Well another week has come and gone. Don't ask me where it went because I have no idea, but I will look back and try to remember all the best bits.
I'll start with our two wonderful choir concerts at the weekend. It was a so much better venue than we had the previous week, so we could sing our hearts out and know folk were hearing us properly. We had a standing ovation on Saturday, and so much lovely feedback, which made all the hard work worthwhile. These concerts were organised by the local animal rescue charity, and they were very grateful for the money that was raised.
Our MD, David, took the opportunity to announce some news that we have been keeping to ourselves for a while. Next year, in October 2018, we have been invited to sing in the Royal Albert Hall with around 1,500 other singers, and a huge joint band, at the last ever "Cancer Research UK Festival of Brass & Voices". It is very exciting, and the only downside is that absolutely no music or word books are allowed, so we have to be word and note perfect on 14 songs with no crib sheets! Easy when you are a young singer, but quite a challenge for us oldies. But hopefully we will have the arrangements soon, so we can start learning them.
After the excitement of the weekend, the rest of the week has been fairly routine. I have again stayed at home more than usual, to avoid over use of our ailing car, but I am happy to say it was fixed yesterday, so we are back to normal now.
I am especially glad of that as tomorrow morning we have an early drive to the airport again to collect Ben and Dave who will be with us for twelve days this time. Ben had accumulated some extra holiday because his booked leave came while he was off work on sick leave, so he got to use it again. Added to this he founds flights out for just £19.99, so we have two more weeks of their company which always makes me smile.
My first photo this week was sent to me by my grand-daughter. It is her little boy and his best buddy - both aged six. They are in their own little world and it is lovely to see them enjoying time together out in the fresh air. I wonder what they are talking about?!
I was right about my amaryllis coming out this week. It has this beautiful head of flowers on it now.
What's more, high above it there is another bunch of buds just ready to open. I was surprised when I saw it as this is the older bulb that did nothing last year, and I had thought it was dead! I was expecting it to be the white one I had last year, but that one is apparently resting this year. This pink and white one is possibly the most hardy type, because I have seen them flowering in quite a lot of gardens this year. It still seems strange to have them in the garden. In UK they are always a house-plant, often given as a gift at Christmas. I don't think they would survive an English Winter outside.
Because we had to take the car over to our mechanic friend's workshop again yesterday, we put the dogs in the back so they could have a nice long walk home. The thistles we saw last time are in flower everywhere, and now they are interspersed with the pretty blue chicory flowers. They were everywhere, and although they are small flowers, the plants are often quite tall, and they stood out from the dark foliage and looked really pretty.
We did a slight detour to an ornamental lake in the centre of the urbanisation, to see if there were any baby birds. A few years ago the residents clubbed together to buy a few ducks to go on the lake and they have thrived there. Sure enough there were some proud parents near the bridge with two little fluffy chicks by them. I loved the little yellow one, but had to wonder whether there had been some inter-breeding between the dark and white adults.
Soon they were joined by more chicks. They were so fluffy, they must be quite newly hatched. The rest were all dark, but I see one of these has a yellow head. I'll have to go back in a month or two and see how they have all turned out.
It reminded me of my childhood spent in Parkstone, Dorset. We were always taken to Poole Park to see the baby chicks in Spring. There was a huge lake there and a wide variety of water birds, but our little lake is a real novelty for local children. Duck ponds are few and far between in this hot land! It is nice to know the birds are happy enough there to breed.
I have spent a lot of time this week making favour boxes for our son's wedding in July. I needed seventy of them, but my Silhouette cameo machine made the cutting of them all easier than it might have been if I had had to do them by hand. They are made to match the invitations I made for them a while back, cut from black card with gold art-deco decorations on the sides. We settled on a design that I can take with me flat, and they fold up and stay together without glue, so it will give us something to do in the days leading up to the event. Now I just have to make the post box for cards, and decorate the cover of the guest book. A wedding in the family is something nice to look forward to.
With visitors coming tomorrow, I spent the last two days making up the spare room bed, tidying the house and this afternoon I had a massive baking session. It is not just for the boys, though I know they like a bit of home-made cake, but also it is my turn to do church teas on Sunday, so I needed some cakes for that. So I have made big tray bakes of triple gingerbread, sticky date and apricot cake, a coffee and walnut cake, a light fruit cake, and everyone's favourite, lemon drizzle cake. The smells in the kitchen are a bit confused, but lovely all the same.
Poor Chris has been battling all week to get the pool clean and ready for Ben to have a dip if he wants to. The water temperature is 23º so it is warm enough for me to have a quick swim, though I am not sure I'll stay in it for long yet. The trouble is, it has been very windy, so as soon as he has skimmed it of leaves etc, a new lot of debris is blown in. But he gave it one last hoover on the bottom today, and it looks very inviting. Now we just hope they have plenty of sun to enjoy it.
It has got a lot warmer this week. In fact I put our duvet away today, so we just have an empty cover on the bed, and a light blanket to pull up if we need it. As soon as the evenings stay warmer we know summer is really on the way. The wind is often a bit fierce at this time of year but it doesn't usually blow for long. It does blow in a few light clouds, and yesterday we half expected a shower, but it blew over again. However that did provide us with a nice sunset. I was busy in the kitchen and saw the first golden streaks arriving, and I took photos every five minutes or so, as it got brighter, then turned to orange, with a final burst of fiery red before it disappeared as quickly as it came.
Now I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World. I will do my best to write a post next week, but if I don't, you will know I have been busy with my family and I'll get back when I can.