I am starting off this week with my Friday Smile, and it is a photo that I can take no credit for whatsoever. It was taken on a rather stormy day, from the mountains between Murcia and Almeria, looking towards Lorca. It was featured on the Facebook page of our local radio station - Spectrum radio. With almond blossom in the foreground and a rainbow falling from the storm clouds, I think you will agree that it is absolutely beautiful, and I just had to share it with you.
So, what else has made me smile this week. well mainly it is the way Spring is waving its wand over our little bit of garden. We have a scruffy little window box that I have never managed to keep plants alive and healthy in for long, so in desperation I stuck in some pieces that I broke off a succulent and see what has happened. Bright yellow flowers now greet me every time I come out the front door.
I think I'll have to put some cuttings up the other end of the box now as well.
There is a small length of wall that divides the front garden from the back/side yard, and this is covered by a jasmine plant. But it is like no other jasmine I have seen, and at this time of year, it is smothered with pink flowers, and gives off a very heady perfume that you can smell all through the house, and down the street. It is a little later than usual this year, but yesterday we noticed that the first flowers have opened.
As you can see, in a week or two this will be a sea of pink blossom, and no doubt I will be showing it to you again.
My third garden delight is this plant. When we visited some friends up near Arboleas, a few years ago, they gave me this pot of bulbs, because it had not flourished on their yard. The first Spring it gave me one flower, but for the last couple of years it has had no flowers at all. Then this year I saw that three of the bulbs had a flower head forming and now we have these beauties. It is an alpine plant and it's common name is Madeira squill. The flowers are a deep blue, almost purple, much darker than they look here, and it is so pretty.
I have been having fun making fruit drinks in my big blender. Just lately I have had fresh strawberries in the fridge which have a very strong flavour that usually wins over the other fruit I use. And I find a banana really smoothes out the drinks. But yesterday I decided we needed something less acidic, and as I was not cooking many vegetables with our dinner I juiced them instead. So for this I used two raw carrots, a small stick of celery (another strong flavour that dominates if you use too much of it), one large whole apple with just the pips removed, and about an inch of fresh root ginger. It made us a glass each and it was delicious. My husband isn't always convinced when he sees me coming with a glass of coloured liquid, so I like to keep the ingredients a secret to see whether he can guess what is in them. He picked out the celery, but I was surprised he couldn't identify the ginger. But then, I knew it was there!
Today was an important day on the calendar for this area as it was Día de Andalucia. In our village this is celebrated with a concert in the morning, of the children from the two local dance schools. Their dresses are so pretty and I love to see them dance. Also the ladies, and a few men, from the village choir, sang some rousing songs. This is followed by a free meal of cold meats and cheeses with olives and bread (known as entremesas), which is set up on long trestle tables down the length of the marque, at the start of the morning. It is covered with sheets of paper, and it always amazes me that no-one touches it until after the concert has finished. Then the people pick up the chairs they have been sitting on to watch the dancing, and move them around the tables. We went to the concert but we didn't stay for the 'bun fight'. Instead Chris took me to the local bar for some lunch.
The day continues with live music and dancing that goes on until midnight.
At the back of the stage there is a row of banners which come out each year and I really like them. There is one for each of the provinces in Andalucia. They are: Almeria, Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaen, Malaga and Sevilla.
I will now post various photos of the day. I have left them until the end, as folk who have followed me for more than a year will have seen them all before. As will all the fiestas here, they are part of the local tradition and they don't tend to change much from year to year. But I know I have some newer followers who won't have seen them, so I wanted to include them. The lovely green and white flower displays are the colours of the Andalucian flag. Most of the village turn out to watch, and the marque was packed.
And finally, for my sky photo this week, here is one I took on the same stormy night as the one at the top was taken. It had rained all day, but there was just enough sun at the end of the day, to break through the dark clouds.
Well, as I spent most of this evening chatting to my sister on Skype, I am very late posting this, but I have five minutes left to link this up to Annie's Friday Smiles, and Celtic House, before the clock strikes midnight and I might just turn into a pumpkin! Though of course, for my friends and family over in UK it is still only 11.00pm, so I still have plenty of time!