Another week has passed already, and I am starting my post with a photo of the day the clouds smiled at me, and I smiled back. I hope you do too!
It has been a week of mixed weather with everything from sun to wind and rain, but on the whole it's timing has been good!
Tuesday morning is choir practice time which I really enjoy. We have a lovely, if somewhat challenging programme for the season, and it is good to meet up with friends there too. The practice usually ends around 1.00 and just occasionally Chris and I go on to somewhere for some lunch. This week we went to one of our favourite restaurants perched right on the sea front at Pozo del Esparto, near San Juan. It is on a small strip of beach fronted by a row of bungalows which are mostly shut down over the winter, but are all busy with Spanish holiday-makers in July and August. So for those two months the restaurant is heaving with local folk enjoying a leisurely lunch, but for the rest of the year it is very popular with the English and Spanish alike.
It is approached down a narrow tarmac and then sandy road, which you think is coming to a dead end with a big drop down into the sea! In fact there is a very sharp right turn, (I always pray we won't meet anyone coming the other way at this point), and then a gentle slope down to some 'on the beach' parking.
When we arrived there were only a few cars parked there so we knew we would get a table, and we were soon seated right by the sea-wall, but by the time we had finished our lunch there was not an empty seat anywhere. It was lovely and warm but quite windy and they needed all the guy ropes to keep the sunshades steady.
All along the front of the restaurant, there are lovely shrubs planted in the sand. I am amazed at how well they grow despite the salt, the wind, and the lack of soil.
Two little friends sat on the wall beside me while I was eating, but when the man on the next table threw them some crumbs, they were suddenly joined by loads more. They seem to have a sixth sense when food is around.
On Thursday (yesterday) the forecast said there was a 90% chance of rain in this area, which was a bit worrying as we had arranged for a young man to come to do some heavy gardening for us. But he arrived at 8.00 in the morning, and was so efficient that he had finished by mid-afternoon, just as the rain started to fall! He started by cutting back the bougainvillea that runs all along the fence between us and our neighbours. It is very pretty for much of the year, but it is a ferocious grower, and quickly sends long branches out that reach right across the side path where I feed the dogs. Also it is right outside my kitchen window so it steals much of the light in there. So he has cut it back really hard and has also taken the centre out which was completely dead. So it doesn't look too pretty right now, but he has promised that it will now all grow back green, and I'm sure he is right.
Next we asked him to tackle the mimosa trees that grow just over the railings at the back of the house, where we look down into the green zone. Again, these were cut right down eighteen months ago but they just grew back bigger and stronger than ever. The main one was just outside my craft-room window, and as I am allergic to the pollen, that was no fun during the flowering season. So he has cut them down as low as possible again. There was an amazing amount of branches from them which he has laid as neatly as possible below the trees. We will try to find someone who would like to take the wood away for their fire, and hopefully the leaves etc will soon rot down.
This time we have bought something to kill the stumps, so we are hoping they won't grow back.
As you can see, calling the space behind us 'the green zone' is a bit of a mis-nomer right now. Our green tree cuttings stand out in sharp contrast to the very bare brown earth below them, but I am hoping this week's rain will start some greenery growing there again.
His final task was to cut down the fig tree in our tiny patch of front garden. This is the only piece of plantable land we have, and most of our plants are in big pots, so we were quite happy when the birds decided to plant a fig tree for us. We moved it to the centre and waited to see what would happen. Unfortunately, as a completely wild tree, it only had very poor fruit which was inedible, and it grew too big, too fast, and overshadowed the lovely jasmine and roses that grow there. So again, we asked him to cut it as low as possible, so we can make sure it is dead and not about to shoot again, and then we will plant something more suitable there.
It makes a big difference to my view from where I sit in the front room to knit or watch TV. So the young man got a lot of work done in the time he was here. It would have taken us several days to achieve all that, and neither of us are really up to it any more.
As he worked the clouds were gathering around us, and by mid afternoon it started to rain. It came down quite heavy for a while, in the way that rain tends to fall out here!
Soon it was spouting from each corner of the roof, and because it is so dusty everywhere, it washed a layer of red mud onto every surface. I think tomorrow I will be cleaning the windowsills etc, which are all red instead of white. By early evening the rain had stopped and the sun came out just long enough to give us a watery sunset.
Then the clouds won the battle again and we could hear thunder rumbling all around us. But there was no more rain, and at around mid-night we sat out on the porch and watched an amazing light show, as lightening flashed every second, and in every direction. I can hear it rumbling around out there again now, so I think we may be in for some more much needed rain tonight.
I am hoping there will be some more sunny days to come before winter is upon us, but I am grateful for the few degrees drop in temperature. It is still warm enough to sit outside in a sun dress but it is more comfortable, and especially at night, I appreciate that.
Last week I showed you the lovely fruit I had bought at the market, so here is what I made with it. There are forty jars of plum jam, and ten of peach and nectarine jam. I had to make some labels for the peach ones as I hadn't made that before. I also printed off some more plum ones, so now it is ready to pack away in the cupboard until I sell it. I also open-froze some peach slices to add to my fruit blends, poached more peaches and plums for the freezer, and made an apple and plum crumble for this week. So it was a very productive day!
Well I think I've rambled on for long enough, so I'll leave you as I started with another sky photo. The clouds were still smiling as the sun set behind the mountains, and the spreading rays lit up the happy face.