Kate's adventures

Friday, January 22, 2021

Rocking Your World 2021: Week 4

Well we have all survived another week, and it has been a very pleasant week here. We have had plenty of sunshine, though the days are short and the evenings chilly, but I have been grateful for the times we have been able to sit out on the porch, even eating our lunch out there on some occasions. The sun isn't guaranteed, and yesterday was grey though the promised rain didn't come. Today it is blowing a gale that nearly swept me off my feet when I went out to feed the dogs. The government have issued warning of coastal danger with 3 metre high waves. I'd love to observe it - from a safe distance of course,(I have great respect for the power of the sea), but we are still confined to the village.

One thing that has made me smile is our furry friends. They seem to play musical chairs - or beds - and keep moving around. The dogs beds are on the patio behind our chairs and when I turned round on Wednesday I found Tolly had taken over Foxy's bed, and Foxy was sitting in the corner, apparently unwilling to claim it back. At least she was sitting in a ray of sunshine.
A few minutes later when I look, Foxy had moved to Kim's big bed, and Kim was laying on the tiles between them, but he would certainly have claimed his back if he wanted to lie on it!

Another thing that makes me smile is our little lemon tree. 90% of our land is tiled so we have few places to grow anything in the ground, but right outside my kitchen door there is a small square where a different tree had once stood, and a few years ago we bought a tiny lemon tree to plant there. It flourished and is now well established. I see it every day as I feed the dogs just under it. Yesterday I noticed there were new buds and the odd blossom on it. It always fascinates me as it is the only tree I know that can have buds, blossom, baby fruit, developing fruit, and ripe mature fruit on it all at the same time. Here is a collage of photos I took all on the same day, to show you what I mean.
I have kept myself busy this week in my craft room and am very happy to say that I have finally finished clearing my desk. I now have doubled my working space which is wonderful.
It may not look very cleared, but believe me it is a huge improvement. The green basket on the left, was full and overflowing with stamps and dies that needed to be sorted and filed away. Some had never been used, and others had, but had not been put away. It was a mammoth job and I am determined to clear up after each project is finished this year. That's the plan anyway!
The green basket is now empty, and propped up against the wall so I don't start filling it up again. So here's a quick tour of the rest of my room. 
Up above my desk is the little shelf where I keep a few essentials ready to hand, and I also use it put projects on to dry etc. Above it I still have the old mirror that I decorated and the lovely card that my sister made for my birthday last year.
If I swivel my chair a quarter turn I see the rest of my desk space where my two most important pieces of kit live - that's my big shot die cutting machine and my Silhouette Cameo electronic cutter.
Another quarter turn and I am sitting at  my computer desk. It is very handy to have an office chair that lets me roll between these three spaces without getting up! Above the computer is my notice board with the recently made calendar that helps me plan holidays etc. with the boys when they ring me. And to the left of the computer are my two stacked printers. The lower one is an A4 black ink laser printer, and the big one above it is a flatbed injet colour printer that allows me to print my 12"x 12" album pages.
The rest of the room is shelves of boxes that house all my stash. As you can see I am really quite organised in there, and I like a tidy space to work in, so I am very happy to have sorted the desk area out. Since it was done I have finished two projects but they are not anything I can share yet.

And that is about it for this week. The days pass so quickly. I have managed to do lots of washing and dried it all outside which is always a blessing. 
I have had long phone calls and video calls with the boys, and with my sister, which is uplifting for both sides.
I have read two books on my Kindle while relaxing outside, or in bed. And the evenings have been spent watching TV - some good and some very bad! - while doing my crochet, and feeling cosy in front of the fire

The number of virus cases in our village is falling again and that makes me very happy. The Town Hall have authorised the lorries to drive round in the night, disinfecting all the streets and bin areas, and constantly issue messages of encouragement on Facebook, ending with 'together we will get through this'. It is good to be part of such a caring community.

So I will leave you with two sky photos. Neither were very dramatic, but both were so pretty. Then I will link up with Rocking Your World and Annie's Friday Smiles, and go and see whether Chris is wondering whether there will be any dinner today!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Rocking Your World 2021: Week 3

Here we are, half way through January already, but I haven't got used to writing 2021 yet; have you? Once again it has been a quiet week, but it has been so cold, that staying at home has seemed like a good option, even if we had the choice to go out and about.

We did have a lot of rain to end last week and start this one, but since then it has been much brighter, and quite sunny. It is that time of year when outside is warmer than inside as long as you are in the sun and out of the wind, so we have spent some time sitting on the patio, getting our sunshine vitamin D, but as soon as the sun moves behind the corner of the roof, we scurry indoors because there is a dramatic drop in temperature in the shade. The evenings are cold so we are glad of the fire, and often a lap blanket as well. But we can't complain. Further inland they have had it much worse than us. In Madrid they caught the tail end of storm Filomena and over night they had 30cm of snow, the most that has fallen there in over fifty years. It is a real novelty for them and there have been plenty of videos of folk skating on the ice, building snowmen and having snowball fights. (Everyone wearing a face mask I should add, though social distances sometimes were difficult to maintain!).

I particularly liked this photo taken in Madrid. The snow just covering the statue of a chariot gives it a rather splendid look. 
Mid-week I decided to go to the local bakery and I went the 'long way round' on the road instead of the usual short cut across the mud car park and I am glad I did, though the remaining puddles weren't as bad as I had expected. I stopped to record the reflections of the trees and clouds in the water. The mountains at the back were still a bit misty but we had no more rain.

Chris and I went round the garden emptying any containers as still water is a breeding ground for bugs, even in this cold weather. We have a black plastic dustbin in the front yard where we throw any debris, dead flower heads etc, and it was full to the brim, confirming our feeling that the rain had fallen right through the night. Chris then did some gardening, firstly cutting right back all the roses, and weeding the little patch in the front of the house. There is a very persistent weed that covers this patch all the time. It is quite aromatic when crushed, and the dogs love it, which is why they are watching from behind the gate. You can have too much help!
Chris then turned his attention to the jasmine that flows over the dividing wall between the front yard and the pool area. It is absolutely rampant and really would benefit from being cut right back, but as you can see at the right of the photo, it already has lots of buds for the spring flowering, so we didn't want to be too zealous with the shears. But I did ask Chris to prune back the part that had covered my Bird of paradise tree, so that too could bloom later. So now he has done that it is much better, with both plants able to have their moment of glory when the time is right. Maybe this autumn we will get them both pruned hard, so they can start again next year.
When Chris cut back the roses he found two last flowers that he picked for me. The larger pink one soon began to fade indoors, but the little yellow one was a tight bud and it opened in the warmth of the sitting room, and it is beautifully scented.

Meanwhile, I wandered over to my elephant foot palm and started to peel away last years blades from round the base of the new growth. Hidden right at the base of them, I found masses of tiny black and red flies in a webbed nest. Guessing they were not good, I did my best to move them out of the palm and I think I must have flicked a couple onto my clothes, which then got trapped inside them, because by nightfall I had around thirty bites all over one side of my body. They were so itchy and I covers them with bite cream, but that night I took an antihistamine tablet to calm them down so I could sleep. They continued to itch, though slightly less intensely for a couple of days. Now I can still see the red marks but they are not really bothering me. I haven't had time to identify the flies yet but I shall look them up later. 
I checked the palm again today and although the stems are now bare where the infected blades had been, I found quite a few had settled in the new growth, so I have sprayed them liberally and I shall continue to check on them.

As I said, we are happy to sit by the fire in the evenings. We have the TV on, but Chris often chooses to watch something different on his laptop. Paco has got wise to the fact that Chris sits quite still and has taken to sitting on the back of his chair with his chin resting on Chris' shoulder. He sometimes stays like that for hours.
Tolly on the other hand, has a good sleep after his tea and then wants to play. He is used to climbing onto the back of this chair to play with my string of 'Danish gnomes' that hang there every Christmas. He is very peeved to find they have all been packed away now and is half sulking and half dozing while he decides what else he can do to annoy us!

On Thursday, while Chris was busy in the garden I decided to have a baking session so I mixed up a white bread dough first. I cut the risen dough in half and made four big rolls with one half, and a small loaf with the rest. Then I made a ginger cake. I particularly like this recipe as it is lighter and less dry than some ginger breads are. It uses golden syrup and some of the syrup from preserved ginger, as well as having sultanas, and some of the preserved ginger pieces roughly chopped, added to the mix. It is a very 'wet' mix and the fruit always sinks but it tastes really good!

While Chris taps away on his laptop, and I have one eye on the TV, I still do some crochet each evening. As my hands are not so good during the winter, I only do a few rows each evening, but my squares are coming along nicely. I showed you the colour changing balls of yarn I am using, and the pattern, called Sophie's Dream, is several large squares all made to the same pattern. As long as you can work with a steady tension, you can just get three squares out of each ball. So with my first ball, called Rosewater cocktail, I made these three, and I only had a few meters of yarn left at the end!
Now I have almost finished the second ball called Blackberry mint, which started by making the deep blue square. Then the second one was more teal/turquoise. The third square has started out still fairly turquoise, but as you can see from the remaining yarn, it will mainly be an olive green colour. (Not my favourite colour but I know it will fit in with all the others just fine).
And that's about it for this week. We have very high numbers of virus cases in our village again, 49 by yesterday, so we are quite happy to stay home except for absolute essential shopping. I had a visit to the supermarkets yesterday and am unlikely to need to venture any further than the bakery just around the corner, until we are into February. In fact we are expecting tonight's announcement to put us back into a tight lock-down where we are confined to the village, which is why I did the supermarket run yesterday.
But we are warm and well fed, and during the week I have had chats with all the boys. Ben and I had a two hour plus video call on Wednesday night and put the world to rights. It is lovely to be able to chat and laugh with them even though they can't visit us. So we have plenty to be grateful for.
Now I must link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and we will see what next week has in store for us.