Friday, May 26, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 21

As a young girl I had the song "The Lion Sleeps tonight" in my very limited collection of records which I played on an old Dansette player donated by an older sister, and I would sing it top volume up in my room, all the time. So when I saw this on Facebook this week, it really made me smile. I hope most of you can remember it, and appreciate the picture too.

And while on the subject of lions and Facebook, Fb has a habit of starting your day posting a memory from your page, which only you can see unless you share it. I normally pass over mine, but apparently it is just three years since this 'little lion' joined our family. The vet deemed him to be around three years old, and he was in a very sorry state as he had been living rough for some time. Just before I took this photo he had been sedated to have most of his body fur shaved off, while he was bathed and treated for various parasites, and he had been sterilized. So no wonder he doesn't look very happy. He was also very thin and mal-nurished.
He may not look it (he can't help the shape of his face!), but he is a much happier and healthier fellow now. My son soon learned that Tango loves to be rubbed under his chin, and he sat and nursed him for ages.

And here is one extra smile, for me and my family members who read this blog. As I looked at today's date, I realised that it would have been my dad's 110th birthday! Sadly he lost his fight with cancer over thirty years ago, six weeks before my fourth son was born, but it still makes me smile to think of him. He taught me all I know about gardening, and introduced me to the wonder of baby frogs in the pond, and the insects that still fascinate me. I wonder what you would have thought of all the tropical flowers and strange bugs we have out here dad. This photo was taken at my marriage to Chris, before the illness took hold , and it is how I like to remember him.

It hasn't been the very best week this week as we had to say 'Good-bye' to our son Ben and his partner Dave on Thursday, and I really miss having them around. But also, the throat virus that really knocked me back in January, has come back to haunt me. I knew I had a sore throat a couple of weeks ago but I hoped it was just a bit of irritation because of the wind, pollen and dust, but it gradually got worse. It was good in a way that the boys were here, because they kept me going. Fortunately they came out only wanting to relax, so we mostly sat around on the patio, them in the sun to build up a tan, and me in the shade. I decided it wasn't wise to join Ben in the pool, but he had a dip most days.

As I have mentioned before, he does love to sing, so last Friday night we went into a different karaoke bar in Turre where we had been told there were some semi-professional singers most weeks. Sure enough, the standard was high, but Ben held his own among them and had a really good night. One of his 'party pieces' is the song Anthem from Chess, but it is not often available at karaoke sessions. However the man doing it in this place had access to the internet and was able to bring up the backing track. There were no words but Ben knows them so that didn't matter. When he started singing it the whole bar went quiet to listen, which doesn't often happen, and he got a huge round of applause at the end.

On Friday, Ben and Dave celebrated their anniversary - nearly thirteen years together, and five since their Civil partnership ceremony, but since they wanted to go to the karaoke session that night, we decided to go out for a special meal on Saturday. We told them about a few of our favourite eating places near here and they went to look and settled on a little Italian place in between Mojacar Playa and Pueblo. It is years since we ate there, but I am pleased to say the food was as good as we remembered, the setting was lovely, and the staff friendly and efficient, so it was a good meal. We took photos of each other across the table.
When we left the restaurant, the sun was just setting behind the hills, and it looked so lovely. Shame about all the pylons and posts!

We drove home along the sea front and stopped for a short stroll along the promenade to wear some of our dinner off. I love the sea in the evening when there is a pearly pink tint in the sky and everywhere looks so peaceful.

I am glad to say the weather was perfect for their holiday, hot, but comfortable to sit out in. They were both sensible about using sun cream and went home looking very tanned and like you should after a good holiday. They only sat out in it for half-hour stints and then came back into the shade for a while, and we all embraced the wonderful Spanish tradition of afternoon siestas!

Now though, it is hotting up rapidly with temperatures well over 30ยบ and I have got all the ceiling fans going. And of course, this means the end of all the green we have been enjoying this Spring. The green zone behind our house is now covered in dead brown weeds. One of the grasses is taller than the rest and it has open, white seed heads almost like a field of oats. They look very pretty but soon they will fall over and be trodden down by the children who play there, and folk walking their dogs. The orange trees are almost ever-green, but because this area is neglected, they too will mostly drop their leaves eventually, but at least for now they remain green.

A few weeks ago I showed how the rain had caused little seedlings to appear around the orange and other fruit trees next door, and soon they were surrounded by a green carpet. Now it looks like a waste land.
The house is on the market, so, as the owner doesn't live here now, she employs men to keep the grounds tidy, so any day now they will come in with a rotavator and it will all be cleared, leaving just brown mud again.
Where her land joins ours, there have been some very pretty wild flowers but they too have gone to seed. One plant that grows all over the campo starts with pink flowers that gradually turn purple and then a deep blue, and sometimes it has all three colours showing on one plant. It is very pretty but someone warned me not to pick it as the hairs on the stems and leaves can be a strong irritant. Now there are mostly just the blue flowers left.

But not everything is getting scorched by the sun. I regularly get the hose out in the evening, alternating between the front and back areas of garden, and our tall pink rose is showing its appreciation of my attention, and is looking really good, though most of the other roses are coming to an end now.

We had to get up a bit earlier than usual on Thursday to drive the boys over to Murcia airport. We left home at 7.30 just as the sun was breaking through a light layer of cloud, and as we drove along, it gradually got stronger. I tried to catch it on camera, but it is never easy taking photos from a moving car. This is about the best one. 

We were back home by 11.00 and since then I have mostly laid on the settee and slept. The meds I have been taking for my headache and sore throat make me very sleepy. But this morning I thought I had better do something useful before I dozed off again, so  sorted out my yarn stash. I was working on my blanket the other night and I ran out of a colour wool that I was sure I had more of, but I couldn't find it. I have limited choice of wool out here, and it is in thicknesses that I am not used to, with no patterns designed to use with it, so it is difficult to adjust the tension and judge what size I should be doing. So I mainly order wool on-line from UK, and I stick to one make so that I can use it in any combination. It comes in a huge 85 different colours and I try to have at least one ball of each colour in my store. So the first thing I did was to tip everything out and arrange it along the setee in colour groups. Here are the blues, purples, greens, red and pinks.
Over on the other setee are the yellows, oranges, browns and neutrals.
I then sorted out what I will need to finish the two projects I am currently working on, made a note of any colour that I have less than a full ball of, and any that I have none of, and then I put it away in the big organza bags that my orders arrive in, with one bag for each colour group, so now it will be much easier to look for a certain colour when I want it. (I did find a ball of the one I wanted the other night). I have to confess, I then went to my computer and ordered the new colours and the ones I am low on, so my collection will soon be compete again!

Now my eyes are drooping again, so I will link up with Rocking Your World, and Annie's Friday Smiles, and have another early night.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 20

Hi. I am here with a fast but photo heavy post. We are going out in an hour so here goes. I'll start with my Smile of the week - our son Ben wearing my straw sun hat because he needed to shade his eyes to read his book.

Ben and his partner Dave arrived last Saturday morning and were immediately thrown into village life as it was the fiesta for San Isidro.  There were local horse owners riding through the streets, as well as the village band playing.

After a mass at the church, they followed a small cart bearing the statue of San Isidro, as it made its way through the streets and up to the sports-recreational area at the top of the village.
We arrived in time to find a space for our chairs, and we joined the many families who had gathered to enjoy what was a beautiful, sunny day.
The highlight is the 'Grand Paella' traditionally provided by the Town Hall, which is free to all comers. Because San Isidro is the saint of the poorer villagers who are agricultural workers and fishermen, the paella is decorated with flowers made from fruit and it looks lovely.
At around 2.00 everyone lines up and huge portions are handed out to everyone along with bread, and we all find a corner to sit and eat, in the shade of a tree if possible. Our visitors enjoyed their's.
After that we went back to the house so Ben and Dave could have a siesta, as they had left home at 4.00 that morning to get to the airport. (We had a siesta too but in fairness we had to leave at 8.30 to go and collect them).

Well rested we set off for Turre for a karaoke session at a little bar we have been to before - because Ben does love to sing. It turned out that there was a big function in Turre that night so there were far less people than usual in the bar, so he ended up singing at least a dozen songs, which were very much appreciated.
It was almost midnight when we got home but we had a wander up to the top of our road to see how the village folk finish off their fiesta celebration. A stage is built across the road and band with singers entertain from around 11.30 until the early hours of the next morning. Spanish folk love to dance, and there were several couples 'getting into the groove' just below the stage.
Although it was so late, there were people milling around, and the street was quite crowded up by the stage. There were a couple of street bars set up, so we stayed for a drink and then we left them to have a good time and went home to bed.

Ben is keen to get back to full fitness after his cycling accident in February so he is following a running schedule that he wanted to keep going while he is over here. It is a bit warm for running now, but he has done very well. This was his facebook post after his first run. At least he took time to appreciate the pretty jacaranda trees in full bloom along the front of the village.
As you can see, he has also made good use of our pool, so it was worth Chris' while to get it in Summer condition, ready for their visit.

Since his run, the main road has been somewhat disrupted as they have finally started work on a roundabout that has been promised for months, if not years. Opposite the village there is an urbanisation called Huerta Nueva (New orchard/garden), and it is difficult to cross the busy main road to get to its lead-in road. There have been some fatal accidents there, and it was decided to build a roundabout which will make access easier and slow down the heavy lorries that use that road to get down to Garrucha docks. As we understand it, there will, be pedestrian access to H.N. via a pelican traffic light system, giving pedestrians priority over traffic. We will see when it is all done. Here is an aerial photo of the road posted by the local authority. The white circle shows where the roundabout will be, and if you click on it to enlarge it, directly to the right of it there is a small blue cross which marks where our house is.
The project is going to take two months to complete, but I think it will be a real improvement when it is done.

We have sort of been alternating between eating at home one day, and out the next, and last night we decided to have a barbecue at home. Our barbecue is housed inside a small enclosure which gives the 'chef' some shade from the mid-summer sun which can make manning it quite an ordeal. Last night Ben took on the role of chef and a good job he made of it too.

Markets are not dad's idea of a fun way to pass the time, but this morning I took Ben and Dave to the market in Garrucha. They took the chance to buy a couple of shirts etc and then we walked back to the car along the sea-front. They have been together for almost 13 years, and five years ago they had a Civil Partnership ceremony. Today is their fifth anniversary so here is their anniversary photo taken with the gravel barge in Gurrucha harbour in the background.
We were going out for a celebration meal tonight but we decided to defer it until tomorrow so we could go for another karaoke session tonight.

So now I must go and get ready but I will leave you with one more photo. Not a sun set this time. Instead it a perfect sun-halo that we spotted yesterday, apparently made by the sun's rays passing through ice crystals in the cirrus clouds around it. It was an interesting sight to see.

Now I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and will be back tomorrow to read all your happy posts.