Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Spring time

Spring sunshine on our walk. The daffodils are out and the
grass is green and the men busy strimming
Well it is for me. I set off in winter and arrived in spring. The weather hasn’t been great though with rain and mist sometimes but my grandchildren, daughter-in-law and I did manage a walk in the sunshine on one day. It felt a little odd though to see men out strimming the grass, I mean, green grass and not only visible but long enough to require trimming! Meanwhile back on the ranch, Ian got home okay after his unexpected overnight in the hotel but the roads were bad. It was a wise move to stay over and nice to get an extra few hours together. While we had rain in the South of England, he had snow and perhaps more than has been on the ground the whole winter - just as the winter seemed to be on its way out. Still the birds are starting to return, I saw swans before I left and Ian has seen the first cranes.

Cranes arriving in Latvia

Our little lamb who sadly passed away this week
Sadly our little lamb hasn’t made it. He progressively got weaker and then died in Ian’s arms. We had hopes he would pull through since he survived those first few hours and seemed to be thriving, but we always knew he would be vulnerable. We tried our best and learnt a few lessons along the way anyway.

Strimming the grass
Sickness has curtailed activities with my grandchildren. The first day was fine and we took the children to nursery in the afternoon. It was very amusing when we went to collect them as the oldest gave his Mum a hug, but was not so sure about doing the same for me, the littlest one though ran straight around Mum to me and wanted picking up. Don’t worry, it wasn’t always like that, there was the night that I gave her her toothbrush and went to get the toothpaste and picked up hers but that wasn’t right, I tried to pick her up to show me what she wanted, but that wasn’t right either and in typical toddler fashion, threw herself on the floor face first bum up in the air and cried. I rubbed her back and eventually she thrust her legs out from underneath herself and laid out flat on the floor and went to sleep on the bathroom floor. No teeth brushed but asleep anyway. I just put her to bed and that was that!

My little grandson is not so sure about
my tale of the spiders
The next day was rather eventful. My son was getting ready to go away, as he is a bike mechanic on charity bike rides as well as a mobile bike mechanic, so he was busy trying to get bikes back to their owners before setting off later. While he was out the oldest child was coming down the stairs when he threw up. There was nothing either mum or I could do until he had finished without risking being covered ourselves. Eventually we managed to rescue him off the stairs and I cleared up. Oh it’s a long time since I’ve had to do that. At least I didn’t catch that bug, but I did get a cough though. Bah!

Sitting in the Graffalo's house
Fortunately it was only a 24 hour bug my grandson had and we managed to get out for walks, in between the rain showers. We tried to find tadpoles in a pond one day, but it was a bit early for that. We attempted to count rings on a tree on another walk but there was far too many, we did find the Gruffalo’s house though, and discussed houses for woodlice and spiders. We looked for wild plants to forage and had drinks out at the garden centre. I also went to a children’s party with them and only stepped in once to calm a couple of boys down, especially as they had already been responsible for one smaller child getting hurt. Lol, just like the old days! I was a children’s worker for quite a few years and so it is rather ingrained to intervene at times. Fortunately parents also came and gave them a good telling off too. They were just boisterous, not vindictive anyway, bless ‘em.

Posing with a smile in her new body warmer.
Recycled denim waistcoat with alpaca
lining for warmth
My daughter-in-law and I managed a cup of coffee together on our own for an hour or so and the evenings were spent chatting and creating. She was making frames or crocheting and I was busy trying to finish alpaca lined waistcoats for her two. I got both finished but one was only completed on the last night. Still more to do this week though.

Our alpacas have been a bit fractious this week and spitting
at each other. Spring is near and they start getting into
As usual there is the reverse culture shock of being in the UK. How can there not be internet on a long distance coach? Not just any old company but the National Express. I get better coverage on the rural Latvian buses. The traffic as usual is horrendous and so I am glad I’m not driving and I guess it is not helped by the fact there is a rail strike. I see a lot of rubbish at the sides of the motorways as usual and a lot of agricultural land being bulldozed, so much for the UK’s food security then! As the country found out bad weather can happen to disrupt supply from other countries. It was tragic apparently, as people couldn’t get lettuces and courgettes from Spain, but it is winter and root crops are available. There are also a lot more windmills around than there used to be. Wonder how that will be affected by the attitudes of the current UK Government to greener energy?

Trying a spot of foraging
I also had a lovely meeting with a lady who was part of the Pioneer group of churches, which we used to belong to in the UK. We had a great chat about faith, poverty, community and the environment. It was great to connect with someone on similar wavelength on all those issues. She is currently changing jobs and is heading for an exciting job with Tearfund, where she will get a chance to integrate those initiatives in the work she does.

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