Friday, May 8, 2015

Rocking Your World 2015: Week 19

Hello all. I am going to be my own Friday Smile for this week. 

I got Chris to take this photo of me to use with a brief bio I prepared to go on my Guest Designer spot for the Butterfly Challenge. (You can read about it here and here. The first one is the challenge page, and the second is my description of how I made my card, from my own blog).

It is exactly a year since Tango came to live with us. He was such a poor old thing back then. He is in the middle of his main moult right now, so he still isn´t looking his best, but he looks a lot better than he did then.

Now the challenge has gone live, I shall use this photo as my google profile for a while. My sons change theirs every few weeks but I never think to change mine.
It has been a week of mixed fortunes but there was nothing happened that we couldn´t live with.
Last week I had several comments on my picture of "Miki having a bad hair day"! So today I thought I´d show you one on a "Good hair day". I had just given her a good brush, and she is like a big, fluffy teddybear, but it last for just a few minutes. Then she gives herself a shake and she is back to being a scruffy-muffin again!
While on the subject of animals I though you might like to see what I meant when I was bemoaning the arrival of the circus across the green zone from us last week. By the next day several strange animals appeared, in cages, in pens, and grazing on the sparse vegetation in the green zone.
These ones were no bother.
These were perhaps a little too close for comfort!
I thought this was a very handsome beast. He just stared at me with a rather mournful expression. There were actually several of them and one big black one, but this was the poser!

I took all these photos from our back yard, just outside my craft room window!

What with their bellowing and the lions roaring, and our dogs barking back at them, it was not a very peaceful few days. Fortunately on Thursday they packed up and moved on.

There were a couple of other items of interest in the green zone this week. This is one of my favourite wild flowers. It is a bit like bindweed but is more inclined to be a ground cover, than to climb, though I have seen one very like it on the railings and fences. It is such a pretty colour and flowers so freely. I am happy to see it fighting its way through all the dead branches and grasses just the other side of our back railings.  

Also the pomegranate trees came into flower this week. With their fruit being such a dark pink inside, one might expect the flowers to be pink too, but in fact they are a bright orange-red, so they stand out against the dark leaves even from a distance. 
Wednesday was a bit of a disaster. The car had not sounded quite right in the morning but it was going OK so we decided it was fine for me to go to choir practice in the evening; a 30-40 minute drive from here. Unfortunately, about half way along the motorway I knew something was really wrong. I phoned Chris, who was helpless to do anything, but it was reassuring to talk to him. In the end we decided that I should try again and sure enough I travelled a bit nearer my destination. I did get off the motorway which was a blessing, but I didn´t quite get as far the choir room, before I stopped altogether. The engine was overheating and losing power and I knew I could do some serious damage if I tried to continue. It was then a real test for me, as I would usually sit back and let Chris deal with anything like that, but I was on my own so I had to do it. (I should add here that we are not allowed to contact a friend to come and work on it at the side of the road). I found the insurance policy and rang the office - in Madrid! After some desperate efforts on my behalf to understand the mile-a-minute Spanish instructions that were being barked at me, I managed to explain that I couldn´t understand and needed someone who could speak English - a promise from the company. In fairness, it was getting on for 8.00 by then and most of the staff were going home, but eventually a girl came on to speak to me. I gave her my policy number in English, and confirmed it in Spanish (I can do numbers), and that seemed to exhaust her English vocabulary, so then I had a pigeon English v. pigeon Spanish conversation with several other people. They were having difficulty grasping my location and kept asking for the name of a shop or hotel nearby to help them find me. I tried to explian that I was on an open road with not a shop or house even in sight. But eventually a more local recovery company came on line, and through an interpreter, I managed to tell him where I was, and very soon after that he rolled up to take me, and the car, back home. They would have paid for me to have a taxi but as I have never used a taxi out here, I didn´t know any numbers, so I opted to travel in the pick-up truck, and I did arrive home safely just before dark.
I was quite proud that I had aquitted myself adequately, and I would not worry if I had to do it again, but the thing that really tickled me about it was that, everytime they put me on hold, they played music, and each time it was singing in English "Happy days are here again"!! I couldn´t help but wonder whether they knew what the words were saying.

Sadly the car needs a new water pump and possibly a thermostat, and our mechanic friend is very busy. He has had a quick look and has promised to fix it early next week. With no public transport in and out of the village at all, we really do rely on our cars, but my lovely friend Eileen has lent us hers for a few days, as she will only be going out with her husband in his car over the weekend. So I am mobile until Monday afternoon at least. That is so good of her to trust us with it, and it helps me out a lot as I have several commitments over the weekend.

Seeing as I was tied to the house yesterday, in case our mechanic friend managed to come over to look at the car, I thought I might as well do something useful. So I got out all my knitting for Africa items, to sort them out ready for a shipment next time my courier friend is going over to UK, probably later this  month. The clothes are all sorted really but I had lots of blankets in various stages of completion. I sorted out two black bags full of finished ones, and another one of blankets that need an edge crocheted round them. Then I have a big crate full of squares. Several of my Wednesday group ladies just knit squares at our meetings because they don´t take too much concentration when they are chatting with their friends. So each week I get handed a few more and I throw them all into the crate, full of good intentions to sew them together. I have completed a couple of blankets recently but I think I have around 500 more squares to use! So yesterday I went outside and sorted them all into sizes. They are supposed to all be 6" squares but they vary from four to eight, and everything in between. I then counted them out in groups of around 36, as we make the blankets six by six unless the squares are very small. Then I might do seven by seven. It doesn´t matter if they come up a bit big, but they shouldn´t be any smaller than a metre square. So here are all my piles of squares.
Aren´t they lovely and colourful? They look a bit of a mess with all the strands of wool, but I asked everyone to leave a tail when they had finished, and then, instead of having to sew all the ends in before I join them up, I can use the end to sew up with. They took me very literally, so some have a much longer tail than they need, but that is better than it being too short.
Today another kind friend came round and took two blanket´s worth of squares away to sew up for me, and she promised to enlist some others to help too. It doesn´t take too long once I get started, but they need to be done as it will soon be too hot to sit with a blanket on my knee all evening while I work on it.

I have also managed to do another two pages of my Ireland scrapbook. For this page I used a purchased page template. I have never used one quite like this before. It was designed to take seven photos but I did fit eight on. It also had around forty-four layers i.e. little paper strips, flowers, bunting etc, each of which should be replaced with ones of your choice. I didn´t use them all, and it is still a very busy page, but it makes the finished book quite interesting to look at, and I enjoyed the challenge. I did it all in Adobe photoshop using an Irish digi scrapbook kit called I feel Lucky.

Although we celebrated Mothering Sunday back in March in UK, many other countries have their Mother´s Day this weekend so I decided to do a little feature on my boys, who make me feel so blessed to be a mum. I couldn´t have a much more varied bunch of lads, each with their own speciality, and I love them all to bits. So here is the eldest one, Jim, doing what he does best. As you can see, he is an Anglican vicar, with a church near Wolverhampton. With three children of his own, holding a squalling baby for her christening doesn´t cause him any problems, and at least she stopped crying for the photos!.

Son number two, Mike, is a Peter Pan character who has no intention of ever growing up! He is a people person which makes him very good at his job of fund-raising advisor for The Severn Hospice. He wisely keeps his work very separate from his social media life, so I do not get many photos of him in his official capacity, but I think here he is helping with a raffle at a fund raising event. In his free time he is happiest when he is jumping into rivers with his two sons, or cooking weird and wonderful family meals, or listening to very loud music!

Tom is a clever lad who graduated with a first in Maths with Computing. He is a computer whizz and is very good at advising me or talking me through any problems I have with my machine. My husband is also great with computers but he is not a teacher, so he puts things right for me but can never explain to me what I am doing wrong. Tom is more patient, and we talk on skype. When he gets together with his dad they might as well be talking a foreign language, as I have no idea what they are on about!
He likes to go out for long rides on his bike. This was taken in the hills along the Welsh border where we used to live. The snow never used to put him off at all. A year ago he moved to Denmark when the company he worked for was taken over by a Danish company. So now he is out and about exploring his new surroundings. I can´t wait for our week in July when we join him out there, and get to see some of it for ourselves.

Next is Jonathan, who is a very talented drummer.
He plays in three heavy metal bands, and while it is not my style of music by choice, I love to see him play. He puts every ounce of his heart and soul into it. You can see how fierce he looks! 
This photo was taken by a friend called Robin Hall. They were playing at a weekend heavy rock festival in Cardiff last week, called Red Sun. He lives for the live gigs, but to pay for them, he works at the Manchester branch of The Brighton Institute for Modern Music. He is in the throes of setting up his own recording studio which will realise his dream.
And that brings us to ´my baby´ Ben. He is also a talented musician, playing the piano, guitar and saxophone. But I like it best when he plays and sings the songs he has written. But this week he has discovered Billy Joel, and has recorded himself doing cover versions of two of his songs. I laughed when he told me because Billy Joel is much nearer to my age than Ben´s, but he said the words were just how he feels, and they moved him to want to sing them too. And I guess that´s what music is all about really.
And he is right, they do suit his style.  So here is a rather poor photo that I captured from his video. Unfortunately he hasn´t uploaded his videos to the web so I can´t share them with you as I had hoped to.
So there you have it. You have met the Perry Tribe, and I am sure you can see why I am a proud Mum!

Now all that is left is for me to share a set of beautiful sky photos I caught one day this week.

Isn´t that last one beautiful?!
Now I will go and link up with Annie´s Friday Smiles and Virginia at Celtic House.


  1. What a week Kate!! I must admit I laugh ed out loud at the music option!! and then read it out to my DH.

    Eautiful sunsets, and wonderful flower photos.


  2. Ah Kate your sons are all amazing and you can tell how proud you are of them! So glaad you got home safe as welll with the broken down car you are brave! Glad the circus have left now so strange seeing animals still with them! Hope you have a beautiful weekend and wweek ahead! Hugs

  3. Hi Kate, Yes you're right I have seen a lot of it on Facebook but it's so lovely to 'meet' your boys. I bet you craved female company when they were growing up :-) You must be such a proud mum and if they are anything like our son you will be smothered in the special love only a son gives his mum.....ours is very happy to give me hugs and open affection where ever we are and will often sit next to me holding my hand still [and he's 28 this year ;-) but will always be my baby].
    Hope the car is sorted sooner rather than later for you. Have a great week.
    Annie x

  4. It sounds like a bit of an adventure you had with the car!. I'm glad they got you home safely eventually, and that you can get it repaired soon. You would be a bit stuck without it.
    Your tango certainly looks good now compaired to this time last year, I like his colour , you chose a good name for him.
    Jean x

  5. It sounds like it was never a dull moment in your house with your boys!!
    Lovely to see your current "babies" looking so good.
    Good luck with the car. Such a nuisance when they are out of action...we had the same problem with Hubby's car breaking down so we were relying on just mine!!

  6. Congrats on the GD spot.
    Must be a bit of a can't believe my eyes moment, seeing a pride of lions across the street!


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