Friday, March 29, 2013

Mercadillo de Artesanias

I thought it was about time I rambled through the past couple of weeks on here, which have in some ways been rather exciting.
I was approached by my Spanish friend Cati to see

whether I would have a stall at a new craft market starting on the edge of the village, to sell my jams and marmalades. I was under the impression that it was a 'one-off' mercadillo or street market, but it turned out to be every week to start with, and I am not sure I want to commit to that.
However I agreed to give it a go. I was pleased to be asked as I am the only English person included so far, so it shows I am beginning to be accepted by the folk in the village. They like it because I make an effort to communicate with them in their language, and also I sell my jams etc to raise money for the local charity.

The market takes place in a bar forecourt and the

terrace of the next door house, and it has got off to a good start. Alongside my preserves there is Cati's stall of sewn bags, embroidered cloths, and jewelry, Lara with her hand-made soap, some hair accessories, Flamenco accessories, ceramics, and esparto - items made from woven grass. 

This man has some amazing things made from his grasses, from a donkey with panniers, a guitar, baskets, sun hats and shoes, right down to the tie he wears. He is making something else all the time and I like watching him. 
The fence along the forecourt is hung with paintings

by a local artist, and last week Chris bought one for me. The flat-roofed white building with brown hills behind it and tall American cacti and chumba in front, epitomizes the landscape in this area, and this picture really caught my eye. It is now hanging in our hall where it will be safe from any direct sun rays.

We are open for four hours, 10.00 -2.00, so it is quite a long time and I take some knitting along to do, to pass the time. The Spanish folk are amazed that I can do it without looking at it, and they all come to ask me what I am making. I tell them it is a blanket for the babies in Africa, and they all come to admire it. I am using an interesting pattern with stripes in all the colours of the rainbow, so it is quite eye-catching.
Lara, who is organising the market, has said that perhaps after the initial interest has died down, we might just do it one Saturday each month, and I am rather hoping we do, as I would be much happier committing to that. But I am a bit concerned that soon it will be too hot for me to have my jam displayed in the sun all morning. I am thinking that most of it will have to be in a cool box under the table, so I will need something else to make my stall look interesting.

The Spanish customers keep asking me for sweeter fruit jams as they are not used to anything made from bitter oranges, and they are wary of my marmalade, though those who have bought some have been back to tell me they like it! So this week I went to the market and bought some strawberries. Don't they look beautiful? They look much too good to make into jam, but that is just how they are out here. I bought two boxes which is four kilos, and soon I had around twenty jars of jam. I have already sold several of them, but I have plenty to take to the market tomorrow.

The next thing that has made the past couple of weeks exciting is that a week ago on Monday I took our two fostered puppies, Suzie and Toby, back to the vet to join the rest of their litter. They were ready for their injections, and hopefully they will then find permanent homes. I had got very fond of them, especially Suzie which surprised me as it was little brown Toby who took my fancy at first. But Suzie turned out to be a gentle, loving little girl, and I really home she finds a good home. 
But while I was the vet's surgery I saw another pup and it was 'love at first sight'. Chris was also quite taken with him, so little Kim came home with us for a few days trial, and we said that if he fitted in with our girls, then we would give him a home. And he has really been very good. He is cutting his teeth on anyone and anything he can find right now, but that is his only vice. He has made himself at home, quickly learning his name, and falling in with our routine. He is almost house-trained and happily sleeps at night in a cage in the sitting room, which is still dry every morning as long as we let him out once he wakes. The girls are getting used to having him around, and they seem better with him than they were with the two tiny ones. 

He just wants to play and often Foxy will play with

him, but when she has had enough, she puts him in his place! Miki will also play sometimes, especially in the cool of the evening, and it is good for her to move around a bit. She is the laziest dog imaginable, so it is quite strange to see her chase the little one around the pool. 

When Kim is indoors with me, he has adopted the cat's bed (which none of them ever use). It is too small for him but he insists on curling up it. Once he falls asleep, most of him is outside of it on the floor, but he just loves it.

Outside he has discovered that he can climb onto the

old cane chairs that the girls sleep on, and he is often dozing on one of them. I love this picture of him on one chair and Miki on the other. He looks so tiny next to her, though actually he is a good size and he has grown a lot just in the two weeks he has been with us. He has big paws so he may end up at least as big as Foxy. He is another abandoned pup who was dumped in someone's front garden, so we have no idea what his parents were, but from his teeth, the vet puts him at around three months old.

On his first day with us I gave him a bath. I put him in our outside sink and he just stood there while I shampooed him and then turned the taps on to shower him clean. I remember the other two were  really unwilling to go near water, (they still are), but he didn't seem to mind it at all.

My knit for Africa project continues to go well. Donna

and I packed up our next consignment ready for sending to UK and we had 70 blankets, 144 jumpers and cardigans, 181 baby beanie hats, 18 teddies, 17 pairs of booties, and a few cotton tee-shirts and vests. I am still amazed at the generosity of people who give the materials and their time to help. We were fortunate to secure a donation of £200 from a Lyons club to buy wool, which folk soon knitted up for us.
Now I have been given six huge cartons of very fine wool from a lady who used to machine knit garments to sell. It is too fine for hand-knitting, but my friend Eileen and her husband John, have been gallantly winding three strands together into balls, ready for making blankets. I think it will look quite attractive when it is done.

And finally, here is a pretty sight that caught my eye

as I was driving along the back road to Turre this week. The road was lined with bright yellow oxalis, tiny blue speedwell, and dancing red poppies. They looked so pretty together and I just had to stop to take a photo. 

I am hoping to use the close up to make a background paper design. The sun caught it's petals and turned them to gold and orange. I picked the one to take the close up photo in the car, because they are so delicate and the wind was tossing them around too much. But they must really be quite strong because otherwise they would have had all their petals blown away in an hour!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Celebrations, both Spanish and English.

The very last day of February is an important one in this area, as it is Día de Andalucia.
 This year it started as a wet and chilly day, but we made our way over to the big marquee by the village plaza, where workers had set up a stage and some seating. Behind that, there were rows of trestle tables covered with entremeses (cold cuts of meat, cheese, bread and salads), all covered with paper until it was time to eat later in the day. And around them was the inevitable bar.
We found a vantage point from which to watch the stage, as children and young people from the two dance schools in the village, each did their little show. Some of them were very good. 

I was watching my friend's gran-daughter, who is part Portuguese, and she is really learning to hold the correct facial expressions, and use her long hands and fingers in her dancing.
The village choir also sang some songs, and then it ended with the younger dancers singing and dancing to the official song of Andalucia, around the unfurled  green and white flag. Apparently this is traditionally done everywhere that celebrates the day. I have tried to add a short video of this. Do let me know if you can't watch it. I am only just learning to work with videos. It is not the best bit of dancing they did, but you get to see some of the emotion it evokes among the local people. As you can see, they start dancing quite young. I love  the little dot on the right.
Click here to watch the video.(It is a big file so be patient while it loads and then it should play automatically).
I like the big paintings at the back of the stage. Each panel represents one of the provinces in Andalucia:- Almeria, Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaen, Malaga and Sevilla.
 And the stage was edged with floral arrangements in the Andalucian colours of Green and White.
After that the tables were uncovered and anyone who wanted to, could sit down and share in the meal. By the time we went home, the sun was out,  the puddles were drying up, and the little group of stalls outside the marquee were doing some trade.
There was music and dancing in the marquee well into the night, and everyone enjoyed the day despite the weather.

Today was a celebration of a different kind, as, for the English, it was Mothering Sunday. (The Spanish have a different date for this). My little church likes to make this quite special and we are all encouraged to take along a friend. Our congregation started out as 18-20 British folk most weeks, but our numbers have steadily grown, and now we usually have 40-50 people there, including some Spanish families. 
To accommodate them, we have added the words of most hymns to the overhead projector, in Spanish, and Sharon translates any major notices, the prayers and the sermon. She is English, but married to a Spanish man, and we are all filled with admiration at the way she translates 'off the cuff' for us.

Today we had around one hundred in the congregation. It was lovely to see out little church so full, and to be a part of the happy buzz of conversation, both before and after the service.  Our choir, Cantante, sang two songs which were very well received, and my friend Sylvia and I, were both asked to talk for a few minutes about Motherhood. I was quite nervous because this is the first time I have worked with a translator, but Sharon did a marvelous job for me. I was talking to my daughter-in-law this week and I mentioned I'd been asked to speak about Motherhood. "Shall I just tell them it's a walk in the park?" I asked. And dear Jo replied. "Of course. Motherhood is just walk in the park...but quite often it's raining"! Sums it up pretty well really! 
Anyway, it went very well, though there were a few tissues needed as we spoke. 
Two little girls chose to dance to show their love for Jesus. Julie sang for them while Robin quietly played his guitar. The taller girl on the left is English, and the one on the right is Romanian-Spanish. They live quite a distance from one another, but have become firm friends through coming to our morning service each week.
After an excellent sermon by a retired Elim preacher who lives in Rhyll, but spends several months each year out here with us, we all joined in with a bring and share lunch. All the men in black, and the ladies with a pink or green scarf, are members of the choir.
It was a lovely service, and just before the lunch, all the women were given a petunia plant. This one is mine. Isn't it pretty? Then we came home to find Mother's Day messages from the boys which was a good way to end the celebration.