This blog is all about being positive. On her blog at Celtic House, Virginia encourages us to look for the silver linings, to find the things we can be grateful for, and then somehow the low points of our week don't seem so bad. I have had another lovely week, but rather than highlight one little part of it, I thought I would post this list that I saw on Facebook a while ago, that is really the essence of what we are aiming for in our weekly blog posts. So I hope you can agree with most of the items on this list today.
And now to what was probably the brightest point of my week, last Saturday when the choir I am in -Incognito Singers - was invited to sing at a charity afternoon to raise money for Paws/Patas, the charity which helps to care for and re-home many of the abandoned and abused dogs and cats that abound here. The event was held at the home of a lady who is very involved in this charity work, and the tickets were all sold well in advance of the actual day.
The house was truly amazing. It was set at the very top of a mountain on the edge of Mojacar. It was only accessible by a single lane dirt track, that hugged the edge of the mountain, so we (choir and guests) had to park our cars at the bottom and be shuttled up in a convoy of six cars, that travelled together and went up and down many times until everyone was up there.
As we stepped out of the cars at the top, this is the view that was directly in front of us.
Looking to our left we could see Mojacar playa below us. The large orange building set into the hillside is an exclusive hotel, and opposite it is a piece of rough ground where we had parked our cars to wait for our lift up to the house.
Inside the house we soon found that there were views to enjoy from every room. The room we sang in had huge windows all along the side - I am glad I didn't have to clean them - some of which were open, and this was the view through them.
Imagine being able to look at that through all the changing seasons. Stunning isn't it?.And by turning just a little further you could see along the coast away from Mojacar, almost as far as Carboneras.
Although some parts of the house were 'out of bounds', there were plenty of places that we were free to roam in, so I went through to the landward side of the house and took this view of the mountains.
Next to that was a narrow pathway where we lined up to process in for our performance. This led to a lovely swimming pool area, with a built-in barbecue and lots of shady seating which we were very grateful for as it was an extremely hot afternoon.
And I couldn't resist one last photo of this delightful archway that framed the view so beautifully. I am sure if I lived there, that is where I would sit with my morning cup of tea, most days.
The concert itself was a huge success. There were about sixty guests as well as a team of workers from the charity, and they were all very generous with their praise, including giving us a standing ovation at the end. We had very little space to actually stand in. At the end of the room there were three steps leading up to a bar, that had the garage behind it. A curtain was hung across this and we stood in front of it, making use of the steps to ensure everyone had a good view of our musical director, David. When we had planned our 'arrangement' at last week's practice, we were told we each had the space of one floor tile to stand on! In fact it was not quite as cramped as that, but I am not good in small spaces, so I was glad I was on the end of the front row, so I could step down onto floor level, and feel relatively free.
Even David said he thought it was the best concert we had ever done. We liked the fairly informal arrangement. It was formal enough to be like a theatre performance in that the audience sat and listened to us (I have sung in bars where there is a constant background noise of murmuring voices and coffee machines etc, which can be very off-putting). But the seating was informal in that everyone sat on sofas, window seats, stools and even the hearth around the fire, as you can see better in this panoramic photo taken by one of the guests.
Two thirds of the way down the room, there were two steps which led up to smaller area, also filled with seating for the guests, and David stood on these steps to conduct us as there was no space between us and the front row seats. He is an excellent musical director, and really knows how to get the best out of us. And he is generous with his praise when we do it right.
As you can see in this last photo, we have all learned to sing out and not bury our faces in our books, and we all love doing it. His eyes are sharp and he always says there is no room for 'shrinking violets'. He expects us all to give of our best so we do.
There was an interval half way through, and we were each given a lovely plate of dainty canapés, which we ate sitting round the pool. There was a loosely French theme to the everything and Chris won a nice selection of cheeses on a glass tray in the raffle.
When we got home I was completely worn out, so we cooled down in the pool, had a light tea, watched a bit of TV and went to bed earlier than we have managed for a long time.
The rest of the week was quite tame by comparison until we got to Thursday when were involved in another event. This was quite a different occasion as it was the 'Celebration of Life' Service for our dear friend Jean. Her daughter and son-in-law are back out here now, and they wanted it to be sooner rather than later, so a group of us got together and had it all organised in no time. It was held in our little church at Llanos del Peral on another hot and sticky afternoon. Chris had arranged the flowers herself and they looked beautiful.
There was also a lovely montage of photos on display that Jean's Grandson had prepared for the funeral. He selected all the photos and sent them to the printer along with poems and messages from immediate family which are the pieces of writing below the pictures. The printer put them all onto this screen which just rolls down into a neat little box at the base so it is easy to transport, and display again. I thought it was really well done.
Our pianist friend Sue played some of Jean's favourite music at the start and end of the service, we sang some of her favourite hymns, and Margie, Chris' closest friend who is our lay-reader in training, read a beautiful eulogy that she had prepared from notes we had all sent to her of our memories of Jean. I was honoured to be asked to read a poem - A Mother's Love by Helen Steiner Rice, and Pat read another poem that Chris had written about her mum.
It was all lovely. Our little church was full with over eighty people coming from all around this area. Jean certainly left her mark on everyone she met, and they all loved her.
Afterwards we went to the nearby bar to share a light buffet, and just spend time chatting to folks, many of whom we hadn't seen for a long time. It was a fitting tribute to a lovely lady.
Other than that my time has been spent doing as little as possible. We have had another mini-heatwave and on Monday the thermometer was showing 42º in the shade. (For those that don't relate to Cetigrade very well, that is around 107ºF). It was an all time high even for here, for September, and I really didn't enjoy it. We called all the animals in with us and sat in the main room with the air-con on, but I find that kind of heat is very draining and saps all my energy. It didn't even drop far at night. When we went out with the dogs at 7.30 the next morning, the thermometer on the farmacia was already showing 30º and had moved up to 34º by the time we got home, just under an hour later.
So one of my big gratefuls this week, is for the air-conditioning units in the main room and our bedroom, and the pool that we spent time in as soon as the fierce sun had moved round and it was in partial shade.
Since then the temperature has dropped a bit, though not by the ten degrees that were forecast. But it is down to around 25º when we go out in the mornings, and is only rising to the mid-thirties at lunch time. That is still high for September, but we can cope with it, and before long we will be moaning that it is cold when we get up! So we will enjoy it while we can.
Most days it has been too hot to do my crochet, but one day I managed some and as I put the border on a finished square I noticed my ball of 'parchment' yarn was very small. And I finished my square with just a centimetre of wool to spare. Now that is what I call a happy ending. So today I have ordered some more, and hopefully there will be enough to edge the rest of my squares and do a border round the whole blanket.
Another order I made today was rather exciting. I have ordered myself a colour lazer printer. I have been thinking about it for a long time, and I am fed up with buying ink cartridges every few weeks, so I am really looking forward to seeing how I get on with it. I shall still use my inkjet printer for my scrapbook pages because it is a wide-bed printer, and I like to make make my scrapbook pages 12"x12". But for cards etc, I think the lazer will be better. I use my computer more and more in card-making as my silly arms and hands fail to co-operate with my brain sometimes, making too much colouring and gluing difficult. At least on the computer, I can put things right before I print them. It is going to take a week or so to arrive, so that is something to look forward to.
And finally - Thank goodness I hear you sigh! - here is one sky photo that I took this evening while I was watering the plants around the back of the house. There are a few clouds gathering, but I don't think they are bringing any rain our way.
A big thank you to those who faithfully read my ramblings week by week. I am grateful for your visits and comments, and I enjoy reading about what makes you smile too. So I will link up with Rocking Your World, and Annie's Friday Smiles, and visit as many as I can of you lovely people too.