Hi everyone. First a big Thank You to everyone who ploughed through my long post last week, and then took the time to leave a comment. I do appreciate that, and I am glad you found it really interesting.
Now here is my Smile for this week.
This is what I have spent my week making, and although I had my doubts along the way, I really like how it has turned out. It is big and bold and colourful and shiny, and it took an awful lot of baubles and hot glue sticks! The base is a swimming pool noodle, and I saw the idea on the internet. Now me and a hot glue gun are not the best of friends, and I spent a lot of time winding up the glue strings that appeared everywhere, but it is done, and I shall find somewhere nice to hang it now.
One reason I have managed to get this made is that we have had a very grey and wet week, so I have spent a lot of time in doors. But the week didn't start too badly, and on Friday, when our church had their Christmas market down on the Playa at Mojacar, despite the forecast for rain, we had a lovely sunny morning. There was quite a good turn out for it, though I don't think the decision to move it from its usual spot on a Saturday to the Friday was a particularly good one.
It was warm enough to sit and enjoy some refreshments even if we did need our coats on.
Two of my friends were running the cake stall and I made around 5 dozen mince pies for them which soon sold out. The cakes they had went well too.
Jasmine always does the craft stall, and several of us contributed to this, though she does all the knitting and most of the sewing. I gave her what I had left after our recent coffee morning, but I didn't have time to make anything new. But she did sell quite a lot of things, and overall we took 2,765€ towards church funds and our missionary projects.
However the weather went rather downhill from Friday lunchtime onwards. Some mornings when we take the dogs out, the view toward Huerta Nueva has been like this.
The cloud has dropped lower than the top of the Cabrera mountains, and it has taken a long time for it to burn off.
But here is something that has brightened my week.
Isn't it beautiful? Chris has had this as the desktop background on his computer since Remembrance week. He runs a different system from me and it wasn't available in my choices, so he sent the jpg to me so I could import it, and now it is my desktop background too. It is so bright and it makes me smile every time I sit down to my computer - which is several times a day! It's guaranteed to drive the grey skies away, in my room anyway.
On Tuesday mornings I go to my home study group though because there are more of us now, we meet in the church instead of a home. After the group this week, some of the ladies stayed to decorate the church and as usual they have made it look beautiful. This tree is so pretty when it is all lit up.
My friends June and Irene clearly enjoyed the flower arranging, and of course the stable was put in place under the altar.
The characters will be removed again before Sunday so that the children can put them in place during our crib service.
Having said it has been an up and down week weather wise, yesterday took it to the limit. We woke up early to the sound of torrential rain, and when it rains in Spain, it really rains! In less than half an hour, all the containers in the garden were full and overflowing. It is quite fun to watch at first, but the noise gets exhausting after a while. Everywhere soon became a quagmire so we couldn't walk the dogs and we had to persuade them to have quick dash around the yard. Normally they are outside all day, but during the winter they come in with us for the evenings. But yesterday I put their beds down first thing and they soon came inside. Foxy was a bit non-plussed to find Paco curled up on their bed, but it didn't stop Kim from making himself comfy.
But Paco wasn't too keen on the dog joining him, so he soon moved away to his favourite armchair, and next time I looked, Foxy was on the bed. She gave me a very reproachful look with her beautiful blue eyes, as though it was my fault she needed to be inside.
The rain continued to fall heavily until late into the morning, but we didn't mind. I had no plans to go out anywhere, and it was so good to see the land getting a thorough soaking for once. But there were soon photos appearing on facebook of local flooding, and cars being washed along the ramblas. People should really know better than to park near a rambla when the forecast is bad, as they are dry river beds, kept fairly clear for the very reason of taking any flood water down to the sea.
Anyway, after siesta time we decided to drive to Mojacar to a big ferreteria (hardware shop) down there. The sky was darkening again and we wanted to get there and back before it rained again. We needed a new floor lamp for the sitting room. Because of the arrangement of the rooms in our house, the windows in the sitting room are all at one end, and where our dining table is at the other end, it is always quite dark, so we have a standard lamp in the corner. We have had a series of halogen lamps there, but they have a very short life and are not at all satisfactory, so this time I wanted something a bit more decorative, and this is what we bought.
It is a good colour for our room and when it is lit, it makes a huge difference to that corner.
When we were driving back home I tried to take a photo of the water in the rambla that we have to cross. But Chris couldn't slow down on the bridge so it is not very good. But there was quite a lot of water where it would normally be dry, and it was full of churned up mud, and flowing quite fast.
Today was much better and we had some quite warm sunshine for a while, so we took our cup of tea outside this afternoon. I couldn't help but notice what a difference that week of rain has made. Everywhere there is open ground, it is now covered by tiny green seedlings. It amazes me how resilient the plants are. Their seeds can lie dormant for a couple of years, and then one good dose of rain and they all wake up again.
I have been busy today because , at midday, my choir had their first concert. We were singing at the Almanzora area gardening club Christmas extravaganza. It went really well. We sang for an hour with a mixture of unfamiliar Christmas songs interspersed with carols that they could all join in with. Afterwards we were given cava and mincepies, which was nice, and I was back home again by 2.00. Then Chris and I decided to go to the nearby campsite for some of their very good fish and chips. So that was nice because I didn't have to cook and we had a good dinner sitting out in the sunshine to eat it.
As we drove away I noticed that the land just next to the site was waterlogged and a new lake had appeared. On it there were five white birds which I knew were egrets. Again I am amazed at the way water loving birds just appear in places that should be dry. I wanted to get a photo of them and I took this one very quickly as I approached the fence, but when I got there, they all lifted off and disappeared into the 'way blue yonder'! So all I got was this very poor shot.
This picture from the internet shows more what I had in mind!! They are beautiful birds and it was nice to see a group of them happily wading around in their new puddle. I am sure they all came back as soon as I had moved away.
I have a couple of other things to be grateful for this week. Earlier on a friend gave me this bag full of lovely limes. As you can see they are quite ripe, and full of juice. I used some to make a favourite recipe that I got from my sister, for a lime and ginger torte. The one I added to a smoothie gave it a good flavour too. But I am never going to get all the rest used up quickly enough, so tomorrow I am going to slice them and open freeze them, so I will have plenty to put in drinks over the holiday. I also thought I might freeze the juice and zest of some in an ice-cube tray to use in future recipes. They are too good to waste.
A few other little happy moments this week include a parcel that arrived today. It contained a small kitchen item that I ordered way back at the beginning of October. I had written to the supplier asking where it was, and eventually they gave me a tracking number. But when I tried it, it just said my parcel was 'in transit' since 8th October, and I had more or less written it off. So it was a nice surprise when it arrived today.
I have also received several Christmas cards now, including one from one of our sons who had made it online using some photos from our recent family holiday, and personalising it before having it sent to us, so that was nice surprise too.
Yesterday I heard that I had won the Rudolph Day Challenge with this Christmas card.
You can read about how it was made, and see the rest of the set I made, on my craft blog by clicking HERE. The winner is chosen by random draw, not by merit, but it is still nice to win sometimes, and the prize is a lovely set of dies for cutting a deer family.
But here is the real special smile for me. Chris had agreed to buy me an eternity ring for my birthday and Christmas, so we spent some time searching for just what I wanted. After visiting several jewelry shops around here, we discovered that the Spanish people do not, as a rule, have eternity rings, and none of the shops could show me anything with opals (my birthstone) and garnets (the perfect partner for opals) in it. So in the end we decided it would have to be bought online. I was nervous about this for something so valuable, but the service was good, it came in a beautiful gift box, and the ring is exactly what I wanted. I am now wearing it all the time next to my wedding ring. Lucky me!
So I will leave you with just a couple of sky photos, taken on the Wednesday evening as the clouds were gathering for the big down pour. At teatime there was one beam of sunshine that managed to break through, adding some interest to an otherwise ordinary sunset.
Then the clouds thickened shutting it out, and gradually the sky turned a fiery red, before it was extinguished completely and we knew we were in for some rain.
So all that is left for me to do, is to link up with Rocking Your World at Virginia's blog, and Annie's Friday Smiles, and I'll see you all again next week.