Hello everyone. Here is my smile for this week. This is my friend Kris in full Carnival regalia. Kris sings in the same choir as me, and he is such a friendly, fun person. He lives in the urbanisation at the bottom of our village, and he rallied all his friends from there, to have an entry in the village carnival. It is the first time they have entered. The urbanisation is called Huerta Nueva which means "New orchard", so it was fitting that they chose to dress up as fruit, flowers and vegetables. Kris was the star of the show and he really dressed up for the part. Already quite tall, he added to his height with a fruit laden turban and these incredibly high heels, which, fair play to him, he wore to walk around the village all evening.
He was surprised to find he could buy these online in a size 9, but when they came he couldn't even stand in them, so he had to get advice from some of his female friends, and then practice every night!
This photo shows his full costume,
....and here is the rest of his gang.
What a lovely colourful bunch.
The carnival was last Saturday evening, and as usual it was a great fun time, with a real party atmosphere. As I have described this to you on previous years I will leave it there for this time, but at the end of the post, I will add some more photos for those who just enjoy seeing other folk having fun.
Saturday started off for us with a visit to the big open market near Albox. Chris had some business with a man who runs one of the stalls, so my sister Jean and I went along to browse through the other stalls, and buy some fresh vegetables. It is very cheap compared with our markets nearer home, and everything is so fresh. I stopped to buy some cherry tomatoes that a man was piling into plastic boxes from a big sack. They were only one euro a box so I bought them and also a bag containing four big cucumbers which too were one euro. But as I was leaving the man added a second box of tomatoes as a gift!
I wanted to buy vegetables ready to make some more picalilli so we did that, and we were on our way back to the car when I spotted some big plum tomatoes. I love these for cooking so thought I would buy a few. They were 2€ so I said I would have a kilo. Turned out my two euros bought the whole crateful, which were tipped into a carrier bag and handed to me. It's a good thing we like tomatoes!
So we have had tomato soup and pasta bake, and I have made several small pots of pisto which is what we use to add to all our mince recipes, spread on tostadas before adding cheese or tuna, and line empanadas or pies before adding other fillings. Basically it is chopped up fried tomatoes, peppers, corgettes, onions etc. I used to buy little tins of it, but now I make it with any left-over vegetables I have, before I go shopping for more fresh ones, so there is always some in the freezer when I want it. Now I'm looking on the net for a recipe for red tomato chutney!
My sister was flying back to UK on Wednesday so on Monday we decided to have a nice day out. We drove to Cabo de Gata and first we took her up to the Arricife de Sirenas - Reef of the Sirens - where the waves continually crash over rocky peaks. I love it there.
I then persuaded her to stand by this large tile depicting the marine life in the area. I saw this in many tourist guide books when we first moved to Spain, but it was a couple of years before I discovered where it actually is.
It is quite a dangerous piece of coastline, so ships are warned off by the lighthouse on the cliff that rises above the reef.
As we drove back along the windswept coastline, we stopped at Las Salinas, the salt lakes renowned for all the water birds that gather there. We sat in the hide but it is quite a distance from the lake edge so we were glad that Chris had remembered to bring his binoculars. These were the first birds we found.
But these were the ones we were really looking for. There were far more flamingos there than when I last visited, and with the zoom lens on my camera, I was able to get some nice photos of them. It is lovely to see them in their natural habitat.
We next moved on to the village of Cabo de Gata and sat in a sea-front restaurant to have some lunch. We sat outside to make the most of the sunshine, but it was a bit windy and we had to eat fast before the food got cold.
Driving back to the motorway we spotted another hide on the other side of the lake, so we stopped to have another look. Again there were lots of birds including flamingos, but I just took this photo to show how far we had come. The ones above were taken over by the little church that you can see in the distance beyond the lake.
We drove halfway home along the motorway and then turned down towards Carboneras and took the coastal road the rest of the way. This is long winding road that climbs up the side of the cliff and then down the other, and it is almost obligatory to stop at the viewpoint at the top and look down on the road you have just travelled.
Tuesday was Jean's last day so we left Chris at home and drove up to Mojacar Pueblo to browse the shops and enjoy the views. We found a lovely patio in the centre of the village, with stone arches all around it, and we sat at a sunny table to enjoy a cup of coffee.
The high wall behind us was the back of a very old church, which has its entrance on the next layer up. The village is a maze of narrow streets that dip down and then rise up again, often with a flight of steps as the only way to reach the next level. I am glad I don't have to carry my shopping through there every week! You can see Jean still sitting at our table but she is dwarfed by the huge wall of rock that towered above us.
Her flight home left Alicante airport at 7.00 on Wednesday morning which meant she needed to be there around 5.00, and Alicante is a good two hours drive from here, so we didn't bother going to bed on Tuesday night. Chris was doing all the driving so he wisely went off for a sleep, but we sat knitting and chatting and listening to music, until it was time to leave. We saw her through to the departure lounge before we left, so she was somewhere up in the 'way blue yonder' by the time we got home. We got back to our village at 8.00, just in time to enjoy a lovely sunrise. I only had my phone with me so this is a not very good photo taken through a rather dusty windscreen.
After an hour's rest I decided to go to my sewing group as usual, and I am glad I did because my friend brought her new puppy in to see us. There was a litter of them on the land next to her daughter's house, and the land-owner was going to destroy them, so she decided to keep one. Her name is Sasha, and she is so cute. I had a cuddle of course, and when she had been passed around like a little parcel, she fell asleep on her owner's lap and was placed in a little bed Joan had made for her in the shopper under the seat of her mobility frame. She slept there as good as gold until it was time to go home.
When I got home I made us a quick meal and then finally managed a couple of hours sleep before going to my choir practice. I didn't want to miss it because it was our first birthday as a choir. We are going to have a bit of a party together tomorrow, but on Wednesday we stayed behind after the practice to have a glass of cava and a slice of cake, that had been made specially for us. Very nice it was too.
I seem to have caught up with myself now, despite the lack of sleep, and I have managed to make forty jars of marmalade and twenty jars of picalilli, ready for a church coffee morning next week.
But I will end for this time with four lovely sky photos that I have taken during the week. All very different but all equally beautiful.
I hope you will now understand why I only managed to get around to visiting you all yesterday, but hopefully I will do better this week.
I will now link up to Annie's Friday Smiles, and Rocking your World at Virginia's blog, and then I will add the rest of my carnival photos, which really need very little explanation.
First some little people.
A couple that will either make you laugh or cringe!
And a few more, imaginative and fun groups.
The carnival band.I loved these jellyfish.
See you all next week.