Here is my smile for today. It should really be called "Singing in the rain".
Yes we are still in wet weather mode, which is really quite unusual. In all the years we have lived here, I have never known it to be on and off wet for three straight weeks before. Today was wet all day. Not the throw it down, torrential sort that we quite often get, but steady, and I have missed the sunshine. But we had to venture out late morning, so after that we decided to go on for a lunch at one of our favourite haunts near Turre. As we went back to the car I had to smile at these little birds. They were lining all the wires - there were a lot more than I caught in this photo, and they were all singing their little hearts out, quite oblivious to the rain, or thoroughly enjoying it. They are a close relative of the UK starling, and arrive in big flocks for the autumn and winter, and they often perch along all the overhead cables.
Despite me saying it has been wet all week, in fairness there have been some lovely bursts of sunshine too, even if they have only lasted for a couple of hours at a time. So I am including this picture taken as we were waiting to go on stage for our choir concert last Friday. It was sunny when we arrived and we were reluctant to go inside until the last minute so we stood on the sunny side of the road and chatted until we were called. The purple fleeces are our choir colour. They have our logo on them.
The concert itself went very well, and we got lots of nice comments afterwards. We were singing at the Alajambra area gardening club's Christmas party, and after we had sung we were invited to go to a courtyard by the theatre for cava and mince pies. On the patio they had some plants for sale and I bought two poinsettias to go in our front porch. One was a tall standard plant, and the other a shorter pot plant to go in the top of our three pot stand. They make a nice patch of colour as we come home and on the porch they have just enough shelter from any cold winds that can turn them 'blue'.
I do like to see them, and some years we have kept them going up until Easter the next year, so I am hoping at least one of these does well. Aren't they beautiful?
On Sunday we had the first of our special services for Christmas. It was the crib service when some of the congregation are able to invite a few children along to 'dress the crib'. As we sang each relevant carol, some of the children brought the characters to place them in and around the stable, until it was complete again.
The service was taken by our current locum vicar, and he then called all the children up to stand around at the front while he explained the significance of the candles in the advent wreath.
We are mostly a congregation of retired folk so it was a lovely change to have some children with us.
Afterwards we usually sit around with a cup of tea or coffee and chat together before we go home. This week we had a special guest. Ana lives in the first house across the road from our church and she has probably worshipped there since she was a child, but the Spanish no longer use the building except for their own little fiesta and the occasional funeral service. Her daughter occasionally brings her to one of our services, and although neither of them can speak any English, they recognise some parts, such as when we say the Lord's prayer, and they love the music and singing. They stay for a drink, and those of us who speak a little Spanish always try to talk to them. Ana is 95 years old, and very proud of that, and she is so happy and smiling all the time. We all love her. Some weeks when we arrive there is a little pot of fresh flowers in front of the altar, or a burning candle, and we know that Ana and her daughter Rosa have put them there for us.
On Monday morning the dogs started barking and making a lot of noise so I went to see what had disturbed them , and I found this man on a crane lift, fixing a Christmas light to the telegraph pole out side our house. We get one every year and it is always different. This year we have a little angel with a star. It looks a really pretty one. We haven't seen it lit yet, but I am hoping it will be switched on at the weekend.
Monday evening found us back in church but this time it was the big Spanish, catholic parish church in Mojacar Pueblo, the little white village on a hill above the beach. It was the combined carol service with the Spanish Catholic, and the English Anglican communities coming together to celebrate Christmas. I have been up to the top plaza and seen the church before, but I have never been inside it, and it was quite breathtaking. Although it is very old, it has an almost modern feel because it is light and airy, unlike many of the churches here which can be very dark. There was a huge fresco right around the front, in very pale colours.
The service was run jointly by the Spanish parish priest, seen here on the left, and our priest on the right, and despite the language barrier, they got along very well.
The service followed the standard nine lessons and carols format, but the first carol was in English, and the Spanish congregation was invited to join in if they could read any of the words. Then the first lesson was read in Spanish, followed by a Spanish carol sung by the church choir. Next there was an English reading and an English carol and so on. The congregation was fairly evenly split between English and Spanish and we mixed together in the rows of seats so it was all rather fun. There were four Spanish and four English readings and carols and then after the last reading we all sang "Silent night" in both languages at the same time, and it worked really well. Two of the Spanish carols were sung by the "Gipsy choir", and believe me they were carols like you have never heard before. They sure sang with 'gusto', using their own instruments. (Note the percussionist at the front who is using an empty vodka bottle and a stick to great effect!). I will try to get a little video of them loaded before next week.
On Wednesday we had a large parcel to post that needed to go to the main Post Office in Mojacar, so when I got back from my sewing group, we drove straight down there. It was the first really nice day we had had all week, so we decided to stay down there for some lunch. We were able to sit out in sun and it was really pleasant. The beach was deserted, but the sea was sparkling and a lovely shade of blue.
The cormorant was on his usual rock. He is almost always there, and often has a group of friends with him, all spreading their wings to absorb the sun's warmth. I guess his friends had gone for lunch that day because he was on his own.
Chris is no fan of shopping, but after lunch I persuaded him to stop of at the Mercadona supermarket for a few bits and pieces. This week both Tuesday and Thursday were bank holidays, so I was limited in chances to buy some essentials. The shop is set up a little way from the beach, and while I was waiting with my purchases at the front entrance for Chris to fetch the car, I took this view looking down towards the sea. It is such a typical picture for this area, palm trees and white buildings, and a blue sea, and I always like it.
Believe it or not, the clouds were gathering as we drove home, and the first thing I did, even before I unpacked the shopping, was to grab the washing in off the line. For once it was almost dry, and I was just in time. By tea-time it was raining again!
As I said earlier, today was very wet again, and I had to laugh when I took my morning cup of tea into the sitting room. There was no-where to sit because every chair had a cat on it. Paco is on Dad's chair and Tango on mine, and you can just see little tabby Luna on the right hand chair too. The dogs had come in to their bed as well so it was like pets corner in the zoo! They were quite indignant when I suggested that two of them could share a chair, but Tango is always happy to sit on me, so we shared.
I had hoped to have a decorated Christmas tree to show you this week, but there are not enough hours in the day for everything. It is up, with tinsel and lights in place, but so far no decorations are hanging from its branches. Hopefully by next week it will be done.
So here are a couple of lovely skies to end with. Needless to say, sunsets have been few and far between, but we did manage this little line of light one evening, and I think it is a rather friendly face smiling down on us. The second is less colourful, but I thought it was stunning.
Now I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and maybe go and find those decorations for the tree.