Here is her kingdom. On the wall is an award for winning a ceramic competition by making a clay cylinder, thin as paper. On the shelf are sporting trophies made from clay, ordered by organizers of other championships. But in the eaves above the window, swallows are twittering. When their chatter becomes too loud, she calls out, “quiet you rascals!”, and the birds quieten down. They obey. To throw a clay pot is an art of sheer concentration, you see, the clay is alive. Living and very alive! Those in the know say that the best pots are made in the new moon, whilst on other days the clay may just not be in the mood. It just doesn’t take to the wheel, and that’s it!

While the wet clay on the wheel obediently submits to the roundness guided by the potter’s hands, the fresh raspberries she picked herself in the forest earlier, wait patiently on the table. Soon. Soon the kitchen will be taken over by the smell of freshly made jam. That’s what those Latvians are like, they like a challenge! In the summers they clear the forests of mushrooms and boast to their neighbours about who has the biggest porcini, and in the winters they collect world championship medals for luge. And entrust their pottery to ceramic champions.