Friday, April 25, 2014

Rocking Your World 2014; Week 17

Hi everyone. I'm back, and after an absence of three weeks, I have, of course, got lots to write about, so I recommend that you make a cup of tea or coffee before you begin.
For those who don't follow my ramblings regularly, I will just explain that I flew over to UK  mainly to attend my eldest sister Grace's funeral, on Monday 14th. But as I was going over anyway, I went the week before that so that I could help son number three to empty and clean his flat, as he has now moved to Denmark to live. So I had a pretty hectic couple of weeks. But there were so many things to be positive about, and thankful for, especially the family get-togethers for whatever reason. And this week has been equally positive, so I will give a run through of some of the events. It will be a bit photo heavy, but I have tried to just collate the most relevant ones.

When I returned a week ago last Wednesday, I brought my sister Jean (known to the crafters amongst you as Jean Straw), back with me for a week of Spanish sunshine, and I am using a photo of her for my Friday Smile this week. 

See Jean is not what you would call a 'dog person', so I was a bit apprehensive about how she would cope with my rather exuberant Kim, who at just a year old, is still only a puppy, despite being bigger than either of our other two hounds. He was already over-excited because I had returned after two weeks away, and a new person to play with just made him more so. He soon settled down with me, but every time Jean moved, he felt obliged to go and greet her all over again! On the last day, he forced himself into a tiny space in order to nudge her into giving him another rub, and we managed to catch her on camera with her arm around him. We e-mailed the photo to her husband who sent it on to her family and they all said they couldn't believe it. Her answer to that was 'He didn't give me much choice'! but I think they managed to get along quite well really.

The funeral was, of course, rather a sad day for us all, but it was also a happy time when we met up with family members some of whom we had not seen for many years. I am only including one photo from that day, and here it is.
This is a retake of an event that happened back in 1975. The two ladies in the centre are twins and they are my nieces, and their respective husbands are standing behind them. They had a double wedding in 1975, and the lady in blue to their left, who is their sister, was one of the chief bridesmaids. The other one was not at the funeral. All the others in the photo are their cousins and they were all little flower girls and page boys, except for my son Michael who is kneeling at the front. He was too small to be a page boy so he gave them each a wooden spoon. I am so cross that I can't find the original photo to show you as I know I have it somewhere.
So back to the previous week and a quick review of what I did during my stay in the Midlands. The first few days were spent in Birmingham with my youngest son Ben. He was a real star, taking me round the shops and waiting patiently while I tried on shoes and dresses, even fetching different sizes for me, and giving an honest opinion of what they looked like. I was able to find an outfit for the forth-coming wedding which was a real bonus. Then in the evening, he and his partner took me to the Hippodrome to see the stage musical 'Singing in the rain' which was just great.
On the Sunday we went over to Wolverhampton, to my eldest son's home for a family get-together, to say 'Good-bye' to Tom before he moved away. We had a lovely day together. Mike did all the cooking, the children played together well, and then we had a family board game. Here I am with my lovely boys. Aren't I lucky to have such a fine gang of lads?!
I should point out here that my husband did not accompany me on this trip because we were already booked to go over in May for the wedding, so he stayed at home to look after the dogs and cats this time.

The next day Tom and I caught a train back to Oswestry, and started on a week of intensive clearing of his flat. His main possessions had already been packed and taken by his company, who have been very helpful about his relocation to their main base. So we were camping on inflatable beds amongst the debris. On the last day he hired a van and we did a couple of trips to the tip with the last bits and pieces. 
But I did manage to visit a few old friends
and familiar haunts between the work. One day I went to see my Grand-daughter's new house. Her little boy, my great-grandson, is two and a half, and already enjoying mark-making with pens. He hardly knows me, but he was soon calling me Grandma, and it was lovely to watch him playing in his own home. I think he must have got that lovely head of fiery hair from his daddy, though his mum and grand-dad have the curls. When I got back from my visit, I found all the cleaning and clearing had been too much for Tom. He was fast asleep!

As I walked through my home town of Oswestry it was lovely to see all the spring flowers in bloom. The entrance to the town park always looks beautiful, and this year was no exception.Between the beds of pink tulips and red and white daisies, there were also beds of hyacinths, and they smelled heavenly. The tall spherical arrangements were all lilac and purple pansies.
The next weekend, I went out to dinner with Tom on Saturday, and then spent the night at my second son Mike's house, so we could make an early start the next morning. He was driving me down to my sister Jean's house in Bournemouth, ready for the funeral the next day, but he loves the south coast so we decided to make a day out of it first. We were so lucky with the weather. 

It was sunny and warm and we had a lovely walk along the beach and enjoyed the picnic we had taken. Mike then donned his wet suit and went swimming in the sea. There were plenty of folk on the beach, but not many were venturing into the water very far. I wasn't up for that though I have swum there at Easter in my younger days! However, I can't resist the sea either, so I did at least get my feet wet. After that we drove on to Poole Park and the Quay. So much has changed around there since we used to take Mike down on holiday to visit my parents there. It was great to spend some time just with him and we had a lovely day. Then we went on to my sister's house so we could be there when Tom arrived. He drove down in the evening with his eldest brother Jim. So I had three big men to stand with me as we said our 'good-byes' to Grace. Jean's house was taken over by them and their luggage. She is not used to being invaded quite like that, but they got out spare matresses and blew up air beds, and each found a space to sleep in. Jim and Mike had to drive back that evening ready for work again on Tuesday, but Tom stayed for one more day before driving up to London for his flight to Denmark. 

He had kept back his off-road bike so he could have a
couple more trips up the Welsh mountains, which he did manage to do, but it meant that, as well as his hold and hand luggage, he also had his bike bag, containing the partly dismantled bike, plus his helmet, rucksack and other bits and pieces. Here he is trying to balance on Jean's bathroom scales so we could check he was within his weight limit. Fortunately he was, though the bag was a very difficult thing to  manoeuvre with.  
This is really where I should end my post, and start a new one about this past week that I have spent here with Jean, but I will continue straight on, and you are welcome to leave now or continue with me!

Jean and I flew back to Murcia on the Wednesday, where my husband Chris was waiting to collect us. We have had a splendid week, with lots of sunshine, and warm evenings, though, as is usual in this area in April, it has been quite windy in the afternoons. We sat outside reading, chatting and doing our knitting etc, and even managed a few meals outside. We also did some lovely walks together. 

One day I took her to see the new harbour at Garrucha. It is lovely now the work is finished. I like the row of gulls sitting companionably together, with the little town behind them nestling below the mountains, and the yachts 

all moored in the marina. It was good to see Jean looking so relaxed and happy. We both picked up some sunburn on our arms and shoulders. Next we went back to Mojacar and walked along the beach. 

We both got our toes and hems wet, and walking back the wind had started up again and the backs of our knees were sand-blasted. Ouch!

On Easter Sunday we took Jean into our nearest town of Turre to see the Easter celebration. It is a very different way of celebrating Eater from my own church's way, but I admire their devotion, and the whole thing is quite spectacular, and a part of the local tradition that is well worth watching. The big church in Turre has three hermanidads or brotherhoods, and as far as I can tell, you are born into one of them. There is Jesus the Nazarene, Mary, (La virgen de los dolores or Our Lady of Sorrows), and John the Baptist, Each brotherhood wears a different colour, and carries its own banner. Members from the brother hood are chosen for the honour of carrying a trono or throne bearing the statue of their namesake, for the processions. There is a band resplendent in red livery to lead the procession and keep the bearers walking in time. They move with a strange swaying step, and one man walks beside them to ensure that they are keeping together, and the throne is level. He has a lever like a door knocker on top of the throne which he bangs when he wants them to stop or turn. Small children from the brotherhood run alongside carrying legs that are used to support the throne while the bearers stop to rest. They look very heavy, and some of the roads are steep and narrow. In the Turre celebration, on Good Friday, there is a throne carrying a statue of Jesus bearing his cross, and dressed in a purple robe, but on Easter Day just John the Baptist and Mary are brought out of the church, followed later by an empty glass coffin. The thrones are magnificent. Mary's is covered in silver, and banked with flowers, pink and white roses and carnations, and glass candle holders. She wears a dark blue velvet robe, and there is a blue silk canopy above her. They are carried down to the town square, and there they turn around to face one another. Every so often the throne of John the Baptist is raised up high above head level. Several other brotherhood members run in to help support it as it is lifted, and lowered down again, and each time it is up high, the crowd cheers. Then they run with it down the road and round the corner. A moment later they run back to Mary and raise it up high again. This is repeated several times. I have been unable to find out the significance of this ritual, but it is quite extraordinary to watch. Then Mary is also lifted up and eventually they both go around the corner together and are met there by the throne bearing a statue of Jesus. I always miss the moment that it happens, probably because we are distracted by loud giant party poppers exploding, but at some point Mary's cloak is reversed. The other side is beautiful pale blue satin, intricately embroidered with silver thread. All the brotherhood also reverse their cloaks so they are then wearing pale blue too. There is lots more lifting and lowering of the statues. John the Baptist is jigged around as though he is dancing. There is a lot of shouting and clapping, and band music, and it all ends with them processing through the streets back up to the church.
Here are just a few photos of the event.
The throne of John the Baptist.
Mary - Our Lady of Sorrows.
She does have a sad, but rather beautiful face.
They turn to greet each other.
High and lifted up.
The throne of Jesus arrives at the end of the celebration. The banner simply reads Allelulia!

Well I hope you enjoyed my brief run through of this event. I cannot fully relate to it, but I find it exciting and uplifting to be a part of it.

So before I sign off for another week I will as usual leave you with a sky photo. The season for beautiful sunsets has passed. (Jean tells me there was a lovely sunrise this morning, but our room is on the wrong side of the house, and I wasn't up in time to see it!). However, there were a few clouds around this evening and I was keeping an eye on the setting sun. I thought it had disappeared but suddenly it broke through again from under the clouds, sending rays out that stretched  across the darker areas of sky, so I took this photo for you.

I see I have an e-mail to say Jean is safely home again. So that is the end of a happy interlude. Now I need to do some very fast crafting as I have several projects to complete before our next trip in around ten days time. So I will link this up to Annie's Friday Smiles, and Celtic House, and go and get some beauty sleep. I sat up late to finish this tonight, because tomorrow I have to get to the hospital early for laser surgery on my poor eye. I am not looking forward to it very much, and I have no idea whether or not I will be able to use it again straight away, but it will be wonderful if it means my eyesight improves significantly. So we will wait and see what tomorrow brings.
A pat on the back for anyone who is still with me. Good night all!