Monday, June 18, 2012

Aren't they gorgeous?

Hi, my faithful followers. You must be wondering where I have been. I am not usually a fortnight between posts, and it is not that I haven't done anything to write about, it is simply that there aren't enough hours in the day to get it done!

But tonight, while Chris watches yet another football match, I thought I would sit here and do a bit of typing. 

This time I am sharing a few little nature pictures that have taken my fancy this week. The first is a row of baby house martins. Aren't they gorgeous? When we walked the dogs at the weekend we came home by a different route and we passed these overhead cables lined with birds. Needless to say I didn't have my camera with me.

Today I had an early appointment at the medical centre for a blood test and electrocardiogram (pre-requisites for my second cataract operation),and as I was leaving the house Chris asked me why I was taking my camera to the doctor's. I said I was hoping to get a photo of the little birds and he gave me a scornful look and said 'They won't still be there'. I said, 'No, but I bet they'll be there again!', and so they were.  You can see they are only babies. They are quite fluffy still, and one or two were having some balancing difficulties.

The second thing I have been watching is a little spider who lives on the huge American cacti just beyond our back fence. She has a very untidy web that criss-crosses between the leaves and catches all sorts of debris. A few weeks back the high winds broke a large branch off the mimosa tree and it fell across her web and destroyed most of it. I felt quite sorry for her. She had laboured over it for weeks. But she soon had it repaired and then she expanded it over several more cacti. It was quite impressive for one little spider. 

Then last week some white oval shapes appeared in the web. At first I thought it was just fluffy seeds blown there, but then I realised that they were egg sacks. I have never seen a spider with lots of them before, but she had groups of two or three linked together in several areas of her web. This week they started to hatch and suddenly she was inundated with spiderlings, smaller than tiny ants. 

This is what one lot looked like. I thought the brown area was the babies and the black dots were probably seeds from the mimosa tree. They seem to be everywhere else in the garden at the minute. But today I discovered that the black dots are the baby spiders, and the brown bits are tiny egg shells, or first layers of skin that they shed as soon as they were born. The babies haven't stayed together like some baby spiders do. Most of them have disappeared. But that area at the back is the hunting ground for loads of insect eating birds, so they may have met an untimely end. I wouldn't want them all to survive anyway, but I have enjoyed watching them.

Then tonight, when I gave the dogs their tea, I noticed something swimming round and round in their water bowl. I know I shouldn't interfere with nature, but I have to rescue things if they are struggling, so I fished it out, and it was this tiny praying mantis. I think she is exquisite. So tiny, but so perfect. She sat on my finger while she cleaned the water off herself, and then she got a bit lively so I put her back on a plant. She is a good bug to have around. She eats a lot of the bad bugs! I know some of you don't understand how I can like all these creepy-crawlies, but I just think God's creation is wonderful!

On a very different note, we had another excellent open-air concert with Cantante on Saturday night. It is harder to sing in the open, but we had a good crowd who came to listen and they all seemed to enjoy it. People are surprised that we have so many men in the choir, and are especially impressed when they sing a song without the ladies! 

Afterwards we wanted to get back quickly as we were invited to a 65th birthday party in the village, and although the couple knew we couldn't be there for most of it, they did ask us to call in when we got back. So we jumped in the car only to find we had a completely dead battery. It had given us no warning or trouble before, but apparently that's how it is out here. Something to do with the heat we are told. Fortunately one of the men in our choir is a mechanic and he came across and reassured us that this was the only problem, and he helped us to jump start the car so we made it home safely. Today we have a new battery installed, so problem sorted.

This morning we had another choir practice at the venue for our final concert on Wednesday evening. This one is a sort of a 'party in the park' style of event. Everyone is invited to bring along their chairs and tables and a picnic. It is at the house of one of the singers. She has a lovely villa, though it is a bit too far off the beaten track for me. There are nice wide veranda steps where we can stand to sing, and the visitors can sit around the pool to listen. We are expecting around 100 people there, so it could get a bit crowded.
This is the view from where we stand, so there are no neighbours to complain about the noise! Afterwards we are having an end of season party there, with a band, dancing, and even a mid-night swim if you want it. it should be fun.

We had another visit to our favourite beach, Los Cocedores, last Thursday. This time it was for a baptismal service with our church. There were six people who were baptised in the sea, five British and one Spaniard. It was very hot, and the high winds earlier in the week had washed more weed than usual towards the shore, but we managed to find an area that was clear. A good crowd of church folk and other friends came to share the occasion.  There were quite a few other families on the beach so this time, in anticipation of that, we had printed out little leaflets in English and Spanish, explaining what was happening. Quite a few people came to watch and took one. It was a good day!

Well that's quite enough for you to read through for one night. I'll maybe come back later in the week and tell you how the last concert goes.

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