Friday, October 6, 2017

Rocking Your world 2017; Week 40

My word - week 40 already. And it will be a very quick post today as I am busy sorting the house and packing our cases, ready for an early  flight tomorrow.

I'll start off with some visitors we had this week. I heard their lovely bells jangling in the green zone behind us so I went out to see them.They always make me smile, as they clamber over one another to reach a special leaf they have seen. It is pretty much dry scrub out there at this end of the summer, but they still found plenty to munch on. They are doing us a favour if they clear some of the dead plants.

What made me smile more was the goatherd. These are usually quite old men who have spent their lives wandering the campo with their herd, looking for food for them to graze on, and they sit on any patch of higher ground so they can keep an eye on the animals, and usually they have a goat-dog along side them. They rarely need a dog to actually herd the goats as one word from him and they obediently follow him. But these goats behind us had a much younger goatherd, and he was passing his time, browsing a smart phone. How times change!

Most of this week, the days have ended with a clear sky that fades to a lovely peachy pink and then goes dark. But one day we did have some broken cloud. My dad was a fisherman in his free time, and he would have called this a mackerel sky. As the pink crept in around the clouds it was so pretty.
I sat out the back and watched it for a while. The sky was full of little birds, all chattering to one another as they made their way to their night time roost. They were everywhere, but they move so fast that it is really difficult to catch them on the camera. But there are about five in this shot.

Last week I showed some little lavender dolls I had made, so this week I have been working on bells. They are quick to crochet, but a bit fiddly for my fumble fingers these days. When they are finished they have to be starched and shaped over a ping-pong ball sitting in an egg-cup. Here are three that were dry in time to be photographed. I want to make at least another blue one and a couple of cream ones before my charity sale.

Last night as I was clearing up, Chris came in and suggested I went out to see the Harvest Moon, which is supposed to be bigger and brighter than your average full moon. So of course I grabbed my camera and followed him outside. The moon certainly was big and bright, but taking a photo of it is not something I have much success with. After a few tries and changes of settings - without me having a clue what I was doing! -  I got this one which is clear and sharp, but could actually be a picture of almost anything big and round!
While being a bit better than I usually manage, I wasn't very inspired by it, so I kept trying. When I zoom in as far as I can, I should have a tripod, as it is impossible to hold the camera still enough to find the target. Hence the collection I have of moons just sailing out of frame! So I borrowed Chris's shoulder to lean on, and steadied myself as best I could, and after a few more abortive attempts I got this one, which I was quite pleased with.
So, on that note I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and then get back to the packing.
Please forgive me if I don't get to do much commenting this week, and next week I doubt whether there will be a post at all, as it is the day I hopefully fly home, along with my sister Jean. But there will be plenty to tell you about the following week.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017; Week 39


Here is my smile for this week, which is, of course, telling you that last Sunday was our Harvest Service of Thanksgiving. It is one of my favourite services of the church year. Sadly it is not celebrated as much in many places now, but I remember as quite a small child, entering the church and being greeted by the colours and smells of fruit, vegetables and flowers, and I am happy to say that at our church the tradition continues.


Although this first photo represents the most important gifts of bread and wine, The rest of the church was decorated with produce of all kinds too.













In the picture below you can just see a jug of water on the table. Water is such a valuable commodity out here, that it needs to be remembered when we are giving thanks.
These decorations were kindly done by some ladies from the church so that it was ready for us. But on Sunday we all brought in our offerings of non-perishable foods and made this wonderful display under the altar.
Early this week, some of our workers sorted all the food into family parcels, and were able to take 30 bags up to Zurgena Town Hall to be handed out to their most needy folk. This was a tremendous result, especially as we only average around thirty-two people in the congregation each week, and last year we were able to donate just 15 bags.

We actually had some more fun up at the church at the weekend because on Saturday we had our first fund-raiser of the season. 
It started with a 'fashion show' when some of the ladies, and one gentleman, modelled some 'nearly-new' clothes, which were later available for us to buy.
Gus was our only male model, and here he is, looking very smart, walking with his wife who was modelling a pretty pink dress, to the catwalk. He also escorted each of the other models on their first appearance.
In the picture below, the man in a pink shirt, talking into a microphone, is Tony, our church warden, who had arranged this event. The model is his wife, and although she was reluctant to be involved at first, she threw herself into the role.
The final model was the 'world famous Chantelle le Belle', AKA Tony, who was resplendent in a bright pink wig, short black skirt, zebra print shirt and large heavy walking boots!!!
When the models had 'strutted their stuff', we all enjoyed a barbecue cooked by Richard and John, who slaved over hot grills to feed us all.
William and his wife Sylvia, who disappeared when I was taking photos, manned a bar selling wine and beer as well as soft drinks.
There were two other very special guests;- Matty the eagle owl, and Molly the barn owl. Aren't they beautiful?
It is hard to believe that, born within a day of each other, they are both just eighteen weeks old. This was their first public appearance, and they were very good. I got to stroke both of them, but later maybe the heat and all the people got to Matty, and he had a tantrum and had to be returned to his holding cage. But I did get to hold Molly who was very friendly. She is responding well to being trained , and will already return to a glove when called. They are being trained to show at various events around the area.
The whole event was a great success. The sun shone without it being too hot, and over fifty people turned up to join in the fun. We raised 588€ for our funds.

The rest of the week has passed in its usual blur. I have done some crafting, including making a set of 11 Christmas cards. (It should have been a dozen but I had a slight mishap with one). You can read more about them on my craft blog by clicking HERE.
But I have also been trying to do a bit of knitting and crochet, as shortly after I return from UK, we have our Christmas charity coffee morning which I have a table at, and as usual I have very little ready to sell. I said I would show you when I had completed one of my projects so here are some lavender dolls that I have knitted. I think they are really cute. I have nearly finished the fourth one now and hope to make at least six for the sale.
The pattern is by Dolly Time and it is free. You can find it HERE.

When we set out with the dogs on Saturday morning the sky was looking a bit doubtful, and we were wondering what the weather would be like for our event that afternoon. But we need not have worried, as the cloud soon burned away and we had a lovely day. This was sunrise at around 8.00 that morning.
And so another week has flown by. I am expecting the next one to pass even more quickly as I prepare for our trip to UK, but hopefully I will manage a quick post before I go. For now I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and then I had better go and feed the dogs (and the husband if he is lucky!).

Friday, September 22, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 38

Don't die of shock, but this is actually going to be a fairly short post and very thin on photographs. Not that that means it has not been a good week; just one of those weeks that flies peacefully by,and is gone before you realise it is Friday again.

So what has made me smile in this gentle week. Well, for a start the sun! I love September-October out here. The sun has been out most days, but the temperature has dropped enough to make sitting and walking outside more pleasant. There is just enough breeze to keep my wind chimes ringing gently outside my window. This photo is exactly why I like my life out here in the Autumn.

A small errand to deal with in Mojacar, followed by a gentle stroll along the sea front. With blue skies and quiet roads, what is not to like? Of course we stopped at a bar/café, and had a snack and drink. For a change we went to one on the plaza in Parque Comerciál, the rather 'touristy' group of shops down by the sea front. Although the holiday season is over for the Spanish, there are still enough UK holiday makers around for it to be quite busy, but they didn't keep us waiting for long.
I had already had breakfast earlier so I didn't want much, but a big fresh croissant was just too tempting. I also risked ordering tea. It is a bit of a risk out here as they don't drink the tea we are used to, but with so many holiday makers to keep happy, some places have got it right now. And I'm happy to say this was one of them. They brought me a pot of hot water - probably not quite boiling but you can't have everything - and a box of mixed tea-bags. Searching through them I came up with some English breakfast tea - Yay! And look at the lovely, rather huge, cup they gave me to drink it from.

(Blogger is being a pain tonight, but I will keep writing and hopefully be able to add the photos later).

When we stepped out the door to walk the dogs at the start of the week, I saw a line of little birds on the overhead cable. A closer look proved they were young swallows getting ready to leave us. They looked so sweet all in a row, and I knew I needed a photo of them, so the next morning I took my camera, but there were no birds, and I thought I must be too late. I took it for a couple of days but they weren't there again. I don't really need extra luggage when I have a huge hound on a lead, so I left the camera at home yesterday, and you've guessed it, the birds were back. I asked Chris to try to get  a picture on his phone, but he has Foxy who is not good on a lead, and not patient when it comes to standing still while we take photos, so he didn't get a very good one, but here it is.
I managed to crop in a little on another one but it is a bit blurred.
The sky looks very dark in these, but the sun was only just rising, and it soon cleared to give another lovely day.

Other good things that have happened; well our rather old car got safely through its itv - that's the same as M.O.T. in UK. Our mechanic told us that there is nothing really wrong with it, but it is getting worn out. With that in mind we took up the offer to buy a different car from a friend. It is only a couple of years newer than ours, but has a fraction of the miles - or kilometers on it, and it has had one careful owner. Unfortunately there was a lot of legal red tape to wade through for us to buy it, but we heard yesterday that we are ready for the final hurdle and then we can go ahead with the sale. So maybe by next week, we will have some good news.

We took the dogs to have their injections on Monday, ready for when they go to kennels next month. Our vet is very good, and they hardly noticed it being done. We had to put them on the scales to work out what dosage was needed, and Foxy was only 17 kg but Kim is now a whopping 48 kg. No wonder he squashes me when he sits on me.

After my somewhat busy time of making Christmas cards, I have turned to scrapbooking again this week. I am making a real effort to finish my album of our holiday spent touring around Ireland - that was in 2012! So it really is time I finished it. Here are two individual pages I made and a double spread page. 



They are, of course, all digital pages. I have done two more since then, and now I think I have only six or eight more to do, so the end is in sight. I am a shocker for abandoning projects that take too long, but I am determined to finish this one, and then I can spend more time on my random pages.

I have also been doing some knitting and crochet, but I have a lot of little projects on the go so I will save the photos until one of them at least, is done!

And that's about it for this week, so I will do my usual link ups with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and we'll see what next week brings.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 37


I am starting this week with some photos of our youngest son Ben. As you must know by now, he loves to play the piano and sing, join in with a karaoke session, and perform in a pantomime as he has for a few years now. Well this year he joined in with a group of friends mostly made through the panto company, and together they put together a show. They decided to use songs from films and shows. They did everything themselves from hiring a theatre, designing the posters, promoting ticket sales, and most importantly arranging their own music and dance routines. 

There were only eight of them, so they sang and danced their way through solos, duets and groups numbers, and managed to perform a whole programme of entertainment.
It was a charity event, and altogether they raised £1,313.31 for the children's ward at New Cross hospital in Wolverhampton.
Here is Ben doing what he enjoys best, and looking pretty pleased with the result. They gave up every Sunday for the past few months to rehearse together, and I am very proud of him, and all his friends.




I am also quite proud of myself this week too, but for a much lesser reason. Firstly I almost finished the chopping up of the bougainvillea branches. There is just one small pile that the wind has sent down to the bottom corner of the yard and wedged against the little fence there. It has dried to a crisp in the sun and wind, but I will deal with that this week. Otherwise it is all clear and tidy out there.
Then I also finished the cataloging of my stamps. In this picture you can see a big box at the right end of the shelf. It is the one that was full and overflowing with loose stamps, not to mention all the odd ones wedged around it.
Now they are all filed away, I have taken over the box to put my finished Christmas cards in as they had become too many for the A4 box they were in at the start of the year.
Then on the shelves below them are all my files that I sorted the stamps into. I have changed some of the categories, or split them into two folders when one became too full to manage, so they all need new labels now, but a least they are all sorted and should be much easier to find.
I don't think I should buy any more rubber stamps. There just isn't space for them. This is one of the reasons I now tend to choose the digistamp option if there is one, but I do like getting inky sometimes too.
I was scrolling back through my blog posts, to try and identify the make of a few stamps that had lost their wrapping, and I discovered that I last had a sort out of stamps in 2012!! No wonder I had so many to do. I am determined not to let it happen like that again.
Needless to say that has taken up a good bit of my week, but I have a done a little bit of actual crafting as well. Here is the next 'random' scrapbook page I made. The technique I was stuck on was how to use a photo template page, but spread one photo behind more than one frame. If you are not familiar with using templates you may not see what the problem is, but it is an effect I have often seen on other folk's pages, but have not made a good job of doing myself. I follow a facebook page for one of the template designers, so I asked for some help and guidance on there, and was immediately given several ideas. One of them made perfect sense to me so I tried it out and here is my finished page. As you can see the top right hand corner is one photo behind two frames. It is free of added embellishments this time as I didn't want to detract from the photos. I may add a few bits later but I don't think it needs much.

It is a good thing the gardening got me working outside as the other things have kept me indoors most of the week. But we do get up to walk the dogs in the mornings and one thing I noticed on the slip road at the front of the village is this lovely jacaranda tree. There is a row of them along there, and usually they have lovely bunches of lilac flowers on their bare branches in the spring, and lush green fern-like leaves in the autumn, usually interspersed with big brown seedpods. But as you can see, this year they are in full bloom again, and the flowers look so pretty with all the leaves behind them, and a deep blue sky for a backdrop of course.

And now it is just on to some sky photos. This week it is all about the faces! As you know, I do see faces all around me, and this week there have been so many of them in the sky. They are really obvious to me, but my husband sometimes gives me funny looks when I show him. I wonder if you can see them too. This one is probably the least obvious but I can see it quite clearly.

This one would be hard to miss. It was a really clear night, but this face just popped up on the horizon.
It is not a very happy face I know, but just look at the definition in the eyes.

Then last night I took this one.
If you look in the top right hand section you will see a much happier face this time. I cropped it in to make it clearer.
Then as it faded away, a second , lighter one appeared below it.
Again cropped in for clarity.
You are probably like my husband and think I am going dippy, and you are more than likely right, but these things fascinate me! 
And on that cheerful note I will bid you Good-bye until next week, and go and link up with Rocking Your World and Annie's Friday Smiles, and then go and get 'himself' some tea.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 36


Here we are at Friday once again, the day when we look back on our week and try to focus on the good things that have happened. I happened to see this meme on facebook one day and I took a copy as it seems to embody the true ethos of these posts. Don't you think so?

When my grand-daughter was here a few weeks ago, she saw me trying to take a selfie and said"Grandma, you are doing it all wrong!" Apparently I was holding the phone too close, and too low down, which is why my photos were always distorted. She showed me what to do so I had a practice. I was much more pleased with this one so she was a good teacher, and I decided to use it as my online profile for a while, as my current one had been the same for years! I know some folk don't like to use their own photo as a profile, but I have to admit that if I see a name I recognise but can't quite put a face to it, I often click on to their profile, and I find it very frustrating if I just get a picture of their dog! etc.

I am even going to bother you with a second one I took when I was trying to persuade Kim to pose with me, but he wasn't having any of it. I gave up in the end, but I have included this picture so you can see how huge our bougainvillea is again.  It was only last year that we cut it right back to the fence-so hard I thought we might have killed it. But no, it was growing back in no time, and this week it was almost as big as it was before, and long branches were stretching across our narrow back yard and annoying me every time I needed to pass them.

When I came home from my sewing group on Wednesday,  I found Chris had tackled it again, cutting it right back to the fence, though not quite as hard as last year. It always amazes me how much debris there is after such a job, and this was no exception. Just outside the kitchen door there was a mountain of branches along with leaves and the dead bracts from last year's flowers. Seeing as Chris had done the cutting down, I promised I would deal with these today, so when I got home from the market this morning I settled myself on a chair with the mountain of branches on one side and big bin in front of me, and two pairs of secateurs so I could keep changing them when my hands got tired. We don't have individual dustbins out here, but there are big bins known as basuras (meaning rubbish) at stages along the road. We are not supposed to put garden waste in these, but they will take anything if it is in a black bag, and as we have nowhere that it is safe to have a bonfire, we have little choice. So we try to cut any sticks into short lengths that won't puncture the bags. I spent a couple of hours cutting, by which time my hands had had enough - and they will probably complain loudly by tomorrow - but I had two black bags full of disposable twigs and a small pile of bare branches that were too hard or thick for me to cut. I'll put those through the shredder later. I could have shredded it all, but the younger green branches and the leaves would have choked the machine very quickly and I would have spent more time un blocking it than I would have saved.
I have managed to clear the big mountain, but there is still two much smaller piles to tackle another day. But it will be a good job out of the way when it is done.
All that is left for me to do..
Ready for the shredder..
Here are a couple more photos from the garden. These are my little pots of succulents that have been very neglected this summer. But of course it is their nature to survive in harsh conditions, so after the rain last week they are looking quite good again. The picture made me smile because if you look very closely, right in the centre behind the black pot, you can just see the little stripey head of Luna. She is one of our campo cats and we don't see much of her indoors except when it is feeding time. She is a born huntress and spends most of her day roaming the green zone and catching lizards, grasshoppers etc, which she sometimes brings home for me! Aren't I lucky? But just occasionally she chooses one of our chairs to sleep on, and she must have just looked up as I took my photo. 
And while talking of grasshoppers, I don't mean the little things we have in UK. Out here they are huge. This one came to sit on our fly free netting and it is about five inches long. Luna has the lovely habit of catching them and chewing them up, but leaving the legs for me. They must be too tough for her!

A couple more garden pictures. This one shows what a few days of rain can do in a barren land, even in August. The ground around the orange trees next door is sprouting tall grass this week. I love to see it looking so green. It is really warm again now so this may all burn off again, or it may last into Autumn. We can only wait and see.
And one more. When I went to take a picture of this morning's work, I found Tango, laid out in the shade of the low wall, enjoying his siesta, and completely oblivious oto my presence.

The rest of the week has passed me by, but I have kept busy. I suddenly decided that as a follow up to clearing my desk and tables in my craft room, I should tackle another task that I have put off for probably three years or more - filing my 'new' rubber stamps. Some of them are not so new now! I have a bad habit of opening packages when they come and trying new things, and then leaving them in a pile on my desk until I am tired of moving them, so I throw them into a big box on the top shelf of my bookcase. I know what is in there, and when I want to use one I root through the box to find it, but the longer I leave them, the harder it is to do something about them. I should say at this point, that I do not have space to store bulky wood mounted stamps, so I always remove them from the block and back them with mounting foam. I do the same to any unmounted ones I buy, and then I store them on laminated pages with a stamped index for each page, in big lever arch files. There is one file for each topic e.g.floral, words, backgrounds etc. Some categories are subdivided so I have four Christmas files - Nativity, Traditional, holly, trees, etc, Cute, snow, candles and bells, and Christmas words. So sorting my box was a big task and the first thing I did was to make separate bags for each subject. Then I backed any that needed mounting foam, and one by one I am stamping the index and arranging the pages, then filing them in the appropriate folder. So far I have managed to put away about half of them, and I shall keep going now I have started, until they are all in the right place. That will give me a real sense of achievement, and it will betide me to put any further purchases away when I get them!

We took a break yesterday to visit the kennels where Kim and Foxy will stay while we are in UK next month. Unfortunately neither of our house-sitters are available, so we have no choice but to put them in kennels. A friend will look in daily to feed the cats, who would hate to  be confined in a cattery even for a few days, but kennels are a better option for the dogs. So when we had checked out where they would be staying, and filled in the paperwork, we drove on down to the playa at Mojacar. We keep away for July and August when it is full of holiday makers and the traffic is a nightmare, but this week it was fine again. We stopped for a drink and a snack at one of our favourite places. We like it because it has a big patio where you never feel crowded, and it is surrounded by palm trees and has a sun cover to give some welcome shade. On top of that there is a lovely view out across Mojacar beach, and the food is very good.  

On Wednesday our choir met for the first time since the summer break. It was good to get back singing again, and to meet up with friends, who mostly live over near Albox where we practice, so I don't get to see them during the break.

We had the plumber here this morning so now I have a new drinking water tap in the kitchen so my table top won't get flooded any more whenever it is turned on, and that makes me happy. We also have new taps in both the showers. As the plumber was working there, I couldn't use the kitchen to cook our lunch today so we had a snack and now we are off to a local bar for some food. That's a nice bonus.

I had a quick whizz round Turre market this morning for the first time in ages, and I was able to get some new walking sandals. I have been looking for some because my others have split across the base and are becoming a bit of a hazard. I wear them when we walk the dogs in the mornings, as the dust ruins my good shoes.

I will close with a few photos of the sky that I took on Tuesday evening. These were all taken within a few minutes of each other. The sky was grey with a streak of light that didn't look very promising, but before long it was aflame with pinks and oranges, and then it was gone. I was just glad I was outside at the right moment to catch it.





Now I will quickly link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and then I had better go and feed the dogs and get ready to go out, or it will be for supper instead of dinner! I'll be back later to see what has made everyone else smile this week.