Friday, August 18, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 33

Hi folks. I was only missing for one week but it seems such a long time. This week's post is really a photo story of the week my family were here. It was such a happy time so smiles all the way.

I am starting with a special smile and this photo of myself with my lovely grand-daughter. She is married with two little boys, so we both live in a rather male-oriented world, so a bit of 'girly time' together was special. (She wanted the pink bougainvillea to be in the picture).

All ten of our visitors flew over together and they were due to arrive here on Sunday at teatime. That morning we had a little drama as I found the cats gathered excitedly around the back door where a young bird had managed to trap itself between the perspex that hold the cat flap and extends half way up the outside of the door railings, and the fly screen net that covers the entire inside of the railings. The gap between them is so tiny; goodness knows how it got there. Anyway, no amount of enticing would get it out, and in the end Chris had to unscrew the top of the perspex so I could get a hand in to catch him. I released him over the green zone and he flew away, apparently none the worse for the experience.

Our visitors plane landed at Almeria around 7.30. Chris went to collect some of them, and the rest had a hire car. So by the time they had sorted out children, luggage and cars, and driven home it was gone 9.00 when they arrived. Of course a dip in the pool was essential before they had some food and fell into bed.
Some days they went out together while Chris and I stayed at home, and others we went with them. One afternoon we all went up to the lovely public pool at the top of the village. It is huge, spotlessly clean and lovely and warm, with amazing views of the Cabrera mountains. Unfortunately it is only open in July and August.
All the children are water babies, and they had a lovely time there, stopping only for a brief snack and drink, before jumping in again.

On Thursday, in very uncharacteristic August style, it was forecast 100% chance of rain. So that day we headed out to Mini-Hollywood in Tabernas, with the conviction it wasn't likely to rain in the desert. (Tabernas is the driest region, and the only true desert in Europe, and it is only about an hour and half drive from us). Mini-Hollywood is the set where some of the Spaghetti Westerns were filmed back in the sixties. It is now a theme park where you can see the old buildings, watch a Wild West show and can-can dancers, and then wander around a zoo, and have a cooling dip in a swimming pool.
The scenery is breathtaking, and much of it reminds me of our visit years ago to Arizona. This was the view as we queued to get in.
The set of the township.
We watched the Wild west show, complete with several shootings...
...and even a hanging! The men did all wave at the crowd though to let the children know they hadn't really been shot or hanged!
Then it was time to pose in the Wanted poster... 
...or the stocks...
... or to sit on a horse.
My son did his own bit of amateur dramatics.
Next we wandered up to the zoo. We walked under the bridge, but, of course, the boys had to go over it.
My favourite of the wild animals will always be the tigers. Much as I hate to see them confined to a cage, these animals all had big, interesting enclosures, and they did look healthy and content.
But these are the ones that stole everyone's hearts. They are sand foxes; not much bigger than a cat, with honey coloured coats and huge ears, they really were very cute.
We let the boys have a quick dip in the pool, but it was very crowded so we didn't stay long. Then it was a long walk back to the car, but a stop at the cowboy shop made this little man's day.  At the main gate we stopped to look at the photos taken as we entered, of the children all in cowboy hats and holding guns, though it was interesting to see that the older ones did not want to handle the guns.

We stopped at a beach café in Mojacar on the way back for some food, where the threat of rain looked far more likely.
In the end we only had a few spots, so we all had our tea and then the children entertained themselves on the beach...
... while we had a few drinks and watched the light fade over the sea.
My grand-daughter passed the time trying to teach me how to get a better angle on a selfie!
We enjoyed a couple of days on the beach, but often there was too much wind and the red flag was flying, so they had to be content playing on the edge of the water. I love this picture of my great-grandsons with their daddy - all in matching swim shorts.
It was good to have some younger company in the house, and we enjoyed watching the 'young adults' having their fun in the pool after the little ones were in bed.
On Saturday night, as it was their last evening, I took some of them down to Garrucha for a walk along the promenade, while the others went to a bar in the village. It was so busy down there. I hadn't expected that. But my great-grandson did manage a fairground ride while his little brother was sleeping in the pushchair.

One thing I need not have been so worried about was our big dog Kim. He has no experience of 'small people' and I was unsure of how he would react. But in fact he was wonderful with all of them, and they loved him to bits. He made lots of new friends..

... and not only with the children.
Foxy was a bit more cautious, but she is a rather nervous dog anyway, but she had her share of cuddles too.
Soon it was their last day. Little Alfie had a sleep and I managed to get a cuddle before he woke up enough to realise every one was having fun in the pool.
We decided to have an early-ish barbecue as they needed to get organised and be at the airport by 6.00.
Then it was time to fill the water bombs - an inspired buy when I spotted them in Lidl's that week. They were in bunches that fitted on to a hose and were so easy to fill.
The ensuing fight was enjoyed by adults and children alike.
Then there was just time for one last photo with everyone in the pool (except the teen who had bleached his hair and didn't want to get chlorine on it!), before they dried off and loaded up the cars.
Phew!! That was quite a week. Thank you for staying with me through the marathon.

I shall now link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and I'll leave you with one last picture of our big bad boy. He has never been on the furniture before, but this week he discovered that it was a perfect fit for his bed, and now I can't keep him off it!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017; Week 31

Here is my smile for this week; These two lovely smilers are my great-grandsons and in just two days time they will be here with us for a week of Spanish sunshine. I don't think they'll be needing those long trousers and jumpers out here!!

It has been another scorcher this week. When I walked up the road Thursday lunchtime, the thermometer on the Farmacia was showing 43º. I am melting! Minimum clothing and multiple fans don't really cope in that kind of heat, but we are reluctant to have the aircon on for more than short bursts, as it is very drying, and leaves me coughing. I am just so grateful that we have our own pool to dip in after each chore is done. I must admit I keep chores to a minimum in the summer, but with a house full of visitors next week, a certain amount of clearing, bed making etc had to be done!

On Saturday I did what I had to do as early as possible and then took a break, because on Saturday evening my choir were singing at an open air multicultural festival at Cantoria, a small village an hour's drive from here. We wouldn't chose to sing outdoors, and with slightly reduced numbers because of folks on holiday, we weren't sure how it would go. 
The first thing was to find the venue!. We had been to Cantoria once, just after we moved here because it is where our first two rescue pups were from, but we only had a vague idea of where we were going. But google maps helped us, and we knew the festival was all around the big village church, so that proved a landmark that was hard to miss.
Chris came with me . He knows I don't like driving at night, especially when I don't know the area. When we arrived it was easy to spot a few choir members who had arrived before us, all congregating near a big metal pergola in the church grounds, which was where we would be singing.
We had time for a quick look around so we wandered up the street to a small plaza, where a lot of people were relaxing in street bars while a road race was going on just beside them.
There were several stalls selling everything from food to clothes and toys, and in front of the church there was a display of kick-boxing, presumably by a local club as there were participants of all ages there.
Between them and our pergola, there was a stall called a 'Taste of Britain', where there was a constant supply of mini scones with jam and cream, fruit cake, small savouries etc. They were free of charge and people were enjoying trying them all out. Every time a plate was emptied, it was filled again, and they still had more to put out for us when we had done our performance.
It was time for us to take our places ready to sing. We don't normally have chairs on stage, but we were glad of them that night, because we ended up having to sit down between some songs while we waited for the church clock to ring out it's next set of chimes. A man from the organising panel was there to warn us when the next peal would come, and we managed to time our songs around them pretty well!
It was the first time we have sung together for a while, and we all sung our hearts out and thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope the audience enjoyed it as much as we did. I think they did. We now have a month off before we start again in September, with new music to learn for the Autumn concerts.
We left soon after our 'bit' as we had a long drive home, but as we left there were still plenty of locals enjoying food and drinks in the bars, and I expect the festivities went on for a few more hours after we got home.

Not a lot else has happened this week. I did manage one little task that has been on my 'to do' list for some time. Back in 2004, Chris and I spent three weeks in Arizona, visiting some of Chris family who live there, and also celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. We did brief detours to Las Vegas just to say we had been, and to the Grand Canyon which was on my bucket list, and it was amazing. But the area we really liked was up in the red rock mountains near the little village of Sedona. On one trip we visited a silver mine and a large open market where you could buy all sorts of metal and leather goods. We went to area that only sold wind chimes and we bought a beautiful set. It turned out to be bigger than we realised and it caused us some problems when we were packing to come home. It ended up in a separate parcel taped to our largest case! But it is beautifully tuned so that whenever the wind catches it, it always has a melodic chime. Of course we brought it to Spain with us and it hung on the end of my washing lines at the back of the house. On really windy weeks we had to tie the pipes together with string as it was just too noisy and also was in danger of getting tangled and broken.
Of course that is what eventually happened, and for a couple of years it has been buried in the garage, where I happened upon it when I was clearing out last month. So I have now rubbed down all the wooden parts and stained them again, and I have restrung the pipe that was hanging loose. It is back hanging on washing line now, which is more or less outside my craft room window. So with the gentle breezes we have at the minute, I am treated to lovely chimes wafting in through the open window. This time I will rescue it before the weather gets too rough, and hopefully it will give me many more years of pleasure.

I am calling this picture "Hot Dogs!"
Poor Foxy and Kim. They are feeling the heat. They both have thick double coats which they are shedding like mad at the moment, but I have been advised against having them shaved, as the double layer provides insulation against both heat and cold. So I am brushing them every morning, which for some reason Kim hates, but he doesn't get the choice while he is moulting. I have filled a big bin with their hair but I don't think there is too much more to come. Neither of them like water. I tried to get Kim to come under the hose this morning. I had it set to a very gentle spray, and I just about got his feet wet, but that is all. Usually they have their breakfast round at the kitchen door and then they go back to the porch on the other side of the house. But the kitchen door is on the shady side of the house, and is quite a bit cooler, so for now I am keeping them round there for the morning. They are unsure about any change in their routine, so when I went out to hang some washing today, they both immediately sat down and looked expectantly at me, in the hope I was going to open the gate and let them round to the porch, or maybe even that I had the odd treat in my hand which they know they have to sit for. Who could resist those trusting eyes?

And all that leaves me with is one photo of a beautiful sky that I spotted late on Wednesday evening. These hot humid days often end with a few clouds, and we have even had the odd spot of rain some evenings. (So odd you could walk between the drops!). I could do with a good storm to clear the air, but everywhere is so dusty that the tiny bit of rain we did get was full of red dust and left everything covered in it. But on Wednesday the clouds were very broken and looked so pretty in the dying light. I was just glad I had my camera to hand, because it only lasted for few minutes and then darkness fell.
So it is link up time now and I am linking with Rocking Your World, and Annie's Friday Smiles.
With ten visitors from Sunday for a week, and then just one for the next two weeks, I doubt whether I will get to write a blog next week, but I won't be missing for long. See you soon.