Sunday, November 11, 2012

A wet week in 'not so sunny Spain'!

Yes we have had a whole week of grey and often wet days, which is unusual for us, even in November. It has been so wet that I even bought myself a light-weight raincoat, and folks who know me well, will know that I don't do coats!
It has been the kind of week when you don't go out unless you need to, but fortunately we have had sufficient necessary journeys to stop us turning into couch potatoes.
I spent most evenings in the sitting room, with either Paco or Luna, or both, keeping my knees warm, so I decided to find something new to make, to stop me nodding off. (There is very little on the television that is guaranteed to keep me awake!) The man who delivers our "Fish and Chip" baby knits to Africa, wrote to tell us that he now has sufficient of these in his store, and he asked us to turn our hands to making blankets and more standard small children's garments instead, so I sorted out my wool and have embarked on making blankets. I have two on the go as I get bored with a big project, and instead of knitting I am doing different styles of crochet.
The first is Tunisian crochet which I did many years ago when mum bought a Tunisian hook from somewhere. As a child it appealed to me because it was relatively easy and it grew very quickly! I am now using a much smaller gauge hook, and a slightly different stitch called Tunisian afghan stitch. It makes up to an even, firm fabric that will make a good blanket. I am making strips rather than squares as it cuts out much of the sewing up at the end.
The second one is Bavarian crochet which I have not done before. I saw something made in it on the internet and I liked the look of it, so I bought, and downloaded the instructions, and this is how it makes up. Pretty isn't it?

This week we had to go to the hospital at Huercal-Overa for Chris to have a special blood test that apparently couldn't be done at our local clinic. It is to do with an ongoing problem with arthritis in his knees and wrists. Our doctor had told us to just turn up and no appointment was necessary, but although we got there just as they opened up, we were number 56 on the list! Fortunately I had taken my crochet with me, so I got quite a length of it done. When he had finally had his turn, we went to our optician which is just down the road from the hospital, and I had my eyes tested, as it is now six weeks since my cataract operation. So I am now looking forward to having new glasses in a week or so.

Despite the poor weather there is still plenty to see in the garden and along the road side. Here are a few photos I have taken in between the showers.
It is amazing how everything has grown since the storm last month. The ground is covered in tiny plants pushing up through what was barren land. Many are even in flower as though they think it is Spring. Certainly our 'green zone' at the back of our house is truly very green right now.

Yesterday I spotted this spider suspended between two branches of the bougainvillea. he looks too fat and heavy for his fine web to hold him. He was busy wrapping up a wasp to go in his store cupboard. We occasionally get some nasty big black spiders, and lots of tiny grey ones which jump, and can give a very unpleasant bite that itches worse than any mosquito bite, but ones like this, that I used to think of as common garden spiders in England, are not seen very often. He was quite a handsome fellow, but I wouldn't care to walk into his web on a dark night!

Another thing I have noticed  this week is huge collections of birds. I stopped to watch these ones on my way home from Turre on Wednesday. They were in the tops of all the trees and packed tightly along all the overhead cables. They are definitely members of the starling family, and are very like the starlings in UK. The noise they were making was amazing. You can quite see why the collective name for them is a "murmuration of starlings". 
When something startled them they all took off and the sky was black with them, but I was disappointed to find that they didn't make any of the wonderful formations of flight that I used to watch when they all came to Oswestry.

The exceptional amount of rain we have had, including some very heavy showers, and some that have lasted all night, has hampered the workmen's efforts to clear and repair roads damaged in the flooding. 
I stopped by the rambla in Turre which is usually a dry river bed, and this week it is still a fast flowing river. I did find a tiny trickle of water down there one spring when I walked along it, but it was hidden by bushes and trees that were taller than me. All that has washed away now, and there is just water , a lot of debris, and a few struggling plants. No doubt it will all recover in its own time. Nature is quite remarkable in its ability to heal, but it won't start to happen until it is dry enough for the water to subside.

There is one good thing about this weather. We rarely see a really good sunset because most days the sky is clear when the sun goes down, but this week there has been a lot of clouds which reflect the last rays of the sun, and set the sky on fire. One day last week, the sun had managed to come out for a couple of hours in the afternoon, and I was just in time to catch this beautiful sight. Ten minutes later and it was all gone, so I am glad I looked up when I did.

And finally, this is for family members who I know don't usually visit my other blog, so apologies to those who do, because this paragraph is a direct copy from my post on there last Wednesday.

"And finally I must share something very special for me. As you are aware, our five sons came out together to help us celebrate both our birthdays a couple of weeks ago. Our youngest son, Ben, is very musical, writing songs, singing and playing the piano, saxophone and guitar. He only does it for pleasure but he often puts a video on you-tube, so I can see what he is doing. I was expecting to him to come over that week, so I had borrowed a piano so he could entertain us all at our party. But he then surprised us by singing a little song he had written especially for us. Many of our party guests  were, like us, older ex-pats, and we all miss our families back home, and our friends were very taken with the way we have stuck together as a family, and when Ben sang, "there wasn't a dry eye in the house". This week Ben has sent me what he called a "rough, live recording" of our song, so I am sharing it with you here. After all, it is not every week that you get a song written especially for you is it? Click on this link to hear it."

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