I hate to tell you peeps, but this is week 13, which means we are a quarter of the way through the year - and I'm only just getting the hang of remembering to write 2016!
But we can smile all the same and here is a smile from one of my little cats. I use this old St Michael's bag to take my current craft project to my Wednesday sewing group, and when I had put everything away, I left the empty bag on the telephone seat. Paco decided that it was just the right size for his bed, so this is how I found him when I got up the next morning.
And here are a couple of his friends - well he is friends with Tango sometimes.
Now that's what I call a laid back cat!.
And finally here is another one of Arwen. She always has big green eyes, that are quite different from the other cat's yellow ones, but last night, something disturbed her, and when I looked at her, her eyes were like saucers, and the pupils were so dilated that they were nearly black. She soon got over her scare and went back to normal, but I managed to get a quick picture of her first.
The week got off to a good start with a lovely Palm Sunday service at church. Tall fronds of palms had been collected to decorate the pillars, and at a workshop last week palm crosses had been made for everyone.
It was a lovely sunny morning so we were able to go outside for the Blessing of the Crosses, and then we all went back in singing 'Ride on, ride on in Majesty'.
I had a lovely surprise on Wednesday, when I arrived at the sewing group, to find that the group I had been teaching basic crochet to, had bought me an amaryllis plant. It is a white one, and has two buds on it, so I am looking forward to having some flowers soon. It was all wrapped up in some very pretty cellophane, and tied with a green bow. I wasn't looking for any thanks, but it was a lovely gesture. They all did so well too. One has already made a 'granny square' big enough to cover a cushion, and most of them mastered ripple stitch and reading a simple pattern too. This week I stared three more off. It is good to be able to share our skills. It was at this group that I learned to do bobbin lace, because someone was willing to sit with me and teach me the basic techniques.
It really feels as though Spring has arrived here. The temperature is slowly rising, and the flowers are waking up after the showers we have enjoyed. It is still really windy in the afternoons, but we half expect that right through to the end of April, and the flowers that look so fragile, seem able to withstand the harshest wind. But before I show you what is waking up in the garden, I must share this with you.
It is our Christmas poinsettia, still looking beautiful on the front porch. When my friend called this week she said "You must have green fingers. Look at this still flowering". But as I told her, I think it thrives on neglect, because apart from being told how beautiful it is whenever I pass it, it only gets a little drop of water now and then. It has been there for so long that it is beginning to look dusty!
The two smaller ones that were on the stand just underneath it, have died, and rather than having empty holders, I put back the two geraniums that were there last Autumn. I thought they had died, but they have found a second wind and now have several lovely heads of flowers on them.
My Easter lily has flowered right on time, and it didn't take long for a little bee to notice it. This is the first time it has had a flower for a few years, but when I went to the flower festival at Cordoba, a man told me that he kept his with its feet in water all year round. I haven't quite done that, but I have watered it more regularly than I used to and it seems to have paid off. It has a second bud ready to open very soon too.
Another success story is my bottle-brush plant. I bought it as a tiny plant in a pot and almost lost it the first year - again probably through inadequate water. But i moved it into a large tub and cut off all the dead branches, and it is now a really nice shrub with several 'brushes' on it.
I think they are fascinating flowers. I wonder how many fibres there are in each flower head.
Even the plants out in the street are doing well. When the road was completely dug up and repaved some years ago, the council removed the orange trees that used to grow all up it, and replaced them with small ornamental trees in planters. The planters seemed too shallow to support a tree, but they are on an automatic watering system, and the council workers come round about twice a year to cut and shape them, and they seem to be doing fine. Every now and then, they also plant a few flowers under each one. Last autumn they planted small chrysanthemum plants, which died back in the winter and poinsettias were planted instead. But now those have gone and the chrysanthemums have sprung to life again, and are now a mass of flowers. Our planter happens to have two that are red and one white one, but there are also yellow and pink ones in some of the pots. This Spring we each got a lavender plant too which is good as they are known to repel flies and other unwanted bugs.
Still in the garden, but something quite different; just beyond our back railings there is an old agave or century cactus. Its leaves are splitting and it is passed its best, but I am hoping it will flower in the next few years. (It takes thirty to forty years to flower, and then dies, and we have no idea how old our one is). However, every year it is suddenly covered by a mass of spider web. One little spider, and she really is little, works diligently all through the night, and every morning the network of webs is bigger. She makes several little balls of eggs, dotted around her web so I guess she thinks if one gets eaten or blown away, she will still have several more.
The webs catch all sorts of dead leaves and other rubbish that gets blown around in the high winds, but sometimes I see her wrapping up a little fly that has got entangled too. She puts so much work into building it that I haven't the heart to take it away even though it does make the plant look even more of a mess than it usually does, but this morning I was standing at the rail and looking at it, wondering whether I might spot the little spider, when the early sunlight caught it, and I realised that strategically placed among the untidy webs, there were carefully constructed flat layers of perfectly formed round webs, much like a normal garden spider weaves, but with the rings very close together. I just marvelled at her handiwork. I think nature is wonderful.
One of the highlights of this week was when I joined a new group in the village on Tuesday evening. It is an 'intercambio' group which means 'interchange' and the idea is that English and Spanish people meet together to chat about anything, and the Spanish have to speak in English, and we have to speak in Spanish. It was great fun and will be great for me to practise listening and to learn more vocabulary. I think there were seven of us there who were British - non-Spanish anyway, and then four Spanish people. We sat around one table to begin with, but because we were talking across one another, and we were in a bar so there was quite a lot of background noise, we split up into little groups and after a while we moved on to the next one. I enjoyed it. We were all around the same level so hopefully we can all help one another to improve our language skills and make some new friends.
This just shows some of us. The man in the cap is my friend Chris who is S. African and his native tongue is Africaan so he is good at making some of the more guttural sounds that I find so difficult. The lady he is speaking to is Spanish and so is the man next to her in the green jacket. The ones sitting opposite them are English. I was talking to the young girl who is just off the left side of the picture. They all knew I was the lady who makes marmalade and has a big dog, which surprised me, as I only recognised one of them! I will definitely go back for another session this week.
With the weather improving through the week I have been able to find a spot sheltered from the wind, to sit in the sun and do a little of my crochet most afternoons. Sophie hasn't made much progress this week as I wanted to, and did, finish off a blanket for Africa before I did any more of her, but she does now have a pretty row of 'tulips' all around her garden, and she is no longer square!.
I have also done a little bit in my craft room. I made a couple of Christmas cards for a blog challenge today, and also a birthday card for a friend next week. I did it as a bit of a last minute rush as the challenge I was entering was almost due to close, so I was pleasantly surprised to look a few days later and find I had been drawn to receive a prize. So I will have some pretty butterfly stamps arriving in the post some time soon.
Now I will be off to link with Rocking Your World at Celtic House. I can't seem to find a Friday Smiles post from Annie this week, but I expect she is having some lovely family time this Easter weekend. Hopefully next week there will be some nice sunsets to show you again.