Saturday, May 26, 2018

Rocking Your World 2018: Week 21

Well having missed last week's post altogether, I am now a day late in posting this week's, but I guess that's just how it goes sometimes. As you may know, I was missing last week because I paid a flying visit to UK for a family funeral. I was able to stay at my sister Jean's house for the week, and three of my sons came down from the Midlands to join us. Despite the occasion, it was lovely to meet up with family and friends, both close and more distant, and we had fun trying to match all the small people to their respective parents and grandparents. Such is the size of our family, that we can never keep up with all the extended families. So from that day came my Smile for this week, and I shall treasure it as such photos are few and far between.
This is me (centre back) with my four remaining sisters. I am 'the baby' at a mere seventy years old, and the one front right celebrates her ninetieth birthday in June. Between us we have around 400 years, which is quite something, don't you think? And although we have just given thanks for the life of a very dear brother-in-law, we all still have the 'Sargent smile', Sargent being our maiden name.

Going to the funeral, I traveled in my son's car, and we had some time to spare, so we went by the scenic route, first crossing from Poole on the Sandbanks ferry, and then driving around the hill where the ruins of Corfe castle still stand proud.

This was home territory for me as a child so it brought back lots of happy memories. We then followed some lovely green, leafy roads lined with lush grass and cow parsley, so different from the dry scrub land out here. Our destination was the sea-side town of Weymouth, a lovely spot, which I have also visited on many, many occasions.

After the services and refreshments, when all the 'Good-byes' had been said, my boys each had to drive back up to their homes in the Midlands, but it was a glorious day, so they decided to spend a couple of hours on Weymouth's sandy beach first, and I went down with them. Needless to say two of them ended up in the sea, while the third one, and I at least got our feet wet. The sea was surprisingly warm, and had I had more suitable clothes with me, I might have had a dip too.
Two of them then headed northward, while the third one drove me to back to Jean's house, and stayed for a rest before continuing on to his hotel at Stansted, ready for an early morning flight to Denmark where he lives and works.
The next day, Jean and her husband had arranged to drive our sister Brenda home, about an hour away, so I went along for the ride. Again the countryside was beautiful. I have never seen hawthorn trees quite so laden with may blossom, and they seemed to be everywhere. Brenda lives in a very pleasant ground floor flat with patio doors opening onto a small communal garden area. Each day she puts a plate of food out for the birds, and we sat and watched as a beautiful but greedy wood pigeon made sure he got his share first. But a pair of blackbirds dared to come for theirs too.
Brenda has always loved pansies, and she had such a pretty tub of them just outside her door.
Thursday was my last day, so Jean and I did some shopping in the morning, and after lunch I sat doing my knitting while she made a card for her great-grand-daughter's birthday. 
There is a big Sainsbury's near her house, and I wanted to see their new season's clothes, so we walked there, keeping away from the main road, and using footpaths along the river. I am usually there in the autumn when the bracken is tall and rusty, so it was nice this time to see the new green stems gradually unfurling in the warm sun.
There were lots of wild flowers, especially buttercups,...
..but all the paths were lined with this type of tree. It wasn't a true willow, but it had lots of catkins that were ripe and tuning into fluffy seeds so the air was full of them.
They were also on the heath opposite Jean's house, and looking out of her window it was like seeing a snowstorm. It played havoc with her husband's hayfever, but surprisingly I was not affected by it too much at all.
I flew home the next day, arriving quite late, and then we had a very busy weekend as I had a choir concert on Saturday evening and another one Sunday afternoon. I had to do some basic shopping and washing Saturday morning so I was not able to watch all of the Royal wedding, but I saw highlights, and thought what a lovely couple they made.

This week has been all about the kitchen. The start date was postponed from Monday to Wednesday so I had another couple of days to make sure everything was ready. By Monday night it was quite empty.

It was really strange to see it like that. The dark room to the right is the larder which will cease to exist when the work has been done. Much as I like the idea of it, it is too narrow and difficult to manage, so it never really worked for me.

The men arrived Wednesday morning and by the end of the first day, the wall was reduced to a heap of rubble. The house is well built, and it took a lot of knocking down. Now the rubble has been removed, all the new electric sockets and switches are in place, and there is a new suspended ceiling with spot lights. That is an added bonus that wasn't in the original plan.
This weekend we are going to clean the walls a bit, ready for the shells of the cabinets to be built on Monday.
I feel quite disorientated without a kitchen, but it is exciting to see the new one taking shape.

When I was sitting out at the back with a cup of tea one day, I noticed that the chumba (prickley pear) at the back of our neighbour's garden, is starting to flower. It is an amazing plant, and I think it is a special decorative strain of it, which somehow manages to avoid the white fly that decimates its plainer relative. It is covered in flowers, and although they only live for a day, there is always another one ready to open the next day. The bees love it, and bury themselves right inside each flower, coming out covered in pollen.
I decided to walk down the road and round into the green zone to get a better photo of it, as it was hard to get much of one over our railings. It is a rough old bit of ground, but I managed to get there. The chumba has spread a lot since last year, and now comes right down the bank and onto the floor.
The flowers are red, often fading to yellow with a mass of yellow stamens in the centre.

While I was down there, I also went to the pomegranate tree that I had photographed with a zoom lens from our back yard. The flowers are already turning into fruit , so as some of you had commented on them last time, I am including this shot. There could be quite a lot of fruit this year.

I am so late posting because we had our third choir concert this evening. It was at the camp site where we go for fish and chips each week, and it was nice to have one on my home territory for a change. It gave me the opportunity to encourage several of my friends to come along. It was a good concert and we were given a standing ovation at the end, which is always very gratifying. But now I am tired so I am away to bed, as soon as I have linked up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Rocking Your World 2018; Week 19

Here is my smile for this week.
Just to prove what a softie I am at heart, these five little teddies have sat on a shelf just inside my kitchen for the whole ten years we have lived here.  And yes, I do talk to them sometimes! As part of my kitchen clearance ready for the workmen, they had to move and I found they were rather grubby and greasy. The label on them says "surface wash only", but that wasn't going to cut it, so they were all dunked in some hot soapy water and hung out by their little tails to dry. They weren't impressed but it did the trick, so here they are sitting in the sun to make sure they are dry right through, and now they are looking for a new home, probably in our bedroom.
I have been working hard all week to get the kitchen finished because, on Monday, I am flying to UK for my dear brother-in-law's funeral on Tuesday. It wasn't easy finding flights, but Chris has agreed to drive me to Alicante airport, about forty minutes further on from Murcia, because the return fare to there was less than a third of the price for Murcia! I have no idea why, but I am so happy that I am able to be there. I will be staying with my sister Jean until Friday, and flying back that night, so I won't be posting next week. But I will be home in time to sing at my choir concerts on Saturday and Sunday, so I am happy about that too.

Last Sunday we had another nice meal out with friends following the church service. We all went to a popular Chinese restaurant, (yes we have Chinese and Indian restaurants here in Spain too!), to celebrate a friend's birthday. I did take some photos - or at least I thought I did - but I cannot find them on either my camera or my phone, so I didn't do something right!

When I go out at the back to feed the dogs morning and evening, I always take a few minutes to lean on the railings and take in the peace and quiet, and draw breath before I get back to work. This week I noticed the pomegranate trees in the green zone are in bloom. They stand out because the flowers are a rich, deep, orange, in contrast to the dark green of the leaves.
They are quite small but you couldn't call them insignificant. You can instantly see how the fruit forms at the base of the flower, leaving the petals to form the hard, open crown at the top of the ripe fruit.

It was good to hear that my friends and family in UK actually had good weather for their bank holiday this week. We had already had ours, as El Día de Trabaja, or Labour Day, is celebrated here on 1st May, regardless what day of the week that falls on, whereas in UK, it is the first Monday in May. I always think it is sad when folk have worked hard through a long hard winter, and finally have a long weekend off and it rains. But this year most people saw some sunshine. 
Here is my little great-grandson, being a 'cool dude'. He is lucky that despite being a red-head, he is not over-sensitive to the sun, and goes a lovely healthy brown rather than red. And he just loves to play outside whatever the weather.

Walking the dogs each morning this week, we have been watching the flowers open on the jacaranda trees. There is a whole row of them lining the slip road at the front of the village.
They are such a pretty colour, and the flowers always come before the leaves so they are not obscured at all. The big brown 'pennies' are last years seed pods. We stopped this morning to take a photo looking through the tree to the lovely blue sky above.
We have had some lovely days this week, but also several days of rain, mostly in the evening which isn't too bad. On several occasions we have heard the thunder rolling around us and seen the lightning in the distance. As the rain stopped I sat outside one evening and was treated to an aerial show of swallows and house martins, in a frenzy of feeding on the bugs that were disturbed by the storm and rose up from the green zone. They dart and dive and move so very fast, but somehow they never collide. They flew passed me so close I could almost have touched them. It was hard to get photographs of them because they moved so fast, but here are a couple of stills that I took from a short video I made.

As I have been busy in the kitchen all day, I have spent some evenings in my craft room making a few birthday cards that I needed. I even made a set of eight Christmas cards ready for a challenge on 25th of the month, as I know I may be too busy to make them later. But I have still found some time to do my crochet. Here is 'grumpy cat' Tango, trying to be helpful, but as you can see, he is not impressed that I keep moving him to turn my work around.
And so to one last photo. I was looking back on my blog and I noticed that I often have lovely sky photos to share at this time of year, but this year they have been few and far between. So when I saw a pink glow last night I went out to see. It wasn't very impressive, but very pretty and calming too, so for what it is worth, here it is.
Now I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles, and Rocking Your World, and I will be back in two weeks time.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Rocking Your world 2018; Week 18

Here we are at Friday once again. It hasn't been the happiest of weeks, but there are still some smiles to share.

We were blessed with a lovely sunny day for our church Spring fair on Saturday. I had too much to do, to stay for long, so I went down to the Playa in Mojacar quite early to drop off the cakes I had made for our stall. Our branch of the church usually runs the cake stall, as well as the bottle tombola and a knitting/sewing type of stall, and I am always happy to bake some cakes for them. 

Although it was only just opening, there was a good crowd of folk browsing the stalls, and enjoying a freshly cooked bacon roll for breakfast.
The cake stall was set up with the helpers ready to receive our contributions and to persuade someone else to buy them! They had already opened a big sunshade to protect those cakes that had icing on.
There are a few holiday-makers in Mojacar now, but they were probably still enjoying breakfast in their hotels, because the beach stretched empty in both directions.

I am sure that soon changed as the morning wore on.
The fair was a very successful and raised a much-needed 2,800€ for church funds.

Sadly we lost a much loved member of our family this week. He was in his ninetieth year, and has led a full and interesting life. He was one of the kindest and wisest men I have known, and was very influential in my life. I am waiting to hear when the funeral will be, to see whether I will be able to get over to UK for it. Unfortunately May is a very, very, busy month for me, but I shall go if at all possible.

With that in mind, the rest of my week has been spent finishing the tidying of the garage, and starting to move the kitchen into it, in case I go away before the work begins.
So the shelves are now full. It probably still looks a bit of a muddle to you, but it is a tidy muddle now! And I know where everything is.
The larder, and its shelves are now in the garage, along with the freezer. When the contents move back into their new homes in the finished kitchen, these shelves will house the 'spare' boxes that are still on the floor.
We worked hard yesterday, and last night we were both too stiff to hardly move! But we each took our respective medication and today we were fighting fit to go again. I am taking this afternoon off to write my blog and make a couple of cards that I need, but I am pleased with what we have achieved so far.

We have had a mixed week of lovely sunny days, very high winds in the afternoons, and a fair bit of rain! It really can't make its mind up this year. But as the evenings have continued to be relatively cool, I have continued with both my knitting and crochet projects. The cosmic blanket is coming along nicely.
It is a fairly complex pattern and has several stitches in it that are new to me, so I have to concentrate on it, and it is not ideal when I want to watch something on TV. But I only have one more round to do to finish Part 1, and I did intent to pack it away then until next Autumn. But if this weather continues, I may keep going for a bit longer.
Because of the concentration needed for it, I only do one or two rounds at a sitting, and then I do some knitting instead. I am happy with the way my yarn is knitting up. It is quite stripey but the stripes are random, and I like that. The Wool Jeanie is very good too, despite the fact that my ball of yarn has completely collapsed now! (It is darker red, and less pink than it looks in this photo).

Before I go I will share something I saw this week that made me chuckle. It may only be relevant to my friends and family in UK. I didn't copy it at the time but this is how I remember it:
"Following the news of the Sainsburys-Asda merger this week, Marks and Spencers have announced that they will be merging with Poundstretchers, and their new shops will be called Stretch-Marks"

And that is it from me this week. I will link up with Rocking Your World and Annie's Friday Smiles, and hopefully see you again next week.