It's week 20 already folks. Six more weeks and we'll be half-way through the year. I don't know whether that makes you feel happy or sad, or even a bit scared, but either way there is not much we can do about it!
I've no particular smile today. It has a been a bit of a mixed week, with lots to keep me busy and smiling, tinged with a little sadness too, but this is the day to focus on the happy things so here goes.
I told you last week that we spent Thursday evening at a concert in the Mojacar church with a Welsh choir, which incidentally raised 700€ for church funds. Well on Saturday the same choir did a second concert, this time in a very different setting - a very typically Spanish bar/restaurant. We knew the programme was quite different too so we decided to go and see them again, and it was a very relaxed and happy evening. The organiser had told me that this time they were raising money for ASADIS, the charity for special needs children in our village and surrounding area, and she invited me to take Cati along as she is the founder and organiser of ASADIS. So Chris and I picked her up in plenty of time, and we when we got to the venue we also joined up with my friend Ann.
Despite the songs being in English or Welsh, Cati really enjoyed it all. The choir were excellent again and the programme was broken up by some comedy items from these three.
After the concert there was a buffet meal. We all queued up and the Spanish waitress served the hot dishes while we helped ourselves from the cold plates. There was such a choice and loads of it. I am sure no-one went away hungry.
After our meal there was a keyboard player who soon had folk up and dancing, but we were tired and Cati doesn't like to leave her daughter for too long, so we didn't stay late. Cati likes to take photos and she actually got quite a good one of Chris and I, so I am adding it here, as it is a rare occurrence. I am usually the one holding the camera!
You must be thinking that we never celebrate anything without there being food involved, and you are probably right! On Monday night we were eating out again, this time at the Asian restaurant near Albox. We were celebrating a dear friend's birthday, and they had kindly set up a long table so that all twenty of us could sit together.
The food was, as ever, excellent, but they kept us waiting a long time for it, so it was a long evening, but there was lots of lively chatter around the table, and it was good to spend some time with our friends.
Over the passed few weeks I have been liaising between Cati and a group of ladies who wanted to buy a gift for the special needs class on our village school - the same children that Cati helps through ASADIS by employing physio and speech therapists for them, as there is no money in the 'system' for things like that. Bowling clubs are very popular out here - I guess partly because the weather rarely interferes with their matches, and this donation was from the ladies section of four bowling clubs in this area. They have raised money for a variety of good causes, but they don't like to donate money, preferring to buy something that is needed. This is a new concept for the Spanish people and it took a fair bit of coaxing on my part to persuade them to suggest something we could buy. In the end they settled on a small lightbox to help the visually impaired children, and to make talking about colours etc more exciting. I knew how much the bowlers were prepared to spend, so I was able to upgrade this choice to a larger one, along with some clear, coloured plastic shapes to use with it.
Once these were bought, I arranged a day when representives from the clubs involved, could visit the school, and meet with the headmaster and staff and children from the class. So on Wednesday I met up with them and walked them up to the school where we were joined by Cati who introduced us to the headmaster and took us along to the special needs classroom. As well as giving them the board, we were able to spend time interacting with the children. There is a new classroom assistant who speaks very good English, so my Spanish was not tested as much as I was expecting. It made such a difference to the people giving the gift, to be able to meet with the children and see them in their own environment, and it was a privilege to be a part of it all.
Wednesday evening was choir practice time. There are only a few more rehearsals before our first big concert. Tickets are selling well and we are really looking forward to it. We had a good practice and feel we are really getting to grips with the songs now. We usually finish between 8.30 and 9.00 and it is so nice to come outside and find it is still daylight now. It means I can at least drive down as far as the motorway before the darkness comes down, and that is a real blessings as I don't like driving at night on my own.
This week I was just getting into the car to drive home when I noticed this quite benign face in the clouds, looking down on me, so I whipped out my phone and took this photos before it faded.
Then I got in the car and looked in the mirror, and the sky behind me looked like this.
So, of course, I had to get out again and take another picture before I finally got on my way. I still made it to the motorway before dark though.
As you can see, some of the clouds are looking rather stormy. It always seems as though our weather is the opposite of what is happening in UK, so while you have been enjoying a few days of 'summer' we have had clouds, high winds and thunder storms. But we are so glad to see the rain coming before the really hot weather sets in, that no-one is really complaining.
Here are a few quick photos of the garden before I leave you. The hanging baskets we filled a couple of weeks ago are doing well. I am hoping the petunias will trail a bit soon and cover some of the basket liner, but they look lovely anyway. This one is on the side of the garage, near the front door.
There is a lovely new pelargonium grandiflorum behind it that I bought at the market this week to go in the window box. This second basket hangs on the front wall on the other side of the front door. It is also very pretty but I struggled to get a good picture as it hangs against a very bright, white wall.
Before we leave the garden, I thought I would conclude the tale of the forty year old cactus tree that suddenly decided to bloom this year. We watched the buds open and send each section up on its own little branch, but after that it was rather disappointing. The flowers were white but so small and insignificant we hardly noticed they has opened!
Then one day I realised they were dying again without giving us much of a show at all. But now it is covered with something else. It started to look a bit pink, and when I got up close I saw that each tiny flower had become a much bigger pink seed pod. So here it is now, looking really quite pretty.
We still don't know what will happen to the plant when the seeds all drop. Maybe it will just die like the agarve cactus that takes decades to flower and then dies, and little plants grow up all around it, or maybe it will send out a new shoot. We can only wait and see.
And finally, here is a photo I took of my 'grumpy cat' waiting for his tea. All our other cats have mealtimes - a small breakfast and tea, and a big meal at night which has always disappeared by the morning. But Tango is a grazer. I don't leave his bowl down as he is on a special diet that is too expensive to leave out for the others to help themselves too, including the stray white tom who comes in whenever Paco isn't around to assert his territorial rights! But whenever I go in the kitchen, Tango goes and sits silently by his bowl (or the space where he thinks it should be) and he waits patiently for me to put a little food down for him. He doesn't make any noise, just sits and looks hopeful, or grumpy as that is the only face he can make really!
He is gorgeous - so laid back and gentle. Every evening he comes and sits on me, getting in the way of my crochet or whatever else I am doing, and he is warmer than any blanket, so soon he will have to find another resting place.
Well that's all from me this week. I shall now link up with Annie's Friday Smiles, and Rocking your World, and I'll see you all next week.