Friday, May 20, 2022

Friday Smiles 2022: Week 20

So I will start with the sad bit to get that out of the way. As many of you will have already seen on Facebook, yesterday we said Goodbye to our lovely Foxy. She has been with us for thirteen happy years, and it was our last act of kindness to her, to let her go. I know this post is about the happy times from this week, but my blog started as a diary for my family to keep in touch with us when we moved over here, so sometimes it includes some slightly less happy news. But Foxy had a good life, and we are happy that she is no longer struggling, and every time I see this picture of her, I will be smiling.

And so to the rest of our week. On Saturday it was an important day in the village as it was the fiesta of San Isidro. He is the second most important saint for the people here, second only to Virgen de la Carmen, who's fiesta we celebrate in July, and he is the patron saint of agricultural workers and fishermen. The fiesta always starts with the band marching around the streets playing thier rousing tunes, followed by a Mass at the church. Then a float carrying a statue of the Saint leads a parade out of the village, and up to the sports centre. (This is known as a Romeria or country walk). Here families sit around the picnic area under the shade of the trees, or by the stadium bar, singing and eating, and generally enjoying family time together.
This year the aim was to make it special as it has been cancelled for the last two years, so as well as the traditional cart carrying the Saint, there was a competition for the best float in the parade, decorated within the theme of the fiesta.
We waited until near the end of the parade to make our way up to the sports centre and we got caught behind a lot of horses and riders. These are from the 'gypsy community' who keep their horses in the rambla at the side of the village. They love their horses and keep them looking so good, and they ride very errect and proudly. We followed them through the tunnel that goes under the motorway, and on up the hill.

There we saw the floats in the competition. Here is just one of them, decorated quite simply with flowers, sun hats (an essential for those who work in the fields all day), fans and bread and vegetables.
I liked this one, with its scene of a little family of field workers, and the older girl riding on her little pony.
Up at the stadium we came to the main cart carring the statue of Saint Isidro. This used to be a simple open cart pulled by a donkey, and only decorated with a few palm fronds and a loaf of bread, but this year it was much more elaborate.There were sculptures of a pair of oxen, as well as other items around his feet, plus flags and lanterns, and this year it was again pulled by a big mule, and not the tractor that has been used in recent years.
Up on the top triangle we saw some prizes being given to the winning floats. This one was a big family affair. I love the little girls in their flowery skirts and head scarves
As is usual at this fiesta there was a big paella in the making, ready to be served to all comers much later. We did not stay for it this year as it was very hot for sitting around, and we did not want to leave the dogs alone for too long.
On our way up to the stadium we saw this patch of bright yellow so I stopped to take a photo. It is broom, and there are bushes of it all over the campo. Also it is fighting for supremecy with the pink and white oleanders all along the central reservation of the motorway. It is a gorgeous splash of colour.

The garden is continuing to do well too. We have lots of tiny red roses opening on the climbing tower, and our two hydrangeas are covered in heads of pink flowers.

And another little surrprise this week was finding this amarylis out by the back sink. I went out with some washing, and spotted it there. It is the bulb that flowers so well two Christmasses ago. I have a habit of just putting potted bulbs that have finished flowering, out by the sink and just leaving them there, not expecting them to do anything again. But all our rain through March and April, and the warmer weather, had woken this one up and it has even produced two flowers. It is now indoors and being tended with care!

We have had a busy week in the garden. Chris has been painting walls, and we took delivery of a set of ratten furniture, plus three large planters, a fountain/bird bath, and a big parasol. It is all a work in progress right now so I will save photos for next week.

One evening we went over to the ferrateria to buy more painting supplies and then continued down to Mojacar sea front and stopped for a drink at one of our favourite places. I have not been to Dolce Vita for a long time, and new people are now running it. It has been tidied up, and the patios that were almost washed away by the storm in 2012, have been rebuilt and widened. It was very pleasant to sit there with a cool drink, and just listen to gentle waves breaking on the gravelly beach below.

As you can see, it is the season to trim all the palms and work men are busy doing so all along the sea front. They are very skilled and agile, and shin up the tallest palm trees to cut off the dead fronds, as well as tidying these smaller ones.

And I will leave you today with a picture of Tango being very cute as usual. He has decided that as we have not yet put anything on the lower shelf of the new TV table, then he will comandeer it for his bed. The face is grumpy as ever, but he is purring contentedly all the same.
And with that I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Friday Smiles 2022: Week 19

It is hard to believe I have been home for over a week already, and yet my holiday already seems a long time ago.
It has been a week of ups and downs and I haven't managed to do much sorting out yet, so I will stick with photos from this week. This is my favourite time of year temperature wise, and it has been lovely to sit, each afternoon, out on the porch enjoying the gentle sunshine. Another few weeks and I'll be complaining that I am too hot.

On Monday we decided to go out around teatime for a walk along the sea front at Garrucha. It is not really the tourist season yet, but there were a few early holiday makers out for an evening stroll. The local walkers would be arriving an hour or two later, just as we were going home! Not all the bars have reopened yet, but we found one that was, just by the marina and sat for a while so Chris could enjoy a glass of wine and me my first 'tinto verano' or 'summer wine' of the season.

Then we walked along the beach front at Garrucha and when we came to a new boardwalk, we went down to the sea and dipped our toes in. It was not as cold as I was expecting, but the walking was quite heavy going as we were sinking into soft gravel with each step. It gave our feet a good massage!

At one point we heard a lot of noise and looking up we found a patch of sky was filled with seagulls. We couldn't see what they were after and we were a distance from the fishing port by then, so maybe one of the restaurants put their fish scraps up on the roof terrace for them. They were certainly making quite a din about something.

On our way back to the car we walked on the lower road which runs alongside the harbour. The fishing boats come in early each morning  and when their catch has been auctioned, the men spread their nets on the docks to dry. The man in red, sitting down is hand mending holes in his nets. There is a timelessness to the scene, which has changed very little over the last few decades.

On our way home we stopped off at the campsite for a plate of chips to share. It was a good ending to a nice little outing.

This part of Spain actually had more rain than I had in UK while I was away, and the garden is very grateful. This orange hibiscus usually only manages one poor flower at a time, and this week it had four beautiful blooms on it.

And this bright pink kalenchoe was all but dead and had been discarded at the end of last year, but the rain has given it a new lease of life, and just look at all those flowers on it.

One of my great successes is this pretty little purple daisy. I bought one very small piece in a little pot when I visited the catus garden in Nijar about three years ago. At the time the man stopped me buying two pots as he said this little one would cover a square metre in a year, and he was not wrong. The original piece soon filled a big container and spilled all down the sides and on down the front porch steps. Since then I have broken off pieces and planted them around the climbing rose tower, in the window boxes and in another pot on the ground, and all have grown really well. This week they are all in flower. Here are just some of them making a curtain of flowers in the front garden. I had to grab this photo just as the sun moved off them as their colour shows better in light shade, but soon after the sun has moved away, the flowers close up and sleep until the sun shines again the next day.

Some of the lows this week have been the health of our two lovely dogs. It is sad that although there is four years between them, they both have serious issues at the same time. We think Kim is a German Shepherd/Mastine cross, and his problem is very common in dogs of his size and breed; He has severe arthritis in his back legs. Some days, today being one of them, he has real difficulty getting to his feet, and it doesn't help that we have fairly smooth tiles on the porch so he can't get much grip. But we lay mats and blankets down to help him, but he doesn't actually like us to try and lift him and it is hard to watch him struggle. It doesn't help that he is overweight, partly due to his inability to exercise, so he is on a fairly strict diet, and I am hoping that if we can get some weight off him, then we can take him on short walks again. Today he went to the groomers and he came home looking all fluffy like a big bear, and smelling sweeter too. We had asked her to clip his claws but she didn't think they needed much off, but they have all the hair trimmed off around them and his back end is short and tidy too, so he is a very handsome boy tonight. The vet has offered to give him a monthly injection which may or may not help his legs, but it is very expensive, so for now we are trying jpoint care chews and today we bought special food for senior dogs with mobility issues. At 9½ years old he is not that senior, but I know his life expectancy is shorter than for some smaller breeds.

Foxy on the other hand is now 13 years old, and we know she is near the end of her life. We have known about her problem for some time as it has been many months since she consistantly ate proper meals, but of late she has got a lot worse, sometimes going for several days without eating at all. So last week the vet gave her an X-ray and confirmed what we already sort of knew, that she has a large mass in her abdomen that is now growing rapidly and compressing all her other organs. It is not treatable and she is on palliative care, but she swings from really good days to really bad ones. From last Thursday until Tuesday she was up and wagging her tail in the mornings, she followed us outside, and ate the puréed chicken rice and carrots I have been making for her. Then yesterday she couldn't stand up, wouldn't look at any food and just lay on her bed all day. We weren't sure what we would find this morning, but there she was quite perky again. So far she has not shown any signs of pain or distress, but we have both agreed that as soon as she does it will be time to let her go. It is a case of taking each day at a time, but she has given us a lot of pleasure over the past thirteen years, and I think we have given her a good and happy life too. (We keep moving her onto her nice soft bed but she moves back onto the bare tiles!)

I don't want to end on a sad note, so here are a few more things we have managed to acheive. We have cleared the corner of the garden that we want to remodel. Tired of waiting for the man who told us he would do the work back before Christmas, we decided to simplify the plans and do what we could ourselves. So today we ordered new garden furniture, and finished washing down the barbeque which we have ordered a new cover for, found new homes for some large pieces of machinery that needed moving, and visited several garden centres to decide which planters etc we would buy. Next Chris will dismantle the lean-to shelter that housed all the above items, and get the walls painted. I am excited to see the plans coming together.

I was getting withdrawal symptoms from family time, so this afternoon I had long video calls with my sister Jean and son Ben. Happy days!

Now to link with Annie's Friday Smiles ready to publish in the morning.