Well I have just discovered that it is over two weeks since my last blog, but that is not really surprising as I have been very busy. And I probably will be again for another week yet, so I thought I'd try to fit a post in tonight.
The 3rd of December brought our first Christmas concert with Cantante and it was a special one for us because it was at our local bar, so for once it wasn't us doing the travelling. We held it there because Mick and Ali, who run the bar, are great supporters of our village children's charity Asadis, and this year Cantante are collecting for them.
It went very well. We were extremely short of space, but despite struggling to squeeze up close and still find space for our music folders, we survived. There was a good turnout of both English and Spanish families, and they all seemed to enjoy it. They particularly liked our rendition of the old favourite "While shepherds watched.." which we sing to the tune "On Ilkley Moor but at"!, and also our finale song which is the "Milennium prayer" - The Lord's Prayer sung to "Auld lang syne", as performed by Cliff Richard at the turn of the century. We raised almost 200€ for Asdis as well, so it was a very successful evening.
At the weekend it was our bi-annual Gallarte expo, when a small group of local artists and crafters display their work and hopefully sell some of it. I never manage to have anything made in the way of craft at the right time, but it has become my role to supply baking and jam for sale, so once again I turned up with lots of mince-pies which sold very well. The Spanish folk must be getting used to them. They had no idea what they were the first year I made them. I sold quite a lot of plum jam, and also the piccalilli I made a few weeks ago. I had made six of the fabric pine cone decorations that I showed on here a couple of months ago, and I sold five of them, but I only sold one of the bobbin lace decorations. I wasn't all that surprised, because when money is short, people are more likely to buy food than decorations.
The expo ran from Thursday through to Sunday morning, and then we took everything down and went off to a nearby restaurant with our 'other halves' for a Christmas meal together. As we always do at El Cumbre, we had a lovely meal and it is such an attractive setting. The whole building is set around a Roman theme, as you can see by the huge mural in the back of my photo. Outside there is a big garden area with archways and 'ruined' walls, through which there is lovely a view of the Cabrera mountains.
Yesterday when we took the dogs out, there was a big 'structure' leaning against the telegraph pole outside our gate. I guessed it was the Christmas lighting for this year, but I couldn't make out what it was. Shortly after we got back, a lorry drove up and a man went up in a crane to fix ours and it was instantly recognisable as a glass of bubbly! He saw me taking pictures and gave me a wave. He was probably thinking 'mad English woman' but then he doesn't know about my photo a day project. It still seems a bit incongruous to have Christmas lights being hoisted up a pole when the sun is shining in a clear blue sky. They won't be lit until the week before Christmas, but then, of course, they will stay on until after the Three Kings fiesta on 6-7th January.
We are getting Christmassy in other ways now too. Last week I spotted some lovely poinsettias for sale in Turre and chose a big, beautiful one to sit on our front porch. It is just sufficiently sheltered there, as although they do get planted in lots of public flower beds, round roundabouts etc, if we have a really cold wind they do blacken and sometimes die, but our porch one usually survives. Isn't it a lovely splash of colour?
Today I did a round trip this morning, starting at Turre where I left Arwen at the vet's for a shave under anesthetic again. I didn't really want to have her done in the winter. I think she will feel the cold. But her fur was in a dreadful state and she won't let me anywhere near her to cut it. So this is the only way. For something so very soft and silky, it is amazing how hard the tangles become and it makes her uncomfortable. She does try to pull them out herself but she can't do it. She looks rather sweet again now and is much happier.
While she was being attended to, I drove over to Vera to collect a parcel from the depot because we were out when the courier called last week. While I was there I went into the big post office and posted all my overseas cards. I was a bit late doing this but I always forget that out here, the 6th and the 8th of December are public holidays, so no-where is open. And because they fell on Thursday and Saturday this year, many places stayed closed on Friday as well. I am afraid Michael (our grandson) will get his card a day or two late. He will be 18 on Wednesday! I remember the day he was born so plainly. It was the Christmas party at my pre-school and I had Emma with me. We took her to meet her new brother with her face painted as a little cat!
I then paid a quick visit to Iceland, whizzed home to store the frozen food away, and then went back to Turre to collect Arwen. She was still half asleep when I got her home, but she is fine again now. She has been sitting on my lap - a very rare occurance - but I expect I am keeping her warm.
All the animals are feeling the cold a bit now and the cats spend more time indoors than they do in the summer. Even the dogs will bark to come in as soon as it gets dark. Our only heating is the black calor gas fire visible in the back of this photo, and as you can see, the animals are all happy to share a blanket if it means they get to curl up (or lay out!) in front of it.
This afternoon I decorated our Christmas tree. I love getting the decorations out and meeting up again with lots of happy memories. Here is a group of some of my favourites - there's Ben's treble clef, Emma's ballerina (we each had one), our milennium bear and the tiny teddy I helped the boys to make with light-weight modelling clay many moons ago, a set of celtic crosses that always make me think of Jim, some lovely hedgehogs and an owl made from pine cones that Jean gave me, and the fabric bell made by Brenda, and the big bauble that started out as an empty, clear glass one which I learned to decorate on the inside at a workshop at the craft shop in Ellesmere. And so it goes on.
Something new joins the collection most years, and inevitably some things fall apart or get broken, but it always ends up as my beautiful tree that I still love, and that still brings me close to friends and family at the one time of year when I sometimes wish I was back amongst them all.
While I was busy with the tree, Chris was being a plumber's mate. Those who have visited us and who have needed to work around our temperamental bathroom plumbing (both toilets have a tendency to go into perpetual flush mode), will be glad to know that we now have two new cisterns, and hopefully the problem is solved. The plumber also fitted a new drinking water tap in the kitchen because the other one was worn out so that my kitchen work surface was always wet. The new tap has the feature whereby it has to be held down to make the water flow. This could be a good idea as my party trick was to turn the tap round and leave it to fill the kettle while I did something else because the flow was so slow, and of course I used to forget it until I heard the waterfall as the overflowing water cascaded all over the floor! Now I will have to stand there to hold the tap on so no more floods!
Well I've rambled on a bit so I will leave you with this beautiful photo which I took this morning. It is unusual for us to get up to walk the dogs before the sun is up, but today it was partly obscured by cloud so wasn't visible until a bit later. It was around 8.o'clock when we saw this lovely sunrise coming up behind the mountains.