Well here we are at Friday yet again. It has been one of those weeks with lots of little things going on so the days pass almost without you noticing them. But first here is something that made me smile.
This is my great-grandson Alfie, and when I opened up my Facebook page and found him smiling out at me, of course I smiled back! Isn't he gorgeous?
And then, today, I found his equally gorgeous, big brother Isaac, AKA Harry Potter, all dressed up ready for World Book day at school.
Now back to my week, starting with Sunday which was Día de Andalucía, a very important day for our village people. It is always celebrated in the same way. The big marquee that is set up for Three Kings Day is left up to be used again on Carnival Day, and then again on Día de Andalucía. Green and white bunting is hung across the roof space, and the stage is given a backdrop of banners from all the provinces of Andalucía, and arches of green and white flowers are grouped at the front of the stage. Here it is all set and ready to go.
First there are several dance displays by the two dancing schools in the village. There is a degree of rivalry between them, but they are both very good.
Sadly, as it fell on a Sunday this year, and I go to church in the morning, we didn't arrive until just as the dancing was ending, which was a shame. I love to see the youngsters dance. The movements seem to come to them so naturally. I think they are born with good rhythm.
After the dancing it is the turn of the village choir to entertain us. We were there in time to see them. The ladies all wear Flamenco style dresses, and they sing with great enthusiasm.
This is followed by a lunch of meats and cheeses, salads and bread, all prepared and laid out at the back of the marquee by the ladies of the village, but we don't stay for this, as it is very much a treat for the local people, and although I am sure we would be made welcome, we usually go home after the entertainment. And this week, there was a Sunday roast dinner in the oven, waiting for us!
Monday was another opportunity for me to liaise between Cati for ASADIS, and an English group who had a donation for them. This time it was the group Dames of Turre, and as Monday was also a holiday - because Día de A. had fallen on a Sunday - Cati was not working so she was able to come with me. She came forward with me to accept the cheque, but I had to speak for her as she speaks no English.
I am out of my comfort zone with a microphone in my hand, but it is amazing what you can do when the situation calls for it.
Tuesday was a straightforward day, and as usual I went to my home group in the morning, this time up at my friend Margie's house. She has two lovely cats. Cameron is all black, and he is an independent animal, who tends to disappear when there are visitors at the house. But the white cat, Blanca, is very friendly and often plays around our feet, chewing the handles of our bags etc! But this week she sat with us, on her own chair, and she really seemed to be taking it all in.
On Wednesday I went to my sewing group where I had agreed to help a group of ladies learn to crochet. They were waiting for me when I arrived with their wool and hooks, so I talked them through the basics, and some of them took to it really well. One lady decided it just wasn't for her, and another wants to try again maybe as a one-to-one lesson. But the others managed to make a strip of trebles and 'granny stripes', and next week they want to learn how to go round corners to make a square. Look at the concentration on their faces.
Once this group is up and running, there are more who want to learn too, so I will be doing it for a while I think.
I have to leave home at around 5.45 to get to my choir practice, so by the time I get home from sewing, and make our lunch, I only have a short afternoon before I go out again, so this week I decided to have some 'me' time. I put my nose in a book, and it is a good thing I set my alarm, because once I start reading, time loses all meaning to me. But it was a nice relaxing afternoon.
Yesterday morning I made some three fruits marmalade using grapefruit, oranges and lemons. I prefer the bitter orange one I usually make, but this is quite a good alternative, and this year I have really struggled to get the bitter oranges, so my cupboard is nothing like as full as it should be. The citrus fruits will be around for a few months yet, so I can always make some more if it sells well.
Thursday afternoon brought another of the quirky local fiestas around again, This time it was Día de Los Viejas, or Day of the Old Ones. I think this is the most bizarre of all our fiesta, because it is when the children take figures of old people out to the countryside for a picnic, and when they have had their food, they use rocks and sticks to beat the 'old ones' until they fall apart to reveal the packs of sweets hidden inside them! Here is an example of some of the 'old ones' that we saw.
For many from our village, a country picnic means a trip to the purpose built picnic area next to the sports centre, high up behind the village. It was a beautiful day yesterday so we took our picnic and went to join them there. It is a lovely spot, with tables and benches in place, and lacy trees to give some shade.
There were lots of families there already. Some of them used the built in barbecues, and others arrived with big pans of paella, or box after box of cold meats and cheeses. It is a real feast.
Last year I managed to find out that the idea of this picnic started way back when the forty days of fasting for Lent was an obligation for everyone. But the monks realised it was too great a burden for the ones who had to work, so they introduced one day when they could eat as much as possible to keep them going through their fast for the rest of the Lenten period. However, I could find no origin for the "Bash a Granny" tradition as it is irreverantly called by many folk!
All around the wall there were groups of the 'old ones' and the children kept creeping back to make sure their's was safe, but no-one touched them until after the food had been eaten.
When the children were tired of sitting at a table they started to collect a little pile of 'ammunition', stones and rocks, and some had arrived armed with big sticks and metal bars. And when it was time to attack, it was really quite brutal.
The puppets were surprising strong, and the children hurled their rocks over and over again, or beat at them with their sticks, until heads began to roll. Mostly the heads were a newspaper parcel that contained a sizeable bag of sweets. And depending on whether they were shop bought, or hand-made, some had sweets inside the body as well.
We watched the families have some fun time together, until it was time for us to wander back home. As we were about to leave I realised that we were sitting under a really lovely mimosa tree. They are everywhere out here, and the flowers are just opening. The pollen bothers me a bit, but they are so beautiful that I can forgive them for that. We cut down the ones right outside my craft room window which is nearly always open, as I was asking for trouble to sit by it for too long, but I love to see them blooming everywhere else.
Here is a little something that always makes me feel happy. I had a "Pollyanna Whitticker" moment. (Apologies if you haven't seen the film and wonder what on earth I am talking about). I have two crystals hanging in my kitchen window.
Now the bougainvillea hedge has been cut back, the late afternoon sunshine hits the crystals and sends rainbows dancing around my kitchen.
It is still quite windy here so the crystals are never still. Sometimes the rainbows dance across the cat bowls and they try to chase them, and wonder where they have gone when they whizz off in another direction.
I loved the film Pollyanna, and have watched it many times. The little girl with her 'rainbow makers', brought so much happiness to those around her, and I always think of that, when I sit and watch my rainbows dance.
There was a super post on Facebook this week, from Brian Hatton, the founder and director of Greenfileds Africa, the charity that I support with our knitting and fund raising. He and his wife are out in Kenya at the minute, and when he can get some internet connection, he likes to send us posts about his stay. He sent this sweet photo with the story below it.
Introducing beautiful baby Cynthia Shirleen who was born in our hospital 6 weeks ago at a mere 6⅟2 months weighing 1.02 Kg (2lbs 4oz) Nancy, who delivered her, said “We expected a dead foetus and you can imagine our joy when we delivered this beautiful, fully formed baby!” Cynthia was incubated using the “kangaroo nursing” technique, common in Africa, whereby the baby is bound fairly tightly to the mother, skin to skin, so that they share the mother’s body heat. Cynthia now weighs 1.6 Kg (3ibs 8oz) and is doing well. Karen had packed a full case of premature baby clothes which Barbara insisted we brought out with us. You can see that even these look big on Cynthia. The ‘prem Teddy’ in the picture is 100mm (4 ins) tall."
Now that really makes me happy, and it is very encouraging for my knitting friends, to see their work put to such good use.
And that brings us back to the weekend once again.
So I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking your World at Celtic House, and leave you with just a small collection of sky shots. The first was at tea time on the first evening without the wind this week. There were no clouds to make it spectacular, but after such a wild week, it just struck me as being so very peaceful.
Now we are back to the usual sunny, breezy days with just a smattering of clouds, and yesterday there was such a lovely sunset.
That's all folks. Have a lovely weekend.