Well my choir practice had to come first this week. It was a good evening and we are just about ready for our big Friends and Family concert in ten days time. Now I am shattered, but I am sure I can find a few things that have made me smile this week.
We have been see-sawing between bright blue skies and sunny days, and very cold evenings when it is great to sit in front of the fire with my knitting etc, and usually an animal or two to keep me company.
Well yesterday the blue skies disappeared and for a day and a night we had the heavy rain that had been forecast. I am sure it did the ground a lot of good, and it means I don't have to stand around with a hose pipe for another week. It also meant that I had an extra long time to cosy up in the sitting room. I finished a book I have been reading and then got stuck into some crochet. In this photo, Tango is laying across my lap (he's far warmer than a lap blanket!), having an occasional swipe at my wool, and generally getting in the way of my work, Foxy is falling off her bed down below us, and Luna and Kim are sharing a settee. Paco was in there too, over on another chair. Chris was busy in his office, so I had music playing through my bluetooth speaker, and just felt very relaxed, peaceful and lucky.
Today the warm sunshine was back and I got a big load of washing done, which dried outside and is now folded and put away. Another blessing!
On Tuesday I needed to do some shopping so I drove in to the nearby town of Vera. I know it was mid-week, and I was on the edge of the town, but everywhere was so quiet. There was none of the pre-Christmas hustle and bustle that is usually found in an English town by now. The big church on the town square had a few decorations on it, but where are the people?
The Town Hall had done their best. They even have their Christmas lights stretched across each street, which is quite early for Spain, but every other shop I passed was closed or boarded up.
I enjoy the build up to the festivities. This is the first week of Advent, which means some lovely ladies from our church spent a day this week getting our tree in place and building the crib, ready for the children to place the characters in during our service on Sunday.
Doesn't it all look lovely?
Of course their husbands helped too, doing the bits up a ladder, suspending stars from the archway, wiring lights etc, and I think they have all done a really good job.
You can't see it in this photo, but there is a small table to the right where we have a small palm tree with lights and decorations. Many are wooden like this Baby Jesus in the manger, and they were brought over from Bethlehem, so they are very special to us.
One bit of Christmas preparation that hasn't happened here for a few years, is making the pudding. I love that warm, treacle and spice smell, but as I am the only one who eats it, it seems like a rather unnecessary amount of effort. But this year our son and his partner are coming over, and then my grandson the next week, so there will be some extra mouths to help me eat it up. Of course it should have been done back in October but I hadn't got my act together by then, so this week I finally got it done. Of course I had to take it in to Chris to have a stir and make a wish - traditions must be upheld!
Now two lovely puddings have been steamed and are wrapped up in the larder to mature a little before the first one is needed in a couple of weeks time.
I have also made a start on the 'mince-pie marathon'. I had promised some for the cake stall at the Chaplaincy Christmas fair on Saturday, so yesterday I got stuck in and made the first eleven dozen. I will need to do a few more, but that was a good start. I think I earned my afternoon with the animals.
It is almost time to harvest the new season's oranges, and it looks to be quite a good year, at least for some folk. This tree is in next door's garden, and sadly she only visits a couple of times a year, so much of this fruit will fall and rot, though her gardener and cleaner will eventually pick some of it. On the other side of our house we have another mostly absent neighbour, who has orange trees all down the side of her garden. They also have plenty of fruit on them. They do come to pick them around Christmas week, but lots of them hang over our fence, and we feel we can pick these, so I must go out there soon as they are beginning to drop and spoil.
Unfortunately we have no ground to plant fruit trees so we have one orange tree in a giant pot. Last year it yielded about two dozen beautiful oranges, but this year it only has four! I think we probably let it get too dry when the fruit was setting. Hopefully we will do better next year.
We also have a new tree, that we bought last year. It is only a 'baby' yet and it only has one fruit on it. It is a mandarin tree and we have always wanted one. As only one fruit set this year I have been guarding it, and this week we are going to pick it, and eat half each! Then I shall cut back some of the thin trailing branches and hope it grows stronger for next year. It will need a bigger pot soon, but for now I am not going to disturb the roots.
I am happy to say that this week I have managed to post all of my Christmas cards, ahead of the two bank holidays that occur next week - a secular one, Día de la Constitucíon on Wednesday, and a religious one, Imaculada, on Friday. Hopefully all my cards will be away from Spain before these holidays. Now I just have to write the ones for my local friends that will be delivered by hand.
And finally here is one lovely sky photo that I took one night during this week. It was probably on Wednesday evening just as the rain clouds were gathering. I love all the layers of light.
Lovely isn't it?
And on that note I will say 'Bye' for this week, and link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and I will do my best to post next week. It will be our final choir practice on Friday and it is also the day our son arrives so I expect we will be going out in the evening to find some karaoke for him, but I will try to write it early - famous last words!