It feels like ages since I last did a blog post. Although I have been up and about for the past week, I am only just beginning to feel that I have left my virus behind, and I still fall asleep every time I sit down. But I have managed to get a few bits of crafting done, and I am enjoying having the company of my sister Jean this week. She hasn't had the best of Spanish weather for her stay. In fact I think it has been warmer back in the UK, but we have had had some lovely days and we have spent a lot of time just sitting outside chatting. She brought me her two latest craft magazines to look through and one of them featured a technique for making pretty backing papers using real flowers, and we decided to give it a go. I don't have many flowers out in the garden right now so we wanted to go for a walk and collect some wild ones. We had been to Turre to do some shopping so I drove down a little side-track where I knew there was a fairly wild field that was bound to have flowers in. We picked a lovely bunch of pink, lilac and blue flowers, and a whole bunch of the bright yellow wild chrysanthemums that grow everywhere during March, but I thought I was getting a few insect bites so we went back to the car. By the time we got home I was itching like mad and it turned out I was covered in mosquito bites. We managed to take a few into the car with us that we quickly swatted so I know they were mosquitoes, and I guess the recent rain followed by some warm days had hatched them out. Jean had a few bites as well, but I am like a magnet for biting bugs, and always get more than my share. I took an allergy tablet as soon as I could which helped me to leave them alone, but they are still causing me grief, and I am trying really hard not to scratch them. We have since had fun making the paper with the flowers and very soon I will do a post on my craft blog about this.
While we were in the field I spotted an interesting beetle, so I asked Jean to keep an eye on it so she knew where it was, while I ran back to the car for my camera. I thought from it's shape that it was an oil beetle but they are usually black and this one had a red stripe round each segment of its abdomen. But I was right in my assumption. I have looked it up on the internet and it was indeed a red-striped oil beetle, or blister beetle as it is also known. The names come from the fact that it secretes an oil from its skin when it is annoyed which is toxic, and it causes blisters on your skin if you touch it! But it was interesting to read about its life cycle. Apparently the female lays thousands of eggs but only a few survive. To do this the larva climbs the stem of a flower and waits for a lone bee to fly by. It clings on to the back of the bee which flies back to the nest. Here the larva eats a baby bee pupa and climbs into its cell where it lives on the food intended for the bee pupae. Then when it is fully grown it climbs out of the cell, drops to the ground and lives off plants. Nature is very strange sometimes. Anyway here is the best photo I got of the beetle. He was running around too much to get a clearer one. He had a mate nearby and he was more interested in catching her, than in posing for me!
Today started a bit too cloudy to just sit outside so we drove down to Mojacar to walk along the sea-front. It was quite windy down there but that meant there were lovely waves breaking over the rocks. I love it when the sea is lively. There are some lovely views of the bay and the hills just to the other side, and there are loads of mimosa (acacia) trees out in flower along the promenade. We were laughing at the obviously British residents and holiday makers who were walking along the prom in summer dresses - there was even one man in just a pair of swimming trunks - while the Spanish walkers were still wrapped up in big coats and scarves. When we had walked as far as you can go on the paved prom, we turned around to walk back, and we were then walking into the wind which was a bit colder. But when we got back to the beginning we warmed up with a coffee in a little beach cafe. Then we drove home to get some lunch and by this afternoon the sun was fully out and we baked ourselves outside for a few hours.