Kate's adventures

Friday, July 19, 2019

Rocking Your World 2019: Week 29

Hello All. This is a photo heavy post so I will keep the chatter to a minimum.

This was, of course, Los Gallardos Fiesta week. It started on Friday and ran through until Tuesday.
We went over for the first time on Saturday afternoon when there was a new feature; The usual 'ribbons event' was run on horses for the older boys and men. Usually this happens over the four days, on little trikes, and push-and-ride toys for the tinies, bikes for the children and motor bikes for the oldest group, but it is more traditionally run on horses; It was just the first year horses have been used in our village. A rope is tied across the street at an appropriate height for the folk taking part, and round it there are rows of ribbons with a metal ring at the bottom. As they pass under the rope, the riders try to catch a ribbon by hooking the ring onto a stick. If it unfurls there is much clapping and cheering, and the successful rider takes it over to a row of girls in pretty dresses, who tie it round the boy like a sash, give him a kiss and a small gift. This is quite amusing as the young men obviously enjoy it all, but some of the youngest contestants refuse to kiss the little girl who is pursuing him. Obviously the ribbons were much higher for the horsemen, and when they managed to catch a ribbon they were given a carnation to give on to their girl, in exchange for the kiss! All good fun.
When we arrived the street had barriers each side and was filled with a good depth of sand for the horses to run on. Then the young ladies filed down and took their places to watch, and finally the horses arrived to take their turn. It was harder than you might expect and a couple of lads were very proud to capture more than one ribbon.
We stood watching for quite some time, but Chris caught me having a little sit down in the sun. Soon after that we went home as our youngest son Ben and his partner were arriving late evening and we wanted to be there ready for them.
They arrived around 10.30. Ben came bearing gifts including a selection box from a special tea company. He knows I love their tea and usually takes me to their shop when I am visiting him. We have tried most of them now and they are all very nice.

Sunday was very hot. Our thermometer was showing 37ยบ in the shade, the hottest so far this year.     My two golden fur babies, Foxy and Tango, were laid out in the coolest place they could find.
But we had a better way to cool down as Sunday afternoon was the now traditional foam party at a local bar. It was a new experience for Ben and Dave, and they didn't know what to expect, but they had a great time.
The street outside the bar was covered with big white parasols, but when the foam cannon appeared it came on quite gently, just covering the area at the end, so the children could have a good play in it. When they had had enough, the power was turned up and the man handling the machine started targeting those of us sitting around the edge. Dave was determined to stay in his seat, but eventually he was buried and had to admit defeat. By the end of the session the foam was billowing right through the covered area and over the bar, but we left to dip in the pool and rinse off the soap.
It feels really soft and cool, but it does sting your eyes a bit after  while. I think it is a very mild soap solution. It soon disappears again and the street it hosed down and back to normal by the evening.
Before we left, Chris and Ben decided to have a father and son competition at drinking out of a porron. On this day they are filled with a mixture of white wine, beer and soda water - quite a heady mix that tends to get drunk very fast. But it is all part of the day's celebrations, and we didn't see anyone getting too silly!
We had a swim when we got home and a rest, and then set out again in the evening. Dad and Dave marched on ahead while Ben and I were taking photos.
The lights were pretty this year, especially as the sky darkened.
The plaza was heaving with families all out to have a fun evening. The plaza is set out with a big stage, lots of tables and chairs, and three temporary bars whose staff work endlessly serving everyone with drinks and tapas. They carry on until around 7.30 the next morning, so after four days they must all need a holiday!
The fair ground is in full swing all night as well, with a dragon roller coaster, a 'big ride' that goes high and fast, and a very big bumper car rink.

Before we went home to sleep, we each had a very good mojito. That is always my fiesta treat, but last year the staff were too busy to make them. This year there was a new stand only making mojitos, so we made sure we got one this time, and they were delicious.

I think in UK the Health and Safety officials might have a heart attack, and some things just would not be allowed. For example, the fairground rides were just standing on small concrete blocks set out on a hard mud pitch, and this was the wiring for the foam cannon. To announce each event as it starts and at the end, rockets are set off. They are very loud and not pretty at all. If you do see one go up there is just a quick, bright flash along with the bang. They start half the dogs in the village barking. Foxy spends most days in her bolt hole behind the sofa, but Kim toughs it out with just a whimper now and then. On the last day they set of volley after volley of them, from wire rings fixed to a street barrier, but the single ones are often let off from someone's hand!
Despite this rather worrying approach, no-one ever seems to get hurt.
Tuesday was the final day of the fiesta, when there is an open air mass for our patronal saint, Virgen del Carmen. An altar is set up in front of the stage and the village choir assemble there, always dressed in something pretty.
People from all over the village flock to the plaza and it is an occasion for many of them to dress up, regardless of their age. They look so pretty, though I sometimes wonder how they walk or sit in them.
Then the statue of the Virgin is carried down from the church and everyone offers flowers to her, stacking them up around her feet and on a trestle at the side.
After the mass, the altar is cleared away and the band and singers are back for one last night of music.
We had had enough by midnight and made our way home, stopping for my second treat, churros with thick hot chocolate to dip it in. The churros is a batter squeezed into hot oil in a spiral and then cut up. I love it and so did Dave. The other two had a piece each but we ate most of it.

So, with another fiesta under our belts, Ben and Dave have enjoyed a quieter few days, dipping in and out of the pool, reading and just chatting with us. On Wednesday night we went out for a Chinese meal which was lovely as usual, and last night we went round the corner to our local bar for the regular quiz night. We didn't do particularly well in the quiz though we didn't come last, but Ben won a prize in the raffle.
Then Chris won a half share in a round of playing card Bingo, pocketing enough to cover the cost of our games, and then I won a round of Bingo, another 47€ so it was a good night for us.
And finally here is my attempt to photograph the partial luna eclipse. Its not brilliant, but not too bad.
And on that note I had better link up with Rocking Your World and Annie's Friday Smiles, and get back to my visitors. We are off to a bar in the next village soon so Ben can sing some karaoke. I'll be back tomorrow to visit you all.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Rocking Your World 2019; Week 28

We continue to swelter in the summer heat so I do not have the energy to do very much, but I do try to achieve something each day. I am extremely grateful for the air-conditioning in my car, and also for the unit in the bedroom. We don't sleep with it on as it dries out your eyes, hair and skin, but it does a grand job of cooling the room right down the hour before we go to bed, which makes it so much easier to fall asleep.
It has been a wee bit overcast some days but that doesn't stop the temperature  rising, and wise folk stay in the shade especially in the afternoons.

Last Friday night was our 'Open rehearsal' night at choir and as expected the audience was smaller than usual, but those that did come really enjoyed it, and we enjoyed singing for it, and that is what really matters.
The photos are poor because we had  big picture windows behind us and the sun was still up high enough to make photos difficult. Hubby did try to get one of me singing while the ladies only were doing a number. You can probably see how hot I am.
We have now finished until September when we will  be back, raring to learn some new Christmas music. That does mean I am not as pushed for time as I usually am on a Friday.

After a rather 'muggy' weekend, Monday dawned bright and clear so we drove down to Mojacar. There is a good pet shop there where I can buy the special dietary food two of the cats need, as well as bulk sacks of ordinary cat and dog food, so I made the most of a strong man to do the carrying and stocked up for at least a month for the Perry Zoo. None of the animals eat as much in the heat, but sometimes they come in and make up for it at bedtime.
We went on to the main post office in Mojacar as I had a few birthday cards to post, and then on to a garden centre further along the beach, which is the only place I can buy a liquid fertilizer for our three citrus trees.
All the tasks completed we went to a lovely little bar on the sea front for a drink. We sat up under the shady trees but there was a lovely view of the beach though the gateway in front of us. I must say it did look very inviting, but I can't sit on a sunny beach these days, especially when I have no beach-wear, sun lotion etc with me.
So we moved on again stopping at the port end of Garrucha where we had tapas and drinks for lunch and then drove home to cool off in the pool.

Yesterday evening I went to our back railings to look out over the green zone which is decidedly not green right now.
The olive trees have been neglected and are taller than they are usually allowed to grow, but even the orange trees have lost many of their leaves, and I am not sure the pomegranate has survived this year either.
There was a heat haze over everything making the mountains look misty. Some of the haze is caused by dust, and our outside furniture and the cars are always dusty.
The temperature has reached the right height for these little chaps to start singing. It's actually more like screaming. Just one of them can make an ear-piercing electric whine, and when they all join in they sound amazing. They are of course, cicadas.
Some people are surprised, expecting them to be more like crickets, but they have a quite different mechanism for making their sound. They are quite hard to spot as they stop singing whenever anyone or anything comes near them, but sometimes in the evening they will rest on our fly screen, or the warm bricks of the walls. By late evening they fall silent and almost immediately the night crickets start chirruping instead. But cicadas are definitely the sound of the summer out here.

They are not the only sounds we will be hearing this week as tonight is the start of the village fiesta. Yesterday this was the scene from our back railings. 
The long dark construction is the bumper cars, and to the right of this, if you look closely, about half way down the right side, you can see a frog with a colourful crown, just peeping over the slanting roof. This is the centre of the biggest ride in the fairground. It spins round and goes up really high amid clouds of coloured smoke. Not for me at all, but the youngsters love it. After that there is a dragon roller coaster. The fair gives me nightmares as it is set up on slim metal legs that rest on wooden blocks. I don't think they would pass health and safety checks in UK but you don't hear of any accidents on them. There are also kiddies attractions, bouncy castles, trampolines and ball parks, all around a plaza of tables and chairs, served by a temporary bar all along the wall. More bars surround the main plaza, and there, they erect  a big stage where there will be dancing and music throughout the five days of fiesta. Each day the music goes on until around 7.30 the next morning so we go over and enjoy it for a while, and then shut the windows and try to sleep through it! Roll on Wednesday when it will be quiet again!

Most afternoons I have opted to stay indoors with the fan on, and my own little personal air condition cube by my chair, and if I don't fall asleep I do manage a little crochet. I am making the small squares ready for my next blanket, as they are easy to hold and don't put any hot drapes on my lap as I work. These are the ones I have made so far.
There are 26 different designs and you make two of each. Last night I finished the second long purple one. They are colourful and fun, and I think they will make a bright, cheerful blanket. There will be some in red, orange and turquoise as well, and they all have the dark navy contrast, and will be joined with it too. They are nice little bits of work for the summer and there is no urgency to get it done, so I can just do a few rows when I feel like it. I probably won't be doing much next week as our son Ben and his partner Dave arrive tomorrow night. I have warned them about the fiesta so they know what to expect.

You will gather from the above that Ben is gay, so I was happy to see our Town Hall in Los Gallardos acknowledging gay pride month by hanging a rainbow flag from their balcony. The Spanish word for Pride is orgullo (or-goo-yo), and this month is gay pride month and it is celebrated with parades in many of the towns around here, just as it is in UK.
And on the same subject I am going to end with something that my friend shared on facebook today. I hope it doesn't offend anyone. It really made me chuckle.
And on that note I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles, and Rocking Your World. Next Friday will be the last day for Ben and Dave, but I will try to get some sort of post written.