eldest son Mike. He works as Fund-raising advisor for the Severn Hospice, in Shropshire, and this week he took part in a promotional photo shoot for their sponsored colour run, coming up on the 12th June, in Telford Town Park. (If you live in the area, do make a note of the date and go along to support them, or join in if you fancy it. It is a 5k run). This is a new event and it looks like lots of fun. The photo makes me smile because he is so obviously in his element. He may be in his forties now, but I have a feeling Mike will never grow old.
Well it has been a good week, but a fairly uneventful one, and as usual the days have flown past.
We had a good day on Sunday because it was the first birthday of our new church. Our very first service was on 11th January last year, so on Sunday, after a lovely service, we had a bring and share lunch.
These lunches always amaze me, as we are asked to bring something along, and no-one confers to see what is needed, but somehow there is always a good variety of food, and there is plenty for everyone. We set up an 'L'shaped table and everyone added their plate as they arrived. Here it is, still mostly covered up, but ready for feast.
There was even a third table of cakes and strawberries for dessert.
While some folks made cups of tea and coffee, and others uncovered the food, another group moved the chairs from the main church and set up small tables with wine, water and flowers on them. It looked so pretty.
One of my friends, Pat, is a very talented cake maker and decorator, and she made a beautiful anniversary cake.
Here she is with our vicar Pauline, getting ready to cut it up so we could all take a piece home with us, because we were too full to eat it there. We enjoyed our pieces at tea-time.
I am always pleased when we, (meaning the English) manage to bridge the gap between us and the Spanish people, and this week we had two such occasions. The building where we hold our Sunday services is actually a small Spanish church, which originally held Catholic services, and is still used by the local villagers for funerals, and fiestas. There is an elderly Spanish lady (aged 94), who with her daughter-in-law, occasionally come in to our Anglican service. It is so lovely that they enjoy coming, and although it is all in English, they recognise some parts of the liturgy and join in with us in Spanish. Well, they must have known that it was our anniversary and on Sunday they brought us a gift of altar linen, beautifully embroiderd by Rosa and her friends. Wasn't that lovely?
Then later this week we were invited to a memorial mass at the catholic church in our village. One of our English friends had died suddenly last week, and as is usual out here, there was a short service at the chapel of rest the next day. However, he had lived on the edge of the village for 21 years, and was very fond of it, so his wife wanted to put his flowers in our village church. While she was doing this, the local priest came along, and he offered to say a mass for him on Monday night. We went along to support the family and it was a lovley service. The priest apologised that he didn't speak much English, but again we managed to follow most of the service, and he did read some of the prayers in halting English. He hadn't been asked to do this, and I think it was so nice that he had volunteered his time, and made us feel welcome in his church.
So, two occasions in one week, where we have managed to find a real connection between our two very different cultures.
On Tuesday I spent a lovely afternoon at a friend's house. I was there for two meetings; the first to decide what day we would be meeting for our Home Group this year, and the second to work out the details for a fund raising event coming up at the end of the month. Despite the serious content of the meetings, it was a lovely social afternoon, and nice to catch up with everyone after the Christmas break.
Wednesday saw the return to weekly meetings of our sewing group. I was able to help a new lady get started with some crochet work, and I was given lots of knitted items for my African charity.
In the evening it was the first choir practice of the year, and we had a look at our music for the new season. We have some lovely pieces to learn, and I am looking forward to getting stuck into it. We also have a couple of provisional bookings for events to sing at, so we are getting known in the area, and people obviously liked what they heard over Christmas.
Over the week I have managed to get all the Christmas decorations put away properly, (they had only got as far as being dumped in the garage last week), and some of my ornaments etc are now back on the shelves. I was determined to have less stuff around, because everything is a dust trap, and I fully understand why the Spanish folk don't go in for lots of decoration. It just isn't practical. So I am a little less cluttered, but I love all my things, and they all remind me of special people and events, so it was really hard to decide which ones to leave in storage. I couldn't bring myself to actually throw any of them away!
I am grateful that we had another lovely week of sunshine, and a few hours of real warmth each day, so, despite being quite busy getting the house back in order, we were able to sit outside each afternoon, to relax, and we even ate our lunch outside on several days. It is hard to remember that this is January.
However, I am also grateful that there is a 'winter-weight' duvet tucked away in the cupboard, and it is coming out this weekend, as the nights are getting decidedly chilly!
This week I saw my first tree full of almond blossom, which makes me happy as it is a sign that Spring is already on the way.
Today took a downhill turn as we woke up to grey skies, and soon there was a prolonged shower of rain. But we didn't mind too much as the water is greatly needed in what is a very agricultural area, and for many families, their crops are their livelihood. It cleared for a while but by tea-time there was another storm rolling in down through the village.
As you can see, the sun was shining on us, but the clouds were gathering and moving our way. But in the end it just rolled over us, and by the time I went out to feed the dogs, there was a rather half-hearted sunset.
This eventually turned into a really pretty sky, though some of the clouds were still around us, and I am expecting some more rain in the night.
Although the sky was quite dark, because of the clouds, over to my left it was still clear and light, and the Cabreras were reflecting the setting sun and looking so lovely.
We are indeed a country of contrasts!
And now I will close with a couple of sky photos that I took a few days ago. Is it a long pink fish gliding across the sky (sorry I cut his nose off!), or is it a flying saucer coming in to land? I'll leave it for you to decide.