Friday, April 26, 2019

Rocking Your World 2019; Week 17

This will be a fairly quick post today as on Wednesday our son Tom arrived, at our request, so that he can house/animal sit for us while we have a few days away next week. But we do have just a short time together first, and a day or two when we come back, and I don't want to spend all that time sitting at the computer.
It is really a working holiday for Tom as much of what he does is computer based. While I write this he is on a conference call with his colleagues in Denmark, (where he lives), and enjoying the sunshine at the same time. Isn't technology marvellous?

Another family photo that made me smile this week. It is my lovely grand-daughter with her husband and two gorgeous boys. Emma's friend, Nesta Lloyd, is a professional photographer, and every now and again she takes some photos of the two boys, and this time, one of all the family. So this is credited to Nesta. Such lovely smiling faces.
This was a special week for us as last Saturday, Chris and I celebrated our Ruby wedding anniversary. I put together this picture for my Facebook page.

While rooting through our wedding photos I also found this one which amazed all my friends out here, none of whom knew me forty years ago.
I still have the cheesy smile, but not the hair unfortunately! I remember my mum being cross that this was taken. She always maintained that a bride should not be photographed alone on her wedding day. But we are still together forty years on so she need not have worried.
We had a fairly low key celebration at the weekend, but at church on Sunday we were given these beautiful flowers. What a lovely surprise!
It was a lovely Easter service this week and we started with a wonderful trio of tenors who sang "The Holy City". I was hoping to share the video of it with you, but I don't have an internet link for it, but anyone on Facebook can find it on my home page.

The week hasn't been all good as our beautiful Norwegian Forest cat, Charlie has been very poorly. I am almost certain that he had a small stroke. He went missing for a day and when he came home he looked very 'spaced out', and just laid in bed all day. All over the holiday weekend, he stayed in bed, and only got up to have a drink of water. He didn't (wouldn't) eat anything and he felt very light and thin. On Monday I cooked a little chicken liver and mashed it up in plenty of liquid and he started to lick at that. Then he came into the sitting room. He still didn't jump up on his favourite spot along the back of the settee. He just layed out on the floor, and was almost flat.
But each day he ate a little more, and got a little stronger, and started walking around the house. Last night he was up on the furniture again. Today he ate a good breakfast and is almost back to his normal self, so I let him go outside. He is staying near the house and we will keep an eye on where he goes, as I know he could suddenly have another stronger stroke, but is is good to see him well on the road to recovery. He is eleven years old, but before this he was more of a kitten than my younger cats, loving to play and always on the go.

My nice sky photos have been in short supply recently, as there has been much less sun than we would expect for April. But one evening this week I did see a lovely golden glow in the sky and took this picture.
I was getting our tea at the time so I kept looking out of the kitchen window as I could see some clouds gathering. And suddenly we were treated to this beautiful show, so another photo was in order before it disappeared.

I will leave it there for this week. Next Monday we will be off to Ronda for four days, a proper celebration for our anniversary, coming home late on Thursday night, so whether or not I will manage a post next week I don't know. But for now I will link up with Rocking Your World and Annie's Friday Smiles, and I'll be back soon.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Rocking Your World 2019: Week 16

Easter week, or Semana Santa as it is known here, looks set to be wet and windy here. In fact those of you in UK are expected to have better weather than Spain, though I am pretty sure we will still be at least as warm as you. But that is no reason to be downhearted. We need the rain before summer gets here, and I am sure we will still all have a good time. This week has been very pleasant and it started with a lovely Palm Sunday service at my church.

Led by the lovely Father Alan, aided by my friend and Lay-Reader Margie, we all went back outside, collecting our crosses made from local palm leaves as we went. 

We read the Liturgy of Palms  together and it was lovely to have a warm and sunny morning for this. Last year we were all nearly blown away, but there was very little wind this year.
Then we all held up our crosses for the blessing, and processed back inside singing the traditional hymn, "All glory, laud and honour."
That afternoon was the hottest we have had this year so far, so we ate our dinner outside and then lounged in the porch with books, crochet and music - lovely!

We have had some interesting visitors in the garden this week. We were on our way out one day when I spotted this one high up on the front porch wall. It is, of course, a praying mantis, and quite a good size one too. Maybe it is one that hatched from my nest last autumn. I always leave these alone as they eat a lot of bugs , and this one soon wandered away.
Also when I was out the front watering all the flower pots, I spotted this on the wall. It is the nest of Potter wasp. Although I am no fan of wasps of any kind, these ones are not aggressive, and I have to marvel at the little mud pots they build for their nests. This is only a centimetre across at the most.
A seed has landed across the opening. This is an internet picture of the builder.

On Tuesday I went to the market looking for cheap strawberries to make one more batch of jam, and these are what I bought.
They look much too good to use for jam, but out here the strawberries are always very big, and they don't bruise too easily so they are in good condition too. Because they are big I do cut them up a bit. I chop about three quarters of them, and put the rest in my blender to make a 'chunky' purée. I find that works better than leaving them whole.
So I made the jam today and now there are another eighteen jars cooling in the kitchen. I won't be making any more as I don't sell as much jam once the warmer weather is here, so I have enough for the year now.

When I went to UK last year for the choir concert in London, I knew I was going on to see each of my sons, but I would also have some time when I'd be itching for some crochet to do. (I am not good at just sitting doing nothing!). I was working on my big blanket but I couldn't take that with me, so I bought a ball of colour change cotton in 4ply, to make a baby blanket.  When I got home I decided to keep it to work on at my sewing group on Wednesday mornings. It was nice and light to carry with me, and I didn't have to concentrate too hard on it, so I could still chat with my friends. Well this week I finished it and I am really pleased with it.
I have never used one of these yarn cakes before. The cotton was three strands twisted together, and it started with three strands of purple.Then it became two purple strands and one blue one, then one purple and two blue, and eventually all three were blue. Then the turquoise slowly came in followed by green etc, and that is how the gradual colours changes happened. I really like the effect. 
It was a six row pattern that left rather uneven edges so I wanted to make a border. I had used all my ball of yarn on the blanket so I went through my stash and found some oddments of a different make of 4ply cotton. It wasn't as soft as the original one but I don't think that mattered for the border, and it did finish the blanket off rather nicely.
Now I will have to find something else to do on Wednesdays.

And now for a couple of items for Facebook that I have seen recently. The first one is really only for my English family and friends. When I mentioned a few weeks ago how I love opening a new jar of Marmite, one of my followers had not heard of it, nor what I thought was the American equivalent, Vegemite. Well part of the advertising for Marmite is "Love it or Hate it". Our family mostly Love it, but I know others who Hate it. And with the whole mess of Brexit in UK right now, this just struck me as being quite a clever take on the two. 

This one will have more universal understanding and appeal, and it really made me smile, so I hope it does you too.
And on that note I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World. 
Wishing you all a Happy and Blessed Easter.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Rocking Your World 2019: Week 15

We have been lucky with the weather this week starting with Sunday when it was the Lions Club Party in the Park. This is probably the largest charity event in this area and we like to support it as the Lions do so much good work for Spanish and English groups and individuals. The event takes place in a big park in Vera about 15 minutes drive from us. When we arrived the sun was out but it was quite windy. Some of the trade stalls were having trouble holding on to their displays. But there was still a good crowd sitting at the tables and enjoying some lunch.

All around this area there were local handmade goods for sale, so I had a wander around the stalls while Chris headed straight for the 'Irish bar'. I joined him there a bit later. It is a smaller area enclosed all around by high walls which protected it from the wind, but it is still open air and was a real sun trap. There is of course a bar, where Chris was able to buy his favourite tipple - Guiness, and a small area with an open grill where they were doing a good trade in burgers, hot-dogs etc. In one corner there is a small roofed stage where a constantly changing list of performers were singing mostly country style music and of course some Irish tunes.
People were coming and going but the area was mostly full, and my friend from The Lions told me it was the stall that took the most money for food and drink! We stayed to hear a friend of ours sing. Shaz advertises herself as "The little lady with the big voice". I am short but she only comes up to my shoulder, but she can sure belt out a song and has a great range too.
We stayed to listen to a few more sets and then went over to the big stage. Here they have a variety of musicians as well as other entertainers. We saw some children from a local dance school, doing what I think you would call modern free-style dance, and they were very good as well as very enthusiastic. Everyone enjoyed seeing them. Unfortunately some performers let them down at the last minute so Shaz was asked to step in and fill a gap with a few numbers from the big stage, and she was very appreciated there too. We saw a punk band that I didn't enjoy much, and then a music group doing 'Scar' music who were very good.
There was still an hour or so to go when they announced that the Lions bar next to the stage was offering half price hot-dogs and bacon butties so we had a bacon buttie for our tea and they went down really well.
All in all it was an excellent event, and despite a rather unsettled forecast, we enjoyed sunshine all day. The Lions raised around 7,000€ for their next project so they were very pleased, but it takes a lot a work to make such a large event successful, so full credit to them. I am glad they did well.

On Monday I had to set my alarm rather earlier than I am used to as we had some workmen coming, and in Spain they can arrive anytime after 7.00. So I was up in time to see the sun rise. The eastern sky is mainly blocked by buildings from our house, but there is one gap I can occasionally see a sun rise through. On Monday it was partly hidden behind a line of dense cloud, but it manage to break through on either side just as I fetched my camera.
Before long it had escaped the cloud altogether and we had another nice day. We were pleased about that because the men had come to repair our swimming pool after the floods of last autumn. We had been talking about getting it done anyway, so the flood kind of made the decision for us. We had lost random tiles from the lining, and there was green algae in the corners, and all the grouting was worn and grey. So the first day they pressure blasted it and sprayed it with chemicals to kill any mould and bacteria, and remove any loose tiles, leaving it looking a lot cleaner, but a bit patchwork.
The shower to the side of the pool was in an even worse state as all the tiles in the tray had to come off.

On Tuesday they replaced all the missing tiles, and emptied the filter - that was a smelly job. They replaced the sand in it with glass beads which are longer lasting and easier to keep clean. On Wednesday the last of the tiling was done and everything was re-grouted and it now looks splendid.

Needless to say there are a few leaves in it already because it has stayed rather windy all week, but they are easy to sweep out when we are ready to put the water in.
I shall enjoy using it again this year. It used to be illegal to fill a pool from the mains water but Chris had heard that the supply has improved and can now be used. So this morning we went to Galasa offices to check and they said Yes it was fine. It will work out cheaper than buying two tankers of water which we were going to do. So we are giving it until the end of the week for everything to dry out properly and at the weekend we will be filling it again. I guess it will need quite a lot of sunshine to get it up to a usable temperature again!

Chris and I managed a trip to the garden centre to buy some colourful flowers for the pots in the front garden, so I spent one morning getting them planted out. Now we have some lovely pertunias...

...and my favourite little pansies that will flower for weeks, and are filling up the pot around last year's hydrangeas that I am hoping will eventually flower again this year.
My other favourites are any kind of daisies, so we have a pink and a white Marguerite in a large pot with a deep purple verbena to set them off.
We have also put some geraniums in the two window boxes. The boxes don't do very well as they dry out too quickly and don't seem to retain any moisture, but the geraniums are always a bright splash of colour and we fill around them with succulents and trailing plants.
We parked our car outside Galasa this morning, and when we returned to the car I noticed the field beside the offices was covered in yellow daisies, so I had to just take a quick picture of it. (Shame about the lorry park beyond it but they have to park somewhere).

It was so lovely still even though some of the daisies are going over now.

On the way home we stopped at a bar which is on the forecourt of the garage at the edge of our village. There is a nice sunny patio to sit on for a morning break, and although it is right on the main road to the village from the motorway, it is set far enough back for us to not really be aware of the traffic. We had some lunch there before going home and it was really pleasant and peaceful looking out at the mountains and the glorious blue sky with just a tiny bit of white fluffy cloud.

We really are so very blessed to be living in such a lovely place.
As I heard from all the boys on Mothering Sunday, I wasn't expecting to speak to them again just yet, but I managed to have a long chat with two of them this week, which always makes me smile.
I hope you are feeling as blessed as I am. If so why not write about it and join me in sharing it at Rocking Your World and Annie's Friday Smiles.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Rocking Your World 2019; Week 14

Another weekend is rapidly approaching so time to look back at what has "rocked our world" this week.
Apart from the inevitable food shop on Saturday, I don't think anything very important happened. We did manage to get to bed a little bit earlier than usual to make up for the hour of sleep we were missing as we moved our clocks on to Summer time.

Sunday was Mothering Sunday for UK though not for Spain, and sadly it was the dullest wettest day we have had since Christmas, and it was none too warm either! I went to church as usual and this was the view from the little patio where we sometimes sit for our after-service refreshments.

At least you could see the closer mountains, though not the ones in the distance. When I left home the Cabrera mountains that are such a lovely backdrop to our village were completely lost in low cloud.

But we still had a lovely service honouring mothers everywhere. 
At the front of our church there are two small semi-circular windows, up above the altar.
We started with an old favourite hymn from back in my Sunday School days, "All things bright and beautiful", and as we sang it, a little bird arrived on the outside ledge and started chirruping. Soon he was joined by another and another until four little birds joined in our praise. Whether they were sheltering from the cold and rain, or were actually attracted by our singing I don't know, but it was very apt to see them as we sang , "Each little flower that opens, Each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colours, He made their tiny wings".
Just in front of the altar there was a board with the outline of a tree, and as we arrived we were given a small piece of pink paper and were asked to write our mother's name on it. These were collected during the service and arranged on sticky tape 'branches'. I can't see my mum's name in this picture but I know she is there, probably on the lower branch that later had some flowers put in front of it.
At the end of the service my dear friend Margie, who is a registered lay reader, handed out posies of flowers to all the ladies. 
As there were plenty to go round, some were given to the men as well, and others, who were going straight off to have a meal out, took some for the restaurant staff and I heard they were delighted to be included. Here are mine which went in a vase as soon as I got home, and they are looking just as fresh still today.

While I was shopping on Saturday, I popped into a Día supermarket because it is the only place I can get special food for two of my cats, and they had some strawberries on special offer, so I bought a couple of kilos to make some jam.  It made ten jars which have already been sold. So on Tuesday I went to the village market to see if they had any at a good price and one man said they were 2.50€ for a kilo (which is good) or 3.50€ for a box containing 2 kilos (which is excellent). He was surprised when I said I would like two boxes. So yesterday I stirred my cauldron again and made another 18 jars of jam, which are all labelled and priced now ready to go on sale. I am afraid I got carried away with the task and forgot to take a picture of all their lovely red lusciousness. But I am pleased to say that my recipe calls for 3 kilos of fruit so there are plenty left for Chris and I to enjoy!

On Monday I decided to do a little spring cleaning. We have a large, heavy glass door between the kitchen and the garden, which slides, and it has been getting difficult to slide because the runners had collected cat hairs and dust! I couldn't clean it very well in situ, so Chris managed to lift the doors out and when I had cleaned the runners thoroughly, he lubricated them and put the doors back for me. That's one small job to tick off the list, and they do run a bit easier now.

On Tuesday we had our church AGM and I am now an elected member of the PCC (Church council). I am not usually a great one for business meetings, but I hope I will able to be of some service during my year(s) in office. After the meeting we all stayed for a meal which was excellent, and it was a good opportunity to chat to people from the rest of the Chaplaincy, who we don't get to meet socially very often.

This morning I intended doing some washing, but once again the sky was dark grey with a threat of rain, so as I rely on drying my washing out on the line, I decided to postpone that. Instead we did a little bit of gardening. Neither of us are up to working out there all day like we used, but little by little we will get it tidied up. Today we managed to sort out the big palm, and cut off its lower, dead fronds. Then we weeded all the pots, and cut off the dead foliage. I potted on a baby tree that a friend gave me. It has survived its first winter so I am hopeful it will continue to thrive.

Then we drove down to Mojacar and found a little cafe that had some tasty dishes to choose from. Generally the Spanish restaurants offer 'menu del día', which is a three course , reasonably priced meal, and sometimes that is what we have. But we don't always want three courses and it is not easy to find somewhere where you can just choose one main course. But today we did, and as it incorporated a bakery, I bought a slice of lemon and ginger cheesecake to bring home. We had it this afternoon with a cup of tea and it was excellent. And although there were still a few clouds around, and a coolish breeze, on the sheltered patio we were able to sit outside to eat and feel comfortably warm.

This afternoon I had a little play in my craft room. While we were tidying up in the garden I cut down a 'weed', (they are all wild flowers to me), and I noticed it had lovely heart shaped leaves, so I collected a handful, and this afternoon I spread them between two sheets of paper and pressed them through my die-cutting machine. Although the leaves were green, they left a pretty brown pattern on the paper, which I will hopefully find a use for on a card soon. 
I then wanted to try again with something else so I had a wander round outside and came in with a head of bright red geraniums. They made a very colourful paper, though the prints are purple rather than red.The squashed petals are still in place in this photo, but they will fall off, or be easy to remove once it is really dry.
And that is about it for this week. Tomorrow morning I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World. See you there.