I wish someone would slow the clock down. I can't believe how quickly Friday comes around, but here we are again looking for those happy moments in the past week. I am pleased to say that, although I am still coughing and sneezing, I do feel a lot better and have managed to get back to some of my usual routine.
We'll start with a 'blast from the past'. This weekend would have been the birthdays of my oldest sister and the younger of my two brothers. Sadly we have lost both of them: my sister five years ago and my brother 24 years ago. But that doesn't mean they have been forgotten. My brother's wife Pam, has just sent me these photos of their wedding.
She was just 19½ in these photos and now she is an active 85 year old, living independently and looking after her beautiful garden.
Her family are Burmese (from Myanmar as it is now called), so their wedding was a bit different. Two of my sisters and I were bridesmaids, along with Pam's sister and little brother. My sister Dorothy was born just before the war, and Jean and I just after it. I am the little one on the left. I had to smile at the great big ribbons in our hair and the severe bobbed hair cut. I was just five at the time, so I don't remember a lot about it but two things I do remember. Jean and I carried big board horse-shoes, painted gold I think. They were covered with chicken wishbones, also painted gold with a small blue bow on each that matched our dresses, and at the reception we had to hand one to each guest.
It was coronation year, and the second thing I remember is rushing home after the reception and seeing all the street parties. When we got home we were stripped of our bridesmaid dresses and quickly redressed in blue skirts with embroidered braces, and white blouses with red and blue flowers on their collar, ready to go to the street party in our road.
That's quite a lot for five and seven year old girls to cope with, but the memories have stayed, so I guess we enjoyed it.
So on to this week. On Tuesday I had more parcels to send to the UK and I was so impressed at the speed with which the last ones arrived, that I decided to go down to the main post office in Mojacar with these ones as well. It was a little overcast that day and there was a stiff breeze, but not enough to worry about the line of washing I pegged out before we left home. But when we got down to the coast it was very windy coming off the sea. In fact the sea was what you could call 'lively'. I love it like that as long as I am only watching it! I could stand for ages watching the layers of waves breaking, and listen to them crashing and sucking back on the shale.
It certainly blew the cobwebs away, as I tried to get a photo that did it justice. Not that I was very successful, but it was fun trying.
We parked on the edge of the sea, and as the wind was a bit chilly we soon set off to walk up to the post office. Right on the edge of the beach we saw this fascinating cactus.
Further along I spotted this big clump of yellow daisies growing between the stones, and then a plant very similar to vetch, that clung to the side of a rock.
It is amazing how they can withstand the heat of the summer, the strong winds and the very salty ground.
We soon posted the parcels, which incidentally arrived at their destinations in UK today, so excellent service again, and then we went for a coffee at a new bar that has just opened. It is at the back of the little shopping centre so it was protected from the sea breeze. It was actually really warm sitting on the sheltered patio, but looking up at the mountains behind the beach, the sky was getting dark, and I started to think about my washing.
I was lucky. The clouds soon blew away again and my washing was all dry when we got home.
We managed to do a very little bit of gardening this week. There was a narrow strip of fencing that needed repairing, and it looks much better now it is done. Looking into the green zone I noticed that old almond tree now has several groups of nuts on it. I like to see their furry coats, protecting them for a bit longer before they open.
I had to smile at this 'weed' that had managed to root itself just under the edge of the shed. It has virtually no soil, but still it managed to flower. It is a pretty little thing that can carry flowers that are pink, mauve and blue all at the same time. It grows everywhere, but I have been warned not to touch it at the grey hairy leaves can be an irritant.
Just beyond our back railing, growing in our little stretch of land sloping down into the green zone, there is a very pretty oleander with variegated leaves, and double pink flowers with splashes of white on their petals. It didn't get cut back last autumn so it has grown taller than usual, and as it has been a dry winter, the longest stems have fallen onto the railings and overhang the very narrow passage way between the railings and our benches.
I was going to cut them back the other day but as I went to do it, I noticed another praying mantis nest attached to it. So today I cut all the other branches off and the one with the nest on it, I pulled behind the railings and tied it up along them, so it can stay there until the babies come in in the autumn.
I am in the throes of changing my bank for one in UK to one that allows dealing in multiple currencies, which seems more sensible in the current state of the country. So I have been waiting for my new card to arrive and on Wednesday it came. As is usual with such things, the envelope had printing on the inside to obscure what was on the letter. This is usually a green or blue pattern and I used to collect them for a form of craft called Iris folding. I haven't done that for a long time now, but this letter had a very different lining and here it is. Isn't it fun?
Today (I am writing this on Thursday afternoon as Friday is a busy day for me), was another special day in this area, known as Día de la Vieja (day of the old woman). It is a tradition stemming from many centuries ago when everyone was ruled by the monastery, and they were expected to strictly observe a fast throughout Lent. One sensible monk realised that the people could not carry out their usual work for the monastery for forty days without eating, so he decreed that on one Thursday in the middle of Lent, they should break their fast and eat well, so they could then fast again and continue to work until Easter. So this festival takes the form of a family meal, eaten in the open air. For many it is an elaborate picnic up at the area by the sports stadium, while other use the barbecues that are there. The connection with the old lady seems to have got lost in the mists of time, but they take the form of muñecas, (dolls) rather like a pinata. Some are made by the children at home and others are made in the workshops at the centre for people with disabilities, and sold in local shops. They are formed like an old lady, on a frame of a wooden cross, and their papier maché heads are filled with sweets and treats. These are taken to the picnic and left up against the wall until after the meal. Then the children use sticks and stones to break open their Vieja and retrieve the sweets. It seems a bit barbaric and is often referred to as "bash a granny day", but there is no malicious intent, and it is just a fun day for the children. We didn't take a picnic this year, but we did have a wander around the area so here are a few of the viejas I saw, patiently awaiting their fate.
The sports centre is at the top of the village set up on a hill, with the large picnic area beside the football pitch. At the end of it there is a children's playground, and you can walk out the other side of it onto a small flat area from where there is lovely view down onto the new pavilion and the summer swimming pool at one side, and on the other you can see the motorway with the village just on the other side of it, and in the distance the buildings of the town of Turre under the Cabrera mountains.
After the problems with my wool order I did buy some local yarn to start my new project, another blanket in another different technique. I do like to keep learning new ways to do this old craft, and I think I have just about cracked this one now. I have done a lot of unpicking, and re-working, but I think I have it now. The pattern is in six sections and I have now finished the first one so here it is.
In fact, as you can see here, I have made a good start on the next section which is two rows of zigzags. There are three repeats of the first pattern across the width. You can see it better here, even though it is at a funny angle.
The two little pins in the bottom corner are marking which is the right side, and the one at the top is holding a stitch so I don't accidentally pull it undone. You work across a row with the black, pin it, and then work across the same way with the red. Then you turn it round and work across again in each colour. It seemed very strange at first.
I only manage about two rows each evening as it does require a lot of concentration. Most evenings Tango insists on sitting me while I work, and he was not too pleased one evening to find Luna had got there first. It is wonder I get any done at all!