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).