Friday, July 21, 2017

Rocking Your Wold 2017; Week 29

Well I had better warn you that this week's post is a bit photo heavy, so I will keep the description to a minimum. It is a continuation from last week, sharing bits of the fiesta that we enjoyed, and I will say here that although most of the photos are my own, a few are taken from the Town Hall's own site. Their official photographer is good, and sometimes get better photo opportunities than I do.

So we will start with last Friday night. After writing my blog, I went into town to watch the children do their traditional dancing. They are a new dance school run by a couple of young girls, so most of the members are very young, but they put on an excellent show, and one or two are real characters and kept us all smiling throughout their performance.
After the evening entertainment there is always an hour or so break while the night time musicians set up, do sound checks etc, and it is fun to sit around on the plaza, with a drink and a tapa if you want one, and just watch the people milling around. There is always such a happy atmosphere at the fiesta.
I like to look up through the lights and lanterns as the sky darkens. They are so pretty.
Temperatures have definitely been in the upper thirties this week, and Saturday was so, so hot!. They even cancelled one event with the small children, we assume because it was scheduled for the hottest part of the afternoon. However we had planned to go an event and am glad we made ourselves leave the relative cool of the house to go, because it was such fun. We only had to walk to the next street to Simon's bar, where a huge green net across the street formed a tunnel of shade. Along each side there were pierced hose that kept us sprayed with a fine mist. We hadn't had lunch - the heat kind of saps your appetite, so we started with a drink and tapa. This was my healthy lunch Spanish style - tomatoes with olives and garlic, and of course, bread.
As everyone was finishing eating I saw this large contraption being wheeled to one end of the 'tunnel'. Do you know what it is?
It is a foam machine and what fun it was. The children had mostly come prepared and soon stripped off to their swimming costumes, and before long, soft soapy foam was being pumped into an area for them to play in. Some needed a bit of coaxing to get involved, but soon everyone was enjoying it.
When the children were growing tired and parents were taking them home, the machine was turned up a notch and it was time for the adults to take the plunge. I didn't hesitate of course!
It felt lovely, so soft and cool, and the solution had a stabiliser in it, because it didn't disintegrate for a while. Then a friend asked Chris to come in too, so he could take a photo of them, and they in turn took one of us.
Every now and then the machine was turned off to rest, and I thought it had finished so I was turning back to the bar when suddenly a huge wall of foam came right over me. I have to admit I panicked a bit. I hate having anything over my face, and when I breathed I was breathing in foam. I was quite disorientated and I shouted at Chris to clear my face, but he laughed and just went on videoing me. Men!
But it was all in good fun. Then the party got a bit boisterous with water pistols and water bombs being aimed at folk so we were all soaked through by the time we went home. But at least we were cool!

Sunday night was the main fiesta; the actual day for our patron saint, Virgen del Carmen, so at 8.00 there was a mass in her honour on the plaza. Many of the villagers dress up for this and I love to see them in their beautiful dresses. All the tiny children run around in 'Flamenco style' clothes, even babies in pushchairs are often dressed up.
And the older girls look stunning. This was one of my favourites from the dresses I saw this year.
Not everyone participates in the mass, but there are a lot who do, and others who sit or stand around the edge to watch. It begins when the statue of the Saint is carried down from the church to the plaza, accompanied by the town band, and a procession of villagers.
The choir are already in place on the stage - wearing bright red dresses this year. Once the statue is in place, a long line of folk queue to give a flower tribute to her, and these are placed around her 'throne' and on a cart at the side.
To give you an idea of how many people were there, this was my view from where I was standing towards the back.
And here is the opposite view taken from on the stage.
The mass is led by our village priest who is a lovely man. I listen to his talk and am often surprised by how much I can understand.
As it ended we slipped away to find a quieter spot and indulge in my own fiesta tradition of a mojito in a quiet bar. Yum-yum!
And so the sun set on another fiesta. 
The music continued for one last night, ending around 7-00 on Monday morning. Because the Saint's day fell on a Sunday, Monday was also a Red day (or public holiday), so no-one had to get up for work, but by night-fall, most of the rides were packed up and ready to roll, the bars were dismantled, and the rubbish lorries were out clearing the streets. Now you would never know it had happened.

A couple of other things have happened this week. After our 'foam fun' Chris suggested we get away from the noise for the evening and he took me to a lovely Italian restaurant on the edge of Mojacar, and we had an excellent meal, - all the better for being unexpected.

On Wednesday I had a follow-up appointment at the hospital for my arthritic shoulders, and because I had been tardy about booking a translator, I had to wing it myself. It went really well. The doctor had a smattering of English, so between us we had a good chat. She was concerned about my swollen knuckles, and lack of mobility in my neck, so she has referred me to the rheumatoid arthritis consultant just to check. She also prescribed some better pain killers for me so it was a very positive session.

Earlier in the week, we booked our flights to UK in October so I can have a family party for my 70th birthday. And I am then going on to spend a few days with my sisters down South, and then bringing my sister Jean back with me for a week, so lots to look forward to there.

Today I went to the ferreteria and bought an 'industrial strength' fan for my craft room. It is doing its best to blow me out the window right now, but it is lovely and cool.

And finally, here is an update on the new roundabout at the front of the village. The men pulled out all the stops to get it finished before the fiesta, and very smart it looks too.
We now have a wide, safe crossing, governed by traffic lights, to get us across the busy main road, so as soon as it is a little cooler we will be walking the dogs that way in the mornings.
The village name is mounted at both ends of the oval, and there are eight tall lights keeping it visible. There are a group of hibiscus plants between each pair of olive trees, which are already in flower, and where the road divides into lanes, the new little islands are covered in artificial grass - just visible at the right of my photo. It all looks very good and the traffic is moving well around it, so job well done!

And that's it for this week. So I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World. Thank you for staying with me for this marathon. I'll see you all again next week.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Rocking Your World: Week 28

This is going to be a short and sweet post as it has been so  hot here this week that I have done as little possible. Also it is Fiesta week in our village, so from tea-time onwards, it is very noisy with three main sources of music all vying with one another to be the loudest, and they don't stop until at least 6.00 a.m. the next morning. With being away in UK for a week, we had not realised how close to the fiesta we were, but on the first morning we were back, our usual route out of the village was temporarily blocked by this lorry.
The man is busy putting up the lights that are strung across all the streets. Of course, now the fiesta has started they do look very pretty. This is a particularly colourful one this year.
Wednesday was the first night, when for a few hours, all the fairground rides are a bit cheaper for the children, so there were lots of young families milling around. We went over for an hour or two, and although not all the stalls are open on that night, there was still a good crowd out to enjoy it.
We will be going over later tonight to watch the local school of dancing children doing their traditional Flamenco display. And there will be other things to enjoy over the weekend, ending with a big open-air mass on Sunday evening.

With rather disturbed nights we have been making sure we have a siesta in the afternoon, though some days it has been too hot to laze outside. The pool is a welcome way to cool down around midnight, and the aircon makes the bedroom bearable even though we turn it off when we go to bed. This is the only week all year that we sleep with the bedroom windows closed, but we do have the ceiling fan on all night to keep the air moving.

During July and August, most of the usual groups and clubs have a break, so we have some time to catch up on all the jobs that have been left undone for months. So this week, Chris has drastically pruned a tree in the corner of our yard, and while he was cutting, I was shredding it to make it easier to dispose of all the branches. Then yesterday we tackled the small back strip of yard outside the kitchen door, and moved a tall plastic storage shed from the far end, up to the middle to stand next to one that was already in place there. Of course this meant emptying it and sorting through everything. We found ancient tins of paint and varnish, tail ends of garden treatments, a box of light bulbs and one of string. We worked on the premise that anything we haven't used since we arrived over nine years ago, can probably be disposed of! The second shed is used to house the boxes of dog food, and also all my plastic boxes and containers that I can never quite throw away. But I sorted those out too and did manage to dispose of two carrier bags full, so we now have two tidy cupboards, and a much neater yard.
Recently we bought three other storage units, similar to the big ones but only half height which run all along the wall of the house now to store big cooking pans, electrical 'gadgets' and anything else that I struggled to find a home for in the kitchen. So the yard is really my extended kitchen and everything is much easier to access now, so I am pleased with it.
This yard strip becomes much narrower at the front end, where it runs alongside the side of our garage, and the cupboard we moved had been used as a barrier across this while the dogs were puppies. They don't need that now, so we were happy to move it. There is still a low fence panel across there, and as soon as it is cool enough to work out there again, we are going to remove it, and a few of the crazy-paving blocks, and plant a couple of climbing flowers to hopefully ramble across the garage door.
The only other thing of note that I have managed this week, is to make a double batch of piccalilli and one batch of hot chili and ginger jam! Chris said I was mad to attempt it in this heat, but I have several orders for both, and I had promised to try and get some made. For the piccalilli, all the vegetables have to be cut up and left to soak in salt overnight, before they are rinsed and cooked, so I sat out in the porch all evening peeling and chopping. It is actually fairly quick and easy to finish it off the next day. The chili and ginger one has quite a lot of garlic in it too and it makes the kitchen smell for days afterwards. But my cupboard is well stocked now and supplies should last until the Autumn.

Most months I make a card to enter in the Butterfly Challenge, and as I won this challenge a few months back, I was asked to be a guest designer for one challenge, so this week was my time. The challenge was to make a card with at least one butterfly on it, and using the themes of M for Matching pair, and/or the colour Orange peel. I wanted a cheerful card to send to someone, so that is what I made. This was my design, and you can read more about it on my craft blog by clicking here.
And that is it for this week. It is time now to get some tea and head over for the dancing. Virginia is taking a couple of weeks off, so I am just linking up with Annie's Friday Smiles for this week.