I am a bit late starting my blog this week as I was so busy making a run of Christmas cards, that I almost forgot it was Friday!
It is a run of twelve cards, but this is the only sneak peak I can give you as I will be using them for a challenge in a few week's time.
It hasn't been a particularly busy week, but it has been a very hot one. A friend of mine goes to the hospital in Almeria regularly, to translate for various British folk, and while she was there she took this photo of one of the thermometers that appear outside most Farmacias. While none of us believe these completely, as their sensors are often in an exposed position, plus it is a known fact that the many stone buildings in a city hold the heat, it is still and exceptionally high reading, and an example of how hot it has been. (If you are not used to the centigrade scale, 51ºC is around 123.8ºF!!)
Fortunately it was not quite that hot last Friday afternoon when we set off for our end of season social with my choir. We were at a small restaurant in a village house belonging to a couple who sponsor us. One of them used to sing with the choir until his business caused too many time conflicts. We had not been there before, but we knew it was up in the hills a bit, and we had had very good reports about it. It turned out that I was very glad Chris was doing the driving as it was a long slow climb, on winding roads with blind bends, and sheer drops at the side. We both decided that we might return for a lunch time meal one day, but not an evening one, as neither of us fancy doing the drive after dark. There is, of course, no street lighting away from the towns.
However, it was a quaint house, with lots of interesting nooks and crannies, and there was a lovely patio with a pool, and we had tables and chairs out there. We were just about at the top of the number they can accommodate, so there was not a lot of space to 'mingle', but we still had an enjoyable afternoon sitting chatting to those around us, and enjoying an excellent buffet.
It was a sun trap on the patio and we were glad to find some seats under one of the sunshades. Beyond the pool, you could see over the wall to a vista of agricultural land spreading below us. This photo doesn't do it justice.
Aside from that, we have spent most of our time at home, having a much needed siesta through the hottest part of the afternoon and staying up late to compensate.
Last year I bought a new fan for my craft room which proved to be too strong for in there, as it blew my papers everywhere. So this week I bought a less fierce one which I am happy to have on, even this late into the evening. We have moved the strong one out onto the patio, where it is proving to be really useful. With that blowing on me I have been able to sit outside and do my crochet, or read, in comfort. It is lovely to have enough spare time to do some serious reading, and I have 'devoured' two books this week.
Our only other outing was last night when we went to Mojacar for Noche de Velos, or Night of Candles. This takes place up in the Pueblo, the little white village set on a hill above the playa or beach. Posters from the Town Hall warned that parking would not be allowed close to the village but a series of special buses would be leaving from stops along the playa to take people up. So we parked on the beach and found our way to one of the temporary bus stops. We got up there just before the sun went down. In fact we sat and watched as it disappeared behind the mountains.
We sat at a tiny bar and had a drink before we went any further into the village and we were glad we did, as there were long queues at the main places on the plazas. The bar tender told us that 23,000 people attended the night of candles last year! I don't know how many people were there last night, but they were all milling around, and though you had to hunt to find a seat or a step to rest on, it was still possible to walk around.
The first candles were lit before it was properly dark, but as the light faded, the whole place came to life. There were little candles strapped to all the railings. It took ages to light them all.
There were also small candles and tea-lights in paper bags, with some sand in them, all along the streets and on the plazas. (The Spanish have a more sensible approach to health and safety than other countries where it has often gone over the top in my opinion, but even so I was a bit alarmed to see long skirts swinging above these paper bags, and little children playing around them). But there were no fires that we saw anyway.
As we walked around the little streets and many plazas, we saw several stages prepared for musical events, though we knew these would not start much before midnight. This was a nice view looking down into the courtyard behind the ancient church, where instruments were being set up for a reggae session.
We sat on the steps of the main plaza and just 'people watched' for a while. There were people milling around everywhere.
Then we went to the upper plaza and dodged in and out of the candle bags, and just enjoyed the atmosphere.
Much later we sat and watched this couple. The lady was a great singer and excellent violinist, and her friend accompanied her on guitar. I had to smile though, as when she came out she did a long introduction in Spanish, and then broke into an Ed Sheeran song which she sang in flawless English!
As we walked passed the front of the church we saw lights inside and went in to look. The whole place was lit by many candles, which were reflected in highly polished marble, and it looked beautiful.
Just as we were making our way back down, to find our bus back to the beach and our car, we saw a group of people carrying various sizes of drums, collecting together, so we stayed to watch them. They were great, and at the same time, some men started juggling with lit torches. Note again that it was up to the crowd to keep a safe distance from them, and hold their children back.
I took a short video of them which I have uploaded to Youtube so I can share it. I didn't catch the best bit of their display, but it may give you a feel for what was going on. You can see it HERE.
When we got back down to the Playa at a bit after midnight, we suddenly remembered we had not had any tea, so we found a beach café that was still serving, and had tostadas with fries. It is a wonder either of could sleep after such a late meal, but we did! It was a lovely night out, and something a bit different. Apparently it has only been running for four years, but has already become the most popular tourist attraction of the year.
Despite the days of unrelenting sun, the early mornings and most evenings have remained very warm, but have been quite cloudy. As a result we saw very little of the moon's eclipse tonight, and I thought I would have to settle for this picture of the almost full moon that I took last night!
However the clouds did thin out and I managed to get this set of the moon emerging from out the other side. It is probably fully visible again now, but I am not going out to take any more tonight, so I will leave you with these. They are not brilliant, but not too bad either seeing as I only use a 'point and shoot' camera on full zoom.
And that's it for today (in fact out here it is tomorrow now!). So I'll be off to link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and then I shall find my bed. Good-night all.