Hey, it is week 50 already, and I have just realised that week 52 will be Christmas Day! What are we going to do about that Virginia?
Well I am starting off with a very happy smile this week, because on Wednesday I met up with fellow-blogger Lisca Meijer.
Lisca and her husband brought their camper van to be serviced at Vera which is just ten minutes drive from here, so we arranged to meet up. Of course, my husband came along to even up the numbers. We spent a lovely day together, first getting acquainted over coffee, and then driving down to see the sea. It stayed dry and fairly sunny for us, so the sea was blue edged with 'white horses', but we did not have time to linger there, and went on to one of our favourite venues for a menu del día. The one we had intended to take them to was closed from 9th December to 7th January "por vacaciones". Only in Spain does a large, popular bar/restaurant take a months vacation at potentially their busiest time of the year. I expect they have gone to spend time with their family, so actually I think they have got their priorities right! Anyway, we soon reached a good alternative and had an excellent meal together. Rather than doing the journey twice, we drove back to our house, and I just had time to show Lisca some of my decorations, and the room where I craft, and take this photo by my Christmas tree. The tree has many hand-made decorations on it, including two little cloth people made by our Annie (of Friday Smiles), a few years ago now.
I then did a quick change into my black and purple choir clothes, and we headed back along the motor way, leaving Lisca and Graham at their van service station, and then driving on to our Friends and Family night with the choir.
This was a lovely evening. There was a really good turnout of around a hundred friends and family members, and we sang our full programme for them. I always think we sing better with an audience, and we sang our hearts out, with the singers enjoying it as much as the audience I think. We had wonderful, positive feedback afterwards, and it was a good way to end the term. We do have a couple more singing spots at charity markets, but we have officially finished until the new year, and there will be not be a full choir at either of the last two events.
I am happy to have found time to get all our Christmas decorations up this week. I get quite excited unwrapping the decorations, and reminiscing about where many of them came from. Each one has its own story to tell, and I love reliving them year by year.
Most of the ones on this little shelf are older than I care to remember, but their happy faces brighten up the room every year, and I can't bear to light them.
These ones are scented, and they will get lit at some time over the holiday. The little robin candle holder reminds me of my sister Jean as she gave it to me years ago. The other robin used to sit on a glass bell which sadly came to a splintery end, but the robin still comes out to sit with his friend. And the big gold candle is sitting in an amber brandy glass which was a present on my twenty-first birthday, and amazingly it has survived all these years.
I love arch ways, and I have had several of these over the years, but this one has lasted so well. It does of course, hold electric candles, but I still like them, and I have two of my favourite candle holders on either side of it. The little tin angel on the far left, is something we bought when Chris took me to Arizona (and on to the Grand Canyon), for our silver wedding anniversary. We visited the tin mining community near Sedona, and I had to have a little keepsake. Hence the tin angel, holding a tea light.
Here are a few more that also come out for Christmas. Because I have not yet got out all the ornaments that I packed away while the room was decorated, this year I have space to arrange the candles properly.
I have others as well in the hall and sitting room, but I think that is enough for this time!
As well as the Christmas decorations, I have also managed to re-cut and position on the wall, the words for my Family clock. I did a trial run of it which I showed you here, but I knew it would have to come down again for the walls to be painted. This time it is on the opposite wall where we can see it better, and the writing is straight now. There was a lot of struggling with long rulers and spirit levels to make sure of this! And then there was more levelling to get the photos straight around it.
I have also spent some time in the kitchen this week, making another seven dozen mince pies on Tuesday. Then today I made seven dozen more, so I have plenty ready for my turn at making church teas on Sunday, and for after our carol service on Tuesday.
I made a big batch of my piccalilli and also my hot chili-ginger jam, to sell at the Christmas market a couple of week ago. I really thought that was it for this year, but the piccalilli sold out at the market, and last week end I took orders from three people who wanted more before Christmas. So yesterday I spent the evening chopping vegetables, and first thing this morning I cooked that up.
For the first time ever, I have completely sold out of last January's massive marmalade stash. Of course, it will be a few week yet before the new season's bitter oranges are ready to make some more. So to fill the gap, this week I made one big batch of grapefruit marmalade. I like the taste of it, but it hasn't set quite as well as I would have liked, probably because the fruit was rather ripe. But I expect it will sell before the next marmalade is ready.
Every year we have really nice Christmas lights up through the village. They are later going up, and being turned on, than some of the villages around here, but because we have a fiesta for Three Kings Day, ours stay on for longer after Christmas. Our road has big groups of candles strung across it at regular intervals, right up to the Town Hall at the top. The parallel road and festival plaza has snowflakes.
But from the main road up as far as our house, we also have a light on most of the lamp posts, including the one right outside our house. Until they are up it is hard to see what they are, and some have to be lit up before I can recognise them, but yesterday they fixed up what is definitely a Santa on our post. I'm looking forward to having him lit up now. It always seems a bit odd to me, to see Christmas images against a bright blue sky, but it gets dark by 5.30 these days, and the modern lights are so bright and sparkly, so they aren't out of place at all come night time.
Also to add to the festive look, we like to buy at least one poinsettia plant to go in the front porch. I bought a lovely big red one a couple of week back, but I also wanted some in the two smaller pots on our planter, so this week I popped into the little garden centre in Turre and bought a lovely orangey-gold one, and one that is piebald, in a mixture of yellow and red. Don't they make the doorway look nice and cheerful?
As if we aren't up to our eyes with things to do, places to go etc right now, we decided to call the workmen in to repair our outside wall this week. Just inside the wall, in our garden, there is a channel that carries the agricultural water to nearby orange groves. Although it is not often used now, the continual passage of water had made the plaster very soft and crumbly, and the paint we put on a couple of years ago, had already blistered and fallen off. So we have talked about possible solutions and decided to have the lower part of the wall, where the problem is, covered with 'crazy paving' stones to match the rest of the front wall, leaving the top half still painted green. We asked the young man who has just painted our rooms, to do it, as we were very pleased with his work. He was happy to have a few days of extra work as next week he is taking his family to Morocco to visit his elderly parents there. A friend came to help him, and by the end of the day, the stone work was finished. It looks really good, and tomorrow he will be back to paint the top half of the wall. As I say, we chose a rather odd time for the work, but I am glad it is done.
As you can see, the sky is not so blue today. We are having a few cloudy, and wet days now with the promise of better temperatures and more sun for next week. But at least it stayed dry while they got the work done. We have had some heavy showers in the evenings, and even on the nice days this week, the clouds have rolled back in by tea-time. So we haven't had a single bright sunset to show you. I just have this one shot taken as the last little patch of blue sky was hidden by the gathering storm clouds.
Next week I am ridiculously busy, with two or three things happening every day. I hope I manage to get a few photos of them to show you.
In the meantime, I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles, and Rocking your World on Virginia's blog.