Kate's adventures

Friday, September 21, 2018

Rocking Your World 2018: Week 38

Well that was some week! I said at the end of last week that we were on orange alert for storms for the weekend, and they weren't wrong. On Saturday morning we had an epic storm. After waking up to the rumble of thunder all around, and an occasional flash of lightening, the heavens opened. Surrounded by reluctant animals again, we watched as small rivers started to flow down the street to the storm drains. But then we noticed that it was bubbling up around a drain cover in our front yard. 

I have mentioned the acequia or agricultural water before. It runs around the village through channels, and every three weeks or so, anyone who subscribes to it, can open pipes on their land and the water floods in around their plants and keeps them going until it is their turn again. This must be turned on at a central point at the top of the village to start it flowing, but we don't know where, nor who is responsible for it.
Anyway, one of the drain covers in our yard has pipes to direct the water onto our land (left over from when there was an orange grove where we now have the swimming pool), and a second pipe that redirects the water under the road to what was a small orange grove over there. It also no longer exists and a house has been built on that land this year. But the channels remain, and the water still flows through them, and we assume that the second drain, which is very deep, carries the excess off to the main drainage system.

So it would seem that there is a blockage somewhere! As the rain continued to come down, the overflowing water ran across our tiny square garden, under the side gate, and into our side yard.

All along the ledge at the side, there are small drains for when we wash down the yard, so Chris waded out through the water to check that they were all flowing freely, but they were no competition for the rain which showed no sign of letting up. Soon it was gushing out of the drain like a small waterfall...
...and the yard was filling up at an alarming rate.
My heart goes out to those poor folk in N.Carolina and the Philippines who have suffered storms and flooding on a much greater scale. There is something quite soul destroying to watch water levels, knowing they will rise, and knowing there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop them.
Our mini-flood continued until there were several centimetres of water over and above the entire yard, including the swimming pool!
The bag of garden rubbish on the table was rescued when it floated down from the other end. Eventually the water rose just high enough to spill over onto the floor of the pump house. The dogs drinking bowl is bobbing about on the top of it.
Then thankfully the rain stopped! As quickly as it came, the excess water drained away and we were left with a rather muddy yard and a dark brown swimming pool.
The silver lining to this cloud is that the water stopped short of the step into the porch and the back of the house, and nothing was seriously damaged, though the pool will have to be completely drained for the first time ever, and probably will need to be relined, which will be expensive, and is not covered by our insurance. But it could have been a lot worse.

As a follow up to that, this is a picture of the land next-door, taken last Saturday just as the rain was stopping.
And this is the same piece of land today. 
What a difference a week makes!! Give it a couple more weeks, and it will be smothered in lush green 'weeds' up to our waists.

Sunday dawned drier if not much brighter, so I set off for church as it was our Harvest Festival and that is one of my favourite services in the church calendar. There was a fair bit of mud washed onto the road, but no significant damage on the route I was taking. We had a good turn out despite the weather. A couple of our members had been in on Friday to decorate the church and as usual it looked lovely.
On each side there were baskets of fresh produce from people's gardens and the market, and there was that lovely smell of apples, earth and vegetables.
After the service some of this was sent to friends who are sick, and the rest was taken home again as the Town Hall cannot accept fresh goods for the food bank as it is not always distributed straight away.

The traditional elements of light, bread, wine and water were represented on the altar, with the lovely salt  dough sheaf of corn made by my friend Pat several years ago, and lovingly packed away after each harvest service for next year.

In the centre was a fine display of packets and tins of food, brought in by the congregation to be taken to the Town hall in Zurgena for distribution among the needy. It is a lovely way to acknowledge our gratitude for all we have, and to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

As the week continued in a rather dull and dismal way, I took the opportunity to tackle a task that has been on my "to do" list all summer. I sorted out  our bedroom, and more specifically, my wardrobe. I said 'hello' to a few outfits I had forgotten about, and also filled three black bags with items I haven't worn in years. These will be sorted again into a few items that should go to a charity outlet, (we have an animal charity shop in Turre, and one for Cancer support), and the rest will go into the clothes bank, which I think is run by Red Cross. Two bags were winter clothes and they can go now, and one bag of summer wear can go in the garage until next spring. Everything is now hanging properly in the relevant spaces, and I am almost looking forward to some cooler weather so I can wear some of it again.

I had some nice post on Monday. Since my new kitchen was finished I have had nowhere to sit down in there, and I missed that. I had a small area at the end of the work surface, left with nothing under it, so I could have a chair there, but the normal dining chairs were much too low. So I have been looking for a bar-stool type of seat, and last week we saw a pair on Amazon so Chris ordered them. And I am very happy with them.
It is inevitable that the cats will sit on them too, and they are covered in a soft faux leather which will soon be spoiled by sharp little claws, so I have put a cushion on one, and now they both have one. They are very comfortable to sit on, and have already been put to good use.

As all knitters and crocheters will attest, it is impossible to indulge in this hobby and not be left with lots of little balls of left-over yarn. Here is just some of mine.
And this week on the internet I saw a project that is a perfect way to use of some of them. Lucy, of Attic 24, showed a crochet covered clothes hanger, and I just loved it. I have had lots of padded, material covered hangers, but they are too fat, and take up too much space on my hanging rail, but some knitted ones I was given many years ago, are much more useful. So I just had to give one of these a go. I started out with an ancient wooden hanger I already had. It had my son's name written on it from some school project, and he is 32 now! But it has given it a new lease of life.
I used Lucy's idea for decorating it, with a row of her bubble shell edging along the seam, and two of her flowers and leaves, but she did suggest using hearts or buttons instead.
I have found it almost to impossible to find plain wooden hangers without the trouser rail across them, and I didn't want to use plastic ones, but Lucy mentioned this difficulty and told us that there were some available on Amazon, as long s you put the word 'crescent' in your search bar, and sure enough I found them. So I ordered a set and they arrived on Wednesday, so there is no stopping me now.

One evening I grabbed a short window between showers to give the dogs their tea, and while I was waiting for them to finish eating, I stood by the back railings, looking out over the green zone, and little birds were swooping and diving, so close to me I could almost reach out and touch them. The air must have been filled with tiny bugs  disturbed by the rain, and the birds were having a feast. I tried to catch them on camera, but as usual they were too fast for me. This was probably my best shot.
And finally a glimmer of hope, when the clouds rolled back and gave us a pretty sky at the end of the day. All week it has remained very warm, and today the sun is back, the clouds have disappeared and the temperature is in the mid-thirties. So this may be our only sunset for a while, but it made up for all the grey skies and rain.

Now it is time to link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World. We have a very special choir practice to go to tonight. The man who is MD for the concert in Royal Albert Hall in November, is visiting us to hear us sing, and give us more information about the songs, and how the evening will come together, so we will all need our best voices, and have pencils at the ready to take notes.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Rocking Your World 2018: Week 37

I am starting this week with a photo of my gorgeous great-grandson Alfie. When his family were here in August they were excited because he swam his first ever strokes without armbands on. Now, as you can see here, he has his badge for swimming 5 metres and the same day he got a second one for swimming 5m on his back. He is not four until the week after Christmas, so he is doing really well, and all that practising in our warm pool has paid off.

We have had a funny old week with Summer coming to an abrupt halt, temperatures several degrees lower and black clouds threatening rain most days. On Saturday the rain did come. There were flashes of lightening, and the thunder rolled around the hills, and when it rained, it really rained, several cms in one go. We hastily brought in our porch fan, and folded up the cushions, and I had a mini zoo in the sitting room with five cats and two dogs all refusing to go outside!
As usual, with no guttering on most houses out here, the heavy rain caused water spouts at all the corners of the house. I looked out the front door to make sure all my potted plants were getting a share of the water, and found my daisy pot was washed out to a muddy puddle. Fortunately there was not much left in it and now some new seedlings are popping up, so maybe I won't need to buy new plants in the spring.

At church on Sunday, a friend gave me a bag of almonds from her tree. So on Monday morning I got out an old nutcracker and shelled them all. I always loved the nuts we had at Christmas when I was a child, bought mainly as a treat for dad I think. I used to pester until I was finally allowed to crack some, but Mum never let me do the almonds. They are so hard, and with the old style of crackers, you were likely to crush your fingers and get a nasty blood blister when the shell finally cracked. Fortunately that doesn't happen with the set I have now, so it didn't take to long to shell them all. (Almonds grow abundantly around here, and the local folk put them on a stone and hit them with a hammer to crack them! There are also 'almond presses' in many villages that open for a couple of months each year, and you can take your nuts there to be shelled. They sell the hard wooden shells as fuel).
I managed to get most of mine out whole, and these I soaked in hot water for a while to blanch them, and removed their tough brown skins. The ones I broke, I added to my 'nibbles' box to snack on in the evenings.

This morning we took Chris's car to our mechanic for a service and then he took it for it's Itv (MOT in UK) which I am pleased to say it passed. Andy has a workshop in the yard of his house, out on the campo beyond the urbanisation at the bottom of the village. I followed Chris down in my car so I could bring him home as it is a fairly long walk, and I parked up on a piece of spare ground just before Andy's house to wait for him. While I was waiting I was looking around and I was amazed at the signs of nature all around. There were some fir trees with patches of brown leaves where even they couldn't cope with the heat of the sun. But new leaves were sprouting green all over it, and new bunches of young fir cones were forming.
Below the tree, the bare ground was responding to the recent rain, and tiny seedlings were spring up.
Near to that was this ground cover plant with tiny spears of white flowers on it.
Each one was so tiny, yet so perfect.
The ground is so dry with big cracks in the mud, yet these yellow flowers had found a way to force themselves through and bloom.
Across the road more yellow flowers were fighting their way through the clumps of dry grass, covered in buds just waiting to burst into flower. Isn't nature wonderful?

The land beyond the road is all planted with olive trees and fruit trees, all of which need a lot of water, as they were only planted last year. Next to them is a big reservoir and I have never seen the level of water in it so low. It will  be filled soon with water from the mountains that is piped to all the villages for agricultural use. This in turn, is used to water the fields of trees, and I have to say, they look very healthy on it so far.
You can see in the background, the Cabrera mountains that are often so clear from our house, were this morning swathed in mist. It was probably pretty damp up there. I am happy to say that the sun did break through and it is warm again today. Temperatures are now around the mid twenties which is a lot more comfortable than it was a couple of weeks ago, but it is nice when the sun comes out as well. We are on orange alert for tomorrow and Sunday for storms and local flooding, but I am hoping we are right on the edge of it again, and won't be too badly hit.

In the autumn of 2009, our two way road was dug-up, and a new road was made with one way traffic up into the village. The lane on our side became a parking place, and there were strips each side as pavements. There were no kerbs as everything was on one level. The road was paved in black herringbone bricks, and the pavements in pink bricks, and between the two they put a row of metal bollards. Everyone moaned about them because they were low, and the perfect height to cause a shin injury as most of my family can confirm! We have seen elderly folk fall over them, and because they were so low, you couldn't see them from inside a car, so many car doors bear dents from being parked to close to one. We eventually learned where they were outside our house, so we could park with the driver door between two, but they were a nuisance anyway. If they had made them waist high they wouldn't have been so bad.
Well my happiness is that this week, they have decided to do something about them. (There must have been too many complaints at the town hall!). So a small group of workers are travelling up the road, removing them, and filling the holes with more red bricks. We were surprised at how well they blended in. You could hardly see where the new bricks were - that was until it rained. Now they have had a good soaking the new bricks are bright red next to the old ones that have faded to pink. I don't suppose it will take long for them to blend in properly  though. I just hope people don't abuse them and start parking on the pavements now, or they might find something to replace them with, and we would much rather they didn't!
And now it is time to get ready for my choir practice again. So I will quickly link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and go and pack my music bag.