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.
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!