Friday, January 27, 2017

Rocking Your World: Week 4

Well here we are at Friday again, which means we are looking back at the week and finding what has made us smile. Some weeks that is easier than others, but I hope I can manage a cheerful post for you today.

My first picture will have you thinking, 'OK, a dish of lemons. What's so special about that'. Well  the answer is they are our lemons!
Yes, this is the total harvest from our own little lemon tree that we planted three years ago. We only have one small patch of plantable earth in our garden and all the rest of the yard is tiled, which makes it very easy to hose down after the dogs, but anything we want to grow has to be in pots. We inherited a lemon tree in a pot with the house, but it never thrived. So we cleared a tiny patch of earth where the crazy paving by the kitchen door was lifted, and planted a baby tree in there. It will never be able to grow very big, and it needs a lot of watering and spraying to help it survive, but it has given us just a couple of small lemons each year, and this year it had five (plus two very tiny ones). So I put them to good use and made a lemon meringue pie for Sunday, which we both love. I haven't got a photo of it, because we ate it, and very nice it was too!!

Well, as I mentioned last week, I was hoping to collect some bitter oranges from a friends house, to make more marmalade, and I arranged for us to go round there on Saturday afternoon. It decided to start raining at lunch time but we went anyway because my friend works every day and I didn't want to wait until next weekend for them.  Sadly when we got there, we couldn't find any bitter oranges on her trees. She has only lived there for a short while and is not very interested in the fruit trees, but she knew there was a bitter orange tree there, and so did I as the previous owner had offered them to me last year. But the house had been standing empty during the summer so the trees had not been watered, and since she has lived there, her dogs have enjoyed exploring their new home and chewed on the trees and dug the ground around them, so I had to go home empty handed. There was one bright spot to the visit though, as we got to meet her great dane, and also the second one that I had not seen before. She has seven dogs, mostly rescued through the vet where she works, but while we were watching them through the kitchen door, something moving behind me caught my eye and I turned round to see a dear little 'micro pig' running around. He was so cute. Apparently he thinks he is one of the dogs, but as these tend to do, he is growing faster than they expected and I am not sure he will 'micro' for very long!

My next idea for oranges was to pick some from the trees that line the street in Turre. I don't really like doing this, but I had to resort to it last year when I had not been able to get any elsewhere. So I asked Chris to drive us home that way, but as we reached the spot where the trees are, I was really sad to find that the council workers had got there before me and stripped the fruit and cut back the trees! They don't usually do this until well into February.

So I was back to square one. My only other hope was to try the now disused golf course at Cortijo Grande, a valley on the way up through the Cabrera mountains. Someone had said I might find some there, and I remembered seeing some when we have walked up there before, so as Monday morning dawned clear and sunny, Chris said he would drive up there with me. We parked the car and started to walk. It was really warm and we were soon shedding one layer of clothes. We had dressed up well knowing we were going higher than the village so we were expecting it to be colder. The views up there were wonderful.
As you can see, the local snow soon melted, but there is still plenty on the higher mountains further inland.
It was very peaceful up there, and all you could here was the birds singing, and an incredibly loud buzz from all the bees enjoying the blossom on these almond trees.
In the distance we heard an occasional bleat from a herd of goats coming down the grassy slopes, and the odd command the goatherd shouted to his dog.
Because the golf course has been abandoned for over a year, it is not in a very good state now. We were amused to see the goats come right down there and they were doing a good job of cropping the grass! It took us a while to find a gate that wasn't locked, but we did eventually get onto the course and we followed the footpaths to a small group of trees, but as I had feared, there was very little fruit on them, and what there was, was like tiny marbles, hard and dry because there had been no irrigation all last summer. We saw one tree that looked hopeful and Chris went over to pick an orange from it as they were too high up for me to reach, but when I cut it open, it was a sweet one, so no good for what I wanted.
Accepting that I was out of luck, and there would probably be no marmalade this year, we still enjoyed a leisurely walk in the sun. I spotted this little vine climbing up a fence. It was covered in flowers just like the big pitcher plants you see in tropical gardens on big estates in UK.
So we went home empty-handed again, but I am fairly philosophical about these things. If it is not meant to be, then it is not. And it is no use getting upset about it.

We are now back into our usual routine so Tuesday saw me driving over to Cucador for my Home group which now meets in the church as we grew just too big to meet any of our homes. When you turn off the main road to approach the church, you drive through some open campo, some agricultural land and along the side of a rambla. There are very few houses by the road and I always enjoy the wildness of it, and am on the lookout for interesting flowers and other wild life. Just lately I have had several glimpses of birds hopping along the ground, each with a crest sticking up from their head. I am always hoping I will see a hoopoe, as I know they are seen in that area, but so far one has never crossed my path. I knew these birds were not big enough or flambouant enough to be hoopoe, and I think it is still too early in the year for them, but I wanted to find out more, so on the way home I pulled just off the road and parked up and waited. Sure enough, very soon several of these little birds appeared quite nearby, and  I managed to get a few photos of them.
Now this probably will make you smile. I wanted to know what my little bird was so I put one of these pictures in 'Google search' and asked "What is it?" Their answer; "Our best suggestion is a bird" !! However, I didn't give up, and after putting every key word I could think of into image search, I eventually found out it is a crested lark. Apparently they are fairly common in this region, but rarely stray as far as UK, which is why I hadn't seen them before.

That brings us to Wednesday, when as usual I went to my sewing group. I normally drive there myself but this week Chris wanted the car to run some errands, so he dropped me off and collected me later. We stopped off to have some lunch on the way home, and when we finally drew up at our gate I found not one, but five carrier bags full of oranges on our porch. And I was delighted to find that they were true Seville oranges. Marmalade was back on the menu.
I had no idea where they had come from, but luckily there was a note tucked into one of the bags. They were from a lady I have not seen for many months, who moved away from our village early last summer. One of her neighbours had given her the oranges and asked if she knew anyone who could use them, and she remembered me. I rang her up to thank her, and arranged for her to come after the weekend to collect some marmalade for herself and for the lady who owns the tree.
For every kilo of oranges I use, I add four lemons, which helps it to set, so I was very happy when another friend offered me a bag of lemons from her tree.
Lemons are plentiful here, and quite cheap to buy, but when I get given both lemons and oranges and my marmalade only costs the price of the sugar, it means I can make a good profit for the charities I sell it for. So yesterday and today I made a pan full, so that is fifty jars so far. That's about halfway for what I want to make, but there is still plenty of fruit to make more. I quite like making it and I love the smell in the kitchen, but standing preparing the oranges, and slicing the peel is hard on my hands and my back so I can only do one batch each day. But a couple more sessions should see my cupboard shelves full again.

Before I leave the subject of oranges I have to show
you this picture that a friend of mine posted on Facebook to advertise her brother-in-laws green grocery shop. It is a satsuma trying to escape! It just tickled me and certainly made me smile.
We have had a mixed week of sunshine, grey clouds and chilly winds, but there have been several days when it has been warmer outside than in, and we have been able to sit out to eat our lunch. I often take my morning cup of tea outside, and wander around the back yard while the dogs are eating their breakfast. Yesterday I was just looking around and thinking about all the really little things that make me smile, and feel so very blessed to be living in this lovely area. So I got my camera out and recorded a few of them.
I love:   the way the sun shines through the leaves of my little succulents, making them almost glow...

...the way the oleander is opening its new round of blossom, before last years has properly died away...
.... the way this ancient almond tree that has almost died from neglect and lack of water, has still managed to produce a few flowers this spring....
...the way this succulent cutting I took last year, is sending up its first flower bud this week...
...the fact that while there may be a shortage of bitter oranges, the trees of sweet oranges are bowed down with the weight of fruit on them...
...the fact that the beautiful chumba next door has again proved resistant to the plague of cochineal flies that have killed most of the plants all around here, and is looking really healthy still...
...the vibrant patches of green that can be seen all around. It is the greenest spring we have had since the first year we were out here.
So many little things to be grateful for.

I have no striking sunsets to end with this week, but I do have one of the sunrise this morning. It was a lovely light in the sky but I haven't done it justice with my photo. I stood watching the patch of light struggling to banish the bank of clouds, and saw all the little birds flitting across it. I couldn't decide if it was promising a good or bad day, and in the end it turned out to be somewhere in the middle; not sunny enough to sit out, and with a very cold wind keeping the temperature down, but at least it was dry, and I had my own little cloud of orange scented steam to keep me warm in the kitchen.
And with that I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and I will leave you with some updated verses of of some very old Nursery Rhymes. So hopefully I leave you smiling too.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 3

Hi folks. let's start with a smile. I saw this during the week and it really made me smile.

Be honest. Did you glance at it and see a fried egg? I know I did. It was only when I read the caption that I looked again and saw what it really was.
It reminded me of my very special cat Misty, who I had in UK for fifteen years. She was a Persian cross, and had a beautiful nature. She was my shadow and my friend, and I was so sad when she died. She would have stayed still enough for me to take a photo like this too. Here she is, sitting on the rabbit hutch, waiting for me to hang the washing out. Then she would have followed back indoors again.

It has been a funny old week, with not much happening at all. I went out a couple of times at the start of the week, to take a friend to some appointments, because she had a problem with her eyes and couldn't see to drive. But apart from that, it has been the sort of week when you stay indoors unless you have to go out. They were right about us catching the edge of the cold snap, so as well as chilly winds,and a fair bit of rain, yesterday, we did see some snow!
We are lucky in our village of Los Gallardos. We are in a sort of a hollow and the weather fronts hit the surrounding mountains and dissipate, so the snow didn't land in our streets. But I have often shown you the view of the Cabrera mountains that we get from our back yard, and from the front gate, and normally they are bathed in sunlight. But when we got up yesterday morning they looked like this.
The temperature did drop to zero in the night, and it didn't rise much all day. But we still got off lightly. All along the Mediterranean coast, there was a good layer of snow on the beaches, which is almost unheard of. This photo was taken by friend who sings in our choir. He only lives a twenty minute drive along the motorway from us. He was reassuring us that he and his partner had cleared the drives and their restaurant is open for business as usual. I'm not sure he will get too many customers though.
Because it is so unusual to see snow around here (it is thirteen years since any was recorded this low), my Spanish friends have been quite excited by it. I have seen photos of them on Facebook, where they have driven their children to where they can make a snowman, because if they are twelve or under, they have probably only ever seen it in pictures before.
Of course it isn't likely to stay for long. It has already gone from the Cabreras today, as we had some watery sunshine after a night of steady rain. But I will be happier when it warms up just a little. With stone floors and draughty windows, our houses don't lend themselves to being cosy, and if the sun shows its face and you can find a spot out of the wind, it is often warmer outside than indoors. But I am grateful that we do at least have the gas fire in the sitting rooms for the evenings, and little halogen heaters in Chris' office and my craft room. Roll on summer! I'll soon be complaining that I am too hot!

Evenings by the fire means that I have made more progress with my blanket. The cold gets into my bones so I haven't wanted the weight of my blanket pulling on my shoulders this week, and instead I have made a start on the squares that I was saying last week, will go around the blanket to make it big enough, before I work the nine rounds of border. There are two designs, each using colours taken from the main blanket, so I think it will look quite good. Here is one of each. They will alternate all around the blanket. I have made five so far, but I think it will take quite a few to do all four sides.
Don't ask me why, but each square pattern has a name. The one on the left is Lydia and the one on the right is Jack! At least it will brighten up my evenings as I make them, and our bedroom when it is finished.

And now to share a heartwarming story that has made the headlines in local papers, and caused a stir on Facebook this week. On Tuesday a lady walking in Vera Town saw a galgo (Spanish greyhound) who was seriously underfed, foraging for food amongst the bins, despite having a broken front leg. She managed to gain the dogs trust enough to capture her and brought her to my vet in Turre. They fed her, and as an X-ray showed the leg had a clean break, Ellen was able to set it and bandage it up at the surgery. She noticed that the dog was producing milk and was anxious that there may be puppies somewhere who wouldn't survive long in the cold. So as soon as she was able to walk, they put her on a long lead and took her back to where she had been found. She set off straight away and they followed her for 3 km, when she led them to an abandoned building. Behind it there was an old car with cardboard across it windows. She slipped in through a slightly open front door, and when they looked inside, they found not one or two, but ten little puppies, still with their eyes closed, huddled together in a nest their mother had made from rags, on the back seat. They were still all alive so they were collected up and taken back to the vet's clinic with their mum. All are doing well. The mother has been called Vera after the town where she was found. She is being well fed, though it will be a while before she gets some meat on her bones again, with all that litter of pups to feed. I popped into the vets yesterday to see them, and she looked very contented with her babies all nestled around her. Two of them had opened their eyes over night.
It is amazing that after such a short acquaintance, she trusted the two ladies enough to take them to her babies, and now she is being rewarded. The vet is working with the galgo rescue society in Madrid, to find homes for them all when they are old enough to be separated.

Another little thing that cheered me up this week, is when I noticed that the almond blossom is appearing. The trees in the green zone behind our house are very old, and not looked after at all, but every year they produce blossom, usually a week or two earlier than most trees because they are in a sheltered hollow. And the flowers don't seem to have been affected by the cold winds and rain either. So it is a sign that Spring is just around the corner.

Needless to say, I have found myself in my craft room most afternoons this week, so I finally managed to make my third and last calendar. I know it is only just over a week before I turn the January page over, but at least it is on show for that little while. The original calendar I made, that I sold so many of this year before Christmas, is hanging on my craft room wall with all the birthdays marked that I make cards for. On the other side of the room, above my computer, is my all year on one page calendar that is such a useful reference resource, when I am typing or talking to people on Skype. But the third one I need is down in the kitchen to put reminders of events on. I usually wait to see whether I am given one at Christmas, before I make one, but this year I wasn't, and it has taken me a while to find time to do it. I had a template pack ready that I bought from a scrap-book site. Every page is ready to go with different numbers and shapes of frames each month to put photos in. The rest of the pages are in layers so you can personalise them in Photoshop with your own choice of papers and embellishments. So I used photos each month that were taken in the corresponding month last year, so I can look back and remember what we were doing a year ago. Then I had fun searching through my rather extensive collection of digital scrap-book kits, to find ones that matched the photos. Here are a few of the pages to show what I mean.

I enjoyed doing it and it made a change from cards. But the rest of my gold vinyl has arrived (I ordered the correct one this time), so now I shall be concentrating on making wedding invitations for a week or two.
Yesterday morning I was invited to meet with a couple at a coffee shop in town, who had been given my name by a friend. They wanted to give a donation to ASADIS, the charity for disabled children in our area, so this week I will be talking to the founder Cati, and helping to make that happen. I am always warmed by the generosity of people who give to local causes, without knowing the people or having any personal involvement. They just hear of a need, and feel they can help, which is so lovely. I am just glad I can help in some small way.

So now here are a couple of pretty skies. By tea-time yesterday, the sky was clear and as I looked at the darkening blue sky I thought "Oh well; there won't be any sunset tonight"
Then as I turned to go indoors, at the front of the house, I saw the sky was a lovely apricot orange.
The sun behind me was gone from sight, but the clouds in front had managed to pick up some colour from it. I stood looking at it, and while I watched, it quickly changed to a pink and then purple, and within a few minutes it had gone.
I hurried through the house to front door, and a bit further round, the shifting clouds made this 'stag beetle' shape and then that died away too.
I love the way it changes in colour and shape even while you are watching and I was so pleased I chose just that moment to go and look, or I would have missed it.
Now I shall surprise them over at Rocking Your World, and Annie's Friday Smiles, because I am linking up a few hours earlier than usual, so I can go down to a warmer room for the evening. Followers of these blogs will know that Lisca usually posts quite early in a Friday. I expect she will have some snowy photos today too as she lives higher up and further inland that I do, so she will have got much more snow that us.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Rocking your world 2017: Week 2

Hi all. This has made me smile this week. With some very chilly evenings, I have been happy to leave my crafting den and go down to the sitting room which is warm and cosy, so I have managed to add quite a few more rounds to my 'Sophie's Universe' blanket. This is how she looked earlier this week.

She has more flowers in her garden, and now there is a band of butterflies flying round it too.
I have done another three rows since I took the photo and there are around seven more to go to complete the main pattern, and then there is a nine row, quite complex border. However I want this to cover the top of our king-sized bed, so I still don't think it will be quite big enough. The pattern designer, Dedri Ulys, also provided the pattern for two squares that are suitable to add as a row on either end for anyone who wants a rectangular blanket rather than a square one, and I am thinking I may do a row of them all the way around, (I want mine to be square), before I add the border. It is getting heavy and hangs on my shoulders, so I can only do one or two rounds at a time, but I can manage the squares just fine. I like the way it is coming along, and am pleased that I may reach my goal of finishing it this winter, before it is once again too hot to have on my lap as I work. Right now I am glad of the warmth, and it is Tango's favourite place to lay each evening, despite me keep moving him every time I want to turn a corner!

So, Yes, we have had some very chilly nights, and some cold winds during the day, but we have also had some beautiful days, and as long as you find a sheltered spot, out of the wind, there is real warmth in the sun. The thermometer on the Farmacia has shown between 16 and 20 degrees most days, so we have made the most of it, and spent a lot of time outside. One day when we wanted to go to do some special shopping, we decided to travel on down to Mojacar Playa to find some lunch, and we ended up at a nice little oriental place where we always have a good meal. It was warm enough to sit out on their patio and Chris is looking very eager as he samples his wine while we waited for our food.
We didn't have to wait long, and I think we did it justice when it came! We didn't leave much, did we?

The warm days have worked their magic in the garden. We have a succulent plant just beyond our back railings, that almost died when the mimosa trees and oleander overgrew it. But when we cut them right back, it started to perk up and two years ago it flowered for the first time since we came here. Last year I was sad to see there were no flowers again. But this year it has at least seven heads on it. I like cone shaped flowers, and this plant has lovely rosettes of glossy green leaves, and big cones of yellow daisy flowers. It is looking the best I have ever seen it this year.
After my sewing group this week, a friend said to me "Isn't it lovely to see those yellow flowers out again. It shows Spring is on the way". She was pointing at some yellow oxalis flowers. They grow like weeds along the road side out here, and the flowers are a bright acid yellow. They are usually one of the first flowers we see but I hadn't noticed any were in bloom. The first year we were in this house, the orange grove next door was carpeted with oxalis, so I wondered whether all the rain would make it the same this year. I know the seeds can lie dormant in the ground for many years if there is not enough rain to germinate them. So I went out to look, and sure enough, just around the edge I saw a few of the flowers. Whether they will cover the centre ground soon or not, I can't tell, but certainly we have a few now.
They are very delicate so we may lose them again. This weekend, we are due to get the tail end of the cold front that has hit UK this week, with the snow-line as low as 200 metres. We are lower than that, so we shouldn't be affected too much, but it could get a lot colder, and some of the plants and birds that think it is Spring, may be in for a shock!

Something that is much more in line with Winter in Spain, is the bumper crop of oranges that we see everywhere. The trees are laden down with fruit. A friend has offered me the bitter oranges from her tree to make marmalade, so I am waiting for a phone call to tell me when it is convenient for me to go and pick them. (She is the assistant at our vet, and she has seven rescued dogs that I have not met, so I don't want to go there unless I know she will be there too!). But in the meantime, a friend at church was given a bag of ten bitter oranges that she passed on to me, so today I decided to get on and use them while they are nice and fresh. I got them all prepared this morning. I like to juice them first and pressure cook the skins before I shred them. It makes it so much easier to do. So I got that done this morning and then Chris said we would go to our usual Friday haunt for fish and chips. I was happy not to have to stop what I was doing to cook dinner, and as usual the food was excellent. Again we were able to sit out in the sun to eat. Then when I came home I found all my washing had dried out on the line so that was another big 'grateful' as I have very limited space for drying clothes indoors.
Then it was time to get the marmalade boiled up and bottled. I have bought a new long-handled spoon, specially to use with my big preserving pan. It keeps my hands away from any hot splashes, but when I had added the sugar to the fruit it was really hard work to stir it and I had to use two hands. I felt I should be chanting spells like the old witch stirring her cauldron.
But it didn't take too long to get it up to temperature, and I think it will have a 'good set'. I made fourteen jars today, and they were soon cleaned, filled and labelled, ready to sell next week at church and at my sewing group. Hopefully I will soon have more oranges so I can make the rest of my supply for this year. I have a good market for it and I reckon to make between 100 and 150 jars each year. I love the smell in the kitchen when I am making marmalade. Much nicer than when I do the picallili!

I have spent some time in my craft-room this week because I am busy making invitations for our son's wedding in July. The front is cut from gold vinyl and transferred onto black card - their choice, not mine. Unfortunately I ran out of gold vinyl and when I went on the site where I bought it last time (back in Feb. 2014), I had no idea which one to buy. I had to guess, and when it arrived it was completely different so I wrote to the company. They couldn't have been more helpful. They traced my order from three years ago, and sent me details within a day, along with a personal letter. So this afternoon I re-ordered, hopefully the right one this time, and within an hour they had dispatched it. Brilliant. It will be here by the middle of next week. I wish more companies had customer service of that standard. Meanwhile I can get on with printing out the inserts for the invitations, as I need to get them made as soon as possible. Of course I can't show one here until they have sent them out, but one day I will.

Now I just have some pretty skies to end with. Mostly they have either been very bland and golden, or else a mass of grey clouds, but on a couple of days we had a good mixture that gave us these skies. I love the contrasting light and dark patches.

As you can see, this was taken on a windy day and you can see how the wind was whipping the tops of all the clouds. You can just see the vapour trail of a plane on the left. I couldn't help but think that they may be having a rather bumpy ride.

And finally this one. I just thought it was so pretty.

So now I will link with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and I'll see you all again next week.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 1

Hello and welcome to 2017. First I must apologise for failing to visit anyone except the host bloggers for these posts, last week. I didn't stop to do it on Friday as it was the last night for our Grandson before he flew home the next day. After that, I confess I just didn't get around to it, but I promise to do better this week!

I wonder how many of you are already sad about New Year's Resolutions that you made but know you won't keep to. I stopped making them long ago, as I will have forgotten them even before the will to try to keep them has faded. I put it down to 'old age' so when I saw this on Facebook I had to copy it to share with you. I am sure many of you understand why it amused me.

And what abut all those Christmas decorations? I expect for many of you, they have been down and packed away for a week or more, but I love them, and have always left them up until twelfth night. And, of course, here in Spain, twelfth night, known here as Tres Reyes, or Three Kings Day, is the most important day in the Christmas celebrations, so my decorations stay in place until tonight. I haven't shown a picture of any of mine this year, so here is a quick glimpse of my tree, before I start dismantling it later this evening.

No doubt you gather from that, that today is Three Kings day. It really kicked off last night when the Kings travelled around the village on a float. This is done much more elaborately in other towns but it is fairly low key in our village as we are the only place around here that has a proper fiesta today.

Nevertheless, there is always a good turn out to watch their arrival. You may notice that one of them (Baltazar) has a 'blacked' face. This has always been the tradition, but I read that in a few places this year, the Town Halls have invited someone with a darker skin to play the part. I hope political correctness doesn't ruin the customs out here. 
When the kings reach the plaza at the lower end of the village they dismount and go into the big marquee set up on the car park, and here they hand out gifts to the children. (The gifts are bought by the parents and taken to the Town Hall the day before). For some of them, this will be their first present of the season, while others will have already had small gifts from 'Papa Noel' on Christmas Day. Others will also find three gifts waiting for them the next morning, one from each of the kings. So it is a slightly jumbled story these days, but the Kings still remain as the bringers of good gifts. 
When the children receive their gifts in the marquee, they also get a handful of sweets, and have their photo taken with one of the kings.
We always have a little wander around and watch some of the children running around excitedly with their new toys. Then we look around the stalls in the medieval market and if I am lucky I get a little gift bought for me too! Often I chose a piece of jewelry as they have some lovely handmade pieces on sale. But this year, most of it was a bit chunky for me, but instead, Chris bought me a lovely red woollen wrap. I have a brown one that I have worn a lot this year. It is warm but less restrictive than a coat. I am not really a coat person. I think this red one is little warmer than the brown one, and it will be nice to have a different colour one some days. It also saves me wearing gloves to church because I can wrap my hands up inside it during the sermon!

We were a bit worried about the fiesta today, because our local forecast, which is normally quite accurate, was giving rain for today. But it started off quite bright and sunny and at 11.00 we walked over to the plaza where there was the usual re-enactment of the Kings visit to the palace of King Herod. Mostly the same men take part each year, and the play starts with the arrival of the kings who ride horses down from the top of the village.
Then the soldiers are dispatched to hunt for the new baby and kill him.
This year there was a new man playing the part of King Herod, and he was very good.
He spoke out very loudly and with emotion and the folk in the crowd were loving it. He got quite fierce when he walked out to the crowd and started brandishing his sword!
When the kings first process down through the village they are preceded by a group of children from the village, dressed up for the occasion, who hand out sweets to children in the crowd, from little baskets. 
Also there are some women from the village choir, who sing very exuberant songs throughout the play. I love to hear them, and they so obviously enjoy doing it.
While I was watching all this, I couldn't help but notice the lovely splash of colour in the planter next to me. I am sure these succulents are flowering out of season, but they looked good.
I felt I had stood still for long enough so I had a little wander around while the scene was changed. One of my favourite stands in the medieval market is the birds of prey. They all just sit on their perches but the beautiful eagle owl was camera shy and turned away whenever he saw a lens pointing at him. But I went around to the back of the stall and waited until he looked away from someone else, and I managed to catch him!
When I went back to the stage area they had set up an altar in front of King Herod's palace (I'm not sure what he would have thought of that), ready for an open air mass. We have a lovely parish priest, and although the mass is all in Spanish, it is surprisingly easy to follow. 
I was standing in full sun at the start of the mass, but ominous clouds were gathering behind the stage and just at the end, the rain started.
However, this didn't deter the people who all lined up in front of the priest. He was holding a model of the Baby Jesus, and each person from tiny children to the old and frail, took their turn to kiss the baby's knee, as is their custom on this day.
We decided to take shelter and we headed for the Moroccan tent where we knew we would be able to buy little glasses of hot, sweet, mint tea. We pay 2€ for a glass of it, but then we can take the glass home as a 'gift'. We have four of these now, so one more year and we will have a set!
At the end of the stall, the same men were serving doner-kebabs. We bought one large 'durum' which was a big tortilla wrap which they piled up with salad and meat and three salsas. It was huge and we took it home and shared it for our lunch. It was delicious too.
This afternoon, as I sat uploading these photos ready to write this post, I saw the sun trying to break through again. I was glad to see that, as the stalls in the little market rely on people walking around and buying their goods, including a lot of food that was cooked ready to serve after the mass. By the time I went out to feed the dogs at tea-time, there was a watery sun shiny through and lighting up our little lemon tree with its half a dozen fruit, the orange trees next door, and our ever resilient bougainvillea which is flowering once more. See how green the land is between the trees now. Sadly the men will be in with a rotivator to turn it all over again soon.
The marquee in the car park is at the back of our house, just across the green zone, and I could hear the band starting up ready for the dancing that will continue until the early hours of tomorrow morning. The folk out here love to dance, and they don't let a little bad weather spoil their enjoyment. The day ended with a rather lovely sunset, so I hope we have another nice day tomorrow.

There hasn't been a lot of other exciting things going on this week, but I did make the most of the lull in my usual activities to give our bedroom a really good clear out, and also the fridge, plus I managed a bit more tidying up in my craft room. The only bit of actual crafting I managed was to make and print a one-page calendar using a photo of us with our five sons, taken during our holiday in Ireland last October. Chris has a copy in his office, and I have one on the wall behind my computer. I find I refer to it all the time and it is really useful to have it there. Plus every time I look up, I see my boys smiling at me, so of course, I smile back.

I did manage to speak with all of them, on or around New Year's Eve. We had a quiet evening at home. Having been up early to take our grandson to the airport, I am surprised we managed to stay awake until mid-night, but we did, and then waited for 1.00 to see Big Ben chiming in the New Year in UK and enjoyed the firework display in London.
I had some happy news yesterday when our youngest son Ben rang to say they were booking flights to come and visit us just before Easter. Also another grandson (Mikey's cousin who is just six weeks younger than him), has asked to come out, overlapping with Ben for a few days, so that is something to look forward to.
Now I am going to link up with Annie's Friday Smiles, and Rocking Your World 2017, and I promise I will visit you all this week. So I will just leave you with this little list of things I wish for you all this year. (Not my words, but I echo the sentiment).