Well here we are at our last post for 2018. What a great year it has been, with every week a list of things to be grateful for, and to make us smile. Sometimes it is friends and family members, sometimes it is events, or the glorious scenery, our pets or even the many and varied little creatures that have crossed our paths, but all work together to give us moments of joy. Of course there have been some sad moments too, when we have lost a family member, or our friends have moved away, but all in all, 2018 for me has been a good year! So now it is time to say 'Good-bye' to it, with a few happy moments from this week.
We have enjoyed having our grandson Mikey staying with us. He comes each Christmas and is really just looking for some brighter days than UK has to offer, and a time of relaxation away from work, and the sometimes frantic run up to an over-commercialised time of celebration. Here it is quieter, more relaxed, but not without some celebrations of our own.
We managed to do our last shopping before the weekend, so apart from going to church on Sunday morning, we spent much of our time sitting on a sunny porch, until the sun dipped below the hills and it started to feel chilly. Then we moved in to sit by the fire, to be lazy in front of the TV and feast on chocolates, (balanced out with fresh fruit!). But we did get some exercise by taking the dogs for long walks. Chris and I sometimes struggle with them, especially Foxy, who although the smaller one, is by far the strongest. But with Mikey to take her lead, I was happy to hold Kim, our gentle giant who is much too lazy to give any trouble. Chris came with us one day and we went all along the rambla (dry river bed), that goes around the village. It has been tidied up considerably this year and now is a pleasant walk between rows of tall bamboo, and agricultural fields. It was a bit wet in places but there was plenty of gravel down to make the walkway more level. Foxy kept smelling rabbits nearby and darted off to investigate. But Kim was very slow on the last stretch down through the village to home and we noticed a faint limp that he has had for a while, was more pronounced. It doesn't seem to be bothering him much, so we will wait until our vet reopens in the new year, and take him in then to be looked at, but we decided not to walk him too far before then.
So the next day Mikey and I took just Foxy over onto the campo. It is tricky getting out with just one, but we persuaded Kim to sit in Chris's office with him, and with a bone to chew on to distract him, and crept out as quietly as we could. Foxy had a great time. She is ten years old now but just as energetic as she was as a pup. We let her loose to run through the shrubs, and up and down the banks, but she never strayed too far from us. I think she would happily have done it all again, but we were ready for going home.
Christmas day is officially Kim's birthday and he was six this year. For the first time ever, he actually sat and posed for his birthday photo, with Foxy not far away.
Mikey loves the dogs and they love him, so when he sat between them he was treated to plenty of Christmas kisses.
Every Christmas day it is a tradition for us to take a photo, raising a glass to toast family and friends, wherever in the world they may be. I post it on Facebook, and I am overwhelmed by the number of reactions and comments we received this year. We also kept a group chat with all our boys, going on and off for most of the day. The internet has made the world a smaller place for sure, and it was good to know they were all enjoying a lovely day with their families.
It was helpful to have Mikey around to take the photo for us, but we also took a selfie so he was included in one.
We have been here for ten years now, (ten years in this house in February), and every year we have had enough sunshine to take our pictures out in the garden, and this year was no exception.
We decided to go out for dinner again on Christmas Day, and we had to book our places back in August, as everywhere gets very busy. We went to the campsite, where we have our fish and chip dinner every Friday. They were fully booked in their restaurant, the 'ball room' on a lower level, and out in the bar area, and we had an excellent three course, meal. The main course was a carvery with turkey of course, as well as ham and beef, with a choice of half a dozen vegetables. Everyone was happy and friendly and we really enjoyed it all.
Afterwards there was live music and as the sun was still shining we sat out on the patio to watch for a while. (It looks empty but we had an early booking, so we finished our meal and got out there before everyone else). The patio was soon full with some folk dancing their dinner down.
They were a local band who sang a range of songs from rock and roll, to pop numbers and some Irish songs as well, with cheeky banter in between to keep everyone smiling.
Yesterday Chris was busy, but Mikey and I decided to have our Boxing day walk along the sea-front, a day late because by the time we were ready on Boxing day, the clouds had come up and it didn't seem so inviting. But yesterday was beautiful, and we even shed our jumpers as we walked. The sun was bright on the water and it looked lovely.
We walked one way along the new promenade but then came back on the sand. We found a patch where someone had been having fun building with the big smooth stones that litter the beach.
I don't know how long they had been there, but amazingly they had remained in place. This was quite a fancy one, and even the waves had not destroyed it.
We saw some interesting plants as we walked. This cacti, a type of aloe-vera I think, was in flower everywhere, making bright patches of colour in all the beds.
These trees were interesting. They are from the mimosa family (acacia to some of you, and wattle to out Australian friends). It self-seeds and grows prolifically in this area, but I have never noticed these bright red seed pods on it before.
And on the next branch there were fresh young leaves and the new flowers already beginning to form. I don't expect to see flowers on them until March-May, but I am not sure these buds will wait that long.
At the end of our walk we went to our favourite café for a well-earned coffee, and met up with several friends all out for a stroll and then refreshment.
Today we just visited the local market for some fresh veggies, and visited another bar for our coffee. It is one of the joys of our life here, that we can sit outside a bar for a warm drink almost all year round, and with blue skies above, and good company all around, who could ask for more.
So this final photo is just one of the lovely skies we have seen this week; one when I happened to have a camera nearby, so I could catch it before it disappeared.
And now I will link up with Rocking Your World on Virginia's blog, and go and spend one last evening with our young man before we take him back to the airport tomorrow.
So that just leaves me to wish you all a really good New Year, full of moments to make you smile, reasons to be grateful and happy, and friends and family to share your moments with. I'll see you again in 2019.