Friday, August 4, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017; Week 31

Here is my smile for this week; These two lovely smilers are my great-grandsons and in just two days time they will be here with us for a week of Spanish sunshine. I don't think they'll be needing those long trousers and jumpers out here!!

It has been another scorcher this week. When I walked up the road Thursday lunchtime, the thermometer on the Farmacia was showing 43º. I am melting! Minimum clothing and multiple fans don't really cope in that kind of heat, but we are reluctant to have the aircon on for more than short bursts, as it is very drying, and leaves me coughing. I am just so grateful that we have our own pool to dip in after each chore is done. I must admit I keep chores to a minimum in the summer, but with a house full of visitors next week, a certain amount of clearing, bed making etc had to be done!

On Saturday I did what I had to do as early as possible and then took a break, because on Saturday evening my choir were singing at an open air multicultural festival at Cantoria, a small village an hour's drive from here. We wouldn't chose to sing outdoors, and with slightly reduced numbers because of folks on holiday, we weren't sure how it would go. 
The first thing was to find the venue!. We had been to Cantoria once, just after we moved here because it is where our first two rescue pups were from, but we only had a vague idea of where we were going. But google maps helped us, and we knew the festival was all around the big village church, so that proved a landmark that was hard to miss.
Chris came with me . He knows I don't like driving at night, especially when I don't know the area. When we arrived it was easy to spot a few choir members who had arrived before us, all congregating near a big metal pergola in the church grounds, which was where we would be singing.
We had time for a quick look around so we wandered up the street to a small plaza, where a lot of people were relaxing in street bars while a road race was going on just beside them.
There were several stalls selling everything from food to clothes and toys, and in front of the church there was a display of kick-boxing, presumably by a local club as there were participants of all ages there.
Between them and our pergola, there was a stall called a 'Taste of Britain', where there was a constant supply of mini scones with jam and cream, fruit cake, small savouries etc. They were free of charge and people were enjoying trying them all out. Every time a plate was emptied, it was filled again, and they still had more to put out for us when we had done our performance.
It was time for us to take our places ready to sing. We don't normally have chairs on stage, but we were glad of them that night, because we ended up having to sit down between some songs while we waited for the church clock to ring out it's next set of chimes. A man from the organising panel was there to warn us when the next peal would come, and we managed to time our songs around them pretty well!
It was the first time we have sung together for a while, and we all sung our hearts out and thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope the audience enjoyed it as much as we did. I think they did. We now have a month off before we start again in September, with new music to learn for the Autumn concerts.
We left soon after our 'bit' as we had a long drive home, but as we left there were still plenty of locals enjoying food and drinks in the bars, and I expect the festivities went on for a few more hours after we got home.

Not a lot else has happened this week. I did manage one little task that has been on my 'to do' list for some time. Back in 2004, Chris and I spent three weeks in Arizona, visiting some of Chris family who live there, and also celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. We did brief detours to Las Vegas just to say we had been, and to the Grand Canyon which was on my bucket list, and it was amazing. But the area we really liked was up in the red rock mountains near the little village of Sedona. On one trip we visited a silver mine and a large open market where you could buy all sorts of metal and leather goods. We went to area that only sold wind chimes and we bought a beautiful set. It turned out to be bigger than we realised and it caused us some problems when we were packing to come home. It ended up in a separate parcel taped to our largest case! But it is beautifully tuned so that whenever the wind catches it, it always has a melodic chime. Of course we brought it to Spain with us and it hung on the end of my washing lines at the back of the house. On really windy weeks we had to tie the pipes together with string as it was just too noisy and also was in danger of getting tangled and broken.
Of course that is what eventually happened, and for a couple of years it has been buried in the garage, where I happened upon it when I was clearing out last month. So I have now rubbed down all the wooden parts and stained them again, and I have restrung the pipe that was hanging loose. It is back hanging on washing line now, which is more or less outside my craft room window. So with the gentle breezes we have at the minute, I am treated to lovely chimes wafting in through the open window. This time I will rescue it before the weather gets too rough, and hopefully it will give me many more years of pleasure.

I am calling this picture "Hot Dogs!"
Poor Foxy and Kim. They are feeling the heat. They both have thick double coats which they are shedding like mad at the moment, but I have been advised against having them shaved, as the double layer provides insulation against both heat and cold. So I am brushing them every morning, which for some reason Kim hates, but he doesn't get the choice while he is moulting. I have filled a big bin with their hair but I don't think there is too much more to come. Neither of them like water. I tried to get Kim to come under the hose this morning. I had it set to a very gentle spray, and I just about got his feet wet, but that is all. Usually they have their breakfast round at the kitchen door and then they go back to the porch on the other side of the house. But the kitchen door is on the shady side of the house, and is quite a bit cooler, so for now I am keeping them round there for the morning. They are unsure about any change in their routine, so when I went out to hang some washing today, they both immediately sat down and looked expectantly at me, in the hope I was going to open the gate and let them round to the porch, or maybe even that I had the odd treat in my hand which they know they have to sit for. Who could resist those trusting eyes?

And all that leaves me with is one photo of a beautiful sky that I spotted late on Wednesday evening. These hot humid days often end with a few clouds, and we have even had the odd spot of rain some evenings. (So odd you could walk between the drops!). I could do with a good storm to clear the air, but everywhere is so dusty that the tiny bit of rain we did get was full of red dust and left everything covered in it. But on Wednesday the clouds were very broken and looked so pretty in the dying light. I was just glad I had my camera to hand, because it only lasted for few minutes and then darkness fell.
So it is link up time now and I am linking with Rocking Your World, and Annie's Friday Smiles.
With ten visitors from Sunday for a week, and then just one for the next two weeks, I doubt whether I will get to write a blog next week, but I won't be missing for long. See you soon.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Rocking Your Wold 2017; Week 30

After all the noise and activity of fiesta week, it has been quite nice to have a relaxed uneventful week this week. I have actually been the victim of another tummy bug, but although I was very sleepy for a couple of days, it didn't make me feel too ill, just wise not to stray too far from home!! Of course the heat doesn't help, and may well have been a contributing factor,  but I have had plenty of time to sit around, enjoy long siestas, and actually get a few bits of crafting etc done.

Last week I showed a new, powerful fan I had bought for my room. One good thing about its design is that the usual four cross over feet, which I always trip over, and which are not strong enough to withstand heavy items being left on them etc, have been replaced with a sturdy circular, metal base. Arwen has taken a liking to this and for most of the week she has laid on it, I guess catching a down draft from the fan to help keep her cool.
I think those lovely green eyes are just daring me to disturb her!

One good thing I have achieved is to dispose of the ironing pile. It is probably an indication that we have too many clothes, but also down to the fact that we are both happy to be around the house in un-ironed T-shirts and dresses, (modern fabrics make that nothing like as bad as it sounds!), I actually only get the iron out once a month if that, so the pile does mount up. But with a fan at my back, and music in my ears, I set to and did it all yesterday, which does give me a strange feeling of achievement.

I had a nice parcel arrive on Wednesday too. I am not really a trouser person, especially during the summer, but it is quite difficult to find ordinary 'day dresses' that are not either sweeping the floor, or miles above the knee, so in desperation I trawled the net, and eventually ordered two dresses. That was back in early June. I foolishly thought they might arrive before my trip to UK at the beginning of July. They didn't! Instead I got a message to say they had been popular and were now out of stock, but more would be arriving on 28th June. Two weeks ago I had a message to say they had been dispatched, and this week they finally arrived. I have to say I am really pleased with them.
I expect some of you think that they are odd shapeless garments, but those who know me, will know that I don't wear anything fitted. Loose and airy is my choice, and these are made of soft floaty fabric, and in another month or so, when I want a short sleeve again, they will be just perfect. And of course one is poppies, so that sold it to me on its own!

Once a month I make a Christmas card to enter in the Rudolph Day Challenge. It is on the 25th of each month, and we are just encouraged to share a Christmas item we have made. I had set myself the target of making on average twelve Christmas cards each month this year, to save the last minute panic we all have in December. So when I put this week's card in my box, I had a quick count to see how many I have made so far, and it was only 45 - just half of my target for end of July, so I decided I had better do a big run of them. I find making too many all the same gets a bit boring, so I chose a variety of digi stamps that I bought just this week from a company called Lili of the Valley. They have just released their new Christmas range of stamps etc. I printed each one out several times, and for the last two nights I have made a start on colouring some of them with my alcohol ink pens. I have finished ten so far, and when I have coloured them all, I will have twenty-five toppers ready to make into cards. That will give my tally so far, a nice boost.

I have also managed to do a little bit of crochet work. I am glad I got my big Sophie blanket finished. I couldn't do with that on my lap in this heat. But a while ago I also started a blanket that is made up of squares which are much easier to handle. The pattern is designed by Zelna Oliver, and consists of two large squares and ten smaller ones, plus two bonus designs. Each one has the name of a South African beach, and the whole project is called Winter seaside Blanket. I just do an odd square now and then, with the aim of doing two of each design and then deciding what size I want the finished piece to be. So today I spread them all out and was surprised to find I have almost enough for a lap blanket. I chose ten colours and use them in a random order for each square with a sandy, neutral colour for all the edges to bring it all together. A lot of the squares need to be blocked to help them all lay flat, but I think it will look nice when it is all done.
And that really is it for this week. I have one more week of relative peace, though we are forecast another little heat wave with 38º from next Tuesday! And then my visitors arrive - ten of them for one week! It will be wonderful having so many family here together, but I suspect it will also be exhausting! Then we have just one visitor for the rest of August, which will seem quite quiet again.
So I will now link up with Rocking Your World, and Annie's Friday Smiles, and see you all again next week.