Last week my smile was a photo of myself with son number 5, taken while he was visiting us the week before. So this week my opening photo is son number 4. He is busy doing what he does, and loves to do best - playing his drums.
So much energy and passion! It makes him look very fierce, but he is just lost in what he is doing. I don't pretend to like the noise he, and his groups make, but I do love to watch him play. This week he is in Eindhoven, Holland, playing at a big festival with his band Gnod. They have their first record in the shops this month, which has realised another of his dreams. This photo was taken at the Fat Out Fest in Manchester last week when he was playing with his other band - Lake of Snakes. He also plays in a duo called King Beef! You probably guessed he plays heavy metal music. They get to choose the way-out names for their groups.
So on to what has made my week a happy one. Well it started with our Easter Sunday service at my little church. Two of our members had spent Saturday making it look nice. I love this little corner. You can just see my friend Sue sitting behind it, playing the piano. She played some beautiful Easter music for us.
We have a locum priest at the moment, Father Hywel Davies, who has been wonderful. He has been with us for two months, but sadly goes home next weekend, but we have another Welsh priest booked to take his place. Father Hywel comes from a slightly more traditional background so he has introduced us to some elements that we are not used to. This week he started the service by processing in with the Paschal candle which then sat on a small pedestal in front of the altar and was lit for the duration of the service.
As a child I attended a Baptist church with my parents and I had to wear a hat each week, which I hated. I vowed, once the choice was mine to make, I would never wear a hat again, and I haven't. But several of our ladies donned their Easter bonnets for church, and I have to say, they did look nice.
On Easter Monday we had another church fund-raising event, but this was a little bit different from our usual - we had a 'posh Picnic'. All we had to do was buy a ticket and turn up! The venue was a picnic area at Los Llanos that I did not even know existed. I have never been through the village beyond our church, and this was another one or two kilometres on. It was sited at the local fuente (fountain), where folk living out on the campo go each week to collect drinking water, as the mains water has too many added chemicals and does not taste that nice. If they live far enough out they don't have mains water! In the towns, most people are lucky like us, and have a specially filtered drinking water tap in the kitchen, or they buy bottled water from the shop, or from the tanker that drives round three times a week. The mains water is fine for washing and cooking, just not so good to drink. So The fuentes are a place of great importance to the land workers and others who live in cortijos in more deserted areas. They go to meet with friends and sometimes to do washing in the trench that is also filled from the fuente. It is natural spring water so it is usually fresh and cold, and these days it is fed by pipes to taps which often have quite elaborate stone or tile work around them. This one was quite simple, but very attractive.
The reservoir under the taps proved to be the perfect place to keep the cava cold.
In the area around the fuente, there were plenty of picnic tables and benches with a pergola over each one. One of the men from our group had gone ahead and stretched fabric over these to give us some welcome shade as it was a hot day.
This lovely couple, Dawn and John, had organised everything, including preparing all of the food and they had done a wonderful job.
While we sat around chatting, a friend helped Dawn to lay out all the plates with a selection of hors d'oeuvres, and every table also had a tray with bowls of paté, hummus, and guacamole, plus olives, capers and gherkins and a basket of bread.
Next they brought out five huge pies with a wide choice of fillings, as well as lots of different salads.
We didn't need a second invitation and soon we were all lining up to fill our plates.
We were all feeling stuffed, but we still found room to eat a lovely light trifle, or meringues and cake.
While we enjoyed our food, and the excellent company, we also enjoyed the warmth of the sun and unspoiled scenery. I was surprised to see this lovely, well-formed tree, because trees in full green leaf are a rarity here, but then I realised that its roots were under the run-off from the fuente, so it always has plenty to drink. The food table had been set up under a wide spreading pepper tree and we could look through its pretty fern-like leaves to the grassy banks and shrubs, and beyond them to the distant mountains. It was all very tranquil.
Later we had an egg hunt (real eggs not chocolate ones!) I wasn't very good at that, but then our table won the treasure hunt. One item we had to find was 'something that makes a noise', so instead of the rather obvious phones that other groups offered, we used my friend's little dog, who, to be fair, hadn't made a sound all afternoon, but we did get a little bark from him for the judges! We won a bottle of cava to share but we had all had enough by then, so we donated it back to the bottle stall at the annual summer fair coming up soon.
On Tuesday I drove into Turre to get bread and milk, and I spotted a colourful field, so on the way back I stopped in a lay-by and climbed up the bank to get a better look. It was Stunning!
The yellow is mostly made up of wild marguerites and the red is poppies. (They are called 'amapolas' out here and I think that sounds even better).
The marguerites make good cut-flowers so I picked a little posy of them to take home. I love the poppies but I knew it was no good picking those, so I just added a few stems of wild lavender for contrast. Along the road-side edge of the field the bank was more grassy and was studded with the pretty little pink convolvulus (or field bindweed) trumpets that also grow in abundance around here.
There was a man there who had parked his bike so he could take photos too. The whole field just took my breath away, and I couldn't stop taking pictures, so here is one more for you. I am thinking of having this one enlarged and framing it.
We have had a lovely week, though it hasn't reached the temperatures again that we had on Monday. There has been a little cloud to keep it a bit cooler, but I am in my summer clothes now, which makes me happy, and the evenings are staying warmer too. One day there were just a few streaks of cloud in the sky at dusk so we saw the first evening colour we have seen for a while. Nothing dramatic but pretty all the same.
Last night was different though. We had been warned of the possibility of rain, and by night time the clouds had gathered and were getting very black. The sun had been out and as it sunk behind the hills I got this picture.
Then as the actual sun disappeared but the sky was still lit up, I zoomed in to take this one.
The weather still hasn't quite settled, and both yesterday and today were rather spoiled by the high winds that we often get in April. So now everything is covered with dust again, but it is not the red one from Africa this time, but a more local brown one, and there are also drifts on leaves and dead flower heads in every corner. But we will wait until it has blown itself out before we have a proper clean up.
My computer has been a bit 'iffy' tonight and it has taken at least five minutes for each photo to load, so I had better get it published now in case that takes an age as well. But first I will link up with Rocking Your World, and Annie's Friday Smiles.