Sometimes, when our visitors return to UK, we feel a bit down for a week or two, but despite having to say ´Goodbye´to Ben last week, I have had a good week this week, and I will start with my smile.
This little smiler is, of course, my new great-grandson, born just nine weeks ago. My, they don´t stay newborn for long do they?! According to his mum, Alfie is a contented baby who smiles all the time, and I defy any of you not to smile back.
And just for good measure, here he is again. His mum posted this one today of Alfie with his big brother Isaac. They are great friends already.
I will link these up to Annie´s Friday Smiles later.
So what else has made this week a good time for me?
Well, Saturday was 28th February and this is an important date around here, as it is Día de Andalucia. I always like this day, even though the format for celebrating it is the same every year. The big marquee that is set up for Three Kings in January, is left in place until the end of February, and on Saturday it was filled with chairs in the front half, and long trestle tables behind them. There is a stage at the front (It was a very high one this year, but that made it easier for us all to see what was happening on it). The village band were standing near the back, and kept us entertained until the dancers were ready.
There are two schools of traditional dancing in the village and they each do a display of half an hour or so, and it is interesting to see the same children each year, as they progress through the ability groups, and there are always some very cute little newbies in the youngest group. They are all amazingly good, and I love to watch them. The first school are mainly older girls, there are no boys in either group, and they put on an excellent display. (The flowers at the front of the stage are the colours of the Andalucian flag).
Next it was the turn of the village choir to sing and play. I love their red dresses. They seem to have more members each year, and now have a lady guitarist as well as the usual male musicians, and two or three ladies confident enough to sing solos.
After the choir, the other school of dancers had their turn. I prefer these ones. My friend´s grand-daughter is in this group.
This year, for the first time, they did quite a lot of foot work with the studded shoes, that make such a great noise on a hollow wooden stage. These girls were in the ´babies´group when we first moved here.
For their next dance they used white fans as props.
They are so elegant and graceful, and I am sure they love wearing the pretty dresses.
Next the little ones came on, and even they managed to handle props as well as remember their steps. They had black hats. Don´t they look lovely? They had a few of the intermediate group with them, so they could follow them if they got lost.
Finally, the oldest girls came on. Their dance involved a lot of stamping too, and it was very dramatic. I wish I could understand the songs better because this one was obviously telling a story. The lead girl was so involved in the piece that she was in tears at the end, as were half the audience too. They use their hands so expressively when they are dancing, and facial expressions are important too.
These are the trestle tables I mentioned higher up.
At every fiesta in the village, there is free food of some kind for anyone who turns up, and on this day it is entremeses, which are plates of cold meat, cheese and fish etc, and salad and bread to go with them. They are put out first thing in the morning and then the tables are covered with sheets of paper. It always amazes me that during the couple of hours of the display, no-one ever touches any of it. Not even a child will peep under the paper or sneak out a crisp or two. But once the show is over, everyone grabs their chair and fits it by a table, the papers are whipped away, bottles of wine are distributed along each table, and everyone tucks in. There is then music and dancing well into the night.
On Tuesday Chris surprised me by taking me out for an unplanned lunch. We had gone down to the garden centre on Mojacar Playa, to but a big pot for the baby bottle brush plant that I bought last week. It was such a nice day that Chris had dug out a pair of shorts and gave his legs an airing!
Once we had done the shopping, we walked along the sea-front for a while and spotted an Asian restaurant that we didn´t know existed, so we stopped for lunch there. And very nice it was too, especially as we were able to eat it sitting on a lovely sunny patio.
The next day we woke up to quite a surprise. It wasn´t quite fog, but it was a very heavy mist. We live just a short drive away from Taberno, the only designated dessert area in Europe, so mostly our air is just too dry for mist, but Monday night there must have been a very heavy dew. My lovely mountains had quite disappeared!
It did lift mid-morning and was quite a nice day, but I was driving home from my house-group at tea-time, when it suddenly came down again, and I was glad to get home.
Fortunately it was only a blip in the weather, and the next day dawned clear and bright again. Although it can still feel chilly in the shade, if you can find a sheltered spot, the sun is beginning to feel quite warm. Yesterday I had to drive back down to Mojacar to order a sheet of glass to be cut, and as I was driving back along the playa it was so beautiful, with a deep blue sky, blue sea, and little white waves breaking on the rocks, that I just had to pull over and take a quick photo.
You can just spot my bunch of cormorant friends on their rock as usual, though they are partly hidden by the cactus.
I have made good progress with my marmalade and have just finished for this year. I made just over 100 jars, plus one batch of 20 jars of the darker one which is made with half white and half dark brown sugar, and has the peel cut much thicker. I have a couple of customers who prefer it like that. It is all stored in the tall cupboard in the garage and it is looking very full right now. Which is just as well as I have two charity table-sales later this month, as well as my regular customers at my sewing group.
But I need some variety to sell, so today I went to the market and bought these. They are huge this year, and really look too good to make into jam, but jam is what I need right now, so most of these are going into my big pan when I have finished this. There are 2kg in each box, so I will keep 1kg back for us to eat and make jam with the other five. I hope I sell some soon because there is not much storage space left!
So now for a few sky photos to end with. They are just some random shots taken this week that I rather liked, so I hope you do too.
Well that´s it for this week. I will link up with Annie at A stitch in time, and Virginia at Celtic House, and then I had better go get hulling and crushing some strawberries.