The house next door to us, (the one with the orange grove), is quite high, and outside the bedroom, above the porch/patio there is a large verandah, only accessable from inside the house. It is currently adorned by beautiful climbing plants in bright colours that look so lovely against the white walls. Well our little cat, Paco, decided last night to climb up one of the plants, probably to chase a bird, and got stuck on the verandah. I always call him in at night, mainly to avoid the horrible noise of cat fights, and to prevent the dogs barking, as they would if he walked passed their house. So when I tried to call him home last night, all I could hear was a plaintive mewing from next door. I shone a torch up there and found a pair of eyes looking back at me, and he just prowled up and down the verandah crying. This was on the wrong side of midnight, and Chris was already in bed, so there was nothing to do but abandon him there for the night. I knew he was safe and would be fine until morning. I thought he might even try to get down himself, but cats just won't climb down anything head first, and he apparently has no concept of backward motion. So this morning he was still wailing, and the noise increased when he heard me feeding the dogs, knowing that his breakfast was due as well. The house is only lived in for a couple of weeks each year, as the owners main residence is in Murcia, and the property is surrounded by high fences and a padlocked gate. So when Chris got up he had to use our ladder to get over the fence, and walk across the orange grove (which incidently had been flooded with the asequia or agricultural water yesterday so it was very muddy), and climb up to an anxious moggy. He took some persuading to come through the bars onto Chris' shoulder, but then he was soon back home none the worse for his adventure. This is the second time he has needed rescuing and last time he ripped Chris' shoulder to bits with his claws, so this time he put his jacket on! He learned from his previous lesson but unfortunately the cat didn't. I hope he doesn't make a habit of it.
We are still using alternative places to walk the dogs until the ground nesting birds have moved on, and today it was my turn to take them. I drove up to the sports centre at the top of the village and walked them under the bridge into the rambla there. A new road has been built there recently and they seem to have also tidied up the rambla and improved the path. It is now a wide stretch of gravelly path, flanked on both sides by high walls of rock and vegitation. Some parts were a bit dim as the sun was not high enough to reach in, but in other parts it was bright and sunny. All the way along we were flanked by orleander bushes which are at their best right now, full of pink blossom, and wild lavendar which smelled lovely as the dogs brushed up against it as they ran around after rabbits. I saw a new flower out in bloom that was rather interesting. I thought it might belong to the nettle family but it didn't have a square stem so I guess it doesn't. I have no idea what it is called but I liked it. I thought there might be quite a bit of wild life to see as it is well away from any roads, but apart from loads of rabbits I only saw a rather fine lizard, several pretty tiny butterflies and hundreds of about one centimeter long froglets. They were everywhere and they were camouflaged so well, that at first I didn't see them amongst the stones. The dogs didn't seem to be aware of them either. I made a composite picture of my three sitings. The rabbits don't sit still enough to catch them on camera! It is getting quite warm by the end of our walk now, so I carry a bottle of water with me and the dogs are glad of a cool drink when they get back to the car. At present we are still taking it in turns to stay home with Chico, but he is making excellent progress and we hope to take him out with us again soon.
On Friday I went to a charity do organised by our church. The Victory Church movement have sent a team of workers to Haiti. They are all skilled men and women who have funded their own trip and are there to help build an orphanage and church, so all the Victory churches around Europe are raising money to buy the materials that they need. We had a table top sale at the restaurant where we used to hold our services. All around the pool there were tables that people had rented, and we had our own stall to sell books, jams, pickles, knitted and sewed items, and any other things that had been donated. It was a very hot day and we were glad to browse the stalls and then sit down for a welcome cool drink. We held a duck race in the pool which was so funny. We each bought a duck and they were all lined up across the pool. The pump must have been on fairly gently and they soon spread out all along the length of it, and then we had to rush to the other end to fish out the winning ducks and then catch the rest before they all disappeared into the drainage flaps at the end. We had to pack up rather fast at the end as the sky got really black, and we just made it home before there was an almighty thunder storm with fork lightening and lots of thunder crashes. It rained hard for an hour or so and then it was gone as quickly as it had come. Our morning raised €400 for the cause which is quite good for our small community.
We have another church event next Saturday which should be interesting. Several of our members have been enquiring about baptism, so we are holding a baptismal service on the beach. My friend Sylvia is one of the candidates and she was unsure about where this particular beach is, so after church today I drove her over there so she doesn't get in a panic because she thinks she will be late next Saturday. (She is 75 so she is very brave anyway). It is at Carolina Beach which is just a short distance further along the coast from the flat we used to live in at El Calón. The a service is at 1.00 and then we are having a picnic together. We will need to take our umbrellas as it is a very open stretch of sand with no shelter, and we will all cook. But I am really looking forward to it.
And finally an update on my lace making lessons. I recently finished a pretty bookmark that I was rather pleased with. It was the first time that I have made a piece completely unaided. Pam just gave me the patern and said 'See what you can do with it'. I waited to post it on here as I decided to put it in with a birthday card to Jessie. She reads my blog so I didn't want her to see it on here first. But now she has it so here is a picture of it. I thought it was really pretty. Then this week Pam gave me a pile of folders all full of lace patterns and told me to look for something that I liked. I knew many were too difficult for me yet, but I selected a few and she dismissed most of them because they used techniques I hadn't done. I finally settled on a pretty circular piece with only one new element in it and again she told me to have a go on my own first. Well it turned out to be a lot more difficult than it looked, because, being a circle, it was hard to know where to start. Also there are four elements to it which have to be worked in the right order or all the threads coming 'out' don't match the places where you need threads going 'in' for the next piece. It took me three days and countless restarts before I finally cracked it, but I don't like to admit defeat so I kept trying, and at last I have sorted it out and am on my way. Now it is just a case of doing repeats of the pattern until I get to the tricky bit of joining it up properly at the end. So here is the 'work-in-progress'. I'll let you know when it is done.
I probably won't blog again this week as Jim, Jo and the children are arriving on Tuesday for a week. I am so looking forward to having them here. I hope the heat doesn't spoil it for them. I am sure the children will enjoy jumping in and out of our pool to cool down. Jim really needs time to wind down, so we will be sitting around the pool relaxing and chatting for a lot of the time, but we also want them to experience some really Spanish things like tapas, shopping in a traditional supermarket, and enjoying some of our beautiful scenery. Marcus is doing GCE Spanish this year and is hoping to hear plenty of spoken Spanish while he is here. I'll tell you what we get up to next time I write.