words the place is covered in autumn leaves. It does look beautiful though. I had a particularly productive day too. My lift up to Tartu gave me the opportunity to talk about expectations with my supervisor and being English, but with much more experience of Estonians than I have, he was able to help me to plan how to work better with the people at the university. Emails don't work - I found that out. They do sometimes, but not all the time. I was advised to actually go and see the people and talk about the things I need to. I haven't done that for two reasons, people are busy and I always thought an email was quicker and I am also more used to dealing with people online for my studies. Well somethings have to change, and so I called in and had a quick chat with one of the lecturers and I am now down to help out in a seminar on participatory processes at the end of the month. Success! I decided to call my other supervisor too, but he was away in Budapest, I did manage, however, to get an appointment to see him. Success number 2! And last, but absolutely not least, I managed to get hold of the lady I met through my blog again and we had a lovely lunch and chat together. I did decide though not to go to that wonderful cafe with cakes, as I wouldn't have been able to go without feeling I had to take one back for Ian. Maybe I should have done though as Sunday was our wedding anniversary and I disappeared off again. We have been married for 29 years now! At least there is always next year, especially as it is our 30th.
A little different to my frozen pathway to
university of the winter 

There are lots of statues around Tartu and this one is near
to where I stay