Friday, April 13, 2018

Rocking Your World 2018; Week 15

I am starting with this picture which will always make me smile!

It is so nice to get a photo of all five of our boys, all looking at the camera and all smiling! Numbered by age from left to right they are 1, 5, 4, 2, 3.
This was taken last Saturday when, I quote, "There were some Perry Shenanigans going on". Every now and then Jim, (our oldest), and his wife, host a family day for all the boys, their partners, children and even the animals, so their little house was bursting at the seams with 15 people, three dogs and four cats (who were mostly hiding in the bedroom away from the dogs!). In the middle of the afternoon they called me on Skype and I had a chat with each of them, and a good laugh all together. It was nearly as good as being there with them, but not quite. It is lovely to know they are still keeping in touch, now I am not there to 'hold the reins'.

I had spent Saturday morning in the kitchen, cooking all those sour-dough cakes I mentioned last week. They were very successful and were very well received after church on Sunday. Of course I forgot to take a photo before they all disappeared!

On Tuesday our house group met at Sue and Keith's house, but it was my turn to lead, and my theme came from a book recommended by my son, called "Our Everyday God". We started by talking about the word ordinary, and how we feel when our life seems to be very 'ordinary', in between the busy highs and lows. We discussed how we could keep it relevant and meaningful at these times, and also how it was important to have the 'ordinary times' so that we can recognise the extraordinary when it happens. But we also talked about how even the most ordinary times have special moments in them, and we should remain alert to see them. Which is really the whole idea behind this blog and the ones I link it to, so I was able to share how we look each week for the silver linings, and the moments that make us smile in an otherwise 'ordinary' week.

Well I have to say that this has been one of those 'ordinary' weeks, when very little actually happened. But I did have my chat with the boys, and I did enjoy a good baking session and the chance to share what I had made with friends.

There have been other moments as well. Thursday was haircut day, firstly for Arwen. She has to be completely sedated twice a year to have her thick coat shaved off, and I decided it is just about warm enough for her summer cut. I always ask them to try to leave her face, boots, and tail uncut so once again she is like a little lion. She is still not keen to pose for a photo though.
Chris also wanted his hair cut. I have done his for as far back as I can remember, just as I cut all the boys' hair until they left home. His had grown quite long for him, and it proved to be a tough challenge for our clippers which decided to die half way through the proceedings! Despite all our efforts we could not put them together again, but fortunately I still had our old ones that I had kept for just such an emergency, and I was able to finish off with those. Some new ones have been ordered and are now on their way.

So it seemed after that, that it was probably time for my summer hair cut too. I had been putting it off while it was cold as I can no longer manage my hairdressers backward sinks, so I needed to wash it at home and walk round to her little salon with wet hair. But I made the appointment for yesterday afternoon, so now we are all shorn!
It always makes me smile that she can give me a typically Spanish hairstyle, when it is only a couple of inches long all over. It only lasts a day and is soon back to its usual easy-care, wash, shake and leave to dry style! I cannot lift my arms high enough, for long enough, to do any more than give it a quick brush in the mornings, but once we are in and out of the pool every day in the summer, there is no point in doing anything more with it.

One thing I have managed to do this week is to finish off my Ireland scrapbook at last. Although I make it all digitally, I still like to print off the pages and have them in a proper album. I told you a while ago about the saga of ordering book-binding cloth, but with the help of my sister Jean, I did eventually manage to get some. I waited until I was "in the mood" to cover it, as the cloth was just enough, and I have just one small strip, a couple of centimetres wide, left over.
It is not a very good photo because I found when it was covered, that I could still just get it into the plastic sleeve it was in before, which protects it from finger marks etc, but it reflects the light and made it hard to photograph, even when I took it outside for a better light.
I added a sheet of irish scrapbook paper to the inside cover and designed a front page to start the album.
I love being able to look through it now and again and relive what was a very happy holiday.

Now I have to decide on a theme for my next one.

It has been a rather windy week, with one day when patio furniture and small branches were blown around outside. Added to this the fact that across the road from us there is a big building project to extend a house, so the air is filled with dust, and you will understand that I spent a fair bit of time either in my craft room or in the sitting room with my crochet. So I did manage to finish part six of my blanket, just before I went to bed last night, and an hour or so ago I downloaded part 7. There is just one more part for the border next week, so I am thinking I may just manage to finish it before I pack it all away until next Autumn. This week's part is several rows on each side of the Apache's tears stitch, which I love and have always wanted to try. It will need some concentration but I am looking forward to giving it a go. If I get it done, I'll show you next week.

I popped out to the shops this morning for 'bread and milk' as I usually do on Fridays, and this week I went to Lidls. They had a household week for some of their specials and I bought a few bits for my new kitchen which hopefully I will be getting in a month's time. I bought a wall clock, a frying pan to replace my old one and a saucepan, as I will have a ceramic hob like I had in UK, and it will be nice to have new pans to put on it, and also a few other bits. I popped in to the kitchen shop who are doing the work for us, as the lady there had asked to buy some of my strawberry jam, and she showed my 'new toy' which had just arrived. I am going to have a waste disposal unit again. I had one for many years in UK but I don't know anyone out here who has one. It will be a tremendous help, especially in the summer when the last thing you want is left over food and veggie trimmings in the bin. So that is something else I am excited about.

And now as usual it is time to get ready for choir practice, so I will quickly link up with Rocking Your World , and Annie's Friday Smiles, and go and find my music folders.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Rocking Your World 2018: Week 14

First a big apology because it took me until yesterday to visit everyone from last week. Sometimes life just gets in the way, but I made it in the end, and I will try to do better this week.
My first picture today is one of me, which doesn't happen very often. We were encouraged to wear our 'Easter bonnets' to church on Sunday. Now I don't wear hats - not even for my son's wedding - but at a push I will clip in a fascinator. So, in an effort to show willing, that is what I did on Sunday, and my dear friend Margie took photos of us all, and posted them on the church facebook page. So here I am with a typical big cheesy grin on my face!
As you can see, it was a lovely sunny day, and we had a joyful Easter celebration, and we were able to share a time of tea, cakes and fellowship, sitting outside on the patio for the first time this year.

Monday was our grandson's last day here. He and Bethan were flying home at 8.00 in the evening, so in the morning they wanted to go up to Mojacar Pueblo to do some shopping for friends and family. The Pueblo is a little white village with strong Moorish influences, that is set on a hill overlooking Mojacar Playa. It has a wide range of small shops selling tourist souvenirs, as well as clothing and of course plenty of bars and restaurants. I showed the youngsters where my favourite bar is and arranged to meet them there for lunch, and then I left them to poke around in the shops while I wandered away from the centre. This photo was taken from near the top and gives you some idea of high above the sea it is.
And this is a typical view of one of the streets. The whole village is a rabbit warren of narrow, steep, pedestrian streets, often linked by steps, with higgledy-piggledy buildings on every level, and the ever present ugly electricity cables, as very little power is fed underground. In this case, the pueblo was there was long before the electricity!
We met up for lunch as planned, and sat in a courtyard behind the ancient church on the plaza. It was not quite as sunny as they had all last week, but we were able to eat our lunch outside all the same. They were happy with all their purchases and I didn't go home empty handed either as I bought this handsome fellow to go on one of the walls by the pool. We already have butterflies, geckos and owls, so I thought a dragonfly would be a nice addition.
I had quite a long conversation with the elderly Spanish man running the shop. It turned out we have some mutual friends in my village. I asked him for the Spanish word for dragonfly and he said it is libélula, which I liked the sound of. Butterfly is mariposa and I like that too.
We saw Marcus and Bethan safely to the airport that evening, and were pleased to hear they had made it home with no breakages. Their case had several bottles in it, and some jars of my jam and marmalade, so I gave them a lot of bubble-wrap and hoped for the best.
Not a lot has happened since then. I have been working on my crochet blanket and so far I have managed to keep up with the designer's posts - just. I did say I would give an update after part four, but that didn't happen, so now I have finished part five, and it looks like this.
I like the way it is working up. Part six was published an hour or so ago and it looks as though it could be a bit more challenging. The main part so far has been worked in a very attractive textured stitch which I have not done before.
I am used to it now though, so I am happy to have something new to think about in this week's part. I think there is quite a lot to do, so I may not be able to finish before part seven is published next Friday, but I'll do my best.
I was interested to see Lisca's post last week where she was talking about a book she had been reading called Sourdough, because this week I have been growing a Sourdough plant. It takes ten days from when you start it, and every few days you have to 'feed it' with flour, sugar and milk, and on the ninth day, which happens to be today, you feed it once more and divide it into four portions. The recipe is called "Herman the German sourdough friendship cake", and the idea is to use three portions to bake three big cakes for sharing, and the fourth portion you give away to a friend to start the process all over again. It says in the instructions "Do not put me in a fridge or I will die. If I stop bubbling I am dead!" Here are my four portions and they don't look very lively, but that is because I had just fed them and stirred the bubbles down. By tonight they will be all frothy again.
I shall actually bake with all four of mine tomorrow because it is my turn to make refreshments for after church. I am thinking Apple and sultana, Date and walnut, Cherry and almond, and maybe Ginger and marmalade, but I haven't made that one before so I am not sure whether it will work. Each portion makes quite a big slab cake, but fortunately it freezes very well, so it won't matter if it doesn't all get eaten. If anyone is interested in the recipe I am happy to share it.
Today I have been busy making more strawberry jam. Two batches a year is usually enough, but I realised this week that I have sold well over half of it already. So when I went shopping yesterday, I looked at the fruit and strawberries were right down in price to just 2€ a kilo, so I bought enough for one more lot of jam which is bottled and cooling nicely in the kitchen.
I started with a photo of me, so I may as well end with one as well. Marcus has just sent me this one which he took by the fountain in Turre when we were waiting for the Good Friday procession to start. He was pleased with it so I should make use of it. He says Bethan is still sorting out all her photos but she has some good ones of the dogs she will send to me soon. So I may have those to show next week. They never cooperate for me, and turn away as soon as they see the camera.
Now I must get ready for choir practice, but first I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles, and Rocking Your World, and when I come home I will start visiting you all.