This will be a shorter post than usual (I can hear you all sighing with relief!), as it has been a week of unwinding after our hectic time in UK. we are regaining our equilibrium and settling into our usual routines.
But first, here is my Friday smile, which shows the highlight of my week, when little Tango came to join the family. He doesn't look very pleased about it does he?
When I took this I had just collected him from the vet. He was found abandoned in a drainage pipe, on some waste land, and he was dirty and smelly, with matted hair. So he was sedated, bathed, and most of his body was shaved, and in this photo he is still a bit groggy from the sedation.
He makes me very happy, because, although I have had many, many cats, I have never had a long haired ginger, and it was right at the top of my 'I want one' list! So when the vet phoned to tell me about him, I knew I would be giving him a home.
Amazingly he has not fought with any of our other animals. The two cats, Paco and Luna just give him a wide berth, and only come in the room with him when they want their food, but they haven't growled at him, or been aggressive in any way. And even Arwen, who isn't friendly with anyone, has allowed him in 'her room' without any fuss. She drew herself up and glared when he dared to eat her food, but made no move to stop him. He doesn't like the dogs, but they live outside, so he doesn't need to go anywhere near them.
He looks like a little lion with his shaved body and furry face and legs. He is already much more settled and looks quite content lying on a chair in the kitchen.
He will always look a bit grumpy because he has a Persian cats' flattish face, and dark lines in the markings of his face fur. I am sure he is a Persian cross, as he has the same soft, silky fur that my other Persians had. I am hoping he will let me brush it as it grows, so he doesn't have to be shaved annually like Arwen does. No doubt he will be featuring on here again from time to time!.
Last Saturday was a fiesta in our village. This time it was San Isidro Day. But for the first time since we came out here, the weather let us down for a fiesta. After some lovely hot days, Saturday dawned grey, chilly, and very windy. Of course this did not stop the fiesta going ahead, so we joined in as usual.
San Isidro is the second saint for our village, and he
is the patron saint of the agricultural workers. So he has a more modest statue which is carried on a cart decorated with dried grasses, and platters of local produce. He used to be pulled by a lovely old donkey, but for the last couple of years a tractor has been used instead.
The day starts with a mass at the village church and then everyone follows the cart along the street, accompanied by loud music of course, on a Romeria, or country walk, that takes us out of the village to the main road, and up the hill to the sports centre. Here it is parked and the people either watch the local lads playing football, or find a pitch on the pic-nic area and set up tables in family groups. We had a pic-nic, and sat for a while with our friends, but although we found a sheltered spot, it was too cold to sit for long. At least we had taken our jumpers with us, so we weren't too cold.
As with all our fiestas, there was a free meal provided by the town hall, for anyone who wanted to have a share, and this fiesta is the best one, because they make a grand paella. When we arrived the cooking had begun. I guess they knew there would be plenty of takers, despite the weather.
There are companies who specialise in this cooking on a grand scale, and they make it a real work of art. It starts off as a huge vat of boiling water, and sacks of rice are stirred in with huge paddles like rakes and shovels! They are free with the saffron and turmeric so it is a rich, bright yellow. Then the red peppers and garlic are added, and this year it was lots of big pink prawns and dark mussels. Just before it is served, a design is made with halved lemons cut to look like flowers, and smaller flowers made from red peppers. Sometimes it has a small flower arrangement in the centre, but this year it was a basket cut from a hollowed out melon, and filled with lemon wedges to serve with the paella. Doesn't it look good?
There is a stage built across the top of our road, and at night there is music and dancing. Sadly it started to rain this year, and we opted to stay at home, but the music was still playing at 7.00 the next morning, so some more hardy folk must have stayed out.
I guess the positive from that is, that when local traditions are the nearest you get to a holiday, then you go out and enjoy them, and folk around here really do know how to get the best out of life, and it is privilege to be able to share these times with them.
A big positive was when I went to my Wednesday sewing group and was greeted like a long-lost friend. They clustered around to admire the wedding photos, and then they gave me another huge pile of knitting for my Africa Project. There were about ten blankets, as well as gorgeous little baby jackets, hats and booties.
The bluey-green jacket was knitted by a Spanish lady who never uses a pattern, and she makes some lovely things. But I think my favourite this time was the beige and red jacket with matching red 'tamo'shanta'. Isn't it great?! As you can see, there was also a big pile of squares from several knitters, so I have more blankets to get sewing up and edging.
People are so kind and generous, and always willing to help.
Other positives: I found time to write a blog post about the wedding card I made for last week. You can see it by clicking here.
I have finally finished unpacking our suitcases, and found all the 'treasures' that I brought back from my shopping spree.
I had a long chat with my sister on Skype and we exchanged wedding news, and shared some craft ideas.
A friend of mine went back to UK to live about a year ago, and she has been back over for a short holiday. She came to church on Sunday and then I brought her back here to have dinner with us. We sat out in the sun and reminisced together, and passed a very pleasant afternoon.
We had an all day choir practice on Tuesday, so I was able to catch up after missing rather a lot of rehearsals. I feel more confident about the concerts now. The first one is next Friday!
I had a lovely afternoon with my friend Julie (the leader of our choir). She came over for lunch on Monday, and we chatted all afternoon. Then we went to the town hall and listened to a small group of children from the village who will be singing a few songs at the start of our choir concert here in June.