By now I am sure that you are all aware that our sons are very important to us, and I usually feature each of them when it is their birthday. Well this week our youngest son was 29, so here he is enjoying some sun on a recent holiday.
Ben is the musician in the family (so is his brother Jonathan), and he mainly likes to play the piano and sing songs, both those he has written and covers of others. When he plays at one of our parties, one of his most popular songs is Billy Joel's "Sing us a song; you're the piano man", so once again his birthday card featured a piano. I call it a card but it was too dimensional to pop in a envelope, but as I was going to UK in January, I knew I would be able to hand deliver it.
So I made this exploding box with musical images and quotes on each side, both inside and out.
When the lid is removed, the box opens flat and inside was a little piano, filled with flowers.
You may think that it is an unusual design for a 29 year old man, but he loved it, as I knew he would.
If you want to know any more about this design, there is a detailed post about it on my craft blog which you can find HERE.
I was able to chat to him on his birthday via Skype, and he played a trial piece to me on his new keyboard which he had only just taken out of its box. I do love the way Skype makes the miles so much shorter!
It has been a week of mixed weather, and with less time outside, I have managed to spend a few hours in my craft room making a set of six Christmas cards, as well as a couple for birthdays. I have had a willing helper, but every time she got bored, or thought I wasn't paying her enough attention, Arwen pawed at my arm, just to remind me she was there.
On Monday I went to the doctor with Chris, to translate for him, and then he took me out for an unplanned lunch, which was a nice surprise. But as we left the restaurant, I took this photo of the mountain in front of us. It was almost hidden by a cloud of dust.
And it was the same looking down the road when we got back to the house.
We have had a lot of windy days and it brings in sand from the dry ground locally and across from the desserts of Africa. When it dies down there is a layer of red sand on all the outside furniture, the car etc. Right now it is blowing a gale outside my window, so there may be another clean-up job to do in the morning.
But it hasn't been like it all the time, and even when the wind blows it still quite warm. We have had a few days when we have eaten our lunch outside in bright sunshine. One afternoon the dogs started barking and we could hear the distant jangle of bells. Then a big herd of goats came rambling into the green zone behind the house. There were some lovely animals in the herd. They almost climbed the trees to crop the new shoots from them, but were equally happy cropping the dry scrub at ground level. The old goat herd just said one word and they all followed him, though this was a new man and he had a couple of dogs with him to help keep the herd in order.
There have been some other good points this week too. We went to Vera together yesterday and managed to achieve a few little bits of business that need our attention. Our first port of call was at the main medical centre for our area, to make an appointment for Chris to have an X-ray, and they did it while we were there, so that has saved us a second visit.
My friend Phil arrived in UK safely and I heard from his wife today that our knitting for Africa has been delivered.
I had a long chat to my sister Jean on skype.
Chris and I managed to do a bit of gardening together, cutting back the bougainvillea hedge and collecting up the drifts of dead leaves and flowers.
We had two sunny mornings when I managed to get all the washing cleared including the bedding off the guest bed, though I did have to put about ten pegs in each sheet so that I didn't get back from the shops to find them in next door's garden!
This morning I met my Spanish friend Cati in a local bar for coffee. We even managed to have a fairly good conversation, and I only resorted to using Google translate once, when it was important that she understood what I was asking her.
Despite the mixture of high winds, rain, sun, and oscillating temperatures, the garden is thriving. The freesias that I bought at last week's coffee morning are flowering.
This was the first one to open, and now I have a bright pink one as well.
My deep blue Portuguese Squill is also in flower.
It took me a while to identify these the first year I had them. Their botanical name is Scilla Peruviana. They are related to the little single blue scillas that are sometimes seen in an English garden, but they also have a whole plethora of alternative names - Peruvian Squill, Peruvian Scilla, Cuban Silla, Giant Squill, Peruvian Lily, Caribbean Jewels, and Hyacinth of Peru. That's a lot of names for one little flower!
Another flower that is blooming well is this one.
A friend of mine had a very large domed shrub of this in her garden, and when she moved out I took a couple of cuttings. The one that looked the most healthy I planted in a pot and it although it is still alive and has some flowers on it, it has grown very leggy and the leaves are yellowed. The smaller cutting I stuck in the ground almost under a small tree, and it has taken several years to grow, but now it is a healthy plant with deep green leaves and lots of flowers. But I have never been able to find out what it is. I have searched the net but nothing they come up with matches it. So I am hoping one of my readers, perhaps from a warmer area than UK, might be able to identify it for me. I do like to know the names of the plants I grow, and this is such a pretty one.
And that brings me almost to end of another week. There have been no nice sunsets this week, but I do have one more photo to show you, that is as bright and colourful as the prettiest sunset. I have finally finished my "Sunny log cabin" crocheted blanket. I have shown some of the sixteen squares as I made them, but having done them all by Christmas, I had to wait a few weeks for Lucy at Attic 24, who wrote the pattern, to post a tutorial on what order to join them up in, and how to do the edging. Then I had my holiday, and when I got back I put my efforts into finishing off a few Africa projects to go in the load that Phil has just delivered. So with all of that done, I got my blanket out again this week and finished it off.
I am really pleased with it, and for now it is on our bed, spread on top of our duvet, and it really brightens up the room.