Friday, August 30, 2013

Rocking Your World Friday

Well my world has rocked a bit this week and not always in a good way. Three good friends have all had sudden health issues within a few days, and one of them is very serious. This post is supposed to be about the positive things in our lives, so the positive for my three friends is that they are all a part of my church 'family', so they all know they are surrounded by our love and prayers, and they have a good God who is right there beside them.

So let's get the other 'nasty' out of the way. (Skip the next two paragraphs if you are arachnophobic!). I have for most of my life, had a great dislike, and a fear of spiders. When I was little and we moved to a new house with a long, overgrown garden, I had a pact with my mum that I would move all the grass snakes that came near the house, if she would move all the big black spiders. As a mum myself, I fought my fear until I was able to remove a spider that came indoors and put it safely back in the garden (with the warning that if it came back it would die!). Mum always used to say "If you want you live and thrive, let the spiders run alive". Anyway I was determined not to let my boys inherit my fear, so usually I can now cope with any eight-legged creatures that cross my path (as long as they stay below head-level!) 

However, as we walked the dogs the other morning, Miki ran to sniff at something that moved on the ground, and then quickly backed off, and ran on ahead with Chris. I had Kim on a lead and as we got to where they had been I saw an enormous black spider on the ground. It obviously objected to being sniffed at by Miki as it had raised its fangs and was ready to bite the next thing that crossed its path. I didn't even stop to get my phone out for a photo, but yanked Kim along and we sped away. When I got home I took this photo from the internet. I am in no doubt at all that this is what I saw and it is a black funnel-web spider, a member of the tarantula family that is native to Andalucia, though normally found further south in the Malaga region. Apparently, and I quote, "although its bite is not fatal like that of its Australian cousin, it causes a lot of swelling that is very painful".
I give that patch of road a wide berth now.
The next night I was relating this story to my sister Jean as we chatted on Skype, (Isn't skype wonderful?!)

The day before this my washing machine had stopped and the man who looked at it declared the fault to be terminal, so I was left with a tub of very wet washing. I hung it out still dripping but one towel was so heavy that it broke my line. So I then had one very grubby towel again, and when it was dry I tossed it on the utility floor to be washed again. My dear husband could see that the machine was one bit of equipment I can't do without and he immediately replaced it for me. It slots into a very small corner of the utility next to the dishwasher, and we had to remove a cupboard that stands in front of it, in order to get the old one out and the new one in!

That night I went to load it up and wanted to put the towel in with everything else, but as I bent to pick it up, this is what I saw! Another huge spider. I felt they were ganging up on me this week! I called Chris who helped me collect this one in a big plastic pot and throw it as far as possible into the green zone at the back of the house. It was night time, and pitch black out there, but I haven't seen it since so I guess he threw it far enough! This one, I am almost sure, is a wolf spider, which also packs a powerful bite, but I could cope with him. The black one left me feeling really shakey. And the positive side of these little tales, well neither of us got bitten by either spider, so that is something to be thankful for isn't it?!

Now onto some happier stories. Our little village is only a stone's throw from the Autovia Mediterraneo, the motorway that runs all along the southern coast of Spain. If I take the first turning off the motorway from home, I come to the town of Vera. It only takes ten minutes to drive there so you can tell it is quite close. The iconic symbol of this town is the statue on a hill just above the village. I love to see it so this morning, when I drove over to the Iceland Store (the only place around here where I can buy reliable fresh milk, and I simply cannot come to terms with using the 'boxed' milk in my tea), I decided to drive to the hill for a closer look

I have always fancied climbing up to the statue, but although there are sections of footpath with a visible hand-rail, it didn't look as though access is now available, and I have to say, I have never seen anyone up there. The hill is called Espirito Santo and the town started as a settlement on its slopes and surrounding areas as far back as Roman times. But in 1518 it was completely destroyed by the worst earthquake this area has known. The story says that three archers were each told to fire one arrow, and where the furthest one landed is where they rebuilt the town.

It is now a big, sprawling town, with a separate 'tourist community' at Vera Playa, a few kilometers south. So the town is now overlooked by this white statue of 'Jesus of the Sacred Heart'. It is actually 12 meters high, though it doesn't look it from below. In 2011 it was decapitated by a lightening strike, but I'm happy to say it was repaired. Although I couldn't get anywhere near it, I was able to use the zoom lens on my camera to get this photo.

As I walked towards the hill I was so pleased to see these lovely prickly pears on a chumba plant growing on a bank. This year a tiny white fly (moth?) has almost wiped out the chumba in this area, so it was good to see such a healthy plant full of fruit.
We have had a week of mixed cloud and sunshine, with a few fierce thunder storms. It has come a little early this year, but we are glad to have a slightly lower temperature some of the time. So I have been able to face my knitting again and have finished off two blankets that I have been making for my 'Knit for Africa' project. The first one is knitted all in one piece so it makes me too warm to have it on my lap, but I knew I only had a few more squares to do, so I was determined to finish it. I am still considering making a border for it. I think it will be better with one.
I made it in all the colours of the rainbow, but as it would not have been quite wide enough if I had just done that, I added a pale lilac stripe down the centre before working back through the colours to red again on the other side. Hopefully a young mum in Africa will be delighted to have such a colourful blanket to wrap her little one in.
The second blanket is actually crocheted. It is
Bavarian crochet which was a new technique for me, and I wanted to try it. I think it is very pretty but it took a lot of wool and has made a very firm blanket, so I don't think I will be doing it again.
While it was too hot to knit, I did a little project just to please me. I saw one of these made on someone else's blog, and really fancied having a go myself, so I bought the pattern. It is made all from African Flower Motifs, with 5,6,7 or 8 sides, and then they are crocheted together, so they were nice little pieces of work to do whenever I had a few minutes to spare.
Isn't she gorgeous? I just love her. if you are a follower of my regular Wednesday posts on my other blog, you will have seen these pictures before, but I think this one reaches a different audience so I am happy to post them again.
Here is Happypotamus' face ....
.... and here is her other end!

I shall be linking that to Annie's blog Friday Smiles, because it made me smile, so I hope it does you too.

And here is my little poser Arwen again. She was very peeved when I decided to do some card-making that meant she had to move from my desk and her usual post in front my fan. I had taken down my box of copic markers to do some colouring, and when I returned from having my tea, I found her curled up in the space where the box lives!

And finishing on another positive note, I am right up to date with my Project Life album. Here are the double pages for the past two weeks. You will probably recognise many of the photos but they are presented in a different way.

I added those last two photos as I shall now be missing for two, and probably three Fridays. We fly to UK on Thursday for a very busy couple of weeks. Chris is only staying for four days and then coming home to look after 'the zoo' but I am not returning until Thursday 19th, and although I'll have literally hundreds of photos to sort through, I am not likely to be ready to post any of them on my first day home! (My Project Life will then be three weeks behind again too!
So 'Bye for a while'. I will be back!
Now I am just going to link this up to Rocking your World Friday over on Virginia's blog, and also to Annie's Friday Smiles week33.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Rocking in late as usual!

Yes I'm late with my Friday post as usual, but it is still Friday so I'm OK. Plenty of good things to share with you, and if anyone  is wondering why I am so cheerful, pop over to Celtic House and read what it is about.
I'm a bit photo heavy again this week so I'll try to keep the words to a minimum. Sorry other rockettes who drop by to share this post. It is still aimed at family in UK so I like to share as much as I can with them.

We started with a lovely surprise party on Saturday night for our friends, William and Sylvia's golden wedding anniversary. it was a lovely evening and we gathered at the home of another couple where there was a big patio we could sit on, and room inside for a table laden with all the food we contributed. Everyone was well fed. 

Here are the happy couple (outside pair) with our
hosts for the evening (in the centre). They were truly surprised to find us all waiting for them, and they had a wonderful evening.

These are a couple of shots that are both typical of a Spanish garden.
After supper there was a toast and a cake to cut.
Some folks danced while others sat around chatting.
The house is fairly remote so there are views across to the mountains all around, and I slipped round the corner just in time to catch the sun sinking down behind them.

It is not often we are out for two nights on the trot, but on Sunday a friend of ours, with his mate, were providing the live music at the bar down the road - El Naranjo or Orange tree. You can see the tree that gives it that name just by the entrance where Brian and Dave are playing. 

Dave is the musician who accompanies us for our
choir. We have a wonderful pianist who plays for us, but Dave adds in some clarinet and saxophone when the songs are suitable, and we all love it. It was a good night on Sunday and we enjoyed it.

I had a parcel from Lakeland plastics this week and one item was a silicone daisy mould, intended for moulding icing sugar. But I wanted it for craft, and I had to dig out my very ancient fimo clay and make these. Now I just have to think of a card or something to put them on.

Another item in the parcel was an outdoor clock that took my fancy. We spend a lot of time sitting on the porch so it is useful to be able to glance up at a clock. We have temporarily hung it from the rejas (iron bars on the windows) but it will look better when we have it on the plain white wall. As well as the clock face it also has two small dials for humidity and temperature. You can just see the one on the right is registering the temperature as 30ยบ and that is in the evening on a shady porch!

Our stephanotis has decided to bloom for a second time this year. That is very unusual, but it is so pretty and it smells heavenly.

One evening I stayed out on the porch for the evening instead of coming down to my craft room as I usually do, and I happened to see a full moon rising. so of course I reached for the camera!

We ended the week with a lovely morning trip down to Garrucha marina - just 15 minutes drive from here. A friend had told us that there was a replica of Magellan's ship there - the first ship to circumnavigate the world in 1519-22. So we decided to pay it a visit. It was not very big and I am glad I didn't have to live on it for three years!

A group of men actually re-lived the journey in this ship 2004-06 but they used the easier route through the Suez canal and the Panama canal, whereas on the original trip they had to sail around The Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn - a much more dangerous
venture. I wouldn't have wanted to be this man, working up in the rigging, even on a calm day like this one. But he was singing all morning so he was quite happy to be up there.

I went up on the top deck...
And looked down on Chris waiting below ....

And for our 'nature lesson' today I am using a small collage I posted on here a few years ago at this time of year. (mainly because the photos I took this morning were not very good!) From a distance, some of the fields around here appear to be filled with rather bare, dead looking shrubs, with a covering of white blossom. But on closer inspection you can see that the blossom is in fact snails. 

These little creatures amaze me. they just appear at the start of the summer. They climb up a chosen branch and seal themselves on to it, often piling up in layers, and there they stay, in the baking sun, without moving, all summer. When the first rain of Autumn comes, they will climb down, do what snails have to do, and we won't see them again until next summer!
Well that's all for this week folks. I just have time to go and link up with Virginia's blog and see what the other Rockettes have found to be happy about this week.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Another week of positivity!

First of all a big apology to family and friends who only follow me on this blog. If you are wondering whether last week was so bad that I had nothing positive to say, that was not the case. For some unknown reason, (except it must have been human error - mine!), my post ended up on my other blog, which I keep mainly for my craft. So if you want to know what you missed, click HERE.
But I am back where I belong this week. It has been a quiet week, much of which has been spent just trying to keep cool, from sitting under a fan to dipping in the pool, it has been too hot to do much else. 
However, we are kind of aclimatised so when we
have to do something, we do it, and this week I had to do some ironing. I confess that it is not a chore I ever choose to do, but during the summer I do as little as possible. Most of our summer clothes do not need ironing, but some of Chris's shirts and a few of my dresses really do need a quick press. Both our wardrobes were looking a little bare, so I was happy to find that one morning was overcast and there was a slight breeze.  I opened the front door and set up the ironing board just inside it. With music on the keep me going, it was soon done. That is probably it for another month, though I expect I had better dig out a few warmer clothes for our trip to UK early September, and they may need an iron.(In case you are wondering why I have a photo of me doing things like the ironing, I take them for my Project Life album)!
I have to add another bug for this week, and this
time it is pretty red dragonfly that sat on the side of our pool for ages. It is only quite small but such a pretty colour. It comes each year and often there is a blue one too, but he has appeared so far.
A couple of weeks ago I showed Chris taking his street-bike over to a courier friend who delivered it to our son Ben in Birmingham. Ben rides to work
everyday and was finding his mountain bike too heavy. He wanted something lighter and faster, and as Chris' bike wasn't very suitable for the rough roads out here, they agreed to swap. This week Ben's bike arrived here, and Chris is very pleased with it. He has had a few short trips in the cool of the evening, but he will use it more as the autumn approaches.
Kim was in trouble this week. He is such a big boy
now that we forget he is still only a puppy, and at eight months everything is worth investigating. This plant was perched on step in the porch but I thought it was heavy enough to be safe. But I guess Kim got bored one morning and a bit too nosey, and he knocked it off.
But he is not like most puppies who know when they have been naughty. They won't meet your eye and hide away from you. But Kim just sat looking at me as much as to say "Well you left it there. What did you expect?"

We did have some entertainment this week on Sunday night. It was the final day of Theatre Week and we had seen road
signs to say that the roads in the village would be closed from 22.00-24.00! We had no idea what for, but when I walked Kim around tea-time there was a van parked on the car-park and a row of long 'sit-and-ride trailers'. It was hard to imagine they had all come out of the van but they must have done as there were no other vehicles around.
Anyway, sure enough at 10.00 we heard loud music coming from the direction of the plaza, so we walked up the road to take a look.What we saw was such fun that I am including quite a few photos of it.
We were so surprised when round the corner came five huge figures.
Each one was on its own trailer driven by a man in smart red uniform. The lights behind him changed the colour of the figures which were also lit from inside.

The driver had a box of levers on his handlebars that he could use to change the lights, make them spin, and bow their heads. 

Each one had its own top volume music. They all had a dual face, but some were happy and some sad.

This one looks quite anxious.
They were huge, taller than the trees and the buildings.
Despite it being almost midnight by now, the street was heaving with people of all ages.
We followed the procession up to the little square in front of the village church.
The drivers dismounted and set off huge 'party poppers' filled with shiny pieces of paper that had the children running around trying to catch them.
Then they made their way back down to the plaza, and we went home to bed!
Part of the fun was that it was so unexpected, and different.
Well after that long and photo-heavy post, I will leave you with one more picture. This time it is Paco, our 'campo' cat, rescued when he was just opening his eyes, bottle fed by the kind lady he was 'dumped' on, and adopted by her dog, we took him at eight weeks and he is very much at home with us. He is outside all day in the summer but never wanders far from home. I found him trying to fit into a narrow strip of shade on the outside sink. He looks as though someone has stretched him.
I shall link this to Annie's Friday Smiles.
I shall also link up with Celtic House to join the other positive thinkers, and see what they have had to smile about this week.