My smile for this week is a group of our friends whom we spent last Saturday evening with.
We were at the home of our friends John and Eileen and we were celebrating John's 80th birthday (not that we need an excuse to get together!). His actual birthday was a few weeks ago but they were in UK at the time.
John and Eileen are probably the longest standing British residents in our village so they had to learn to communicate with the Spanish when they first came, and are now fluent. Their parties always have a good cross-section of Spanish and English guests and I really enjoy chatting to them. We have a few misunderstandings along the way, but we manage.
While we were there, Cati's husband Pepe asked me if I would meet with his niece, on holiday from Barcelona, who needed some help with English, so on Monday I went to her grandmother's house. I couldn't have been given a warmer welcome. I spent a pleasant hour or so chatting with the niece, who is already a kindergarten teacher, but she is learning English just using some very formal Cambridge study books. Folk from Barcelona mostly speak Catalan at home, but use standard Spanish in schools and business, and they are much easier to understand than the folk from the village who speak with a deep Andalucian accent. We do have a number of Spanish acquaintances in the village now, but I always consider it a privilege to be welcomed into their home.
The weather is consistently 'HOT' now, to the extent that it is not even pleasant sitting out in the shade, because the breeze is so warm, so most afternoons we have sat indoors with the fan on, watching some of the Commonwealth games, (and the racing from Goodwood for Chris), and usually nodding off for a siesta along the way. But I am thankful for this time to rest, and not feel obliged to be rushing around, doing things all the time.
I have been equally grateful for early evenings when I can sit outside, and I have managed to have a significant impact on my cross-stitch picture. There is still a long way to go, but I think I am passed the half-way mark.
I am thankful for the chance to catch up with some reading. Mostly I only do this in bed, and I tend to read the same page three times because I haven't taken it in, and then drop the book as I fall asleep! So during the afternoons this week I have read two whole books and have really enjoyed doing so.
I am extremely grateful for our newly repaired fly screen around the porch. This year there have been relatively few flies and wasps, but now the fields have been stripped of melons which are at the height of their season, and any that were damaged, too small etc, were left lying on the ground. These ripen and burst open and the flies feed on the sugar and breed, so there will likely be more around now.
We have also had a plague of tiny white flies, or possibly moths. We have not had these before and they are a great nuisance. They are attracted to lights so I have my window closed this evening while I work here, as they are small enough to come through the fly-nets, and my computer screen get dotted with them. The good thing about them is that they don't bite, but they are irritating all the same. They may be tiny but you can still feel them when they land on you. I thought at first they did bite because if you squash one with your finger they leave a red stain, (blood?!), but after a bit of investigation via google, I now know they contain a die much like cochineal. Hence the pink lines all over my computer screen! They are the moth that decimated the chumba (prickly pears) all over this region last autumn, so I guess they will be doing the same again this year.
They are impervious to all the main fly sprays, but although some are small enough to get in through the nets, many others are not, and in the morning our screens are covered with them, until they die in the heat and fall off. It's like a snow storm. So without the nets we would be going barmy with them by now. It wasn't easy to photograph them, but you can see some.I love the way our garden continues to grow in this
heat. The oleander at the back of our fence is still hanging bunches of pink blossom over our side. It is a double flower and reminds me of small pink camellias.
We inherited some lovely plants with the house, including a beautiful palm out the front. I have seen some of a similar size in the garden centres, selling for upward of 100€. It is only in a smallish pot but it seems to like it there. All through the winter and spring it got regulalrly blown over by the high winds, and apart from being heavy, it has some wicked spines under its leaves, and it takes both of us to right it again. So it is a wonder it is still alive. But every year or so it produces a new crown of leaves, and these grow so fast that you can almost miss them. When the lads were visiting us just two weeks ago, I pointed out to them a circle of little bumps around the centre of the palm, that I knew would be a new set of leaves. Now just a fortnight later, they are more or less fully grown. They shoot out almost while you watch them, and then they uncurl and look like someone who has has a too tight perm! This time it was almost a double circle of new growth, and in a few weeks we will have to get down under it and trim off the outer circle of dying leaves. That is how the stem is formed. If we live long enough we will have a palm tree!
A few other 'Thankfuls' -
A long chat with my sister on skype. We make video calls, and if the connection is good, it is almost like sitting in the same room and chatting together.
The vast choice of beautiful ripe fruit in the market. I just love the black cherries, melons and peaches.
The fact that this morning I did the whole month's supermarket shopping in one trip, so I will only have to go for bread and milk, and to the market for fruit and veg, until September! I am not a fan of food shopping, and while it is so hot, the last thing I want to do is keep driving to the supermarket. It was a bit of a marathon, and I hate unpacking it and persuading my fridge and freezer to have elastic sides for a week or two, but at least it is done and dusted for this month.
Messages from our Grandsons, thanking me for a lovely holiday, and for letting them bring their girlfriends with them this time. We loved having them here anyway.
The pool, which Chris keeps sparkling clean so it is always inviting. It is only small but it is so refreshing to have a dip after our siesta, or to cool down before we go to bed.
Well that's about it for this week. So I'm off to link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Virginia's Rocking your World blog. See you next week.