Friday, February 24, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 8

I am glad to say I am feeling much more myself this week. Thank you for all your kind comments and good wishes. Here is my smile this week.
It is a photo of our five sons, and although we couldn't be with them this time, it always makes me smile to see them enjoying some time together, and they always try to pose in a picture together for me.
And I did have the next best thing to being there. The occasion was our youngest son Ben's thirtieth birthday party, which he went ahead with, and thoroughly enjoyed, despite having both hands strapped up after his bike accident last week. A friend had made a cake for him, depicting his favourite pass-time which is playing his piano, and when it was time to give it to him, and sing "Happy Birthday" of course, they rang me on Skype so I could join in with them. Just behind the cake, my grand-daughter is holding the phone I was linked with. Isn't technology wonderful?

We've had another dull, and sometimes very cold week, but nothing to compare with what the UK has suffered with Storm Doris, at least around the area where my family live, so I hope you all stayed safe, especially yesterday when she seemed to be wreaking havoc everywhere. 
We had been promised rain on Wednesday, but it didn't come by the evening. Then I thought we were in for a real thunder storm. The sky was a menacing yellow/red colour as I drove to choir practice at tea-time, but I suddenly realised that it wasn't because of the weight of water in the clouds. It was because they were full of dessert sand again. Driving home again around 9.00, there were some bright flashes of lightening in the hills around me, but I didn't hear any thunder, and there were only light showers of rain. But the sand fell continually so I had to use the screen washers and lots of water to clear the window every few minutes. The next morning everywhere was a mess. I had cleaned up after it fell last week, but this was the worst we have seen, and there were posts on the internet telling us not to clear it yet, as there is more to come in the next few days!
I was wandering around the garden on Thursday to see what damage it had done, and I saw this beautiful rose that was blooming quite out of season in our front garden, and it too was speckled with brown sand. So I gave it a gentle spray with the hose to wash it off.

Anyway, after the sandy rain, yesterday was warm and sunny, at least for the morning. There was still a lot of sand in the air, but the sun won through, so we went down to Mojacar to visit a specialist shop on the Playa. It didn't feel so very windy but the sea was 'lively', just how I like to see it.
Our beach is sand and shingle and I love to hear the waves breaking on it. As usual I stood for ages trying to catch one wave on camera just as it broke. It is very difficult, but I did manage this one that I was quite pleased with.
We stayed down there and had our lunch at an outside café, and it was really lovely just sitting in the sun.
I love this time of year out here. The spring flowers are beginning to bloom and everything grows so well. We have whole fields of mauve and yellow.

These are the two flowers that are blooming so profusely. The yellow is the oxalis that I mentioned a few weeks ago. You can't go anywhere at the minute without seeing some, either on rocky outcrops, along the verges of the roads, or covering whole fields and spaces under trees. The lilac one is very similar to a wild stock and it too grows everywhere, though it seems to prefer the open ground. I stopped on the way to the supermarket this morning to take these photos, and they weren't the only wild flowers I saw. On the edge of the lilac field there were also white and orange flowers. I love the orange ones which are like very tiny marigolds.

And finally, this flower is also beginning to open now. It too grows along the sides of the road, and it reminds me of one I used to cultivate in the garden in UK. It stands tall and proud above the other plants, and although the wind makes it dance, the stems don't break, and it flowers for months.
Here is one last picture of the place where I stopped this morning which I have included, because if you look beyond the flowers to the hills and the little white village behind it, you can see by the misty effect, just how much sand is still in the air all around us.

We have a narrow paved piece of land running behind our house, where we sometimes sit looking out over the green zone. It is a real sun trap there, so in the middle of summer it is too hot to even stand there for a few minutes, but in Spring and Autumn, and even winter when the wind is not blowing that way, it is a nice peaceful spot to sit and read or enjoy an early morning cuppa. We have had a heavy garden chair there ever since we moved in, but the cane furniture we put there had rotted in the sun, so we have managed with an old white plastic chair when we both want to sit there. This week a friend was selling a pair of the heavy chairs so we bought them off her. Yesterday we bought the right stain for the wood, and metallic paint for the arms and frames, as our own was in need of painting, as are the ones we have just bought. So as soon as the weather decides to give us a proper clear day, we will get them done. They all fit together very well, and it looks a lot better than it did.

Last week I made a birthday card that involved some paper piercing and beading, and I entered it in a blog challenge.
It was nice to hear this week that I had won a prize, so that is something to look forward to.

As well as card making, I have done some digital scrapbook layouts too. I have finally got around to doing four more pages for my album "Our holiday in Ireland", which was in 2012!!
So I will leave you with three of the pages, a single one and two that are meant to be a pair and will be opposite one another in my album. I have the next two planned and I am hoping to get them made tonight.

And I finished the week on a good note too, because last night I prepared lots of vegetables and left them in salt over night, and today I made a double batch of picalilli. I have a couple of people waiting for some, so they will be happy when I take a few jars in to church on Sunday.

So now I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World 2017, and hopefully I will see you again next week.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 7

Here we are at Friday again already, so it is time to find the little things that have made us smile and feel grateful for all we have. I have had to dig quite deep this week, but there is always something there to lift me, so here goes.

First a photo that really made me smile. A niece of ours who lives in America, came across this old photo and posted it to Facebook. Dated November 1990, it shows our three youngest boys (two in the front and the little monkey hanging on the rails!), with their three cousins. The 'little monkey' is about to hit thirty this week - where did those years go! - but this brought back so many happy memories for me and for them. It was taken on the front step of Nanny's house, and all the children loved going to visit her.

The news that wasn't so good this week also involves Ben (Yes, the little monkey!). I came home from the shops on Tuesday to a phone message, taken by Chris, "Just to warn you I've had a bit of an accident. I wanted to tell you before you see it on Facebook". Of course I immediately thought of all the bad things he may have done, but it turned out to not be so very bad, though it is pretty devastating for him. He was cycling to work on a push bike - the fastest way to get through Birmingham traffic - and a combination of a corner taken too fast, wet leaves on the road, and a pedestrian who walked out against the traffic lights, found him falling sideways and hitting the pavement hands and face first. The damage, apart from bruised pride, is not one, but two broken wrists, and four damaged teeth! The left wrist has hairline fractures which will heal in a support given time. The right one is broken with bone pieces 'floating' so it is in a partial cast while it settles down, and next Tuesday he will have an operation to set it and fix a plate to hold it. One tooth will have to go but the others may recover with some cosmetic covering up. Next Wednesday, which is his birthday, he will have dental X-rays and then he will know what can be done. For now he is sipping soup, and feeling a bit sorry for himself. His main concern is that he will not be able to play his beloved piano for a few months, nor use his new games machine, but it could have been so much worse if he had fallen the other way towards the traffic, so there is still plenty to be grateful for.  I am so grateful too for Skype. I know I have said that before, but at times like these it is great to be able to chat to him for an hour or more when he is feeling down or bored, and I can see for myself how he is doing. Here is the photo he didn't want me to see until he had warned me. It was taken at the hospital while he was waiting for a scan.
He didn't look quite so chipper when the morphine wore off, but he is determined to enjoy his birthday party organised for tonight, with all his brothers and lots of friends. That's sons for you. I have five of them, so I am used to riding out all sorts of accidents, though as a family we don't usually damage bones. We are a tough lot in the Perry Tribe!

So what about the rest of the week. Well on Monday afternoon I was able to visit the teacher of the Special needs class in the village school. I went with Cati as we wanted to discuss new equipment for the children, but to save any misunderstandings, I also asked a Spanish friend from my Intercambio group to come and translate for us when needed. It was a really useful meeting which cleared up a lot of 'muddy' areas, and I got useful information to pass on as a report for the several English groups that I have helped, when they have wanted to give a donation to ASADIS for these children. So I have now written out an order form for a Spanish educational company and just need to meet with Cati again to get her details filled in, and then we can get it all sent off. It has taken six months at least to get this far, so I feel it is quite an achievement, and I am glad to see it moving forward at last.

On Wednesday we had our usual choir practice and we got stuck into a new set of songs that form quite a big medley. It was difficult at first, but we made good progress and next week we will all have practiced at home and will be able to consolidate it. I love the programme of music we are learning for our Spring/Summer concerts, but there is a lot to learn so we have to work hard at it to be ready in time.

Yesterday was dry but not too sunny, so we decided to spend the morning clearing the garden at the front of the house. The recent rain and sun had made everything grow so fast, including the weeds. This was our little front patch of land which was completely swamped with weeds.
In the centre there is a mound of earth surrounded by rocks, with our Bird-of-paradise tree in it. It has to be strapped back to stop it straining away from the dark wall, which is about to be smothered with pink jasmine flowers, so that got in the way a bit, but by lunch time I had it cleared, Chris had pruned the roses back hard, and the lower branches of the tree, and the mound could be seen again.
The pink pot on the left is the rose that my friend brought for me last week when I was unwell. It has already grown and has a bud on it, so we will get that planted  this week. We also weeded around the other pots and pruned where needed, and Chris swept up all the dead leaves and other debris that had blown in since Christmas.
Today I went to the market in Turre, and I came back with a young mandarine tree that will either go in a large pot, or somewhere in the little patch alongside the other tree.  I also bought two pink cyclamen. We have two pink pots on the ledge outside the garage window, but we don't have much success keeping plants in them, and they have sat empty for several months. But these flowers looked just perfect for them, so I thought I'd have another try.
And finally I bought a pink azealea, to go on the top layer of our porch planter. We still had our Christmas poinsettia in this, which had lost most of its leaves but it still had several big red heads of 'flowers' on it. We moved it down onto the path while Chris was hosing down the porch and surrounds, and the wind got it and broke most of the stems. So it was time to say 'Goodbye' to that, and now we have the new plant in its place. It needs a few days to settle in, but it is very pretty.

I had a little parcel this week from America with a new set of stamps and matching cutting dies in it, so one day I had fun using them to make a card which I will write a post about next week.

I have just been out to feed the dogs their tea and the sky is black as thunder. There is rain forecast for the next few days, and possibly on into next week too and it looks as though it may start tonight. We have had a few showers this week and they were what we call 'dirty rain', so we got up in the morning to find a layer of fine dust on everything, carried here in the rain from the Tabernas desert just inland from here, or across from Africa. This was the glass table top in our back porch. The windows in the car were like that too and I had to wash them every time I went out so I could see where I was going. So I hope if it does rain again next week, it will be a bit cleaner this time.
Inevitably the unsettled weather has given us some disturbed skies too. The first one was rather nice with a little black cloud trying, and failing to hide the sun, but the others show how windy it was up high, and how the rain clouds were constantly gathering and then dispersing again, but occasionally getting too heavy and releasing the rain.

So now I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and see what you have all found to make you smile this week.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 6

First a sincere apology for not visiting anyone except the two host blogs last week. I really wasn't feeling up to it. I promise to do better this week. 
And also a huge 'Thank you' to those who still visited me. Huddled under a blanket with my tablet, it really cheered me up to read your messages.

On Facebook a spotted a meme that fitted me perfectly all week.
I am not normally one for laying around all day, but all I wanted to do most days was sleep. On the days I did manage a small outing in the morning, I still slept all afternoon and all night. I am glad I am over that now! And Yes. I am feeling a lot better now , thank you.

Even though there have been some nice days if you kept out of the wind, and husband Chris spent a lot of time sitting out in the sun, I didn't even want to do that, and preferred to curl up in my chair. Tango was usually on hand to make sure I stayed put, and to add a welcome layer of warmth. He was in heaven as I usually move around too much for him, and he jumps onto the next chair and sulks!
But that doesn't mean it has been all doom and gloom. I have been overwhelmed by the lovely messages I have received from blogging friends, sewing group friends and church friends. One friend from church came to visit me on Saturday and brought me a lovely rose plant. I am hoping I can get outside to clear the corner bed and make a space for it this week.

I did venture out on Monday morning as I had a previously arranged meeting with Cati and an English couple who wanted to donate to ASADIS. I was simply their go-between, but it would have been difficult to rearrange, and it was nice to introduce them to each other, and make sure everyone understood what was going on. I also had a generous donation from my church mission funds for ASADIS, so I was able to pass that on to Cati too. So it was smiles all round.
Needless to say, when I got home I slept for the rest of the day, but I was glad I had made myself get ready and go!

Although I am no longer collecting knitted items for the African charity I have links with, I am committed to raising funds for them when I can. To this end, my home group give 1€ each at every meeting, towards the jiggers project, (treating children whose feet and hands have been attacked by sand-fly larvae), and I am also given personal donations from time to time, and raise some money from the sale of my jams and craft items. Some people keep their 'shrapnel', (copper coins), in a jam jar and give it to me when it is full. So every so often I need to sort it all out into different denomination coins, to pay into the bank, so I can then send a transfer to the charity, and I thought yesterday, this would be a good thing for me to do. It took a long time to sort it all out, and then it can only be paid into the bank in set amounts bound up in specific plastic tubes. They are a real fiddle to fill and to fasten with little plastic studs along the side. But they were done in the end, so it is now acceptable at the bank. Altogether, this little lot totals 330€, with a few odd coins to start the kitty off again.

You may remember that around last September, I bought myself a colour laser printer. It worked really well to begin with, and was a big help with printing all the calendars I sold at Christmas. But there was always a slight problem with the paper tray which gradually got worse until I couldn't really use it, and I went back to my old ink jet printer. We wrote to the place where it was purchased and we were shunted from one company to another, until they finally agreed to have it back to send to the manufacturer to look at. It had to be returned to Germany but they did give us a free returns label so we parcelled it up and took it to the post office. That was the last we heard of it until a couple of weeks ago. Then they tried to say they couldn't do anything with it because parts were missing. Fortunately we had the size and weight of the parcel and other documents that proved we sent it complete, and last week they said they would give us a full refund, which turned up in the bank account a couple of days later. So I then decided to replace it with a black only laser printer, and use my inkjet one for colour, mainly because the replacement toner cartridges are so expensive. We ordered one on Tuesday, and yesterday it arrived. So now it is installed, and I have just printed off the church newsletter for this week in record time!

And that is about it except for a plethora of sky photos! As I said earlier, it has been quite windy this week and that often makes for some interesting cloud formations. I love to watch them moving and changing shape all the time. Here is just one formation that caught my eye.
I also seem to be seeing faces in the sky every day. Chris is getting so used to my spotting them, that he even pointed the first of these out to me, as we were driving home from a necessary food shopping trip.

And when it is not faces, it is other 'mystical beasts'!

And now here are three prettier ones to end with.

Aren't they lovely? That same plane seems to pass over us at tea-time every day, cutting across the sky with its vapour trail that also picks up the dying rays of the sun.
So now I will link up with Rocking Your World at Virginia's blog, and Annie's Friday Smiles, and when I have made our tea, I will come back and see who else has given us a smile this week.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 5

Hi everyone. This will be an unusually short post today as I have almost nothing to write about.
After a fairly 'normal' weekend, we did go out on Monday night to a church fund-raising event. It was a silent movie night, and we watched films from the 60's, 70's and 80's, which revived a lot of memories and had everyone chuckling.
But the next day I felt a bit off-colour so cried off from my usual home group in the morning, and by the evening I knew I was hit by a very rapidly developing throat and ear virus. I have never had such a painful throat, or ear, and by night time I couldn't even swallow water. On Wednesday I went to the doctor in the village who confirmed it was a virus which would be with me for 6-15 days, with or without treatment! She did give me some antihistamine tablets which were very tiny and I managed to swallow one at bedtime and one in the morning. I think they helped as I was feeling very clogged up in my throat, though my nose was clear. She also gave me soluble paracetamol which was a kind thought but I couldn't swallow them. In the end I resorted to my tramadol that I keep in for when my arthritis is really bad. I don't like taking them, but they are good to have for emergencies. I took one when I went to bed and was at least able to sleep all night, but they take ages to wear off with me, so I was dozy all the next day too.
I used them again when I went to bed, with the result that I have spent a large part of this week sleeping in a chair, and feeling very 'spaced out'. I shall have one more tonight and then hopefully I can use something less fierce.
Although I have again slept most of today, I do feel just a little bit better, and am actually going to try a cup of tea after this. Oh how I miss my tea, but anything with milk in has come straight back up so far.
So enough of my woes. Let's look for something positive in it all : Well between sleeps I have managed to crochet quite a few of the squares  to go around my blanket. They are easy to do one round at a time and then rest, and pick it up again when I feel the urge to do so. I have also almost finished my son's wedding invitations. I had hoped to have them done by the end of January but they took a little longer than I expected. But they are almost done now.

When I was shopping at Lidl's last week I spotted these little darlings. I have often bemoaned the fact that daffodils and narcisi don't grow out here, so when I saw these I had to just buy one to see how it got on. I left it on the front porch, intending to plant it into a bigger pot, but of course that didn't happen. But today Chris called me out to look at it, and there it was with it's little yellow flowers shining out on out dark tiles. So that is my smile for this week. I think there are several more buds so I am looking forward to more flowers soon.

At the same time I also bought this hyacinth, another flower that doesn't grow naturally out here. They had been given a good start indoors so I thought I could put it out, again in a bigger pot, and be sure of a flower. Needless to say that never got any further than the kitchen table, but I may still pot it on next week if I am feeling a bit better by then. The pink pot denotes a pink flower, and it is just starting to show some colour.

So, as I loaded up those two photos tonight I also found one of a sunset that I must have taken last weekend. So I will finish with that and then link up to Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking your World, and hopefully I will have more to share next week.