Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Waiting ...

Yes, this afternoon I am waiting. What for? Well his case is packed, and Chris is ready for his trip to UK. But first there is the little fact of an England football match. We have worked out that he can watch it here and we will still have just enough time to get him to the airport. Once there, I will be waiting again, but only for less than an hour, and then Jean will arrive and we'll be on our way back home. I haven't done anything very exciting this week but I thought I'd do one last blog entry as I probably won't do another until Jean has gone back and Chris is home again.

We've had a strange week or so since Jim and Jo were here. Last weekend we had big thunderstorms and overcast days which is very unusual for June out here, but now that has gone and the summer weather is here with a vengeance. It is very hot, and siesta time has become our usual habit. I will be laying down with a book, under the big fan as soon as I have finished this, and I'll probably nap. The drive back from the airport will be tiring if I don't.

The weather has done the garden some good, and my stephanotis is in full bloom. It looks beautiful and the scent is so lovely. I helped my friend Sylvia to move house a couple of months ago, and we spent one afternoon potting up some plants from her garden as her new place has a gravel yard, and some potted plants have improved it immensely. At the same time she told me to take anything I wanted and I'm pleased to say, that most of the pieces I uprooted have taken well in my patio tubs. One real success is the calla lilies. I have tried to grow these many times in England with no success. When I gave up on them and tipped them out, their pots were always full of ants nests. But Sylvia's have grown furiously since I planted them and they now have beautiful bright orange flowers on them. I have seen them in several village gardens and they are always planted in a shaded spot, so I have moved mine onto the front porch to replace the easter lilies which are now dying back for the summer. As well as being a good year for the flowers, this is also a good year for bugs and beasties, but the one who visited us this week was more welcome than others I have shown you. This is a small type of praying mantis. It jumped along rather than flying, and has a much fatter body than the ones I have seen before. I suppose it could have been a pregnant female? Anyway, I put it safely out of reach of the animals. Praying mantis do a good job of feeding on mosquitoes and other nasty bugs, so I am happy to welcome him to the garden.

When we moved in here there was a sign on the front wall that said 'Casa cynder' which is a composite of Cynthia and Derek, the names of the previous owners. (Casa just means house). I asked Cynthis if she wanted to take it as it was personal to them, but she said 'No' so it has stayed there ever since. It has somewhat irked me to have someone else's names on our house all year, so last week, when we saw the little tiles for sale in Mojacar pueblo, we bought some new ones. We still have six letters so we were able to reuse the metal holder from the previous one. Here is Chris putting up the new sign. We are now officially Casa Krispy, which has its own special meaning for us. It has no real relevance, and is not a part of our address, but I am happy to have our own mark in place.

Little Sombra is settling down well and while in my room he comes and purrs around my neck and generally gets in my way! He no longer needs to be isolated but so far I have not been able to introduce him to the other animals without world war three breaking out. However, I feel he should have more freedom to roam around indoors (He can't go out until he has had his injections next week), so this afternoon, I shut most of the doors and opened my room and the kitchen and let him explore a bit. Eventually he discovered Paco asleep in Chris' office and being the sort of kitten he is, he couldn't 'let sleeping dogs lie' (or in this case sleeping cats!). Before long he was playing with Paco's tail and then they were both in the hall eying one another up with due caution. Sombra makes up for what he lacks in common sense with sheer bravado, and he kept creeping up to touch Paco, but when he got too close he got his ears boxed for his trouble. It was quite funny to watch them, but at least they didn't just attack and there was no fur flying, so they may at least tolerate one another before long, but I think it will be a lot longer time before he can be left any where near the dogs.

Monday, June 14, 2010


My new baby, Sombra, is settling down now and we have enjoyed some quiet cuddles, but he is very lively and his little claws are like needles. My neck and shoulders feel like they've been used as a pin cushion. He is still confined to one room, away from the rest of our animals, until he has finished his course of treatment. (When I told the vet I couldn't take him in for an injection on Sunday, she gave me a syringe to do it myself! I was a bit wary but it went OK and he didn't object too much). Anyway, the easiest place to isolate him is my craft room so he has been having fun in there. I keep the windows closed when I am busy elsewhere as he could easily get out around the mosquitoe net. But when I am working in there I have them open, and he likes to sit on the back of my chair and watch the birds in the green area at the back of us. Well he got a bit of a surpise today when he came face to face with Chico instead. He wasn't expecting that! He growled and spat, and Chico barked and barked. I can see we shall have to tread carefully when we introduce them next time. Here's a couple more pictures of him that I took this morning. He was playing 'peebo' with me across my desk. After his encounter with the dog, he has started sitting as close to me as he can get which is usually just on the other side of my computer keyboard.

This week I have been working on my lace again, and I have at last managed to finish my circle. This is the one that I did without help, and it did take me a long time to get started. There was a lot of undoing before I got it right. It is very fine thread, and I chose to put some colour in it. I like the look of it if it isn't too bright, and it helps me follow where I am going. Anyway, it is done now, except for sewing all the ends in, so here is the finished piece. I think it is rather pretty.

This weekend it was the fiesta of Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians) in Mojacar Pueblo. This is their main fiesta of the year and it is a truly spectacular event. Lasting for three days, it starts with the arrival of the Moors by sea with some jousting etc down on the beach, followed by a march up into the Pueblo, (the white village on a hill that often crops up in my photos), and the opening of the market stalls all around the main plaza at the top. On Saturday night there is a reinactment of the meeting between the Moors and Christians which resulted in an amical agreement. Then on Sunday evening there is a pageant when all those who have taken part, parade through the village and back down to the fuente at the bottom. We went to the Saturday parade last year with Dorothy and Jean who were visiting us, so this year we went to the Sunday evening one instead. It was rather nice at it started at 7.00 so it was still light and we were able to see everything clearly. There are many groups involved and each one has it's own distinctive costumes. We read that they hire these and they work all year to raise the money to do so. As they entered the main square, each group danced, chanted, and twirled around to show off their finery and then their leader did a piece with the leader of the next group and sort of handed over to them, and the first group set off down to the fuente. It took two and a half hours for the whole parade to pass, by which time the sun was setting and casting a rosy glow over the proceedings. There was an intersting piece in the middle when a cart was brought in by some scantily dresses and masked men who were twirling fire sticks and setting of showers of sparks. On the cart there was a woman and everyone started shouting "Bruja" which means witch. She was pulled down and tied to a wooden cross, and then a tub of wood at her feet was set alight so it looked as though she was burning! The first half of the parade was the Christians, and then it was the Moors, but I wouldn't like to say exactly where the changeover was. There were some Christians on horses and one had a little brown foal that did it's best to keep up with mum. Every time she stopped it tried to suckle her, but she didn't stay still for long enough. Later some Moorish princes arrived on camels, followed by some very elgant horses that danced for us. Then there were five birds of prey. One decided to take off, and it perched on the wires holding the lights across the square. His keeper had difficulty getting his attention with all the lights and noise, but he did eventually call it down. It is lovely the way all the families are involved. The children wear the same costumes as their parents, and they must be so hot. There was one tiny mite weilding a big sword with great gusto, and every now and then there was jeep-drawn float with losts of younger children on board. It was a really fun evening and I'm glad we went. I took 234 photos! but you'll be pleased to know that I have whittled that down to 60. I am only posting a few on here to whet your appetite. You can see the rest on my gallery ( Do take a look if you have a few minutes to spare. The costumes are so beautiful, and well worth seeing. On my gallery, the photos are in the order that they were in the parade, so you can see the light fading and the fiesta lights coming on. The later shots are not quite so clear, but I tried to include one of each group just to show their fabulous outfits.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Here and gone!

We enjoyed a lovely week with Jim, Jo and the family. The weather was glorious and they all coped with the heat really well. We managed to get out and about quite a bit, and also had some relaxing times at home while the younger members of the family (all of us sometimes) made the most of our pool. On Sunday they all came to church with me, and Jim shared a bit about his work in Wolverhampton. One of his colleagues in the diocese is a close friend of our pastor and two other families in our congregation, so they had something in common to talk about. We had a particularly interesting day on the Saturday when seven of our members were baptised in the sea near San Juan (just down the road from the flat we lived in when we first came out here). We all went to that. The children had a quick swim and then we all tidied ourselves up for a short service culminating in the baptisms. Afterwards we all had a picnic and then went swimming, and climbed on the rocks. It was a very nice beach (It's the one I tried to send you to Mike, though you actually found a different one). It was really two bays, joined at a point where there was a small chiringuito or 'temporary' beach cafe. One bay, the one we were using, had very shallow water and it was so warm. We stayed in for ages without getting chilled. The other bay was smaller and the water was a bit deeper, but it was teeming with fish, sea anemones, urchins and other interesting things. We also spent a morning on the beach at Mojacar, which is not quite so sandy, but there were some nice waves that we enjoyed playing in. Most evenings we all played board games together. The children were very quick to pick up the rules of a new game I taught them. We did have one evening out at our local bar where there was a live duo singing, and we all had a dance. While we were there Marcus managed to catch a baby gheko which is no mean feat. they are very fast. When Jonathan outgrew his pet ghekos, Marcus took them over until they eventually died. I think he would have taken this one home if he could.

On their last day we went up into Mojacar Pueblo, the little white village up in the hills, overlooking the beach.
There are lots of nik-nak shops there and the children enjoyed spending the last of their money. The views are amazing from up there, but we got so hot walking around, and we were glad to go back home for a final dip in the pool. The week just flew past. Having conquered their fear of flying, it was the first time for all of them, they are now saving up to come again.

Not all our visitors are quite so welcome. This intruder for is
tance, who came to call a week ago on Monday, was one we could have done without. It was the first really hot day we had had, and I was on my way out to my Spanish lesson. Just as I reached the gate, something shot out from under our car, and a little boy walking up the road with his mum, tripped over it. We were all shocked as we realised it was a very big snake! I haven't even seen one anything like that size out on the campo, let alone in the village. It moved like grease lightening across our front garden, zig-zaging about, and then it raised it's head and hissed gently. The boys mum thought it was going to attack me. Fortunately I know that the only dangerous snake out here is the adder, the same as in UK and this definitely wasn't one of them, but I hopped out of the way pretty quick all the same. It went to our fence and shot up the tree in the corner. By this time Chris had heard our shouts and came out to see what was happening. He assumed I was exaggerating and said he would knock it out of the tree so that it couldn't fall on anyone. But when he poked in the tree with a metal pole and the snake fell out just in front of him, he got a bit of a shock too. It was a good four foot long, and at it's thickest, it was as thick as my wrist. I fetched my camera but it was too fast for me to get a good shot, but here is the end of its tail as it re-entered our garden. It then disappeared down the water channel and we haven't seen anything of it since. The other photo I took by moving a branch of the tree and aiming at where I thought it was. I did get a section of it. There were workmen further down the road that afternoon and we think they may have disturbed it. Anyway it is gone now and hopefully it won't be back.

We have a new member in our household today. This is Sombra, which means Shadow. Since we lost Destino, Paco has been lonely, and we miss having her around too, so I had asked several people to keep a look out for a long-haired kitten in need of a good home. And last night, my friend, who works in the cat section of the abandonned animal centre, told me that one had just been brought in. He is about seven weeks old, and has the tiny face and huge ears of a typical Spanish campo cat, but he looks as though he will have a good coat, though he won't, of course, be as fluffy as Destino was. He is very dark grey, with feint siver tabby markings. He should be a lovely cat when he is fully grown. I have had him home for a trial today and he is a real lunatic. He has raced around my craft room all day. He is a bit wild if I pick him up when he is playing, but when he is tired and I have held him for a while, he has a loud purr. He is only a baby and he kept trying to suckle on my neck and arm, but I shall persevere with him, and I am sure he will soon calm down. I have to keep him away from the other animals for a while because he had a parasite in his gut which the others could catch. He is having a course of treatment for five days that will clear it up, so I have to take him to the vet for an injection each day, but by then he should be able to be introduced to Paco, and then to the dogs. That should be fun!

Now I am busy washing sheets and towels ready for my next visitor. Jean is coming out on 23rd and while she is here Chris is taking the opportunity to visit his friends in Oswestry. So Ron will be able to watch the football at home in peace, Chris will watch it at the Punchbowl with Michael, and Jean and I can switch it OFF !! Sounds like a good plan to me.

And finally, here is a link to a video on you tube. Some of you will have already had it by e-mail from me. It is a young 'street dancer' called Tommy, who came second on the TV competition show "So you think you can dance" He is a very talented young man and Ben and I both thought he should have won. Anyway Ben contacted him via Facebook and after chatting about what he likes to dance to, Ben sent him some of his compositions. Tommy liked them, and he has just released this video of his new showreel using Ben's music. Ben wrote it, arranged and played it, and Tommy gave him a bye line at the end of the video, 'Music by Ben Perry'. He is so pleased about it, so I thought I would share it with you here. This is the link,