Well I have had a good week this week, and I was hard pressed to chose a 'Smile', but in the end I went for this one, which was taken at Aguilas Carnival on Tuesday night. Lots of colour and happy faces. More about that further down.
First we have a few photos of the special service that I went to last Friday morning, for the licensing of our new priest. Here he is signing his license after it was presented to him by the Archdeacon of Gibraltar.
It was an interesting service with our little church packed full with around 90 people attending. At one point during the proceedings, various people gave Rev. Vincent gifts to symbolise different aspects of his work in the Chaplaincy e.g. Water for baptism by a steward, a children's Bible for the youth work by two children, a Plaque for his work in the community by a representative from Zurgena town hall, and it was nice to see a wooden cross for his ecumenical work given by Father Miguel who is the catholic priest from my village.
Father Miguel is a lovely man, who is trying to learn English (quite successfully too), so he can speak with the English people in our community. He is in charge of the big church in Mojacar, as well as those in Turre, Bédar and Los Gallardos. Here he is talking with two of my dear friends, Margie, our almost qualified lay reader, and William, a worship leader.
When we went up to receive communion we were each given a candle which was then lit, and we processed outside with them, singing the lovely modern hymn "Walk, walk, walk in the light". The stiff breeze soon put paid to the candles, but we all stood around the door and those who had been involved in running the service stood by the wall.
Then the Archdeacon stepped forward to give a blessing. Behind him are, from left to right, Father Alan - a retired priest who takes services each week as we have two churches running at the same time, Margie - our lay-reader, Rev. Vincent - our new priest, William - our worship leader, Edwin - a church army officer who also regularly helps with our services, Alwyn - another worship leader and lay-reader in training, and Father Miguel.
Of course the buffet meal we shared afterwards was a huge success. There were three tables of savouries, shown here, and also two of cakes and biscuits but I did not get a picture of those. I was asked to speak to Father Miguel as I can manage a little Spanish, and he told me it was the first time he had been inside an English church. He was also very interested in our English buffet, but I couldn't persuade him to try anything as he doesn't eat wheat, and I couldn't guarantee what everything was made from.
Everyone had more than enough to eat, and we had quite a feast from the left-overs, with our coffee after the service on Sunday!
The next exciting thing to happen was our trip to Aguilas carnival on Shrove Tuesday. We had to forego our pancakes until the next day as we needed to be at the coach pick-up point by 4.00. It was a trip organised by the local camp-site, and as this was something I have wanted to go to ever since we came out here, it was too good an opportunity to resist. Most places have their own special 'thing'. For our village it is our Three Kings fiesta which is unique for this area, Lubrin has the bread festival, for Lorca it is the Easter parades, and for Aguilas it is the carnival. There are two main parades, the one on Tuesday that we went to, and an even bigger one tomorrow. The main street is lined with tiers of seating, fenced off from the pavements, so people can still pass behind them, and you need to book a seat to get through. Of course that was all done for us through the coach company. When we arrived it was still quite sunny and we had an hour to wait, so we left our bags on the seats and walked down the road to the beach. There was an air of excitement, and by the time we walked back, most of the seats were taken.
We bought a drink and an ice-cream and watched the sun setting over a deserted beach, and then went back to our seats.
The parade itself was great fun. The costumes were amazing. So much work had gone into designing them. Each group had a chosen style and colour and they came passed first the tiny ones, then the bigger children, and then the adults, all dressed the same. Each group was accompanied by a van towing a trailer with usually five 'man'sized' amps, blaring out their music, and every few yards, each group stopped and danced in the street before moving on.
One thing that we noticed was that the men are just as enthusiastic as the ladies. They happily dress in shocking pink latex suits, weighed down with rhinestones and sequins, and head-dresses of feathers, and they dance as energetically as the ladies do. This starts from when they are quite small. Boys who in UK would be wearing a football kit, and who would laugh at a boy dressed for dancing, were on the floats strutting their stuff, along with the girls, because of course, it is their culture to do so.
How some of them kept those head-dresses on when they danced I don't know. The other thing that certainly wouldn't have been allowed in UK and elsewhere I expect, was children and adults dancing on high trailers with no safety rails, and floors that were rocking around to the vibration of their feet. But we didn't see any casualties, just one adult man who got off and joined the street dancers. He looked as though the motion of the float was making him feel queasy!
It took nearly five hours for the parade to pass us, 6-00 - 11.00, and I took so many photos that both my camera and phone ran out of batteries! And it was very difficult to chose some to show you the range of costumes etc. In the end I got it down to about 25 which I will add at the end of this post for anyone who is interested.
That was the two highlights of my week but here are a few other happy moments. At the sewing group on Wednesday I have been helping a lady learn to crochet. I started her off on just straight lines going back and forth, which needs care at either end to keep the edges straight, and she had just about mastered that. So this week I showed her how to make a square. She was struggling a bit. She was really concentrating, but it is quite noisy in the group and there are a lot of distractions.
But when she got home she had another go, and that evening she sent me this photo.
She was so excited, and it is lovely when I know I have really helped someone. I have another lady wanting to get started next week. I usually do a bit of my own work while I am with them, so they don't feel I am watching their every move, so that is my squares on the table, abandoned while I took the photo. I am making good progress with my blanket, and am looking forward to seeing how it all comes together.
Yesterday I found another of God's wonderful creations by my outside sink. I really don't like spiders, especially if they get on me, but I can't help but admire the work of the creator. This little fellow was no more than a centimetre long, but there was so much detail on it. It had a red body with a white design on it, and a black thorax also patterned, and it obligingly sat still while I took its photo!
Today I made the effort to get up a little earlier than usual, so by 9.00 I was heading to Turre market to buy the ingredients for another batch of piccalilli. I have sold out of it, and people keep asking me when I am going to make some more. It was one of those days when all the fruit and vegetables looked so fresh and beautiful. I usually post a photo of my 'harvest' in the Autumn, but as I unpacked my shopping onto the kitchen table I thought it deserved a photo too. So here is my Spring harvest. It is coming to the end of the orange season now, so I made sure to get some of these huge oranges, and a bag of mandarins as well. The strawberries are just come back in at a sensible price now, and the sweet peppers are just perfect. The fruit and potatoes are not for the piccalilli but most of the rest is, so I guess I'll be having a chopping up session this afternoon, ready to cook and bottle it tomorrow.
And that just leaves me with some sky pictures. We had some small lenticular clouds one day. I thought someone was sending me a smoke signal.
The next day was very windy and the clouds were torn apart into long thin strips.
But then we had one day when the clouds gathered just as the sun was setting and we had this beautiful sky.
Now I will just link up with Annie's Friday Smiles, and Rocking Your World, and then I will post all the carnival photos promised above - but only if you want to look.