Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lace Day at Macael

Macael is a small town just beyond Albox, and its main, (probably its only) claim to fame, is that it is where the white marble is quarried, that adorns so many places throughout Spain. Our favourite promenade, at Garrucha beach, is lined with a fine white marble balustrade, which is Macael marble. Some is ground into highly polished tiles to cover whole buildings, and huge blocks are used for many statues in this region.

We went to th
e main hall in the town where the local group of lace-making ladies were holding their annual open day. Pam, my teacher, attends a similar group in Garrucha, and we went as part of their party. I hope to attend the group sometimes too when it gets cooler, but I am not sure I can commit myself to another regular group. Pam has invited me to several Lace Days in the area this year, but there has always been something to stop me going, so this time I said 'Yes', even though it was held on a Sunday, so I had to miss church. I was keen to go as I had been told they were great fun, and also that there would be trade stalls there where I could buy patterns, thread, and many other items, which are just not found in any of the shops around here. In that respect it turned out to be a little disappointing as it was a fairly small affair. Only seven groups attended, where Pam says there are up to thirty at some of them. Mind you, those seven groups made a vast amount of noise, so thirty groups would have been horrendously noisy. The Spanish people are notoriously 'loud' and all chatter together and shout across the room at each other. Pam and I were the only two non-Spanish people there, so it was a good opportunity to practise my Spanish speaking. I did talk to a few people. They were very interested in our thin bobbins with their pretty spangles of beads to weight them down. The Spanish bobbins are plain, much thicker than ours, and unweighted. They also use long bolster-type cushions which are very cumbersome to carry around. Between us, our group nearly filled the luggage compartment under the coach with all our bags of work. When we arrived we were given a nice fabric bag containing a bun and a drink for our breakfast!, two free patterns, and some tickets to exchange for our lunch, and for the raffle. We sat at one of four long trestle tables which had our group's name on it, and all got out our current piece of work. We did a bit, and then walked around and had a look at what everyone else was doing. There were some beautiful projects on the go. Later there was a display of dancing by some local youngsters from the Macael school of dance, and then a group of ladies came on and sang. We decided that they were the town choir. They all wore black skirts with peachy coloured blouses and black shawls, and their skirts had three rows of handmade lace around them. Underneath they wore white petticoats with rows of pintucks, and more lace around the bottom, designed to hang below their skirts. What a huge amount of work to make them. Below the stage there was a display of local craft work, including some lace, but also crochet and sewing. I am showing the photo of a lovely lace fan, because it is my ambition to make one eventually. I am going to start with a mini ornamental one like the one at the front of the photo, and then hopefully I will be able to tackle a full-size, functional one. I was hoping to buy a kit for one at the event, but unfortunately there was only one trade stall there, and they didn't have anything suitable. I did manage to buy some spools of thread though. I chose ivory/ecru and pale turquoise. I can only buy white in the shops and I like to include a little colour in my work.

It was thought that the day was rather less-well supported this year because the whole town is at a standstill. The halt to the building trade means that there is no call for the marble, and nearly everyone in the town is involved in the business in some way, so they are badly hit. As we drove through the town to the main road out, we passed yard after yard piled high with tiles and big blocks of marble. It's very sad. Of course it means that local people have little money to spend on hobbies such as their lace-making, and the trade stalls, knowing that, didn't bother to come. Next month our local group at Garrucha have their own open day and I have again been invited. I shall try to go so that I can get to know some of the Spanish ladies. Also, being right on the coast, it will be more strongly supported and I shall again have the opportunity to look for my fan kit. In the meantime I shall try to finish the piece I have been working on for months now. I have to sit up close to a table to do it, and I was unable to sit comfortably for ages after my accident, so I am just getting back into it now.

I had to drive down to the coast by 8.30 on Sunday morning, to get the coach, and I left in plenty of time as I wasn't sure exactly where I was supposed to go. The nice thing about that was that I got to see my first sunrise in ages. Now Chris does all the morning dog-walking (again this is since my accident), I am not usually up in time to see the sunrise. It was a lovely one on Sunday, so I stopped along the front to take a picture of it, and just caught the silhouette of an early fisherman, hoping to catch his lunch.

The house next door to us is owned by a Spanish lady called Helena, who lives in Murcia. She only comes here a couple of times a year, so although she has some men who come in periodically to tend her orange trees, the rest of the garden gets a bit overgrown. This year an incarvillia has popped up from somewhere. it was hardly noticeable last year, but this year it has grown enormous and every morning I find new vines sreading across our path. I have been weaving them into the fence. It is fairly shady there and they have formed a dense green wall. But further to the front, where it is sunny, they have completely smothered our bottle brush tree, and the mini apple tree that grow in pots there. Now it is covered in pink flowers and it looks lovely. A lady from up the road, told me this week to cut it down and not worry that it is not in our garden, but we think it is too pretty for that. So we are waiting for another month until the flowers fade and then we will do some fairly ruthless pruning. Our neighbour has actually come here this weekend and she has had her workmen cut it down on her side of the fence, along with all the other creepers that have completely covered the front of her house, but our side is still blooming for now.

I have survived another week of my somewhat intense Spanish lessons. Three afternoons is too much really but I can't afford to miss one if I want to keep up with the group. They are a bit more advanced than me anyway, but I am just about holding my own, and I am learning quicker with them. I had a chance to practise this morning as I had my pre-op appointment with the aneasthetist at the hospital. Most people take an interpreter with them, and I would too for anything more serious, but I had been given a very full form to fill out, and I translated it all at home and filled it in so I knew what it was all about, and I managed to have my interview without too much trouble. He mostly only had to read my answers, and just asked a few simple questions about them. Now I have to wait for the appointment for the operation. I asked the girl at the desk about how long I would wait and she gave a typical Spanish shrug and said maybe two months, which in Spain could mean anything from two weeks to six months, so I don't know why I bothered asking really. Still, so that I don't get caught out, I have been working hard on my Christmas cards and have ninety-eight completed. So I just want to do another couple of dozen and they will be finished. I've never been so far ahead before. I'll get them written soon, and then I'll just have to remember to post them in time!

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