Friday, October 24, 2014

Rocking Your World 2014: Week 43

Well hi everyone. Here is my happy smile for this week.
I am sure many of you will have seen these little novelties before. Each one covers one Ferrero Rocher chocolate, and they make a cute little favor to go beside the plates at Christmas. I was looking for quick novelties to make for the craft table I have at a church coffee morning the first week in November, and my daughter-in-law was making these. They were just what I wanted, so one afternoon I made a few. I had a job to track down the chocolates because our shops don´t have their Christmas stock on show for another month at least, but I did at last find some. I needed them to make sure my little bits of knitting were coming the right size. This morning I had to go looking for some felt as I only had red left, and fortunately one of the ´todo´shops had a pack of small pieces that were just right. I was surprised how easily it cut with my dies. I used a Britannia die for the holly leaves and berries, and I even managed to cut two layers of the leaves in one pass. They are glued on for speed, but I guess they should have been stitched really. Anyway I think they are cute, and it would make me smile to find one beside my plate. So I´ll be linking this up with Annie´s Friday Smiles later. There were sixteen chocolates in the pack so I am half way. I won´t buy anymore until I know whether they sell. If anyone wants more, they will be quick and easy to do after the sale.

So what else am I thankful for this week?
Well, I am glad that the house-painting is finished, so we have cleaned up and got nearly everything back to normal.

On Saturday my husband suggested we went to a garden centre to buy some flowers, so we could redo the window boxes. We came back with quite a haul.

For a start we bought new racks to hold the troughs so they could hook onto the outside of the rejas (the black railings at the windows). We used to have them on the sill inside the rejas, but they were ruining the paint around the windows, and they made it impossible to drop the blinds all the way down. So hopefully these will  be better. I soon set about planting them up. The ones outside Chris´s office and the sitting room look a bit sparse right now, but the plants will soon grow to fill them.

We chose ´crown of thorns´for the two outer edges, because as well as lots of lovely red flowers, these do also carry a lot of sharp thorns, and we are hoping they will deter the cats from jumping up and clawing the mosquito nets. At the other end of each one there is an evergreen trailing plant with spikes of pale lilac flowers, and the centres are filled with pansies which do so well here, and small cutting of succulents from around the garden.

On the garage windows we now have white carriers that each have space for two pots, and we chose pretty blue plumbago and bright red kalanchoes.

Chris knew that a black tiered stand had caught my eye and he let me have it to go on the front porch, together with three deep red begonias to fill it. They look lovely, don´t they? I am hoping it is sufficiently sheltered on the porch for them to survive for a while. It would be nice if they last until Christmas because then I can replace them with small poinsettias.

Another lovely thing this week has been driving out to choir, or the shops, and seeing the morning haze lifting off the mountains. The bonfire season has just started. Anyone who wants to light a fire is supposed to  get a license from the town hall, stating what they want to burn, when and where. This makes sense because with wild-fires always a risk, the bomberos are straight out if they see any sign of smoke, so they don´t need to do this if they are expecting it. I think you can get a license between October and May. So for the last couple of weeks, all the farmers and agricultural workers have been clearing their land and burning all the debris. It is a common sight to see several plumes of smoke going up and the air is so still, that sometimes it just hangs in drifts along the valleys. This morning it was fairly clear with only one fire, but I took the photo anyway, because it is so nice to see all the green everywhere, after a very brown few months.
This is another lovely view of the Cabreras from the road approaching Turre. I was going there for the big todo shop, and I was happy because I got exactly what I wanted. 
Before I got back in the car I had to take a picture of the latest bit of sculpture to adorn a roundabout. I saw this being built and wondered what on earth it was, but soon all became clear. I guess Turre is a derivative of torre, the Spanish word for a tower. It makes me think of a giant chess piece. It looks quite nice, especially when it is flood lit at night, but although it provided a few men with a couple of weeks work, one has to wonder about the expense of something that is purely decorative, at a time when all the town councils are really struggling for money!
I had a lovely morning altogether today, because after my successful trip to Turre, I went on to another much larger todo near Vera. (a todo shop by the way, is a shop that sells everything, or nearly everything anyway. Todo=all in Spanish. If you live in UK, it is similar to a Wilkinson´s). In Vera I got the felt I needed and some large photo frames which were also on my list. I spent half an hour chatting to an English family who had just bought a holiday home and were stocking up with essentials. They needed directions to the supermarket and we had a lovely chat.
Then I drove back down to the coast at Garrucha where I found a camera shop and got the information I needed about having some photos printed, and then went to the market. I like Garrucha market. It is bigger and busier than Turre´s , but the parking is difficult and I have to carry any shopping much further which I am not very good at. But today I only wanted potatoes so I could manage them. I love wandering around the market, even when I am not buying. The sights and colours and the general atmosphere are great fun.
Shopping done, I headed homewards along the coast road which runs right along the seafront along Garrucha and then straight on along Mojacar. Half way I stopped and took a little walk along the beach, and of course I took some photos too.
This is so typical of our beaches, some sand, gravel, a few rocks and inevitably some cacti and palms. And just look at that blue blue sky and sea! Of course I feel blessed to live so close to all that.
As you can see, there were very few folk around. Our tourist season is very defined to just July and August, though there are a few visitors either side of that. I dare say there will be a few more here next week as it is half-term in UK, but it won´t be busy like it is in the summer. I did walk along with a lovely lady from Ireland, who was telling me how lovely it was in the sea today! She was very interested to hear about our life out here, and what we found to do, so soon another half hour had gone and I quickly drove home to get our dinner. But it had been a lovely morning out, and a successful one.
The reason I needed information from the camera shop, and some big frames, is because I am taking the big step of showing some photos at the exhibition for the camera club I joined recently. The exhibition starts next weekend and runs for two weeks. I am only a hobby-photographer and I am not sure any of my pictures are show standard, but the club officials were very encouraging and asked us all to have a go. Unfortunately the photos I liked were all taken on my little digital camera, long before I had the nice one I use now, and I don´t know whether they are high enough resolution to blow up big enough. But armed with what I learned this morning, and more that I read online after lunch, I now have my five photos prepared and loaded onto a memory stick, so tomorrow I will get them printed out. Then I just have to go to another shop to have some mounts cut, and I´ll be ready to go. No doubt I´ll be telling you how I get on at a later date.

I had a positive visit to the doctor yesterday, when I went to renew my prescription for another nine months. She looked at my blood count for the past few months and decided I could try taking one tablet a day instead of two, for diabetes. I told her I was trying to get it down just by diet and hope to be off the medication eventually and she was pleased. I get on with her quite well, I think because I do my best to talk to her in Spanish, although I know she does speak some English if I get really stuck. But I know the onus is on me to do my best to use her native language and she likes it if we try. She then gave me some tablets to try because I suffer with night cramps in my feet and legs. Some nights I have to get up six or seven times and walk around to get rid of them. I rattle enough already and really don´t want to take any more pills, but if these help, it will be worth it for a while. I only started them last night so it is too early to say whether they have any effect.

I was so pleased to get news from the charity Greenfields Africa, that the container of aid had finally started on its way to Africa. It has taken months of negotiations and £7000 in payments to get all the paperwork needed to proceed, so they fill every nook and cranny of the container. Here are just a couple of the photos of it being packed.

There isn´t much space wasted there is there? The boxes with an MB label contain the blankets we knit, and the M ones are jumpers and cardigans. It is good to see they get where they were intended to go, and where they are really needed.

I think that just leaves me with today´s sky photos.
I love it at this time of year when the sky starts to go pink just before it gets dark. It is so pretty. 
A quarter of an hour later, and it is dark, the sun has gone behind the mountains, and sky is on fire.
This time next week we will  have darker evenings as the clocks ´fall back´this weekend. Enjoy your extra hour of sleep.
Feel free to follow me over to Virginia´s blog while I link this up at Celtic House, or find some more smiles over at Annie´s blog, A Stitch in Time.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Rocking Your World 2014: Week 42

Today I am starting with a photo that really makes me smile.
Most weeks, on a Friday morning, I visit Turre market, and at this time of year the fruit and vegetables all look so lovely and fresh and colourful. So when I get them home and unpack them, I sometimes arrange them all on the table so I can enjoy the sight and smell, and give a little prayer of Thanks for this wonderful provision. So this is today´s little ´Harvest Festival`. Isn´t it just beautiful?
It has been a lovely week here. On Tuesday we had more storms and heavy rain, but apart from that it has been warm and sunny. And that combination has really got things growing again.
 If you just scroll down to last week´s post, you will see a photo of the ground under the orange trees next door, where little shoots of grass were making an appearance. Here is what it looks like just one week later. It is the same everywhere you look, and it is really nice to see some green around again.
But I have much more than this to be grateful for this week. We started with a lovely day on Sunday. It was the annual barbecue for Gallarte, our village art and craft group. This was postponed from the summer because so many of the members were away on holiday. We don´t travel far from home for this, just to the sports centre at the top of the village, where there is a lovely area for picnics. 
There are enough trees to provide some shade with wooden
tables and benches dotted among them. And there are also some permanently sited barbecues where anyone can take up their own charcoal and cook their food. It is a popular spot for families all summer, especially on Sundays, but being a bit later in the year, we only shared it with a couple of other families. There was a good crowd of us and we enjoyed just sitting around chatting and sharing a bottle wine etc. Paco, one of the Spanish members, usually does the cooking. He makes amazing burgers from fresh meat, and enough of them to feed the army! But first he sliced up some lovely shiny purple aubergines, and put those on the grill for a few minutes and they were delicious. They are not a vegetable I would normally choose, as everything I have read about them suggests they are a pain to prepare and cook, but this was so simple and we both loved them, so you will see a couple in my harvest picture above, and I shall be trying grilling them too.
Wednesday was my husband Chris´birthday, and today it is mine, so we usually go out for a meal on the in-between day. We have been waiting to visit a restaurant quite near us that was highly recommended by several friends. It is not the sort of place we would probably go to for one of our usual lunch time trips, but a dual birthday seemed like the right excuse, and we were not disappointed. The setting was beautiful and the food delicious. It is called La Capilla which means The Chapel, and that is what it originally was. We sat inside to eat, and there were fresh flowers and a lit candle on our table even though it was lunch-time. 
(Chris was smiling at me but I had told him to look away because there was too much light from the windows reflected in his glasses!) Fresh flowers are rare out here, but on the table beside us there was also a vase of gladioli and a bowl of rosy apples which made a nice display.
As you can see, there were lots of old beams and stone walls and arches. When we had finished eating we decided to sit out in the gardens with our drinks, and I had a wander around. It was all very pleasant with tall trees and secluded tables dotted around under them. There were two aviaries, lots of stone and marble statues, and tall stands with a variety of potted plants on them. There were also several water features, and I do love the sound of running water mingling with the chatter of the birds in the cages and the trees.

One of the trees particularly caught my eye because the floor under it was strewn with rather shriveled orange flowers. I looked up, and sure enough, right high up there were big heads of five or six of these flowers, which were a bit like bright orange lilies. I have no idea what it was, but it was beautiful.

Chris caught me on camera leaning over the side of my chair. I´m not about to fall over. I am actually trying to make friends with this lovely pair who wandered over to join us. They sat as close to us as they could, but they didn´t really want to be petted.

You´ll note that while Chris was finishing off his bottle of wine I was enjoying a cup of tea. How very British of me! I am not a fan of wine, which is a bit unfortunate living in Spain, but I was also the driver so I was being sensible, and I had had lovely juice with my meal which I much prefer to the wine. When we saw the name on Chris´s wine he wasn´t too impressed either, but he said it was actually very nice!

This was my favourite view from the garden. Looking through an archway at the end of the patio, there was this lovely view of the Cabrera mountains.
Back inside the restaurant, customers are invited to visit the tiny chapel itself which is now a museum. The first thing you see on entering is a beautiful illustrated Bible.
All around this very small space, there were paintings, icons, robes etc. 
This is the view looking the other way towards what was the altar.
So it was all very interesting and we were glad we had followed our friends´advice and gone there. We had both eaten more than we usually do, so when we got home we had a siesta to sleep it off!
Today we had another nice lunch time treat because my friend Julie drove over from Zurgena to take us out to lunch. We went to the local bar and sat outside in the sunshine, but we were too busy chatting to take any photos this time.
I am a very lucky lady, because for my birthday and Christmas, Chris has bought me a new PC, which I much prefer to my old lap-top. So for much of the past two days we have been transferring files and re-installing all the graphics programs etc that I use. I had to contact the support at Graphtec UK for help with my Silhouette cutter software, and they are so helpful. I have written to Brian before when I have had a problem and he was the same then. He answers e-mails very promptly, and if I list five questions he will answer each one very clearly. His instructions are in plain English, and so far he has always been able to sort us out. He even talked Chris through repairing a major fault I had with my machine, over the phone, to save us the expense of posting it back to UK to be looked at. I really think that sort of service deserves some recognition. 
Now I am just getting acquainted with the new computer. Much of it is unchanged, but some things are quite different. I am now using a Spanish keyboard which still uses the ´Querty´arrrangement of letters but all the symbols are in different places, and there are several extra ones. I like it, and will soon get used to using it, but right now I am needing to do quite a lot of editing!

I am happy to have heard from all our boys over the past two days, (They combine calling their dad for his birthday with calling me for mine, so they all ring at different times) Tonight I had a long chat with Tom, son number three, who now lives in Denmark. I love the way Skype can make a few hundred miles seem like the room next door! I used the snipping tool to record him talking to me, but he chose that minute to look down at his screen because he was trying to do the same thing to get a picture of me, at the same time.

I have had my beautiful Tango for five months now. He was such a scraggy little thing when he was rescued from a drainage pipe, as he had probably been living rough for quite a while. This was what he looked like when he came to me. He looks so cross, and apart from quite a wide face, there is nothing of him. So this week I thought I would show you what he looks like now. I guess he is almost back to his former glory. He still looks a bit cross, but he´s very beautiful!

He gave me quite a scare this week: I thought I had lost him. Although the doors and windows are always open, he rarely chooses to go outside, though just occasionally he has a little sun-bathe out on the porch. But Tuesday night, after dark, and when it was thundering and pouring with rain, he suddenly decided to go walk-about. I was busy in my room and didn´t miss him for a long time, and then he wouldn´t come in. I called and called for him, and the next day I walked all around the village calling, but there was no sign of him. I asked around the neighbours but no-one had seen him. I still have no idea where he spent that thirty odd hours, but I was so relieved and happy when he finally wandered back home, even though it was three o´clock in the morning when he came to our bedroom windowsill, and we had to get up to let him in! From the way he was purring as I cuddled him, I think he was quite happy to be home too. He was very hungry but apart from that, he was none the worse for his little adventure.
Due to my long phone call with Tom and all the editing I have had to do, I am a bit late posting this tonight. It is just six minutes past mid-night here, but of course it won´t be mid-night for another hour in UK so I am not really late. I know it doesn´t matter if I am, but I like to post on the Friday if I possibly can.
So I am off to link up with Annie´s Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World at Celtic House, but first I will leave you with this week´s sky photo. On Wednesday we had a whole feet of flying saucers sailing across the sky, and here they are.
And that´s all for now folk. See you next week, same place, same time.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rocking Your World 2014; Week 41

Week 41 already. Blink twice and the year will be gone!
I'm starting this week with a photo of a little visitor who came to my craft room this week.
These little geckos don't make a sound; not one that I can hear anyway. I only knew he was there because Arwen suddenly got very agitated and try to climb the walls - he was right up by the ceiling. He is a welcome visitor as he eats a lot of the tiny flies that are still plaguing us. They can run like 'grease lightening', but occasionally the cats do catch them, and it looks as though this little fellow has had one encounter, as he has lost the end of his tail. If you try to catch one and only get their tail, it drops off straight away but goes on curling and uncurling in your hand which is a very strange sensation! And by the time you have realised what happened, the gecko is long gone. But after a few weeks he will have grown a new tail. I think he's cute so he made me smile.
We have had a fairly uneventful week as we are having the complete outside of the house painted. My friend Mario is doing it, and as he works alone, we try not to leave him on his own for too long, just in case he falls off the ladder or something! So apart from us both going to choir practice on Tuesday, and a brief shopping trip today, one or other of us has stayed around at home. Everywhere is in a muddle until it is done. The dogs were not impressed to find what was in their 'dining area'.

Kim and Foxy were happy to have their food in a clearer area, but Miki wouldn't eat properly. She likes her routine. But I am sure she will eat when she is hungry enough, and the work is almost finished, so in a few more days everything can go back where it belongs.

It lifted my spirits to see the early morning sun picking up all the shades of green in the trees down in the zone at the back of us. As the sun rises higher it is too bright to appreciate all the tones, but first thing in the morning it is lovely. The photo doesn't really do it justice.

I was also pleased to see the climbing plant next door is out in flower now. It used to grow right up the side of the house and for a few weeks it looked stunning. Then the groundsmen, who care for her orange trees in her absence, cut it right down, almost to the ground. This year it has reached back up to the veranda and it looks lovely.
I am happy to say that the sun is back again this week and we have had some lovely days. It has helped the painter to get on with his work, that's for sure. But last week we really had a lot of rain, and within days the ground was covered in new shoots of grass and other little plants. It amazes me that the seeds can just lie under the top soil all through the baking hot summer, and just a few days of rain wakes them up.

I have had some lovely long chats with my sons Tom and Ben this week, on skype. It is always good to catch up on their news.
Even better news was that our second son, Michael, was taken into hospital on Tuesday for his much needed spinal operation, and this time it all went as planned. (After a failed attempt last Thursday, he was initially re-scheduled for 1st November, so they must have had a cancellation and given the slot to him).

I was pleased when I went for my monthly blood test this week, to find my sugar count was still down at 115. (That's about 6.5 on the UK scale for my friends who thought 115 sounded mighty high!). So I am still just below the level for registering as diabetic, 120 out here, though now I am on the register I can never be taken off it! I have been as high as 170, so I seem to have got the balance right in my diet, for now anyway, and I do still take tablets each day to keep me stable.

We popped out this morning briefly to pick up something from a shop near Vera, and we parked at the top of road we have never been down before. So instead of turning round to get back out, we drove down, and eventually, after winding round some little roads, we did get back to the way we wanted to go. But at the bottom of the road we stopped for a few minutes just to look around. We were down to the sea, but it wasn't really a beach, more of a mud flat. There was then an expanse of water with a sand bar before the actual sea. And the mud at the top was covered in birds. I thought they must be seagulls, but as we got closer I could see they were ducks!
I have never seen so many ducks that close to the sea before. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me, so I took this on my husband's phone, and I couldn't zoom in on them, but it will give you an idea of the wide open space.
And strutting around on the edge of the 'lake' was this white bird that may have been a heron. It could have been a crane but it was much larger than the ones we usually get around here. 
I wish I could have got nearer and then I would be more sure of what it was.

I am very happy that my lovely husband has ordered my new computer this week, my joint birthday and Christmas present. It will have several features that I don't have at the minute, and with a better keyboard, and a much bigger monitor, I should be able to manage it much better than I do now. I can't wait to get it, but this week I am frantically trying to tidy up all my files on here, and sift out the old ones that can be deleted, so I don't carry across too much 'rubbish' onto the new one.
I do, of course have a couple of sky photos for you. After all, it is not every night that a giant gold-fish swims across the horizon!
He was swimming after this fellow. It is probably just me, and my funny way of looking at things, but once again I can see a face in this cloud. And I'm not sure it is a very friendly one! (I can actually see two faces but I don't want to stretch your credibility too far!)
This last one is a bit different. I was in the sitting room  this evening, which faces the front of the house, and I saw a pink reflection in the sky. So I grabbed my camera and went out to the back, where there was indeed a lovely sunset, but right down low in the sky, there was also a line of very dark, broken clouds, which sailed along between us and the sunset, making an attractive contrast. So this is my closing photo for this week.
Now I must fly over to Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World at Celtic House, and I might just get to bed on the right side of midnight for a change!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Rocking Your World 2014;Week 40

Hi folks. Not only has another week flown by, but another month has too, and here we are in October already. Maybe I'm biased as it is my birthday month, but when we lived in UK, October was my favourite month, with the Autumn colours everywhere, and often an Indian summer of sunny days. Here in Spain  it is very different but still a lovely month. If we are lucky there is still plenty of sunshine to come, but the temperature is more comfortable and there are plenty of flowers around still. If you asked most people about October flowers they would think of the russet and yellow hues of late sunflowers and chrysanthemums. Here the colour in my garden is pink! The incarvillea, which is actually growing in our neighbours' garden, is running riot all along the fence and along the ground, and it is covered in pretty pink flowers.

Another flower putting on quite a show right now is my Stepelia Gigantea. Just when I thought it wasn't going to bloom this year, a few buds appeared. These grow at an amazing rate, and swell out to big round bowls.
Within a week they burst open to reveal this huge star. It has a rather unpleasant smell - like rotting meat - which attracts the flies. It is not a particularly attractive colour, but it has red veins running around it that are covered in hairs, and a striking deep red centre.
This morning I planted a tray of winter pansies in my pots too, so they will soon be offering more flowers. I love their little faces.

Last week I told you about having our trees cut down, so when a friend contacted me last week and asked if he could have the logs we were happy for him to take them. He came with a mate on Tuesday afternoon and they worked hard preparing a stack of wood and promised to return with a van later to collect them. 
Sadly he sent me another message to tell me that his Spanish neighbour had warned him not to burn mimosa. Apparently, they do not give out a lot of heat as they grow so fast, but the really worrying point is the amount of oil they give out. The oil sticks to the woodburner and the chimney flue and then the soot sticks to the oil, leading to chimney fires. I guess the Spanish have had plenty of experience with log burners so I am sure it is sensible to take his advice. So we now have a neat stack of wood which will just have to stay there until it crumbles - in my lifetime?
This week I had an order of craft materials delivered and they were packed in a large pizza box. I unpacked it and put the box on the floor to be binned later, but when I returned from getting our lunch, I found Arwen had adopted it for her new home! She has curled up on it every day since, so I haven't the heart to throw it away. I expect she will grow tired of it in the end and I'll be able to throw it out then!

Cats are funny creatures, but once they've set their mind on something, there is no moving them!
Because I wanted to finish my cross stitch project while the days are still light, I have tried to spend a little time each afternoon on it, and yesterday I did the last stitches, so here it is at the end of phase one. It looks a bit of a mess as it is just how it was when I took my embroidery frame off it, so it is wrinkled and also decidedly grubby because it has been a 'work in progress' for about a year. I shall wash it gently when it is completely finished.
It is only the end of phase one as it still has lots of top-stitching to be done, which will be a further few weeks of work. I have never done a picture with so much top-stitching before, but I am sure it will enhance the finished project. I wouldn't recommend sewing a monochrome picture unless you have good eyesight. I found this quite difficult and I could only do a few threads at a time, but I am pleased with it now it is done. (That last dark corner, bottom right, nearly finished me off!). I'll show you again after the top-stitching is done, but don't hold your breath...! I am doing it for my youngest son who is a pianist and I love it when he plays jazz pieces.
Yesterday I had an amazing experience. It had been a stormy day, and was already approaching dusk when I gave the dogs their tea. We are used to seeing little birds darting around catching insects over the green zone, but they are usually too high to see them properly. But yesterday they were flying really low, only just skimming the washing line and the orange trees. Mostly they are swifts and they are not called the 'acrobats of the sky' for nothing. They weave and dive, changing direction and swooping around, and this time they were flying lower than my head and actually passing right in front of my face. It always amazes me that they don't crash. There were also some young swallows with them, and other birds too. I sat with my camera snapping away, and hoping I would catch one or two of them. I was pleased with the results but because I couldn't chose any one photo to show you, I made a collage of some of the best shots. Just look at all the shapes they make.
We have had rain most days this week, but today the sun was back and the sky was still blue at the dogs tea-time, and the birds were back. This time they were mostly swooping over the orange grove next door.
I caught quite a few of them in this photo but you may need to click on the image to enlarge it, to see them properly.
This was one of my better shots.
I wasn't the only one watching them either. These two, Luna on the left, and Paco, were mesmerised by them. At first only Luna was there and she was leaping up to try to catch them, but of course, they were too fast for her, but it did make me laugh to watch her trying. They knew she wouldn't get them, and it didn't put them off at all to have an audience.
I also noticed that they had a friend flying around with them. We get lots of very small dragonflies on our pool in the summer, but they are long gone, and I haven't seen one as big as this in our area before. It ducked and dived with the birds, but they made no attempt to catch it. Perhaps they only wanted smaller fry. It was incredibly hard to get  a photo of it, because it darted so quickly, but after several attempts I did manage to get this one.
And so to my sky photos for this week. These two were both taken tonight. The first one was early evening, just as the sun was setting.
This second was an hour or so later and as you can see, the storm clouds were gathering again. We have been quite happy to see the rain as it is so badly needed, but I am glad to see we are forecast to have sunshine again next week. The temperature is slightly lower which is fine too. We are down to the upper twenties, which is better than being in the thirties!
If you click on either of these photos you will be able to see the last of the birds flying back to their night-time roost in one of the nearby tees.

Finally a bit of news that is probably only relevant to my family. Some of you know that our second son Mike, has been laid out for nearly six week with a badly prolapsed disc in his spine. He had one operated for this about six years ago, but now the next disc up has gone. He is in a lot of pain and was looking forward to having the operation to shave this one yesterday. But he rang me from the hospital late morning, to tell me that he hadn't had the op. Apparently after he got to the theatre, the anesthetist found he couldn't inflate his left lung so it was too dangerous to roll him over to operate on his back. So they brought him round again, did a chest X-ray, and sent him home. He is now booked in provisionally to have it done on 1st November, so he has another month on strong pain-killers, and it will be Christmas time before he can get back to work. It's tough, but Mike, being who he is, was still smiling when he rang me. He hates being inactive, but he can only stand or walk for very short periods of time and is mostly lying flat. He has no idea what caused the lung problem, so let's hope it is sorted out so that the operation can go ahead next month.
It is link up time now so I am off to link this to Annie's Friday Smiles, (It was nice to see Annie featured my smiling clouds from my previous post, on her blog this week. Thank you Annie!) and also to Virginia at Celtic House.