Sunday, December 18, 2011

A week with Ben

Here I am again with part two of my post. This time I am concentrating on the first week of December, when our son Ben was out here. He came all the way from Birmingham by train, and we collected him from the station at Murcia, on the evening of Saturday 3rd December. He was due in at 6.40 and fortunately the Spanish trains nearly always run to time. It was over an hour's drive to get home and at 8.30 we were due at a dinner in a restaurant just outside our village. We really wanted to go to this as it was the first time we had been invited. Mainly organised and attended by Spanish folk, there was a small contingent of English there as well. It was the annual dinner for ASADIS, the charity run within our village to raise money for disadvantaged children in our area, and it was arranged to coincide with the international day for people with a disability (Día internacional de las personas con discapacidad). We were invited because I make marmalade and jam throughout the year, and sell it in the local bar for ASADIS. I think half the village were there. They served up 250 meals as well as providing a long table set for all the children. This photo shows some of the children who have benefited from the funds we raise, presenting flowers to their main benefactors. It was posted on the charity facebook page with this lovely caption translated into 'Spanglish'! -

Pudimoa last night with a dinner celebrating the Day of Persons with Disabilities. It was a very beautiful night, all the effort and work of mothers in the preparation, bore fruit in an intimate evening, adults and children enjoyed. And just like this one situation, we have luck, the association continues to provide the necessary services for children and indispensable for its development. Thanks to all partners and coloboradores

We had a lovely meal, followed by live music and dancing. Ben was on his knees by the time we got home, but I think he had enjoyed his glimpse of Spanish hospitality.

We had just had a week of mostly grey days and a fair bit of rain, so Ben was very lucky to have a whole week of sunny days. He managed to wear his shorts for the mornings, and sat outside to soak up some sun, though it soon cools down in the afternoons now. Just to annoy his friends, he put a photo on facebook of our outside thermometer showing 28º, but that was taken when the sun was shining directly on to it! We have already made good use of our new fly-free area and we often still eat our lunch out there. Ben came along to our choir practice one morning, and then we went out for lunch and a stroll along the beach.

On the Monday evening I had a little 'party', inviting round two couples from our choir and church, one from the village, one from my sewing group, and a single friend who lives nearby, so there were twelve of us altogether. This is actually the first time we have done any proper entertaining since we moved here, so I kept it simple, with not too many people, and, and I just made a variety of finger food that could all be prepared in advance. The house looked pretty with all the Christmas decorations up, and even though most of them had not met before, everyone got on really well together. In this picture they are all sitting down for a chat and getting ready to listen to Ben sing a few songs. One of our guests, Robin, makes guitars, and he had lent one to me for Ben to play. So he sang a few and then Robin sang one, and we all did a few carols. Later, Robin's wife Julie asked Ben to sing one of his a second time before she went home as while he was playing I suddenly thought I could smell smoke and I remembered that my five branches of candles had been lit for supper (see the photo of the food table). I rushed into the dining room to find the candles had burned right down, melted the plastic flower rings around their bases which in turn had dripped down and set light to my polyester table cloth! I summoned Chris and together we soon put it out. Fortunately we had done justice to the food and most had been eaten, but the remains had a fine layer of ash on them. (The dogs had it the next day. A bit of charcoal is good for them and they didn't seem to mind!) I was a bit sad about the big hole in the tablecloth as it is one I have had for years, but I shall probably cut it down or patch it with one of the matching serviettes. The table itself has a glass top which was mostly unharmed though there is one small area of burn on its wooden frame that we are hoping we can sand away. It was entirely my fault for forgetting the candles, but I bet it won't happen again!

Mostly we spent the week relaxing together, going for walks, and listening to music. One night Ben sat up with dad 'til really late and another night he sat in the kitchen with me until the early hours, and it was rather nice having him all to ourselves for a change. I thought he might find it a bit lonely without Dave, but I think he enjoyed the break, and when he got home they went straight off together for the weekend, so they did their catching up then.

At the end of his week there was another little event that Ben had to come along to with us. It was the Christmas expo for Gallarte - a council sponsored group for 'Artists (and crafters) from Los Gallardos and the surrounding area'. I joined this group about six months ago and this was the first time I was showing any of my work. It is also an opportunity to try to sell some of it. In actual fact I did not have much to show this time but I had knitted a few garments, made some bobbin-lace Christmas decorations, and it was suggested that I also take along some jam and mince-pies so I did. The expo opened on the Thursday evening so I went that afternoon to set my bit up. When I got my camera out to take a photo of it these three Spanish ladies immediately came and posed for me. Cati, the lady on the left of the photo, is very friendly and we get on well with all her family. She is one of the main organisers of the Asadis group, but she also brings sewing and cross -stitched pictures to Gallarte. I am afraid I am not responsible for the lovely paintings behind them, though I wish I was. We only stayed for a short while on the first evening as we were invited to our friends house up in El Pinar - one of the little white villages up in the hills behind Los Gallardos. We had a lovely fun evening up there with her family and other mutual friends. The expo was open until lunch time on Sunday, so after church I went straight there to take my things away. I had sold some of the knitting, most of the jam and quite a few mince-pies, but only one of the lace decorations. That didn't worry me as I wanted some for something else, and it saved me having to try and get more made!

We took Ben back to Lorca station early on the Friday morning. It was dark as we left home but on the journey we watched a beautiful sun rise. We were trying to take photos of it from the car, and I did get this one, but when I went to take another, the picture on my viewfinder was very distorted and I have not been able to get it right since. It is a great shame as I carry it everywhere with me, and am always snapping up anything I see of interest. But Chris thinks something inside has broken. Fortunately I still have Ben's old one that I bought from him when he got his iphone with a good built in camera. It also takes quite good views, but the close up - macro setting - is poor, so it is no use for putting photos of my cards on my craft blog. I'll have to save up for a replacement after Christmas. Well, I think that is enough chat for one day. I have one more post ready to go, so I'll be back, maybe tomorrow.

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