I just love this photo of my gorgeous great-grandson. When his mum sent it to me, it was titled "It's time to pick apples again". One of the real joys of Autumn. I am pretty sure he is in a tree at his Grandma's house, and it reminded me of when my three younger boys were little. They loved to climb the tree in their Nan's garden, to pick the apples too.
Isaac looks so happy in this shot, and his green jumper is just perfect to go with his fiery hair, and it tones with the leaves, making a lovely picture, and, of course, making me smile.
It is a good thing you all know me well by now, because this post is a bit 'sky heavy' when it comes to photos. I just can't help myself!
But first to Saturday, which was windy but warm, and in the afternoon we went down to the seafront in Mojacar for my friend's eightieth birthday. Joan is elderly and quite frail, but she comes to our craft group every Wednesday morning, and still does lovely knitting. She enjoys seeing her friends there as she doesn't get out a lot these days. A couple of weeks ago she was really happy when she told us that it was almost her eightieth birthday (we all knew really), and her daughter was arranging an afternoon tea-party for her and her friends. "She couldn't have picked anything better for me" was what she said. It was held at a fairly new café/restaurant along the playa, run by an English lady who is renowned for making lovely cakes. Joan is still a deacon at the Evangelical church in Turre so a lot of her church friends were there, as well as her crafting friends, and of course, her family. We filled the area outside the café, and even the Chinese people from the bazaar next-door, kept popping in and out to see what was going on.
This is just a few of the guests enjoying the lovely buffet that was provided. Then Joan's daughter brought out a big cake with candles shaped like the number 80. Joan stood in the middle enjoying all the fuss and attention.
When she started to look tired, we all left so she could go home and rest.
On the way home I dropped Chris off at a bar in Turre where he had arranged to meet a friend to watch football, but he was home again by mid-evening and we decided to walk around to our local bar for a quick drink. I said I wanted to be home to watch Casualty. I have watched it almost from its first episode, and I rarely miss it, but by the time we had had a brandy apiece, I knew I'd be calling on i-player to see this week's part! It was a mild evening, and it was very pleasant to sit and chat, and watch the stars that were so bright that night.
As we were emptying our glasses ready to leave, a friend turned up, so of course one thing led to another, and it was mid-night by the time we left. He had a Spanish friend with him, so I spent the rest of the evening practising my Spanish on him, and trying hard to understand what he said to me. He was very patient with me, and we managed very well.
The forecast was not so good for this week, and the mornings are getting darker anyway, so Monday saw us leave the house on our dog-walk, almost in darkness. There was a layer of cloud on the horizon, and I wasn't sure whether the sun would break through, but it did in the end, lighting up a lovely turquoise sky.
When we got home it did rain a little, but not enough to do any good. It was just enough to leave a fine layer of red dust on the outside table and chairs, and all the window sills! 'Dirty rain' is something we have had to get used to out here.
We were hoping Tuesday would stay dry because it was the funeral of a good friend from the village. And it obliged us by staying dry all day. The service was held in the village Catholic church, but it was led by a Church Army officer who takes some of the services at my church. The little church was packed, with people standing at the back, and it was a lovely tribute to a well loved man. Afterwards we all went to a hostal on the edge of Turre for a "celebration of his life". His wife wanted music, and dancing because that is what he loved.
The tables were dressed with pale blue cloths and serviettes - his favourite colour, and there was lots of chatter, laughter and singing. They provided an excellent hot buffet, and all in all, I think we gave him the sort of send-off that he would thoroughly have approved of.
I was busy chatting to a photographer friend when I happened to glance out the window. So he quite understood when I said, "Please excuse me for a minute. I have to take a photo of that sky". I was almost too late, and by the time I had weaved through the crowd to the door, the sun had already sunk lower, but I did get this shot. It is lovely, but it doesn't really do it justice.
My youngest son Ben knows me well. He is a conductor on the trains, and as I was taking the photo above, he e-mailed me one he had just taken from the back of his train, of the sunset in Redditch. It is kind of nice to know we are all one under the same sky.
On Wednesday my forecast showed a high chance of rain, and strong winds late afternoon, so I wasn't looking forward to driving to choir practice. Some parts of the motorway are quite exposed, and I hate driving along it when it is too windy. But it must have been blowing in a different direction from usual, because I bowled along with no trouble. I had my eye on the sun going down, because there were clouds rolling in from all around, so I thought the chance of rain was probably right. But when I arrived at our practice room, the clouds were still broken up enough for the sun to penetrate in places, lighting up the valleys below, and I got this picture which I love. Do click on it for a larger picture which shows up the rays much better.
We had an excellent practice. It is good to have our musical director back after a stay in UK, and we whizzed through all our new Christmas music. We have a lot to learn, and not much time to learn it in!
Well what a difference a day makes. On Thursday we woke up to the sound of torrential rain battering the plants and bouncing off the pool. And of course, when it rains heavily like that, it also spouts from all the corners of the roof because we have no guttering. The dogs didn't get their morning walk and had to make do with runs around the yard each time the rain stopped.
We were happy to see some rain at last and even the ground was grateful. You could almost hear it drinking it up, and it rained for long enough for some to sink in. The first lot just rolls off the top, but if it keeps going, some does get absorbed. The little birds got really excited by it, and when it stopped I could hear them singing and chattering all around us.
But the timing was not good as we had arranged for a friend who is an electrician, to come that morning to renew all our outside sockets, and fit some extra ones in the porch. He phoned to say he would wait and see how it developed. We thought it was set in for the day, but by the time we had had breakfast and cleared up around the house, the sky looked like this.
Gradually the black clouds did roll away, and Tony did come and do the sockets. So we are grateful to him, and it makes it a lot easier to be able to plug in our appliances when they need charging, and also to have the water feature switched on without needing an extension cable from one of the bedrooms.
Brian and Barbara who run the charity I send my knitting for Africa to, are both in their eightieth year, and I knew they were scaling things down, but they had asked me not to say anything until an official letter was released. Well this week I got the official letter, and amongst other things it said that they would stop taking knitted items from the end of November. Panic!!
I have people knitting for me all over this area, and I have no idea how I am going to get a message to all of them. However it is in the church newsletter this week, and I have told the Wednesday group, and asked people to tell their friends etc. Plus I also knew I had a lot of loose, knitted squares that needed sewing into blankets.
Then I learned that my courier friend is also retiring and his last 'official' trip to UK is mid-October, so now I had even less time to get everything finished off, and collected together.
So I spent one day sorting out all my bags and boxes, and making piles of squares for blankets. And everyone has been absolutely wonderful. One friend at church took enough squares to make a whole blanket and said she would crochet the edging too. Another took some small pieces of crochet that needed several more rounds to make them large enough, and she has finished those ready to return to me on Sunday. At the Wednesday group, one lady took home two completed blankets to crochet edgings on them, and others took bags of squares to sew into strips, so next week I will just need to join the strips and do the borders. Meanwhile I have been sorting out all the oddments - both crocheted and knitted pieces of all shapes and sizes, and patchworking them to make a blanket. That is finished and edged. It is a bit odd but it will keep someone warm. So yesterday I spent all day watching the men working out in the porch while I stitched the last squares together, and now that is edged too, so I think I will have everything done and ready for Phil to take across to UK.
I can't begin to describe how grateful I am to everyone who has knitted for me over the past five years. Their generosity in giving time and materials has amazed me. I am looking forward to having a bit more time to work on my own projects, but I shall continue to support the amazing work of Greenfields Africa financially, by making things to sell etc, and for another year or so we will still be supporting the boy we sponsor for his education through the charity.
Of course the cats aren't used to the floor being wet outside and they don't like it, so I had some help with my blanket making!
Tango is such a funny cat. He makes himself comfortable just anywhere. Here he is suspended across me and and across a gap to the arm of the chair, completely oblivious to the fact I am trying to turn the blanket around as I work on it.
Today I did my monthly food shopping, and while it is warm, I always take a cool bag with ice blocks in it, to ensure I get the fresh milk and any frozen goods, home safely. I always unpack that bag first, and when I had done it today, I left it on the chair in the kitchen, and stopped to make our lunch. The next thing I saw was Tango asleep on the bag, still full of ice blocks, and he stayed there most of the afternoon! There's no accounting....
Now I will link this with Annie's Friday Smiles, and Rocking Your World, and leave you with one last sunset. It was taken at our friend's wake, about ten minutes after the one above. Much of the vivid colour had gone when I went back outside to look, but it was still so beautiful that I had to take another picture! Like I said - I just can't help myself!! (I'm not even going to mention the face!).