So here we are at week 43. This year is sure racing by! Last week I had to miss our little rendezvous, and I think that was the first miss this year, but I am back today with more chat and photos to share.
First I am sure you will join me in smiling at our Tango. I am trying to convince folk that this is his happy face! He is happy because his house is almost back to normal after lots of visitors, plus he has discovered some extra cushions and a warm, cosy blanket to nap on.
He was really poorly while our first visitor was here, and I was very worried about him, but a course of anti-biotics and a special diet for a couple of weeks, have got him back to his normal, relaxed and contented self.
I shall be linking this to Annie's Friday Smiles later, but before I do, join me in wishing a very Happy Birthday to Annie, who faithfully hosts our smiles week by week.
We are both Librans Annie, as it was my birthday last Saturday, and husband Chris' on the Thursday, and the reason I didn't post a blog, was because on Friday we had a joint party here.
A week last Monday, we set off at tea-time to collect our son Ben from Murcia train station. He hates flying, and as he works for the railway, he can get subsidised tickets, so he often comes all the way from Birmingham by train. We picked him up at 7.00 and then had just enough time to drive to Murcia airport, (which isn't in Murcia at all, and is an hour's drive from the city), to collect our grandson Marcus, and his girlfriend, El. It was getting dark as we left Murcia city, and all through our drive we were blessed with a stunning sunset. I only had my phone with me, and I was taking photos through a rather grubby car window, but here are just two of the many pictures I took.
Marcus and El arrived on time so we were home by 10.00, just in time for a quick snack and a night-cap, and then we settled down for a good night's sleep.
They were lucky on Tuesday. It was much sunnier than was forecast, so they went outside and did what most English holiday makers do, and who can blame them!
On Wednesday I called into my sewing group as usual because they were having a coffee morning for Macs, but then I left to do some shopping for the party. So I left the youngsters on the beach where they had a lovely time. My choir practice was cancelled that evening as the musical director was ill, but we decided to drive over to the Asian restaurant anyway, as we had planned to go there after the practice.
It was absolutely heaving in there. I haven't seen so many customers in one eating place for a long time, but they still found us a table and as usual, we had an excellent meal.
On Thursday I needed to have a serious baking session, so I let Ben have our car, and he took the other two off for the day. I had a good day. I used to love having a baking day when the family were all at home, but now there are just the two of us, it rarely happens. So I enjoyed myself in my own little world, and got everything I needed to done, before the others came home.
There is no such thing as an entirely free supper in this house, so on Friday I made them work for it, and kept everyone busy moving furniture, sorting glasses and plates etc. etc.
I had borrowed a digital piano for Ben to play, so that was set up in one corner, and our friend Tony, an electrician and sound man, came over with mics, leads and an amplifier and sorted that out for us. The double doors to the sitting room were removed so we could arrange chairs all around the room and the hall, and the spare bed returned to being a settee for the evening. A few more chairs were placed outside around the porch and the drinks table was also out there, and we were lucky, the forecast rain didn't come, and it was warm enough for some folk to sit out there all evening. There were around thirty of us, so we were bursting at the seams, but it was a great evening all the same.
The food table was well laden and everyone tucked in. There was very little left by the end of the evening.
We are not great cake-eaters but some sort of birthday cake seemed appropriate for when Ben opened the cava and everyone sang Happy Birthday, so I made a big, plain madeira cake, and El did great job of icing it, and made it look really pretty.
My friend Sue and her musical partner Andy, started the entertainment with several pieces played on the piano and clarinet. I was distracted and didn't manage to get a photo of them.
Then Ben did a set of some songs he has written himself, and some Billy Joel numbers.
My friends all think he is wonderful, and love listening to him. (So do I, but I am biased!).
Next Ben accompanied Marcus while he sang Stars from Les Mis. I knew he sings a bit, but he has improved massively since I heard him last. I was really impressed.
His girlfriend El also sings, so I asked her to do a song, and she sang Ella Henderson's version of Yours. She was amazingly good, putting all the dramatic emphasis into it.
All three of them are in a pantomime company that do a week of performances every January, in Wolverhampton, and their stage training has really paid off. This is the company's tenth anniversary and they are doing Cinderella. Marcus is playing Buttons and El is Prince Charming. It is only Ben's second season with them so he was in the chorus last year, but this year he is cast as Cinderella's father, Baron Hardup, and has a couple of solo songs to learn too.
Andy and Sue did another short set and then my friend Eileen sang. She is Tony's wife, so he had backing tracks ready for her. She sings jazz and blues, and regularly sings at open-mike nights. What a lot of talent in such a small group of people!
I had invited my Spanish friend Cati to come with her daughter Maria who has Down's syndrome, and was the reason for Cati starting her local charity ASADIS. Maria loves music, especially karaoke, so Tony managed to find a couple of her favourite Spanish songs and she was happy to have her turn with the microphone. Her diction is not good but she knows all the words, and has a good sense of the rhythm.
Ben did his last set of songs and then he managed to cast some karaoke numbers onto our TV, and others onto Tony's laptop, and between them we had a good old sing song that continued after most of our guests had gone home.
Tony and Eileen stayed until late, and also some other friends Yvonne and Robin because Robin loves to sing, but eventually there was just the five of us left singing until around 2.30 in the morning! It's a good thing we haven't got any immediate neighbours.
Boys and their toys! This is my menfolk trying to get to grips with some new technology that will enable us to pick up more TV channels. It is a good idea, but it is so complicated that I will only be able to watch it when Chris is around to set it up for me!
Saturday was, of course, recovery day. I was up bright and early and I got most of the clearing up done, and then the boys got up and put all the furniture back where it belongs. They decided to stay around the house that afternoon but as the sun was out they thought they should try out the pool. I warned them that it would be colder than the sea, but they insisted. Here they are trying to convince one another that it will be OK. It isn't cold really.
Oh yes it is !!
But soon they were all in and they had a lot of fun until they started to shiver.
This is as far as I go in October!
The dogs thought we were mad, and all hid safe behind bars.
They all decided that they didn't want to go out at night so we spent the evening playing board games. It was fun. I always used to play games with Ben. Back when we used to have eurocamp holidays, and his brothers were just old enough to go to the disco, Ben and I would sit outside our tent and play board games. Marcus' family still have family games evenings and it is a great tradition to keep up.
The weekend passed all to quickly, and unfortunately they were unable to get a train for Ben that coincided with a plane for the other two, so Monday morning saw us heading off to Murcia train station, leaving Marcus and El to pack. As he left, Ben took this photo of the front of our house, to put on his 'going-home' post on Facebook.
I had promised Marcus and El that I would take them up to Mojacar pueblo when I got back, so they could buy little gifts to take home to their families. So we did that, and came home for a meal before we set out once again for Murcia airport. This was their parting shot, taken at the airport just before they went down to the departure lounge.
We had enjoyed their young company all week, and the house seems quiet since they left. But we are getting back into our winter routine now.
I spent yesterday making lots of piccalilli, (the last batch has sold out already), and also some of my hot chilli and ginger jam. I have several charity sales coming up in the approach to Christmas, so I needed to have something to sell on my table.
There is a distinctive feel of autumn in the air now, with the nights getting a bit colder, and we have had some wet days this week, though enough sunny ones for me to get most of the extra washing dry outside. Something I am always thankful for.
The afternoon sun is lower in the sky and my kitchen is full of dancing rainbows from the crystals that I hang in my window. There are hundreds of them, but they move so fast and it is hard to catch any of them on camera. I love them! They make me feel happy!
I got a group of friends from my church interested in singing a special song at our carol service in December. There were enough of us to give it a go, so we persuaded our pianist friend Sue to rehearse it with us. Bless her, she has done a new arrangement of the music, in four part harmony, and this afternoon we had our first practice. Seeing as most of the group had not seen the music before, we did really well. We have a few more weeks to practice in, so it should be fun. We are also singing a carol in Spanish, also with harmonies, called Luz de Dios, (Light of God), sung to the tune of Oh Christmas tree.
We also have at least four events where we are singing with our new choir Incognito Singers, during the next couple of months, so it is all go. Fortunately I like to keep busy. My main aim now is to get a few craft items made for the sales that are coming up, but hopefully I will be back with my usual ramblings next week.