Well even in a relatively calm week, the days seem to fly by, and looking back on the week, I wonder what I did with them all. But one thing that did make me smile was this picture of our youngest son Ben as a baby, popping up in my Facebook memories.
I had posted it on his birthday when he hit thirty last year. So this week, of course, he became 31, but he is still, and always will be, my very special baby.
As you must know by now, he is a talented musician, and loves to sing his own songs, as well as covers of others, and in January I posted about the pantomime that he, and several other family members, were in. Last week they had the 'end of season' party, etc, where they hand out awards to some of the cast, and decide on the theme for the following year's panto. Ben was given two awards: one for Best adult improver, and the other for Best vocals, so he was very pleased with that. Now I am hoping that soon I will get to see the DVD of the show.
He had some even better news this week when he was offered a new job he had applied for. So probably around April, he will move from being a conductor on trains from New Street Station, to be the one who trains all the new conductors, plus ticket office staff, and everyone else as they learn about safety for workers on the railway. I think he feels the same, but for me the best part is that after fifteen years of doing some pretty difficult shifts, anything from 4.00 in the morning to gone midnight, he will finally be a 9-5 man, making it so much easier for him to commit to any activities in the evenings such as panto rehearsals, so I am really pleased for him.
We had another special service at church on Sunday. It was special for many reasons, the first being that it was our first service with Rev. Vincent, as for his first week he was at our sister church in Mojacar. Also we started the service with four blessings. The first was for two couples celebrating important wedding anniversaries. One for a thirtieth and the other was a golden wedding. After 50 years of marriage, their rings were rather 'worn' so for their anniversary they gave each other new ones, and these were blessed before they were exchanged. Then there was a blessing for a cross that was given to Tony, who is just starting his training as a lay-reader. When they assist at services they wear a cross around their neck and we usually present them with this at the start of their studies. Finally we had a blessing of a different cross. Our building is actually a village catholic church which is now only used for fiestas and funerals, so we are allowed to use it, but we have promised not to add anything to the walls inside. However, we were given permission to hang a small cross on the outside wall, and one of our congregation had a lovely wrought iron one made, which was blessed before it was hung in a recessed area near the door. It is a lovely design.
On Monday, a new shop called Zoe's Emporium, with the added description of "Kitchens and Constructions", opened in our village, just across the green zone from our house. Now Chris and I have been tentatively discussing revamping my very small and rather badly designed kitchen, since the Autumn, so I asked him to come to the opening of the shop to see what they had on offer. It turned out to be run by two English couples, who will design, build and install any units etc that are required, and they are agents for the electrical goods too. So yesterday, the two men came round to see my kitchen, listen to my ideas for improving it, and add a few of their own. Now we are waiting for their estimate, and then we will know whether or not we can go ahead with it. So I am very excited. It will be pretty awful while the work is being done, but wonderful when it is finished --- if it gets done! I live in hope!
We had a very lively and interesting discussion at our house group on Tuesday when we looked at some of the women in the Bible. Next week I have agreed to host it here, so I need to do some sorting out before then.
We have had some really warm sunny days, with one day that reached into the upper twenties around lunch time, and also some very chilly days. On Wednesday night we had a huge thunder storm and torrential rain that rather took us all by surprise. Yesterday was sunny but there was a very cold wind that whistled round the corners of the house. I did a load of washing in the morning and put loads of pegs in each item as I hung it on the line, so I didn't have to go fishing in the green zone for any escaped garments again. It was quite a struggle to get it hung out, but the upside of that is that even the big bath towels were dry within a couple of hours.
It was more sheltered at the front of the house, so I decided to spend some time working in the garden. A few weeks ago I bought hyacinth and baby daffodil bulbs in Lidls. I always search through them for the pots with the most promising buds, because I know they will have a short life out here. I also bought a few winter pansies, and they have all sat in a tray on the porch just waiting for some attention. So now I have a pot on each side of the bottom step, and they make me smile every time I see them. I made them almost match - I think it is because I am a Libran, I like things that are balanced and come in pairs!
I also had one pink hyacinth that I put in a pot with a rather sad little carnation plant, that has been neglected all winter, but I am hoping by the time the hyacinth goes over, it will have recovered and will give me lots of flowers for weeks to come.
When I was walking through the village at the weekend, I saw one of the big planters that are found in many of the streets, and this one was full of bright red kalanchoes. They were all in flower and they looked fabulous.
They are wonderful flowers for growing out here. I bought three plants in different colours, way back in the early autumn, and they have bloomed ever since. They were in my triple-plant stand by the front door, so the top one was removed to make way for a poinsettia at Christmas. But that has finally keeled over after nearly three months of looking beautiful, so the kalanchoe is back. They are getting a bit straggly now, but while I was out there yesterday, I cut off all the dead heads, and any leaves that were damaged though the winter, and I was pleased to see new buds on them.
There was a red one in the top pot but it is much smaller and doesn't look quite so healthy, but I had another yellow one that was in the planter a year ago, and when its flowers died I just set it aside and ignored it. But when I picked it up to see if there was anything worth keeping on it, I found it was covered in new buds. So I trimmed all the dead heads off and tidied it up, and that now has top-spot on my planter.
And that is just about my week, but we did have one other event that was as usual a happy occasion. Last Saturday was our own village carnival. It was a very small affair compared with the lavish Aguilas Carnival that we went to last week, but it is probably the happiest day in the village calendar. Everyone is out to have fun. I will just run through a few of the costumes. Anyone can dress up and join in the procession around the streets, or just be a watcher from the side, but some groups make elaborate costumes, and others are hired. Here are just a few.
It is a real family affair and you see lots of parents in their fancy clothes with a matching toddler or even a baby in a pram.
Some little ones have such elaborate costumes that I wonder how they can walk in them, but this year my favourite was a dear little Nemo. She was so excited and kept running away with a patient parent or grandparent rescuing her every time she went too far. She really made me smile.