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.