Friday, July 31, 2015

Rocking Your World 2015: Week 31

Earlier this week, my husband Chris, sent this picture to my Facebook timeline, and it certainly made me smile. So I hope it does you too - the dog lovers among you anyway.

Kim may be the youngest of our three dogs, but being a German Shepherd/mastiff cross, he soon became the biggest, but he still thinks he should be able to sit on my lap. I had a quick look for a photo of his latest attempt, but I couldn´t find one, but I understood perfectly why Chris sent the cartoon to me.

I spent some time this week trying to get a good photo of the three dogs together. They were surprisingly more co-operative than usual, due mainly to the knowledge that I had a bag of little treats on the table. Anyway, I eventually managed to get this photo and I knew it was probably the best I would get, so I left it at that. Poor Foxy has the sun in her eyes, but it was the only spot in the garden where I could get both them and the camera, more or less in the shade.
I then tried to get one of Chris and I, using the self-timer, but again it is not that good as our reactolite glasses go dark very quickly outside, and also the camera was really too low, but it will do for now, and we´ll try again when someone is here to take it for us.
Next I did a bit of editing in Photoshop and managed to make this.
I have had a quiet week as it has been too hot to do anything much, so I have made good use of the time in my craftroom. 
While I was in UK earlier this month, my son Ben took me to The Range where I spotted a photo frame that I have wanted for ages. I first saw one on my Grand-daughter´s wall, and I was admiring it again on my recent visit, so when I saw it in the shop I just had to buy it. So this week I have been sorting through the photos I took, editing and resizing them, and then printing them out. In some cases I took the head of someone from one photo and pasted it onto their body in another one, until I had everyone looking happy together! Then this morning, Chris drilled the wall and helped me to hang the finished frame. I am really pleased with the way it turned out.
The bottom right corner of the frame reflected the window opposite it, but it is actually the photo of us with the dogs that I have just added above.
My main project is still a work in progress, but while Chris had the drill out today, he did get the first bit done for me, which was to hang this clock face directly on the wall.
I sent for this a long time ago, but it took ages to arrive, and since then I have been keen to get on with it. So once that was up I did the next bit, which was this.
At the moment the photos are only printed in quick draft on thin copy paper, but I wanted to see how well they would fit. Tomorrow I will go down to Mojacar and arrange to have twelve, ten centimetre square frames made. (I need to get a better close up photo of Chris and I for the number twelve slot too). Then I will position them more accurately, and make proper prints of the photos. There is still more to be done, but I have made a start and hopefully soon I will be able to show you the completed project. 
I am surprised I haven´t melted away this week. In many of the towns, and tourist areas, they have LED signs that alternate between the time and the air temperature. I guess it is a good way of reminding visitors to use plenty of sun-screen. Anyway, this is the sign above the Farmacia in Mojacar, taken at tea-time on Monday.
Even the local folk are not used to it, and are wilting a bit too. Unless we are going to the shops etc, we tend to walk around the house all day in our swim-wear, so we can slip in and out the pool whenever we want to.

I have taken the opportunity to do some reading, and have really enjoyed it. I love to read, but once I am in a book, I don´t move, even to get meals, so Chris has been very patient with me this week, as I have read three complete books! It is a good thing that the heat tends to suppress our appetites, and we don´t want to bother with food too much anyway.
However I do drink lots and lots of water, and eat plenty of fruit. Yesterday I went to the supermarket for what I hope will be the only time for a month, and although I will be going to the street market each week I did buy some lovely apricots, nectarines and grapes  while I was there. I looked at the melons and eventually decided to buy a yellow sugar melon this week instead of another water melon, and I was glad I did, because when I got home, Chris told me a friend had called in with a blanket and jumper she had knitted for my Africa project, and she had also left me a melon. Well it was in fact, an enormous water melon.
I am reliably informed that the yellow patch on one side is a good sign and something to look for when you buy one, because it shows that it has been allowed to sit in the sun in the field to ripen. If it is picked under-ripe there will be no yellow patch. So hopefully this will be a good one. The main problem is finding some space in the fridge to chill it. I will tackle it tomorrow and get at least half of it cut up.
It is important to water our garden regularly during the summer because nearly everything is in pots, which soon dry out. So yesterday I was out at the front, using the hose, when I noticed I had a visitor. 
She wasn´t bothered by the hose - I only have it on fairly gently so I don´t wash the soil out of the pots. She just sat on a post by the roses and had a shower. I have seen lots of babies out here, but this is the first time I have seen such a large one. I am fairly sure it is a ´she´because the male ones are smaller, and when they have mated she eats him! But she also eats lots of mosquitoes and other unwanted bugs, so I am happy to know she is in the garden.

When I tried to get a picture of her face she went camera shy on me and kept turning away. Then she delicately stepped down into the plants and I caught her as she reached out to test a wet leaf for her next move.
As well as spending a lot of time reading, and editing photos, I have also managed to make a Christmas card for a monthly challenge that I participate in. I also noticed that the Silhouette store had all their Christmas cutting files at half price until midnight tonight, so I had a quick browse and bought a few to play with if we have another hot week. It never feels quite right to be making Christmas items in the middle of summer, but I am always happy to know that a few more cards have gone into my box ready for December.
Anyway, while I was browsing I noticed this word art cutting file and it so exactly fitted me that I just had to add it to my basket. I have always been called ´Smiler´It is just the way I am. Mum  used to say "You smile and others smile, and soon there´s miles and miles of smiles, and life´s worthwhile because you smile". I have never forgotten that little rhyme, nor the song she used to sing to us; "It isn´t any trouble just to S_M_I_L_E. It isn´t any trouble just to S_M_I_L_E. Smile away your troubles, they will vanish just like bubbles, if you only take the trouble just to S_M_I_L_E. I wonder if any of the family reading this will remember them too. 
Anyway, here is my cutting file. I am not sure I will ever use it, but maybe I´ll cut it from vinyl and put it on my craft room door!  So if anyone reading this has something to smile about, and be grateful for this week, why not join me at Annie´s Friday Smile, and at Rocking your world on Virginia´s blog. We´d love to see you there, and you may just give a smile to some-one who really needs it.

And now I´ll just leave you with my usual sky photos. I was getting our tea ready late this evening when I saw this pretty sky out the back door.
Yes, there is a face in it, and it looks to me rather like a little cat watching a mouse, ready to pounce!
About a quarter of an hour later, it had all changed. The colour had deepened and the light patches had gone. The bougainvillea that grows all along our side fence, is more or less under control now, but sometimes it sends out a random long branch, that grows almost while you watch it, and that is what is cutting across this shot, but I like the silhouette it makes, so I took this one quickly through the railings on the door.
Now I am off to see what everyone else is smiling about this week.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Rocking your world 2015, Week 30, plus a Week in Denmark.

Hi Everyone. I am calling in from a Spanish melt-down. We are officially in a new phase of a heat-wave and it just keeps getting hotter. Everyone says it is more humid this year too, so for most of my week I have been keeping indoors.  Today I gave in, and installed a fourth fan in my craft room to make it bearable in there, as I have several projects I want to work on. So now there is a ceiling fan, a floor tower fan by my desk, a small face fan on a USB by the computer, and now a big floor standing fan too. I had removed that one as it tends to blow my work around too much, but I gave in and brought it back out today.
So my first big grateful of the week is for our pool. We are in and out of it all the time. I especially like to take a dip just before bed, but this week, the water has still been 32º at midnight which is almost too warm to be refreshing!
I am also grateful that I don´t have to do anything really. Essential shopping and washing are soon sorted, and then I could spend the rest of the day in the air-conditioned sitting room with a book if I really wanted too, though I can´t sit still like that all day! The dogs are sleeping in there most days, and I can´t say as I blame them. I wouldn´t want to be wearing a fur coat right now either.
Today is windy. It is a hot wind, but at least the air is moving.
But enough of a weather report. Let´s share today´s smile instead. 
Today it is our son Michael´s birthday, and while I was in UK I left his card and a bottle of his favourite tipple in his room, when I slept over at his house for one night. (You can see the card I made for him on my othr blog HERE) This morning he put this picture on Facebook, with the following comment. "A remarkable amount of willpower and bunny guarding it, mean both card and rum remain unopened until today! Thank you! xx"
This made me smile, not because they are both still unopened. That just filled me with surprise. No, it was little bunny that made me smile. He must be the best-loved bunny ever! 
We gave him to Michael the Christmas that he was 18 months old. It was obviously intended as a new baby gift, but I liked him, so I bought him anyway. He was wearing a blue patterned dress and had matching ear liners, and a blue ribbon around his neck that became know as "the loving". Mike loved him from the word go, and he went everywhere with us. I remembering rushing to the library just as it closed, to rescue bunny from the very shelf where Michael said he had left him. And once I had to buy him back when he was accidently sold at a jumble sale!
Mike was a natural thumb-sucker, and he always slept with bunny tucked under his arm. He was the only comfort needed on a poorly day. He was also the only one of his surviving childhood toys that Mike´s own children were never allowed to have. 
Mike is forty-two today. Bunny hasn´t carried those years quite as well as he has, but he has survived many journeys, house-moves and other traumas and he is still going strong, and there is still a special place for him in Mike´s heart.
Ah! Memories to make you smile!!

Now on to the rest of the week. As I predicted it has been a fairly quiet one, but we did have a nice afternoon out on Wednesday, when we went to a pool party at the vicarage. Although the church I attend is a good half-hour´s drive from here, our lady vicar actually lives in the urbanisation just across the road from our village. There was a good turnout for the party, and there was plenty of umbrellas so we could all sit in the shade. 
Food was cooked by Pauline´s husband and his friend, and the ladies from the committee provided a good spread of salads, bread etc.

Those of us who were prepared to go in the pool, had a riotous game of volley ball. The women won by a good margin, but we did have the advantage of being in the shallow end for most of the time.
Then there were some races, but the results were declared null and void, as no-one could agree on the rules!
There were also games with balls and quoits for those who didn´t want to get wet. (This is the closest I have seen to a lawn out here, but as you can see, we don´t do grass very well).
I haven´t got a picture of the vicarage dog, a black labrdor cross called Cora, but she made us smile when a dropped sausage was put into her dish, and she waited while we said grace before she ate it.
It was a lovely afternoon of good fun, good friends and good food.
I have always liked the sound of the tropical flower names when I have read them in novels etc - oleander, tamarisk, jacaranda, and hibiscus. I know what they all look like now of course, and have several of them in our garden, but the one I had never seen, and often wondered about is frangipani. Well I was admiring a pretty shrub in the vicarage garden, which had a mild, sweet scent, when someone informed that it was a frangipani! So here it is. Isn´t it lovely!

Other gratefuls this week are long chats with the boys by phone or on skype. I always miss them when I have just visited them, but the internet makes it so easy to stay in touch.
Lots of fruit in season to eat when the kitchen is too hot for cooking.
Lots of new craft stash bought in UK or delivered by post this week, so I have plenty to play with over the next few weeks.
The end of the fiesta on Sunday night. We enjoy the fiesta but it was particularly loud this year, and the animals were very disturbed by it, so it was good to get back to our normal quieter routine this week. We did go over to the plaza on Saturday and Sunday evenings. It is always a lovely atmosphere, with everyone having a good time. On Sunday I watched the local children doing their traditional flamenco dancing. I also saved up a treat for the last night. I bought some churros, (batter that is poured in a coil, into a vat of hot oil, and then cut into lengths and shaken with sugar). I bought mine with the traditional accompaniment of hot chocolate, which is thick and rich for dipping the churros into. It was lovely!  We then finished the night off with ice-cold mojitos!
So I´ll end on that happy note, and with just one sunset photo, that shows we are back on home ground now. You must be getting used to this skyline.
So I shall link this up with Annie´s Friday Smiles, and Rocking your World at Celtic House, and then I shall continue with a post about our week in Denmark. I did show a few pictures last week but I said I´d be doing another post about it, but so far I haven´t managed it. So it will be very photo heavy with a minimum of explanation, and if you like to see different parts of the world, please do read on.

Our son Tom actually lives in the city of Aarhus, which is quiet compared with the main UK cities, mainly because so many folk use bikes rather than cars, so traffic is much lighter. There is a nice mix of bars, supermarkets, large stores and little speciality shops, but on the whole we found everything rather expensive. The architecture was interesting and there were lots of statures and fountains around. This was very elegant. I loved its smooth lines. It had three pivotal points so it was always slowly moving and changing shape.
This was an interesting fountain with water spilling over from many points of its surface. It was interactive and children were encouraged to paddle in the little streams that ran from it.
 The churches were mainly Lutheran and I loved their sturdy wooden doors with fancy metal hinges. I kept a record of these too as I am sure I can make cutting files form them to use on a scrapbook page.
One day we visited the new library which is has only just opened. It had lots of areas, including a children´s art room, a 3D printer in action, a large café where I had some delicious liquorice tea, etc. There were flat areas outside on several levels which had children´s play equipment on. It was all very user friendly.
On the ground floor there was an experimental automatic car parking area that was fun to watch. There were some anxious faces as people waited to see whether the right car was delivered back to them! Also, rather bizarrely, there was a train line that went straight through the ground level of the library. We had to wait for a train to pass before we could walk to the door.
This is an aerial view of the whole project taken from a poster that showed the work in progress. It is still not complete, and eventually there will also be a lovely marina at the side of it.
Here are just a couple more pictures of the Old Town. It was fascinating to wander along the streets looking into the houses, still arranged as they were many years ago. The old mill was so picturesque.
We went into the old bakery and bought delicious sugared pretzels.
This one was taken from the top of the ´mint house´looking down onto the town square. It almost looks fake, like a scene in a model village, but they really are actual people and a genuine vintage car.
When we had a warmer day, the walk through the forest was a real treat. So many tall trees, and lovely shades of green.
I had to take a photo of this old stone man who was winking at me as we walked past!
It doesn´t take a lot to please me. I loved these rocks covered in weeds and algae. Tom has sent me photos of these rocks when the sea is turning to ice as it rolls over them!
I also love to see the gulls, though I know they can be a nuisance. Laying in bed each morning, and hearing them call as they swooped about outside, took me back to childhood holidays in a B&B in SouthSea.
Of course, one of our best trips was the visit to Aros Museum of Modern Art, which was only a stone´s throw away from Tom´s flat. First we visited the statue known just as The Boy, down in the basement. He really is huge but so very lifelike.
Here is a close up of his feet. Look at the wrinkles in his skin, and the veins and nails, and you will see what I mean.
On each floor there were interesting displays all designed to involve your senses. Shape, colour and light were all used to impact you. Here are just a few of the exhibits.
 This metal sphere was balanced on a narrow beam and appeared to wobble, but if you watched it for long enough, you realised it was slowly travelling form one end of the beam to the other, and back again. Clever use of magnets I would imagine.

This area used mirrors, and coloured filters to make a hanging maze.
This looks like a flat mirror but it is actually a large bowl shape made up of individually mounted silver spheres.
Then, at the top you come to the rainbow walk, a circular path added on above the original building. It was amazing to walk through it and see how the view changed as you passed through each colour. It actually felt colder when you were in the blue-green areas. Here is a composite picture of my walk through a rainbow.
The walk is high enough to be seen from almost anywhere in the town, and always there were people up in it. We sat on the roof terrace and watched for a while, and then I went back into it and Tom took my picture from down below.

A trip to the capital city was a must while we were in Denmark, so one morning we caught the early bus which then drove onto a ferry. We went up on deck to watch the receding coastline, but it was a bit blowy out there so we soon went below to munch on our breakfast sandwiches.

There was plenty to see in Copenhagen and although the day started off rather overcast, it was not cold and we enjoyed walking around and taking in the sights. After visiting a few of the big churches we discovered that the Lutheran churches all follow much the same layout, with a fairly plain altar surrounded by marble statues of the archangels, white domed ceilings with simple but rather beautiful paintings at each archway, an ornate pulpit in the centre, and huge organ pipes above the entrance door. These ones caught my eye because they were sitting on a apair of elephants, which seemed a little out of place in Denmark!
On a more modern note, here is the newly opened bike bridge that has made for a much faster route across the city for many workers. It was already well used.
Last week I showed you the Round Tower that Tom and I climbed to reach the open roof area for a magnificent 360º view of the city. The climb to the top was up a long ramp which was a lot easier than too many stairs, but even so I was surprised that I got to the top with no difficulty. Of course, what goes up, also has to come down, but Tom and I soon sussed that it was a lot less steep if we stayed by the outer wall. (He did wait for me, but I sent him on ahead for the photos!).

This photo was taken from up of the roof, and in the distance you can see a lovely bridge. This starts at the edge of the city, and when you drive off at the other end, you are in Sweden!
I hadn´t realised that Copenhagen actually spans several small islands with canals running between them. These are linked by bridges and we decided to take the boat tour around the canals which passed under all fourteen of these bridges. Every few minutes our guide would say, "Please remain seated as we are approaching the next bridge". There was very little headroom, so you felt as though you needed to duck!
This was the oldest bridge, and because it was arched, it was not quite so low, but it was very narrow and we had to keep our hands and fingers well inside the rails as the skilled boatman steered us through.
The boat tour enabled us to see a lot of places that would have been too far apart for us to walk to in a day. Here are a few of the sights.

The new Opera House.
This building was known as Blue Eyes.
 The Black Diamond.
Lots of the building has interesting spires. Here are three of my favourites.

And finally a little bit of indulgence! This is the latest craze to hit Denmark and we enjoyed one in Copenhagen, and I had to go for a second one on my last day in Aarhus. I dare say you have them in UK now, but I haven´t seen any here in Spain. They came under various trade names, but basically they are frozen yoghurt whipped like the softee ice-creams. You take a cup and pour your self as much or as little as you want of one, or all the flavours. Then you move on to the toppings bar and add chopped fruit, berries, sweets and sprinkles. It then goes onto the scales and you pay by weight, which could be a bit dangerous, but I guess you would soon get used to how much is a reasonable portion. I made the most of it as I won´t be having another one any time soon!
Here is Tom decanting his yoghurt, and then my compete one. I had caramel, elder-flower, blueberry, vanilla and well most of the flavours really. Then I added some berries, pineapple, marshmallows, nuts and bubbles. Bubbles are the things that look like little white grapes on the top, and they are tiny gelatine bubbles with a concentrated burst of fruit juice inside. They were yummy! I think I´d soon have quite a collection of coloured plastic spoons if I lived there!
Well thank you for travelling through Denmark with me. I hope you weren´t too bored, though I suppose if you were, you would have stopped reading by now!
Anyway. I will be back to my normal posts next week. See you then!