Well here is something that really made me smile this week. As I was walking across a patch of campo to the medical centre in our village, I spotted this almond tree in full blossom. Now it may be a bit confused by the unseasonably warm days we have been enjoying, but to me, this is a herald of Spring, and I am sure we are all happy to think that Winter is ending and Spring will come again. I am sure we have some pretty dire weather still to come, but when it is raining outside, I will look at this picture and think "It is a promise of better things to come".
I wish I could say that I am now fighting fit again but unfortunately I still haven't shaken this bug completely so I have not left the house any more than necessary all week, so apart from a fair bit of crafting, I have not done a lot.
However, I did manage to get to church on Sunday morning, and although it was chilly, I wrapped up warm, and it was good to see friends again after what seems like a very long time. We were celebrating because on January 11th it was the third anniversary of our little church. And what a long way we have come in that time. From a small group of 12-20 people, we now average forty people each week, and we have a thriving team of leaders. We have worked together in the community to raise money for our own running costs and local charities, we serve the community through regular donations to the food bank, and we run weekly home groups, as well as sharing special occasions, often ending these with a community meal.
We have a very exciting event coming up next month. We are part of the Costa Almeria and Costa Calida Chaplaincy, which has four small churches, very spread out across the parish which extends from Murcia one way to Roquettas del Mar the other, and inland as far as Granada, and next month we welcome a new full time priest after more than a year of short term locums. They have all been wonderful, but it will be good to have someone permanently in place, to give continuity to all we do. We are excited because our little chapel at Llanos del Peral has been chosen for the installation service of Rev.Vincent and his wife Robyn Ann. The Archdeacon of Gibraltar will be coming to lead the service, and all four churches from the Chaplaincy will be represented. And what better way to welcome the priest and his wife into our community than with a bring and share lunch. It will be what we refer to as a "posh buffet", and will need to be finger food as there will not be space to have everyone seated, but I am sure we will all come up with something tasty to take along.
Now, as I said, I have mostly occupied myself this week with various crafty activities. I decided that I have too many projects on the go, and I needed to finish some of them, so this week I finished the red jacket I have been knitting with wool I bought at Hobbycraft when I visited my sister in the Autumn last year.
I am pleased with the way it has turned out. It is nice and long as I wanted, and the pockets are useful. The varegations in colour in the wool have made a good random pattern. It is a long time since I knitted an adult garment, as it seemed to pull on my shoulders last time, but this wool is described as chunky but it is soft and light, and I tried the bamboo needles for the first time, and I think they really did help. Anyway I am wearing it today, and it is nice and cosy.
Next I turned my attention to a smallish lap blanket that I started working on last year on days when I found my big Sophie blanket too heavy and too hot to handle. I just had one square to finish off and then I laid them out on our bed to arrange them and I have now crocheted them all together. So here it is so far. I now need to work a fairly strong, wide border around it and it too will be done.
The pattern was called Seaside Winter Blanket, and was designed by Zelna Olivier, from South Africa, and each square is named after an African beach. So I decided to use a palette of sea, sand and sky colours, with five shades of blue, two of yellow, white, silver and to link them all together a sandy neutral shade called parchment.
Here is a close-up of one section to show some of the textures and patterns included in the design.
I lost my mojo a bit while I was feeling so rough, so this week I really wanted to get back down to my craft room and do some papercraft. So I chose something easy to start with, using images and papers from a Christmas craft CD, and I made a set of Christmas cards to start next years stash off. I can't show them here because they are for a blog challenge next week. Now I need to think about some birthday cards needed in February, but I also have set myself the goal of finishing my Irish holiday scrapbook, so hopefully I will soon be back into the swing of things.
I will finish with a funny story that I forgot to include last week, but it made us both chuckle. We have had some lovely days in January with plenty of sun even though last week it stayed quite cool. So I made the most of this and got the washing done and hung out to dry. Unfortunately I was busy inside and did not notice that a fierce wind had got up, so when I went to check if the washing was dry, I found several items scattered around the yard. I rescued these, but my long-sleeved white tee-shirt and a short-sleeved one had gone over the back railings and were lodged in the dried grass and branches that form the steep bank down into the green zone behind the house. I called for Chris to assist me. He doesn't like me to climb over the railings as there is little ground that it is safe to stand on, but he went over and managed to retrieve the nearest shirt but the other one was out of reach. He found an old metal pole that used to hold the TV aerial way above the house, and with that he went fishing. Each time he 'caught' my shirt and began to lift it, it fell off even further down, which had us both giggling away. But eventually he got enough of it wrapped around the pole to lift it up, and then it looked likely to end up on the roof. But I held it steady while he climbed back over the railings and slowly he fed the end of the pole down the slope, until I could reach up and unhook my shirt. Needless to say, it needed another round in the washing machine, but at least it was undamaged. I'll have to double peg everything next time.
Unlike last week, this week has been warm as well as sunny. We have had temperature as high as 23º some days which is wonderful. It only lasts like that for a few hours, using reaching its highest by 11.00 and starting to cool again by 4.00, but it has been pleasant enough to sit out on the porch for an hour or so, though I am still wearing several layers of clothes which is not like me at all. In the evening it is still very cold, (Not by UK standards I know, but our houses are draughty, stone-floored and not many have any form of central heating). So we continue to close the windows and shutters at tea-time and turn on the fire, so at least the main room is cosy to sit in for the evenings.
And lastly here is a photo, not taken by me. I believe it is attributed to Richard Shanley. Our local radio station has a Facebook page, and it has been running a series of photos, sent in by the general public, called "The real Spain", and this was the sunrise over Mojacar coast on Tuesday this week. Isn't it beautiful? There is no getting away from the fact that a blue sky to start the day, does start you off feeling good, even when the grey clouds gather later on.