Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sorrow and Joy

This time last week I was feeling sad as I had just learned that The Lord had taken home a much loved and respected member of our family. Elmer was ninety-three, and had lived a full and happy life, but his passing still leaves a space that touches us all with sorrow.

However, today The Lord has sent a new life into our family. My first great-grandson was born at 7.55 this morning. Isaac Michael Edward Breeze bounced in at a bonny 8lbs 2ozs, keeping up the family tradition of larger than average babies. Both his mum and grandad (my son) were nine and a half pounds born, but Emma is only a little slip of a lass, so I am glad he wasn't quite that big! Here is his first photo taken by a doting Grandad when he went to the hospital this afternoon.

Of course I had made a card in readiness for his arrival. We knew he was a boy so I could confidently work with blue, and I am safe showing it here, as Emma does not follow my blog. Jim and Jo took it back to UK with them after their recent visit, but it will have to wait until after the bank holiday to be posted now. If anyone is interested, I will be posting details of how I made it on my craft blog. (I always write my blog first and then add the photos, and having browsed all my folders several times I simply cannot find a photo of my card. The only one I have is this one showing it in the process of being made. I can't believe I didn't take one of the finished card but maybe I forgot. If not then I have deleted it by mistake but I can't find one in my recycle bin either. So if you click on this to enlarge it, you will just see the card, finished except for the addition of the flowers in the foreground which were still drying. I am very cross with myself. I used such a lovely image, but I can't do anything about it now!)

Because of this combination of events, I made the decision to move my planned autumn visit forward by about six weeks. Originally I was combining a visit to see the new baby with a trip to the big craft show in Birmingham in November. My sister Jean and I used to go together when I was living near Birmingham, and we thought it would nice to go together again. However, when it comes to a choice between family and craft, family wins hands down. So I am now flying to Manchester on Thursday 8th September, collecting my son Jonathan (Elmer was his Godfather), and he will drive me down to Bournemouth for the funeral the next day. I will then spend a week down there, staying with Jean and hopefully visiting my brothers and sisters who live in the area. Then I will go back up to the midlands to see all my boys. I'll be based in Wolverhampton and Birmingham, but on Saturday 17th, we hope to have a gathering of the 'Perry Massive' as Jo calls it, which is all five of our boys with their respective partners, children etc, at Jim and Jo's house and I will travel back to Oswestry with one of them so that I can visit Emma, John and the baby. They were very lucky that the imminent birth bumped them up the housing list, and they were offered a council flat just last week. Apparently it is recently refurbished and is really nice. John's dad is a decorator and he has helped them to paint the main rooms, so she is keen for me to see her new little home as well. And as an added bonus Jean tells me that there is an alternative craft show at the Alexandra Palace on 24th September, so we are going to try to get to that. Then I fly home from Birmingham on Monday 26th, exhauted, in need of a holiday to recover, but with mission accomplished! I can't wait to see everyone again.

By the way, I must remember to pack some winter woollies. It's going to feel cold after Spain! We actually had a tiny shower of rain last night, the first in about three months. It was barely enough to wet the ground but it did lay some dust, and tonight the clouds are gathering again, so maybe we are in for some more.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A quick catch-up

I am afraid I have rather neglected my blog just lately, but this is mainly due to a visit from our son James, with wife Jo, and my grandchildren Marcus, Hannah and Amias, so obviously there has not been much free time for crafting, blogging or anything else computer related. However, we are having a quiet morning, catching up after a dinner and music night just down the road yesterday. They are here until Friday morning so we are just working out how best to spend the last few days. They were quite lucky in that their first few days were a couple of degrees cooler than we have been having so it let them in gently, but mostly they have coped well with the heat. Poor Hannah did faint on me at the vet's the first morning, but she was only just getting used to things, and has been fine ever since. We were at the vet because my little tabby cat, Luna, came in limping on Friday, and it didn't seem to get any better over the weekend so we took her down to be looked at. It turned out that she has broken her leg near the first joint. I've no idea how as there are few places too high that she may have jumped from. We think she probably got caught in some of the long dry grass in the green zone, which is very strong. I have quite hurt my toes when I have got tangled in it wearing flip-flops. Anyway, I came away with three syringes so I can give her anti-inflamatory injections each morning, and Luna stayed there for the day so she could be sedated while they put a splint on her leg. It survived the first night but she now takes it off as soon as I put it back on, so I have given up. I am just keeping her indoors, which she hates, enforcing her to rest it a bit while it heals.

Meanwhile, as a family we have had great fun together. We went up to the big village pool for a swim and the children spend hours in the smaller one at our house. It is too hot and lacking in any shade, to spend a day on the beach, but we took our tea down to Garrucha around five o'clock on Wednesday, and I got all five of the Perrytribe into the sea! That doesn't happen very often.

We also spent a day at Vera Water park. This was a new experience for them as they had never been anywhere quite like it before. It took me back a few years as we always took our boys to the nearest water park when we were on holiday, and I must say that our local one was as good as any we have been to. There was a fair size 'lake' for those who just wanted to swim, a wave pool, and a wide variety of 'twist and turn' slides; some open, others enclosed, some very steep and others more gentle; hours of fun if you like that sort of thing. There is a fair amount of climbing steps and waiting patiently in queues, and Marcus managed to make friends with several Spanish lads around his age, chatting to them in his 'school Spanish', just like our boys did at that age. It was good to see Jim completely relaxed and enjoying all the slides while keeping an eye on the two children, who fortunately are good swimmers, and had no fear about being thrown around on the slides. Jo and I hired two loungers and relaxed in the shade, sneaking a quiet cup of tea from the nearby shack, and catching up on all our news. We all got a bit cooked, but no one was overdone! Jim was stiff and sore the next day from the bumping and bouncing, but that's the price you pay!

When we came back from the supermarket on Wednesday, we saw a wild-fire on the hill at the back of the village, going up towards El Pinar, one of the little white villages you can see looking north of us. The flames were quite high for a while, and there was a bit of a breeze so it could easily have spread further. We stood on the street corner with a little crowd of villagers, and watched the helicopters filling their buckets from a nearby farmer's reservoir and dropping it on the fire. One was there almost at once and then two more came. They seemed to be so close together as one filled up, swung round and headed off to the fire, while the next one hovered close by waiting for his turn. Later a small light aircraft flew over and dropped what looked like a red, heavy powder onto the fire, and soon after that the helicopters left. There were lots of sirens all morning but as far as we have heard, there were no casualties and the fire was stopped before it did any damage apart from smoke, in the village. It was quite exciting for the children to see how they dealt with it, and I am filled with admiration at their fast response, and also their team work and accuracy when dealing with such events.

This week we hope to spend a day in Almeria city, visiting the ruins at Alcazaba for Amias, and the beach for Marcus. I always think it is quite an unusual place, as it is a big city, the capital of our province, but as you drive down the road through shops and high rise apartment blocks, you suddenly hit the beach. Today is a holiday here so shops etc are closed, but we are going down to Apolo for a typical Spanish lunch of tapas, and then swimming in the pool this afternoon.

Jim's family all enjoy playing board games and so do I. Last year I taught them to play sequence, and although Amias is only just ten, he is so quick to pick up the idea of a game and plays strategically almost at once. So this year I have introduced them to Rumikub which is a bit more complex, so we will get that out again this evening before they forget how to play it. We had a games evening on Saturday and we packed up around 11.30 and let them all swim in the pool until midnight so they were nicely cooled down to fall into bed. They enjoyed that. Chris and I often swim at that time and it is lovely in the pool with the under-water light on. They have all been very good about having an afternoon siesta so they can stay up for the evening, which means that we can have one too!

You probably won't hear from me again until next weekend when they have all gone home. I am enjoying having some 'family time'.