Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Hitting the road running

A borrowed hat and taking time to
see if we could spot the trout in the
The last few days in the UK were relaxed. After cancelling my trip to see someone about herbalism due to ill health (how ironic is that?) the rest of the time was focussed on spending time with my daughter and her family. At least bit by bit I was getting better, which made gentle strolls out feasible, especially at a small child's pace. I had to borrow my granddaughter's hat though, as mine wasn't warm enough in the chill wind.
A meal out with the family 

The birthday girl
The last day was my granddaughter's birthday itself and she was rather confused as to why she was having another birthday, but just like the Queen, she got to celebrate her birthday publicly on one day and privately on another. So for her private celebration she opened presents with me, her baby brother, her Mummy and her Daddy, before Daddy went off to work anyway. After the present opening we went out to do a little last minute shopping and then headed over to one of family's old haunts from our time spent living in Derbyshire. We never took the kids to MacDonalds or anything like that, instead we frequented the little caf├ęs dotted in the little villages all over Derbyshire and one of our favourite places was Caudwell Mill. The last time we were in Derbyshire it was too busy to get in, but this time there was space to sit and so a chance to have a cup of tea and a small piece of scone (unfortunately the rather nice cakes they have are out of the question these days).
My present to my granddaughter
was a pair of wellies and welly paint.
I think my granddaughter enjoyed
the challenge
Alpacas in Derbyshire and just about visible at my daughter's
We managed to dodge the showers whilst shopping and sipping tea, what we didn't manage to dodge was the my little granddaughter being sick in the car on the way home. Poor little thing, and of course rather inconvenient timing, as we were heading for lunch at home before my daughter took me to the airport. Fortunately the littlest one was asleep and so while I bathed my granddaughter, my daughter got the unenviable task of cleaning the car seat and car. Again the weather was kind and she managed to finish the job before a hailstorm. My granddaughter quickly recovered and she ate her lunch with us. Diverting her attention at one point on the journey to the airport managed to avert a repeat episode, before she thankfully fell asleep.
The nice weather has meant the spring flowers have suddenly
started appearing here in Latvia
It was another windy day for flying but at least it meant the flight took less time, rather than any issues with crosswinds. I found Ian at the airport, but it took a little while and a few texts before we found our guest. Ian had only just arrived in time for my flight because he had had to take the car to the garage in the afternoon to get the wheel bearing fixed. He was pleased to be able to get that fixed before taking the two hour drive to the airport though. It just meant that he hadn't had the time to locate our guest who had arrived on an earlier flight.
The gooseberry cuttings have survived the winter
The wagtails are back
At least the improvement in my health meant that Ian didn't put me into quarantine, aka the horse box, on the way home and our guest brought with him some lovely weather. The first day back was a chance to chill and for our guest to get acquainted with the alpacas. He thought they were lovely of course. The following day it was down to business. Our guest is doing his Masters thesis and he wanted to interview the ladies who I had organised the workshop for a few weeks ago. We had a great time and we all learned a lot as we shared about reflection and evaluation and realised the importance of it to us all.
Our sheep are looking pregnant or in need of a drastic diet.
Wish we could say the same about Estelle, who we are still not
sure about and should be due within the next month
Unfortunately this wee beastie did not last much beyond
winter. It looks like a ferret, which are supposed to be
domesticated versions of the wild European polecats. So not
Over the weekend our guest took off to see the sights of Riga, whilst I got on with some catching up of my work and Ian, as usual was back out on the land looking after the alpacas. Monday revolved around a lunchtime meeting and another interview in Riga, before heading back to the airport for our guest to return home. It was quite sad to say goodbye as we had really enjoyed his enthusiastic visit to the land we now call home. We love it when people fall in love with this country and see its quiet countryside as the jewel it is, even though it is perhaps a little drab after the winter snows have just gone. I suppose the sunshine helped a lot.
Before the March 31st deadline, Ian had been clearing out a
bit of the forest to give the trees room to grow. We have a lot
of willow that can strangle other trees. This area will be fenced
off and sown with woodland medicinal plants

Sorted piles of brush for chipping
Recycling! These came from the local vet and we have bought
them to store feed and collect water
It is amazing to think how our meeting was all due to a combination of various technologies that were not available only a short time ago. We "met" on Facebook after a friend of mine shared a request for information that I was also interested in for my studies. We got chatting on Facebook, then Skype and all within a few weeks we had managed to organise flights and interviews.
Brencis' fleece is getting long

Downtime and enjoying the sun

At least someone is enjoying a nap in the sun, rather than under
the fleece that was protecting my seedlings

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