Friday, December 8, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 49

Hi folks. I am trying to write a very quick post tonight (Thursday) as our son arrives tomorrow lunch-time, and I have choir practice in the evening, so it is not likely to get written then. 
So here is a little smile. Meet 'Santa's little helper'.
This lovely lady is Selina, who, with her sister, runs our Wednesday sewing group. This week she dressed up to deliver our Christmas presents to us. We were each given a lovely padded sewing box, and her sister Gloria had hand stitched and appliquéd a felt needle case to go with it.

It has been a lovely week which started with our crib service on Sunday morning. We rarely have children at our church as we are mainly a community of retirees, but for this service, some friends bring their children along, and as we listened to the readings and sang familiar carols, the children brought the corresponding characters to place in the stable. 

This little group are two English children with their two Spanish friends. It was lovely to have them there with us. So we now have a well-dressed crib.

On Monday evening we had one of my favourite celebrations of the season, the joint Spanish/English carol service at the old catholic church in Mojacar Pueblo. It is the traditional nine readings and carols, but the readings are alternately read in Spanish and English, and then both priest read the last one from St John's gospel. Similarly the carols are an English one and then a Spanish one, and at the end we all sing Silent Night in our own language, and surprisingly it works really well. (The Spanish carols are much 'jollier' than ours!)
Here are the Catholic priest in the purple cloak (he is a lovely man who is also priest in charge at the little church in our village), and next to him is our current Locum priest, who apparently spent several years here when he was much younger so he spoke fluent Spanish! The other people are from Mojacar council.
It is quite an unusual building for such an old historic church. As you can see it is light and airy, and behind the altar there is a really attractive fresco painted in pastel colours.
When the English people sing their carols they all sing together, but the Spanish ones are sung alternately by two choirs. The second one is referred to as a gypsy choir, and they sing with such gusto, They have amazing voices.
The man in red is playing his guitar, but there is also a more unorthodox percussion instrument which always makes me smile.

To add to the feeling that Christmas is coming, we came home from walking the dogs yesterday to find this propped up against our wall. It was upside down, and I was standing up close to it, and I couldn't for the life of me see what it was, though strangely it is perfectly clear in my photo.
An hour or so later the man was there with his lifting lorry, fixing it to the telegraph pole outside our house. It is a corner of our roof in the photo. So next week you will probably see a shining Santa outside our gate.

There was another 'super moon' this week. Did you see it? It really was huge and so bright here. Of course I tried to get photos of it again and ended up with one that is very much the same as the last time we had one, and also one with some nice light aberration around it.

I have been busy in the kitchen today. I had to do some quick shopping first as it was a bank holiday yesterday, and there is another one tomorrow,which means most of the shops are shut, so it had to be today. But after that I made another twelve dozen or so mince pies, so that is them all done and dusted for this year. I also made three cakes ready for my visitors, the last of which has just come out of the oven. Talk about multi-tasking, while writing this I have also been setting my Cameo machine to cut out a lot of files ready for one more craft project I am hoping to get done. I think it is the last set cutting now, but I have no idea when I will get it put together.

On my desk beside me I am burning my advent candle. I am already several days behind with it, so I am doing a catch-up. My sister Jean and I both bought them when we were shopping in UK. I wonder if she has been more efficient than me at burning it each day?!

One more happy is a cute little piece of crochet that I did this week. It is a special surprise so I can't show it until next week.

Now I will close with something that I found very interesting and exciting, though I know not everyone will. I was in the garden yesterday teatime to let the dogs round to the kitchen door for their tea, and I found the bright pink bougainvillea had grown even more and was dropping quite low over the gate. When I went to lift it up I saw quite a big, green, praying mantis on it. They fascinate me, (I was one of those strange people who kept, and bred, stick insects as a child. My brother said watching them was like watching paint drying, but I loved them). 
Anyway, as I looked closer at the mantis I suddenly realised she was laying her eggs. She lays them in a creamy white froth which hardens into a protective case and they will stay there for 3-6 months, depending on the temperature, and then anywhere between 30 and 300 babies will hatch out! They are welcome in the garden as they are one of the best predators for eating aphids and mosquitoes, but apparently they are also cannibalistic, and when they hatch, if there is no food immediately available, they will eat one another! So it recommends watching for them to hatch, and spreading them around the garden as soon as possible. The mother left them this morning, and I understand she will now die, though she may lay more eggs somewhere else first. As you can tell, I did some research on it after I found her.

Now I am going to schedule this to post tomorrow morning, and if I have time before we leave for the airport, I will link it with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World. I have a very, very busy week coming up, so hopefully I will get back to share it with you next Friday.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 48

Well my choir practice had to come first this week. It was a good evening and we are just about ready for our big Friends and Family concert in ten days time. Now I am shattered, but I am sure I can find a few things that have made me smile this week.
We have been see-sawing between bright blue skies and sunny days, and very cold evenings when it is great to sit in front of the fire with my knitting etc, and usually an animal or two to keep me company. 
Well yesterday the blue skies disappeared and for a day and a night we had the heavy rain that had been forecast. I am sure it did the ground a lot of good, and it means I don't have to stand around with a hose pipe for another week. It also meant that I had an extra long time to cosy up in the sitting room. I finished a book I have been reading and then got stuck into some crochet. In this photo, Tango is laying across my lap (he's far warmer than a lap blanket!), having an occasional swipe at my wool, and generally getting in the way of my work, Foxy is falling off her bed down below us, and Luna and Kim are sharing a settee. Paco was in there too, over on another chair. Chris was busy in his office, so I had music playing through my bluetooth speaker, and just felt very relaxed, peaceful and lucky. 

Today the warm sunshine was back and I got a big load of washing done, which dried outside and is now folded and put away. Another blessing!

On Tuesday I needed to do some shopping so I drove in to the nearby town of Vera. I know it was mid-week, and I was on the edge of the town, but everywhere was so quiet. There was none of the pre-Christmas hustle and bustle that is usually found in an English town by now. The big church on the town square had a few decorations on it, but where are the people?
The Town Hall had done their best. They even have their Christmas lights stretched across each street, which is quite early for Spain, but every other shop I passed was closed or boarded up.
I enjoy the build up to the festivities. This is the first week of Advent, which means some lovely ladies from our church spent a day this week getting our tree in place and building the crib, ready for the children to place the characters in during our service on Sunday.
Doesn't it all look lovely?
Of course their husbands helped too, doing the bits up a ladder, suspending stars from the archway, wiring lights etc, and I think they have all done a really good job. 
You can't see it in this photo, but there is a small table to the right where we have a small palm tree with lights and decorations. Many are wooden like this Baby Jesus in the manger, and they were brought over from Bethlehem, so they are very special to us.
One bit of Christmas preparation that hasn't happened here for a few years, is making the pudding. I love that warm, treacle and spice smell, but as I am the only one who eats it, it seems like a rather unnecessary amount of effort. But this year our son and his partner are coming over, and then my grandson the next week, so there will be some extra mouths to help me eat it up. Of course it should have been done back in October but I hadn't got my act together by then, so this week I finally got it done. Of course I had to take it in to Chris to have a stir and make a wish - traditions must be upheld!
Now two lovely puddings have been steamed and are wrapped up in the larder to mature a little before the first one is needed in a couple of weeks time.
I have also made a start on the 'mince-pie marathon'. I had promised some for the cake stall at the Chaplaincy Christmas fair on Saturday, so yesterday I got stuck in and made the first eleven dozen. I will need to do a few more, but that was a good start. I think I earned my afternoon with the animals.

It is almost time to harvest the new season's oranges, and it looks to be quite a good year, at least for some folk. This tree is in next door's garden, and sadly she only visits a couple of times a year, so much of this fruit will fall and rot, though her gardener and cleaner will eventually pick some of it. On the other side of our house we have another mostly absent neighbour, who has orange trees all down the side of her garden. They also have plenty of fruit on them. They do come to pick them around Christmas week, but lots of them hang over our fence, and we feel we can pick these, so I must go out there soon as they are beginning to drop and spoil.
Unfortunately we have no ground to plant fruit trees so we have one orange tree in a giant pot. Last year it yielded about two dozen beautiful oranges, but this year it only has four! I think we probably let it get too dry when the fruit was setting. Hopefully we will do better next year. 
We also have a new tree, that we bought last year. It is only a 'baby' yet and it only has one fruit on it. It is a mandarin tree and we have always wanted one. As only one fruit set this year I have been guarding it, and this week we are going to pick it, and eat half each! Then I shall cut back some of the thin trailing branches and hope it grows stronger for next year. It will need a bigger pot soon, but for now I am not going to disturb the roots.
I am happy to say that this week I have managed to post all of my Christmas cards, ahead of the two bank holidays that occur next week - a secular one, Día de la Constitucíon on Wednesday, and a religious one, Imaculada, on Friday. Hopefully all my cards will be away from Spain before these holidays. Now I just have to write the ones for my local friends that will be delivered by hand.
And finally here is one lovely sky photo that I took one night during this week. It was probably on Wednesday evening just as the rain clouds were gathering. I love all the layers of light.
Lovely isn't it?
And on that note I will say 'Bye' for this week, and link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and I will do my best to post next week. It will be our final choir practice on Friday and it is also the day our son arrives so I expect we will be going out in the evening to find some karaoke for him, but I will try to write it early - famous last words!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017; Week 47

Hi I am writing this a bit early today. I shall have to rethink my usual evening blog post as my choir has changed its practice time from Wednesday to Friday evening, and although it is early evening, 6.00-800, if it has been a good session I am often too tired to do anything much when I get home. So when I can, I'll be writing during the day. That said, I expect I shall only get half way before it is time to go out today.

My smile to start with is this photo of Arwen. She is a bit more friendly than she used to be, and often comes for a bit of fuss, and sits right here next to me when I am using my computer.
The family I speak to on Skype are quite used to seeing a tail move across their screen. She still doesn't like to be picked up for cuddles, but she does allow me to gently brush her coat now and then. She is moulting everywhere right now, so I may have to take her down to the vets for her twice a year 'sleep and shave'. She really looks daggers at me some days, but I guess she can't help the fact she was born with a grumpy face. Most of the day she sits by our window and just outside below the window is a bench, which is where I found Paco this morning.
He had the good sense to trade his comfy bed curled up on the settee, for a doze in the sunshine. No doubt he'll be back indoors by tea-time.

I had gone round the back of the house to take a picture of the green zone.
As you can see, it was a perfect morning, with a cloudless blue sky. By lunch time it was 24º which is pretty good for nearly the end of November. Days like this remind me of why we moved out here, and make me realise how blessed we are to be here.
As you can see, a lot of the green zone is rather brown, and everything is very dry. We desperately need some good rainfall, and some is forecast for next week. But while we wait we are happy to have the sun instead.
Also from the picture above, you can see a few patches of yellow foliage. The orange trees stay dark green all year, but the one tree that does show some autumn colour is the pomegranate. Their fruit is almost gone now and for a few weeks we have this lovely yellow of their leaves, before they dry up and fall.

Something else that looks really gorgeous against a blue sky, is the deep pink bougainvillea that we bought as a tiny dried up stick some years ago. It has slowly responded to some TLC and this year it was big enough to tie to the fence which seems to have given it the incentive to sprout even more. before long we will be trimming it back. It is already too high for me to tie in the top branches. 
Just beside it you can see some late flowers on the double oleander, which is a similar colour though not so vibrant. Once again several plants are acting 'out of season'. The weather seems to have confused them all.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had forgotten to take a photo of my last little item I made for the sale. Well I decided I wanted a couple more to give to friends so this week I made them as well as one for myself, and here they are.
I saw the original one hanging in my sister's house. It was given to her by a friend who was battling with cancer at the time. She has since sadly lost that battle, but she was an active worker for her church, and we are both sure she would be happy to know her work was continuing to be shared to give pleasure to other folk. The hearts are made from white card and the script is vinyl, both cut on my silhouette cameo machine. The little flowers are die cut and each one has five layers plus the leaves. My sister Jean knows I struggle with the fiddly items so while she was here she made the first few for me, and showed me how to do them. She is a good teacher because I have now made several on my own and am happy with how they turned out.

Today my first two parcels for UK were pòsted and I now have three more ready to go, and then it will be just cards to send. I am glad I am up to my target time for these this year, and won't have my usual last minute rush. I even managed to get my family  and friends news letter ready to go in with some of them. I do still have a couple of December birthday cards to make though.

I am grateful to have a 'techie' husband who helps me sort out problems related to my computer. This week he worked on my laser printer but unfortunately he could only help with part of the problem. I think it is telling me I need a new toner cartridge and that will have to wait for a while, so I am back to my ink-jet one for now. It is perfectly adequate but much slower.

I was happy to get a letter from the hospital yesterday with an appointment for all the X-rays I need to have. I am still waiting for a date for the MRI but at least I know I am 'in the system' and some progress has been made.

Now I will end with a couple of sky photos. The first one was taken as I set out to drive to church on Sunday. As you can see, not every day dawns with a blue sky, and on Sunday it was quite dark clouds. But before long the sun was trying to break through, and there were long shafts of light coming down the Cabrera mountains. This photo doesn't do it justice, but I only had my phone with me so this was the best I could do. It looked beautiful.

And this one was taken last night. I glanced out my window and again saw a lovely peaceful evening sky, with such pretty colours in it.

Then, as the sky darkened, I looked up and saw a tiny, tiny moon rising to add its blessing to the scene.
And with that I am ready to link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World. Just done in time to go out. I must try to achieve this again other weeks!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017; Week 46

Well another week has flown past, so here we are looking back at what has made us smile. I have to say I am enjoying the Autumn weather. We are still enjoying lovely blue skies and sunshine, but the temperatures have dropped to a very comfortable level, so I have spent several afternoons, sitting out on the porch doing my crochet or reading my book.
But the sun goes down soon after six now and suddenly it becomes quite chilly. So the 'summer weight' duvet is now on the bed, and by 7.00 the fire is lit in the sitting room, so we have one place to be cosy.

The animals soon caught on to this idea, and on Thursday night I was in there knitting, and I had one cat on each chair for company, and one of the dogs, Kim, on the settee. My lovely long-haired ginger cat Tango,  would have been sitting on me if I had let him, but the piece I was working on made it just not possible, so he curled up beside me instead. Last night when I went in there I found Kim had got there before me and what's more, he was sharing 'his' settee with Paco. Normally they have a mutual respect for one another but keep their distance, so it was a surprise to see them (almost) curled up together.

I said last week that I had started a piece of knitting. Although I have almost given up knitting large garments because they hang too heavy on the needles, I am hoping this yarn is light enough for me to manage in small doses. It is a chunky mix that I bought in huge 200g balls at Hobbycraft when I was in UK recently. The natural colouration of the yarn means it is knitting up almost stripey, but I am not going to attempt to match the stripes on the other pieces. It will all be used as it comes. The main pattern is a simple double moss stitch, and I am using bamboo needles. I have not got on with them very well before, but they are recommended for people with arthritis so I thought I'd give them another try, and so far they are fine. I am making a fairly shapeless slouch jacket, but it is coming up a little tighter than I was expecting, but I have a feeling it is going to stretch with use so I don't want it to start off too big.
Knitting is nice and easy for me to do if I am watching TV, but when I can concentrate more I have been working on this mandala, and last night I finished it. I just love it.
The pattern was released in three parts as a CAL (Crochet Along) by an Australian lady called Emily, and it is called Connie's Ray of Hope. It was designed in memory of a lady called Connie Johnson, who finally lost her battle after three bouts of cancer. Her brother Samuel wrote an inspirational blog post about her journey, and from that, the mandala was born. I chose to make mine in Christmas colours, and it will make a bright spot hanging on my wall throughout the festive season. It was a fairly complex pattern, but well within the capabilities of most crocheters, but I have to say the last four rounds, from where it was attached to the ring onwards, were very difficult. The galvanised steel ring is 350 mm - approx.14 inches, in diameter, so the finished mandala is around 430mm, so it was stiff and unwieldy to hold, and my poor shoulders and hands were complaining mightily this morning, but they have settled down now and I am so glad I persevered and got it finished.

My other project for this week was a final effort to get Christmas cards made. I ended up getting quite carried away, and made a run of 35 cards, all using the same image, printed and hand coloured, and then made into a card using a variety of papers, die-cuts and lots of glue. I can't show them yet as I will be using them for a Christmas card challenge at the end of the month. I now have enough made to get them all written, so I should be able to post my Uk ones before all the bank holidays start. We have three at the start of December, and I like to get mine posted before this disrupts the system and slows everything down.

When we set out with the dogs for their morning walk today, men were already at work trimming the trees that grow all along our road. The one by our gate looks really nice now. They have stayed so good considering the very small amount of soil they have in these wide, shallow containers. But I have to say, the maintenance department at the Town Hall deserve full marks for the way they look after our streets. In another couple of weeks there will be poinsettias planted around the base of the trees to add some colour as well.

We have had such lovely clear skies this week, but with little or no cloud, there has not been any notable sunsets. But as I glanced out of the window yesterday evening, the sky was such a beautiful colour. It went from a muted golden through pink, purple and  then indigo. I tried to catch it on the camera, but this doesn't really do it justice. It is the best I could get though, so I am using it anyway! How peaceful is that?!
Now it is time to link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and I'll see you all again next week.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 45

Here is what has made me smile today. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, our sixteen year old grandson Amias was chosen to be one of the front bench speakers in the House of Commons Youth Parliament. This is a real achievement as there are hundreds of YMPs from all over England, Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland, and only around 20 were chosen for the front bench. He was sent on a residential weekend in London last month, to prepare for it, and they were each given the role of 'For', 'Against' or 'Summation' for one of the five subjects to be debated about. The topics were voted for by young people all over the country. I am not sure whether they had any choice about which they were given, but Amias was to give the summarization speech at the end of the debate on LGBT rights.

Well the Youth Parliament sat today. It was the ninth time it has taken place in the House of Commons, and was led wonderfully by Mr Speaker (John Bercow) himself. So as it was shown on Live Parliament TV, you can guess how I have spent most of my day. We can only get that station via Chris's computer, so we made ourselves comfortable in his study, and prepared for a day of watching. As it happened, the LGBT Rights, was the first debate, so we didn't have to wait too long to hear Amias. We could see him for most of the time, because he was seated centrally so he was behind most of the speakers.

His speech itself was clear, passionate and well presented. It earned him a standing ovation and some genuine, good remarks from Mr Speaker. We are very proud grandparents!
If anyone is interested in hearing him you can click on THIS link. It should take you to his 'moment of glory'. I tried it out on my sister this afternoon and it worked for her. The recording starts a few seconds before Amias is introduced, and lasts for about four minutes.

Well that is the excitement for this week.
The other happy event was when, on Wednesday, we were finally able to pick up our 'new' car. It has taken several months to sort out the paper-work to complete this deal. It isn't new at all, and is, in fact, only three years younger than our other one, but it has 90,000 on the clock compared with the 300,000 on ours, and has had one careful owner, so it is a lot tidier and more reliable than our overworked old lady. I am not one of those folk who can jump in any car and drive it, so Chris has taken me out a few times in daylight, while I get used to a very different feeling clutch and gears, and he drove me when I had to go out after dark. But I know I will soon get used to it. I need to, as I do most of the driving! And it is a nice dark navy blue. I was so fed up with having a silver car. There are so many of them out here. It will be a while before I remember to look for a blue one in the supermarket carparks though.

I mentioned last week that I should have been at a coffee morning last Friday but was unable to attend because my hospital appointment was brought forward. But I sent some items over to my friends house. Unfortunately the event was less successful than usual because so many folk were unable to attend due to ill health and other reasons. I guess it is that time of year when change-of-season colds are rife etc. So there were not enough people to man the stalls properly, nor as many visitors.  But some of my little bits were sold, and I took the rest to my sewing group on Wednesday and sold the rest. Putting together money raised from pre-sales of our jam and pickles, and the cards the Jasmine makes, plus the money taken on the day, we did raise around 300€ for our church funds, plus around 30€ for my chosen charity Greenfields Africa, who always get a cut from any money that I make. So in the end it was quite a good result. I also made some sweet little hearts with a Bible text on them and some tiny roses, but I forgot to take a photo of one before I sold them all!

Back in the summer you may remember that I bought a huge jar of jelly beans to put in the favour boxes I made for our son's wedding. This left me with the jar which is really rather nice, and I had an idea of how to use it to raise some more funds. So I lined it with white tissue paper and filled it with bags of sweets and nuts and other Christmas treats. Then I decorated the side with reindeers, trees, snowflakes  and icicles cut from vinyl, using my silhouette cameo machine.
I added a large shiny snowflake on the lid.
Then I printed out a treasure map that I found on the internet, and covered it with a 9x8 grid. I am asking everyone to pay 1€ to write their name on a square, so if I sell all the squares I will have 72€. I have sold 50 so far, and I am sure I can sell a few more after church on Sunday. (I can't show the map because it has people's names and phone numbers all over it!). Then on the 1st December I will use a random number generator to find out where the treasure is buried and someone will go home with a nice jar of Christmas treats. It has raised far more than it would have done if I had tried to just sell it as a jar of sweets, so I do have a good idea occasionally!

And that is really all I have for this week. I have started a good book which means I won't get much else done until I have finished reading it, and I have also started knitting a jacket for me, with wool that I bought in Hobbycraft when I over in UK. It is a long time since I did any knitting and I said I wouldn't make any more adult size garments as they are too heavy on the needles for my shoulders. But this is chunky yarn but very light, and so far so good. I will take a photo of my progress next week.

Here is a picture that I took last night of our little cat Luna. She is a skinny, independent little campo-cat, (what in UK we call a 'moggy'), who, in the summer, only comes in for food. Now it is cooler she sometimes curls up on a chair in the evenings, but she is not a great one for fuss and cuddles.  She was late coming in for her food last night and I was standing over her waiting for her to finish eating before I shut her in the kitchen and went to bed. As I was standing there I was struck by the perfect symmetry of her markings. I don't often get quite that view of her, but she really does match side to side, so I took a photo of her without her realising.

So now I will leave you with another photo of my butterfly that I showed last week. We have had some nice sunny mornings, and she has been back to visit my bougainvillea  most days. Again I failed to get a photo of her with her wings wide open, but I liked the sharpness of the butterfly against the unfocused leaves in this one, and the blue sky behind it is lovely, so I am sharing it anyway!

And now I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking your world, and I'll see you all next week.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017; Week 44

Considering this has been a fairly busy week, I have very little to write about, and few pictures, but I will start with my little smile. 

I stood in the kitchen calling Tango for ages, and he didn't appear, and then I turned round and there he was, sitting under a little stool I keep out there, just like the little divo he is. Totally unconcerned about me calling him. Perhaps he thought he was on TV!

Well the week got off to a good start with a choir concert on Saturday evening and a repeat performance on Sunday afternoon. This year we off-set our all black trousers and tops with a purple/multi-coloured scarf draped across one shoulder and tied behind us. The concerts were well attended and we all thoroughly enjoyed taking part. Usually we sing to raise money for a charity, and this time it was Fundraising in Arboleas, Caring for Everyone (F.A.C.E.). This photo was taken from their page as I didn't get any myself.
Over the two days we raised 1,100€ for them, which we, and they, were very pleased with.

For the rest of the week I have been busy designing my calendar to sell at church over the next few weeks. This was an excellent fund-raiser last year. I hadn't decided whether or not to do one this year, but I had several requests for one so I had a go. I wanted a prototype ready for a coffee morning today so people could see it and place orders. I now have orders for the first 15 and I know there will be more when I take it into church on Sunday. 
This year I have based it on illustrated verses from the book of Psalms, and I have used mostly my own photographs, and a variety of photomasks, and other elements in Adobe photoshop, to make each page. Here is the page for September to show you what I mean. I wonder whether my sister Jean will recognise the photo. I took it in Poole when I was staying with her last Autumn. 
Because I was expecting to have a table at my friend's coffee morning today, I have also been busy making a few little items to sell. I have already shown you the lace bells and lavender ladies in previous posts, so here are some little fabric angels I made, using an idea I saw on the internet. I made two more in two shades of blue after this photo was taken.
As it turned out I couldn't go today because a hospital appointment I had for 13th November was brought forward to today. So Chris and I drove over to Jasmine's house yesterday to deliver my items, and this morning we went over to the hospital in Almeria. Fortunately I took a friend from Columbia to translate for me. I could have talked to the doctor about the problems I am having, but I would never have understood his rapid explanation and advice. It is nothing too serious; all to do with the arthritis in my shoulders and neck - just problems that come with getting older!  But now I shall have a lot of X-rays and an MRI scan and then see him again early in the new year.
As we drove back from Jasmine's house last night, the light was fading and all along the motorway we watched this lovely sunset on our right.
And at the same time, a huge moon was rising to our left. I tried to take a photo of that as well, but I only had my phone with me and the camera on that was not up to the job. So when I got home, by which time it was quite dark, I took this one, just because it was so beautiful.
I'll close with two photos from the garden. We rarely see a butterfly out here which I am quite sad about, but for this month there are a few around. Mostly they are like the white cabbage butterflies in UK though there is no cabbage for them here. But on Sunday, I went to church as usual and then I had about an hour to 'waste' before going to our choir concert. That is not long enough for me to go home and come back so I took a packed lunch, and because I fancied a quiet hour to myself, I took it to eat up at the fuente beyond the church. It was really peaceful there, and as I ate my lunch I watched the usual white butterflies flitting around, and down almost at ground level, there were loads of tiny brown ones. I had never seen those ones before and it was fascinating to watch them. But yesterday Chris called me to see a much bigger one on our bougainvillea. It was so pretty and rather than flitting around, it sort of glided. I tried so hard to get a photo of it, but it saw me every time I moved, and kept flying on. This very poor picture is the only one I got! But it is enough to see how big, and how lovely it was.
Here in Spain, a butterfly is 'una mariposa'. I think that has a lovely ring to it.
And finally here is my pot of lavender. I planted these back in the Spring, and they did quite well this summer. They died right down after that, but suddenly they have had a new lease of life, and are again covered in flowers. A lot of people out here have lavender plants on their patios because they are supposed to deter the flies. I can't say I have noticed that, but they smell lovely, and I am glad my plants are still thriving.
So that is it for this week. Now it is time to link up with Rocking Your World and Annie's Friday Smiles.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 43

Well I've only been missing for two weeks, but it seems much longer than that. So I am afraid this post is very photo heavy as I try to give you a quick round-up of my time away.
I am sure most of you are aware that the main reason for my trip to UK was to celebrate my 70th birthday with all my family around me, and that is what I did. Everyone was there except for our lovely daughter-in-law Ella, who sadly was too poorly. She really tried to make it, but half way on the drive over, she knew she needed to go back home, so my son took her back and then came on his own. Otherwise, all our children, grand-children and great-grandchildren were there, as well as some friends from our home town, and the group photo is now my blog header for a while.
We had a lovely day together, just chilling, eating, and drinking, and enjoying being together. In fact I was so busy chatting to everyone, that I took very few photos, but here are some of my favourites from what I did take.
Firstly, we did update the "four generations" photo with me, son number two, my grand-daughter, and my two lovely great-grandsons.
Mike and Tom taking charge of the food.
Two of the youngest guests tucking into it.
Ben and Jonathan discussing the possibilities of Ben's new camera.
A father and son moment - our eldest son Jim and his youngest son Amias.
Our grand-daughter Emma and her brother Mikey doing what brother's and sisters do best.
Mummy and Grandad helping little Alfie to bounce his dinner down, watched by 'Great-uncle Tom!
A fire pit is a must when our lot get together. The wood was damp so it took a while to get it going.
We were glad of it when the evening came, for the light it gave us and the warmth.
A bit of sparkle to add to the fun.
My absolute favourite of the day, taken just before we all went home, which proves that it is us oldies that have more stamina than the young ones!! They were so asleep that I managed to climb in and sit between them without them waking up.

The day ended on a high note with some good news for our grandson Amias.  A while ago he was elected as Youth MP for Wolverhampton, and the day before the party he was at a meeting where youth MPs from around the country had the chance to give a speech, in the hope that they might be elected to be a front bench lead speaker in the house of commons on youth parliament day in November. That night, while travelling home on the train, he got the e-mail that said he had been chosen. He is only just 16, so this is a huge achievement for him and we are very proud of him. So is his school, which posted this on facebook.

Sixth  Former  Amias Perry will be speaking from the 

front bench, House of Commons on 10th November as a Youth MP"  
We are hoping it will be televised so we can watch him.


The day after the party, I travelled down from the Midlands to Bournemouth to spend a few days with my sister Jean. It didn't go quite to plan, as we had intended driving over to visit  my oldest sister and her husband who are both 89 now, and also to visit another brother-in-law who has been ill for a few months and was in a nursing home. Sadly he passed away just before my visit, but through a mammoth effort of organisation from my sister and her daughter, they managed to hold his funeral while I was there. I was so grateful that I was able to be there for my sister, and of course, the rest of my sisters and many of our nieces and nephews also attended, so in many ways it was a good time for me, as I got to see even more of the family than planned, albeit at a rather sadder occasion than anticipated.

That left Jean and I with a spare day and the opportunity to do some retail therapy, so I was able to buy a few bits of crafting items, and some winter clothes, always a bonus when I go over there.

On Friday Jean and I flew back to Spain together. I don't choose to sit by the window, as I am not the best traveller and I don't like seeing it when the plane banks to turn around. But as we don't reserve seats for this fairly short flight, I did find myself by the window that day, and it was interesting to watch the cloud formations as we flew over them, until we approached Spain and the sun broke through again.
Jean comes for a rest, a change of eyesight and hopefully some warm weather, and we managed all of those, spending much of our time, sitting outside chatting, or reading together. But I thought it might do us some good to get some exercise too, so we drove down to the sea front and walked the length of the promenade, and back. It was a lovely day and we both paddled along the water edge. (Jean tied her long skirt in a knot at the front to keep it out of the water and I tucked mine in my knickers! Talk about acting your age. That is more like 7 than 70!). The sun and sea breeze did us good and I took a selfie of us while we were there.

Although my party was on 8th October, because this was the only weekend that all the family were free, my actual birthday wasn't until last Tuesday, so that night we went out for a lovely meal. The restaurant we had intended going to was closed, but we went to another favourite haunt of ours, where the food is just as good. 
I had lots of lovely cards, including these ones which were all hand-made.
The beautiful butterfly on the left is Jean's handy-work and the black and white one on the right is  a professional print of some encaustic wax work done by my niece Sally. Both Jean and I have tried encaustic work with very little success, but Sally is a very talented artist, and a card company have accepted her work to print for sale.

On Friday I reminded Chris that he had promised to take me back to Castril in the autumn, so I could go up to the statue that presides over this pretty mountain village. So as it was nice day, we set out  and arrived there around lunch time. The tourist office was open so we did the statue visit first (access is through the tourist office so you can only go up when it is open). There were a lot of steps, but most of it was a steady, straight-forward climb, and worth it to see the view from up there. Chris took this picture just to prove we made it. The thing we noticed most as we looked down into the valley below, was all the areas of bright yellow, which we later found to be plane trees in their autumn colours. It is not something we see a lot out here as there are few deciduous trees down where we are. Of course, Castril is much higher so they get enough rain for lots of trees to thrive.

I am not posting lots of photos of our day as I showed them all when I visited there with my son Tom in August. If you missed that post you can find it HERE.
But here are just two that I particularly liked. 
A rock face that looked very surprised (and not altogether happy) to see me again so soon!

And this one of the water flowing over the top of the rocks. Last time it was as smooth as polished glass, but this time, fallen leaves broke the flow of water so it reflected the light in different ways making this blue and yellow pattern.      As we were walking down to the start of the gorge I saw these two old men and I had to ask if I could take their photo. They smiled and shrugged (as if they thought I was daft), but nodded, so here they are. The one on the left is shelling almonds the 'old way' with a block and hammer. That's hard work. Almonds grow plentifully out here, and for a couple of months you can take them to an almond factory which shells them for you. The shells burn well and are sold on as fuel. But if you just have one tree in your garden, I guess this how you do it. At least he had a friend to talk to as he worked.

We were tired the next day, but we were up early as I had entered a couple of items into the craft section of a community fair up near Albox, and I had to get my entries there by 9.30. We went back home for lunch and then returned in the afternoon and I was pleased to find my 'Sophie blanket' had been awarded first place in the crochet section.

All too soon, Monday came around and it was time to take Jean to the airport for her flight home. It was another early start, and it was still dark when we left home, but I was hoping she would get one more glimpse of the sun before she left. It really tried, but it was a cloudy morning and all we saw was a golden edge to the clouds.
But right at the last minute, it finally did break through. I am glad it did because she said it was cold and miserable when she got home.

I am afraid I didn't even get around to visiting anyone last week, but now I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and have a catch-up on what you have all been doing.