Friday, August 30, 2019

Rocking Your World 2019: Week 35

So another week has passed, and although I am so very sad about the events of last week, there has been plenty to make me smile as well, so that is what I am focusing on today.

We had a really lovely week with our grand-daughter Emma, her husband and two gorgeous little boys. They chose to pose for a family group by our pretty pink bougainvillea. They were with us until Wednesday, but last Sunday we were also joined by her brother Mikey.

I used to mind these two from when they were babies until I took my last job as a nursery manager. It was a full-time post, and although they were both in school by then, I wasn't free to collect them, and their mum had to make other arrangements. But it is lovely to see them grown up, and Emma with a family of her own now.

Mikey has spent the last four or five Christmasses with us, and he is coming again this year, but he wanted some Spanish sunshine as well. This time he brought his girlfriend Lily with him, and they are here until Sunday.

The young folk spent some lovely times on the beach and up at the big village pool, and also spent hours on end in our pool. But we did have some nice excursions out together as well. One day we went up to Mojacar Pueblo. They didn't see it at its best as they were busy preparing for a fiesta that started that night, but we still had a good wander around before going down to the beach. There is a big 'fortress' church up at the top with a lovely pastel painted fresco, and we went in there to light a candle for Dave, which pleased Ben.

Another evening we all went down to Garrucha for our favourite walk along the promenade and around the harbour and marina. All summer there is a small street market every night, and Emma stopped to have a braid put into her hair. It was still there when she went home.

The little ones kept us on tenterhooks as they ran from side to side of the boardwalks out between the boats in the marina. The sea is full of little fish and they wanted to watch them. When we got to the end we managed to sit them still for long enough to get a lovely photo with Great-grandad and then  one with Great-grandma.

As we walked the sun was going down and the sky turned a lovely misty pink and grey.
We watched it as it turned to a deep gold with a lovely silhouette of the domed rooftops, and the masts of the yachts. I was pleased with this picture.

Once again Kim was so patient with his house being invaded, and was especially good with the children. Isaac is not a 'dog person', and we thought he would just avoid Kim, but instead Kim became really attached to him, and went straight to him every time he came home. He kept a proprietorial paw on his leg, and didn't let anyone else sit by him. Isaac loved the attention and they became firm friends.
Little Alfie was not quite so sure of him, though he wasn't bothered by him either, but he preferred the cats and was so pleased when Tango sat beside him for a bit of fuss. Tango doesn't look impressed but we know he is never as grumpy as he looks, and was purring contentedly at the time.
Both boys remembered that when they visited last year we all went to an ice-cream parlour in Mojacar, and wanted to go again. So one day we had an earlier dinner and then went down for our dessert.
There is a wide menu and we all chose something different. There was even a cute little bird for Alfie with feathers in its head.
This one was my choice. Very, very naughty, but also very, very nice!

The day Emma and family went home was Isaac's 8th birthday. As they had to leave for the airport at 7.30 in the morning we decided to make the night before a bit special for him. We all went out to dinner at a bar-restaurant in the village. We weren't sure what it would be like as it is under new management and we have not eaten there since the change. But we need not have worried. We all had a lovely meal and the young girl now running it, couldn't have been nicer to us. I had made a simple birthday cake that morning and taken it round to the bar before everyone arrived. It is too hot for that sort of cooking really, but I took it on freeze blocks in a cool bag, and it survived. 
After our meal, the waitress brought it out and lit the candles and we all sang Happy Birthday to him. The restaurant was full and everyone joined in, lots of them singing in Spanish. (They use the same tune  as us, but I don't know the words of the last line). The only picture I have of him blowing his candles out is this screen shot from a video in WhatsApp, so it has the play button in the middle and is not very good. But sufficient to say he enjoyed his special tea. When we got home he was  allowed to open a present (another Arsenal kit of course!), and some cards before falling into bed ready for an early start the next day.

There is no further news from UK. Ben is still waiting for the outcome of an inquest before he can make any further plans, so I will probably be back next week as usual.
I really appreciated all your kind comments last week. Thank you all. x
Time now to link up to Annie's Friday Smiles and Virginia's blog, Rocking Your World. Have a good week everyone.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Rocking Your World 2019: Week 34

Here we are at Friday again, the day when we look at what has rocked our world during the past week. Usually we can find things that have rocked us in a good way, but just occasionally the rocking is much harder, and we have to find a way to right ourselves again.
This has been one of those weeks. 
On Wednesday we were devastated to hear that our youngest son Ben's partner of 14 years, was killed in a motor accident - knocked from his push-bike. We are all in shock, and the ether has been vibrating with all the calls and messages that as a family we have shared. I was so glad that I managed to contact his oldest brother who immediately went to be with him, and the others soon followed him. I shall of course be flying over very soon. As I already have flights booked for October, and I have lots of visitors here for the next ten days, I am waiting to hear when the funeral will be, before going over. I know he has probably as much support as he can cope with at the minute, but he also knows I can live-chat with him at any time, and have been doing so. It is the first time in the ten years we have lived here, that I have really wished I was still in UK.

But despite the bricks life throws to try to shatter us, life does go on, so I have just a very few photos of happier moments this week to share.
Our grand-daughter and her family arrived on Wednesday and they all immediately made friends with Kim. So here he is giving mum, and one of the little people, some love.

Kim can always make us smile.

I have had two little fish in my pool each day. Four year old Alfie is showing me his backstroke.
They played lovely together for over three hours in the water yesterday.

On a different note, our son Jonathan sent me this photo of the crowd he and his band were playing to at "an awesome gig" in Manchester at the weekend. He is the drummer in three or four bands, and he gets such an adrenaline kick when he plays at a gig. He has a some big ones lined up.
Rather him than me, but I love to see him doing what he loves best.

Please forgive me if I don't get to visit you all this week. I have two more visitors coming to join us on Sunday for a week, and too much swimming around  in my brain, but I will try to read everyone's post at sometime.
I hope I have found some pictures to make you smile so I am linking with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World.

R.I.P.Dave. You were a gentle man and a gentleman and you will remain in the hearts of all the family.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Rocking Your World 2019; Week 33

I thought I'd start this week with a couple of photos that didn't get included in last week's post, as they all made me smile. 

There is no getting away from the fact that our son Mike is a 'bit overweight'! But his sons really brought this home to him when they decided to share his swimming shorts, one in each leg. In fairness, Mike has lost some weight this year, and the shorts really did need their tie-ups, but a few more pounds to go I think son.

A couple of years back, when we had our first really 'small people' visiting us, we were quite anxious as to how Kim would behave around them. But we need not have worried. Right from the start he has loved them all. Here he is having a cuddle with Herbie, and another where he is sitting on Fin while he browses his phone.

Fortunately, they all love him too. He will have two more little friends next week when my great-grandsons arrive.
Last Sunday was the end of the 'week of culture' in our village. Each evening there was some drama on a stage in the school playground. One night it is performed by some of the children, another by adults from the village and on another there was a visiting drama group. But on the last night there is always some sort of street procession/presentation, aimed mainly at the children. This year it was loosely based on a wild west show. There was a basic covered wagon set up on the plaza, and a group of performers played various instruments, sang and danced.
It is all very simple, but somehow it is fun too. Although these things don't kick-off until around 10.00, there was a good crowd of children and parents there. They soon had all the children up running around them and playing games. Then they led them off around the streets pulling the wagon with them on a trolley.
All good entertainment, and I love to see everyone getting involved.
The other morning while I was clearing up outside I found this.
It is obviously the shed skin of a grasshopper, but I think it is amazing that they can wriggle out and leave such a perfect shell. Even the ratchets on its legs can be seen. Sadly it has lost one leg, but it was blowing around in the yard so I expect it was complete when it was first shed.
We have had some slightly overcast mornings and one day I went straight outside when I got up to see what clouds there were before I did a load of washing. On the electricity cables across our street I saw this line up of young swallows. Aren't they cute. They were taking it in turns to do little practice flights and then landing again. Soon they will be moving on from here.

One morning in a mad moment I decided to try making bread again. It is ages since I last did, and I knew it probably wasn't wise in this hot weather. But to save handling it too much I used my old bread making machine. It was OK but it kind of over-grew! I ended up with a very tall loaf, with lots of holes in it.
It tasted OK and we have eaten most of it. The next day I tried again making a smaller loaf, using half and half wholemeal and white flour, and with the addition of a small cup of mixed seeds. This time it was more successful. It didn't overflow the pan and the texture and flavour of the bread was much better. But I think I'll wait until it is cool enough to make it by hand before I have another go.
We had been busy around the house all day on Wednesday so in the evening we decided to drive down to Garrucha for a stroll along the promenade. We stopped at a bar for a drink and it looked so lovely and peaceful out across the sea.
As we watched we realised the moon was rising behind the palm trees.
So as we continued to walk along I stopped to take a photo of the light from the moon on the water.To me it is the perfect picture of a lovely evening.
It is actually quite a deceiving picture because, although the beach was empty, the promenade and seafront bars were heaving with people. Garrucha is a seaside resort where many Spanish families come for their holidays. There is a great vibe there, and it reminded me of the places we came to on holiday before we moved out. I do love walking along here in the winter months when it can be almost deserted, but sometimes it is nice to be a part of the throng; everyone enjoying themselves.
I must include this photo which really made me smile. Whenever we come down here, the dock across the marina is a hive of activity with a constant stream of lorries bringing gravel to the barges which queue up out at sea to receive it. But on this night the lorries had done their quota for the day and the dock was still, with this line up of little tractors that look like a child's perfect playground.

My oldest son Jim, has been the vicar of St Paul's in Pendeford, Wolverhampton for the last fourteen years, but now it is time for him to move on. His last child starts university in September so the time seemed right, and he has been offered the seat as the vicar of St Bartholomew's in Sydenham, Kent. It is a big change for all the family. A very different church and a different community but they are looking forward to the challenge. Jim's licensing service is on 31st October, and I am going to it! Today I booked my flights. I shall be based at our son Ben's house in Birmingham, but I will include a visit to my sisters in Bournemouth, and also spend a week end in our son Jonathan's new house. So I have plenty to look forward to this autumn.
I was sitting out on the porch under a strong fan, trying to do a bit of crochet work one evening, when I noticed a rosy glow all around in the sky. I went out the back where the sun sets and found this beautiful sky in shades of apricot, pink and purple. So I'll leave you with this beautiful sight.
And now I'll link up with Rocking Your World, and Annie's Friday Smiles.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Rocking Your World 2019; Week 32

Yes, here we are at week 32 already. And where was I for week 31 I hear you ask. My answer, I don't know. My visitors arrived on Thursday night and it immediately felt like the weekend. A few days later I realised I had completely forgotten to write my blog! So apologies to anyone who came looking for it. Now to catch up. 
In the day or two before our visitors arrived, I had a sudden urge to make some scrapbook layouts so I made this double page about the foam party we went to a couple of weeks ago. They are made digitally using Photoshop and purchased templates, but I like to print them out 12" x 12", and keep them in an album so I can look at them now and then. These will go in my "Random pages" album.

There are not many good flights for the family to come out here now, but Mike and family managed to find flights to Almeria (our closest airport), at a very reasonable cost, but it meant arriving, and leaving a week later, quite late on a Thursday evening. 

As I don't like driving after dark, and they needed the space in the car, Chris went on his own to meet them, and I used some of the time to give the front garden a good watering, knowing it might be neglected for the next week. I came across this little fellow. Although not the biggest one I have seen, he was a fair size 2.5 inches (5cm) maybe, and such a handsome fellow, I just had to take his picture.
Before long the two cars rolled up; the first carrying Mike and his two boys, and then Chris with Mike's partner Lucy and her two boys. So we were one big family again all week which was lovely.

Although it was getting on for 11.00 at night, they all jumped into the pool for a cool down before the boys went to bed. That is the joy of having your own pool. The communal ones on urbanisations, and the hotel ones, usually have a curfew time around 9.00pm, but we love our late night dips.
Chris and I no longer enjoy long, hot days on the beach so we prefer to stay at home while they go off somewhere, and then they all come back, and we eat and swim together at home.
Mike swam in the sea before he was a year old, and he loves the sea. He was determined to swim in it every day while he was here, and he did. He also likes throwing himself of rocks into deep pools and has always encouraged his boys to do the same. They had seen a recognised cliff-jumping spot near us on the internet, so one day they set off there. They started off from the lower platform and the two boys encouraged each other to take a 'leap of faith'.
Then Mike and his younger son went up to the higher point and both jumped from there. Apparently the sea below was teeming with coloured fish and other sea life and they had a good time with snorkles and masks afterwards. They scare me sometimes, but Mike is very safety conscious and even though there were plenty of local lads jumping, he still swam around and checked the water depth and rocky edges before letting the boys jump.
One day I did go out with them and it meant leaving home around 6.00 am. We wanted to go down to the beach and watch the sun rise over the sea. There was a thinnish cloud layer on the horizon so we had to wait a while. How did Mike fill the time? With a swim of course.  The sea was warm and I almost wished I had taken my costume too, so I could join him. I paddled and got most of my dress very wet, but I soon dried off.
Lucy and her youngest son spent the time raiding the pools for stones and shells and together they made a sand art cat.
I could see a small speck on the horizon but couldn't make out what it was, so I set my camera on full zoom, and took this. It was actually quite a large fishing boat, probably making its way home to Garrucha harbour.
Our wait was eventually rewarded. We saw a pale red globe showing through the clouds. It gradually became clearer until it finally burst out, a hot, red ball of fire.

The teen stood on a rock watching it but I think he would rather have been at home in bed!
Was the wait worth it? Of course it was. I love to see the light reflected off the water. Here are a couple of pictures I took before we headed to one of our favourite cafés for some breakfast.

Another day we all went up to the huge pool at the top of the village. It is only open for July and August, but it is kept spotlessly clean, and water is lovely and warm.
In the evening we all went out for a meal together and we managed to get a fairly decent group photo (excluding Chris who was holding the camera).
That picture, together with this one, sums up a perfect holiday for Mike - surrounded by his family, with sandy toes and the sea right by him. So all in all it was a good week.
In the hour before they left for the airport, the youngest boy made me this card using the cereal packet he had emptied that morning. He was using a multi-coloured biro pen which is not the easiest, and there are a few hot, sticky finger-prints, but I think it is pretty good for a six year old, and I was very touched by it. I hope you can read it. Clicking on my photos should allow you to enlarge them.

Today it seems very quiet here! I am taking it easy, but I did get the first two loads of washing done. There is still a lot of bedding and pool towels to go, but the upside of these hot days is that they only need half an hour on the line to be dry. This is the thermometer on our Farmacia in the village today. (it said 42º when I drove passed it an hour ago).
Although neither of us have much appetite in this weather, we decided to go to the campsite for our usual Friday fish and chip dinner. At least it meant I didn't have to turn my oven on, and it was a very good meal, as it always is.
And that's it for this week. We have just under two weeks to recover before our next visitors arrive. If I haven't melted away completely by then, I shall be back next week. For now I will just link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World.