Monday, 19 December 2016

Lots of visiting

Ian was hunting alpacas in the fog today
meanwhile I had lovely blue skies and a
gorgeous sunset on my walk back to the
hostel in Uppsala, Sweden
I’m a little fed up tonight and it is probably because I’m tired and in a strange environment. I actually worked in an office today and it was really weird. I had a meeting this morning with a very nice chap north of Uppsala in Sweden. I am currently on a study trip at the Swedish Agricultural University, the aim is to make connections and so I am being hosted by one of the Professors. He drove me to the meeting, introduced me and facilitated the exchange of ideas, which was great. It was very productive and led to some possible avenues for future work, although as usual, it is all dependent on getting funding. So far so good! The professor then took me to the university and showed me around, so definitely no complaints with hospitality, I feel very well looked after. After showing me where to get lunch he then left me to my own devices to work in his office, which was fine, but like I said it’s weird, as I have always worked in the home or from home before and definitely never in an office.
Ian's view today

Yes we did have more snow and yes it virtually disappeared
again. I have been showing off my scarf this week that
contains some of Chanel's and Mari's fleece 
So the reason I’m fed up? It is in trying to get online and the fact my computer is acting strange. It is getting a bit cranky anyway and the last thing I want is for it to suddenly start doing odd things like reverting to factory settings for my desktop picture like it did tonight or taking ages to connect through to the internet on different systems, both at the university and here at the hostel. I even resorted to writing this blog in Word so I don’t have to spend ages doing it online. I also tried to connect my camera to the internet and at first it didn’t want to get online either. It wouldn’t find the connection. Of course it could be the hostel’s own system, but to deal with that it would mean going up to the house and finding someone to sort the problem out. There are not many staff about because it is out of season and there are not many guests around, especially yesterday as I was the only one. It also means a trip outside as I am in a kind of chalet (must remember to take some photos tomorrow). Anyway it isn’t the end of the world and I am sure a goodnights sleep will help. Well it will help me, not necessarily the internet connection. 
The sheep looking fairly ghostly

Heather gave me this scarf. It has a pink silk panel with
alpaca and merino felting. I think it is absolutely gorgeous.
Sorry the photo does not do it justice, but I wanted to show
you all
Last week was quite a hectic but pleasant week. As I mentioned in my belated post yesterday, Heather Potten came with her husband and I was showing her around the different activities we could try when we hold a felting course next year. We want to attract people from abroad to do felting but also to experience more of Latvia and what it has to offer. Of course we are out in rural Latvia with lots of interesting activities but they are maybe not the most sophisticated kind of activities all the time, but we do think it will be fun.  
A random photo from a while ago. I finally
worked out how to get photos off my camera
without the lead, which I can't find at the
moment

Mari tucking into the "tasty" snow
We of course went to see the alpacas and then we went to a neighbour who makes his own alcohol. Everyone else got to try it but I was the designated driver, so I didn’t. There were some interesting combinations, some apparently were better than others, but the whole trip was very entertaining with a very theatrical host. We had a guided tour around a porcelain factory and saw what we could do there and finished that day off with a trip to a very nice restaurant that Ian and I have never been to before. We decided this will make an excellent end of course dinner. We went to the local museum on a beautiful, sunny, crisp, winters day. The view from the top of the nearby museum was gorgeous, just not so easy to visualise it on a summer’s day, at least it will be warmer. 
Brencis lapping up the sunshine

On the way to Riga. The ipad does not do justice to the
colours of the sunset
We did get to do some felting at least on one day, we had hoped to do more, but it didn’t quite work out that way. When I get back I will have to do plenty of test samples to work out exactly what the properties are for each alpaca. Some have fleeces that felt better than others and we are trying to work out what the characteristics are that make it work easier. 
Tubjørn also lapping up the sunshine but he does look funny,
as if he is deeply meditating or singing - I assure you he
wasn't.

A gorgeous sunset, but like I said, the ipad
didn't do it justice
All too soon the week was over. We had enjoyed some good food, some warm Latvian hospitality and some great conversations. We have just about managed to put a plan together for the week and we now need to finalise a few costs and then it will be ready for promoting early next year. We finished the week off with a quick visit to our friend’s goat farm where we hope to sample or even make cheese and after a quick lunch I said goodbye to Ian and went with Heather and her husband to the airport. They were flying on the same day as I was, but they were going later, so they dropped me off and headed back into Riga. I meanwhile headed for Sweden.
Tellus and Brencis were having a disagreement 
Mr. P. taking the wisest option and staying out of it

Lady V contemplating life
I flew into Stockholm and caught the bus to Uppsala where I was met by the Professor. He ensured I was safely deposited at the hostel, with a bus card so I can get around and a map to make sure I don’t get lost. The following day he invited me to see the ecovillage where he lives, as well as the nature park and agricultural areas nearby and then we went on to have lunch with his wife at his home, like I said earlier, I feel very well looked after. 
A gorgeous sunrise in our village

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