Poor Chico is not making much improvement since his accident. His foot is still 'dead' and floppy and he drags it around whenever he walks. We are struggling to keep any form of bandage on it. He was good with the splint for a day or two, but once he got his teeth into it, he wouldn't leave it alone, and in the end we had to take it off because the sharp corners were dangerous. We go back to the vet twice a week for a vitamin B injection and to have his foot dressed again, but she is running out of ideas too. The yellow bandage on the original splint was a special 'No-chew' one, but he took it off in the end. When she ran out of that she used a strong red sticky bandage but he liked the taste of that one!! He also chewed at the soft dressing at the tip of the splint, and then he wouldn't stop licking between his toes, so they got very red and sore, and infected. Last night I had to cut what remained of his splint, off, because his foot was swollen and it made the bandage too tight. We weren't due to go to the vet until tomorrow but we took him this morning and she decided not to renew the splint. Instead she did a big soft dressing over his entire foot, and used lots of strong sticky tape to cover it. Without the protection of the hard plastic splint, this would soon wear through if he dragged it around outside, so we have kept him indoors for most of the day. The vet covered it with some 'Bitter paste' and she was a bit non-plussed when he started to lick it off in the surgery! She said she tasted it once and it is really horrible. In desperation we also paid a deposit to borrow a new soft, wide collar, which you can see him modelling here. As you can see, he is not impressed, and it is so soft and flexible, I am not sure it would be a lot of use if he decided to really have a go at his foot again. So we have taken it off again for now, as we would like to get our deposit back on it, before he chews that up too! Anyway, he seems to have decided that the paste doesn't really taste very nice so he has not licked it again today. He is a bit subdued now. I think the bandage is big and cumbersome for him, but he'll have to put up with it for a while. We'll see whether it is still intact in the morning! I am not sure how long we will go on like this for. She said to give it a month to see whether it would regenerate, but that doesn't look very likely to happen.
I have completed another lace project. These little squares all look fairly similar, but they do all use different 'stitches', and I am learning to combine them in different ways. Ignor all the threads at the corner. It isn't a tassel; I just haven't has time to sew them all in yet! Pam told me where to find a shop that sells proper thread for bobbin lace, and I used it for this piece. It was much better to use, and being very slightly finer, it shows up the detail of the pattern better. I am now just starting another two-colour square, with yet another different variation on the twists and weave. They get harder each time, but I am beginning to understand how it all works, so I can put my own mistakes right when I need to. Hopefully I will be ready to start on a bigger project soon.
Easter came and went quite quickly. It was a little disappointing as we had been expecting JIm, Jo and the children to arrive yesterday, but technical problems to do with Jim's change of name, meant that his passport was still not ready in time. They now hope to come in June. Santa Semana, or Holy Week, is taken very seriously out here. Their main celebrations run from Thursday to Sunday, and Monday is back to normal. The shops were mostly closed on Maundy Thursday, and all of them were on Good Friday, so I had to do my big monthly shop on Saturday and it was very busy, (by Spanish standards anyway). Good Friday was clear and sunny so I decided to go to the mid-day parade in Garrucha, just down on the coast. We had visitors last year and we took them to the one at Turre, but the Garrucha one was much more formal and solemn. There were three large 'tronos', carrying a statue of Jesus carrying the cross, Saint Joan, and Mary. (The village church is the church of San Joaquin or St. Joan). The penitents who carried the tronos were all dressed in black and white. Many of the girls went bare foot all the way (2½ hours in the sun, over hot asphalt roads and cobbles), and some men wore dark glasses or were blindfolded. The tronos were very beautiful with huge banks of flowers, and big candles. Each one is the responsibility of a separate brotherhood, and each brotherhood had it's own band which marched behind them. The music and noise is indescribable. One band all had a smart black uniform with gold braid trim, and there was one little boy of about three or four who had the full uniform on and he marched the whole way, presumably with his dad, playing on a little trumpet. He was lovely. Between the brotherhoods there were women walking who wore black dresses and the high mantilla draped in black lace, pinned up with a diamond studded cross. They were very impressive. The whole procession left the little church on the hill, and slowly wound its way down to the main road. Then it went through the shops, and down to the sea front, along the prom and stopped at the entrance to the port. As Garrucha is a fishing village the port is central to all their activities. Here, all three tronos lined up side by side, and one by one they were lifted up high in the air. They are very heavy. The one with Mary on had nineteen men along each side as well as extras in the middle back and front, and an English man whose friend was one of the bearers, told me that there has to be an average weight of 75kilos for each bearer, and if necessary they add extra weights to make it up to this! It was a really hot day and some of the men were struggling to make it back up to the church again. When all three tronos were outside the church, a man gave a short impassioned speech. I couldn't understand much of it, but I couldn't hear him properly. Then the tronos were manoevered round and backed into the church through the large wooden doors at the side. The church had recently been refurbished, and on a sign outside it said, 'Construction of a house for the royal and ancient brotherhoods of our father Jesus the Nazarene, and Saint Mary of Sorrows.' Although I am unsure about all the extravagant statues which come close to idolatry, it was a very moving and solemn occasion. I didn't go to an Easter Sunday procession this year as I went to a very nice service at my own church. I will put a few pictures of the Good Friday parade on here, and some more in a folder on my gallery. Feel free to take a look.