Kate's adventures

Friday, December 15, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 50

I am starting today with a big smile. As you know, I celebrated my 70th birthday in October, and at my family party, the boys told me that they were organising a special present but it wasn't quite ready in time, so to be patient for a while. Well our son came to visit us this week, and he brought it with him. I had no idea what was in the parcel, and it was such a surprise. Here it is.

A set of 'Russian dolls' each painted with a caricature of myself and my five sons. The artist has caught most of us pretty well. I am even wearing my favourite sunflower dress. It was a unique and well thought out present that will continue to make me smile for many years to come. 

We have had a lovely week, that started when we collected Ben and his partner Dave, from their flight to Alicante airport on Friday afternoon. Unfortunately I had to rush off to my last choir practice of the year soon after, but we had a short one and I was home again in plenty of time for us to go to a local karaoke session, where, as usual, Ben kept the crowd happy with his singing.
We took it a bit easier on Saturday and then on Sunday we had our Christmas dinner together - roast turkey and all the trimmings. After a doze, we then went to another karaoke session, but came home early to sleep!
Monday was special because we had one of our 'At home' music nights, that has become a tradition whenever Ben is over. We had twenty guests so the house was full, and the whole evening was a great success. Ben started us off with some of his own songs and piano music, and then did a few covers of popular songs, and then several of the guests took turns with him, singing any song of their choice which Ben cast to our TV so we could all follow the words and join in with the choruses.
This is Ben helping Robin with a song...
And this one shows the room with his piano set up. Ben took it, so the room looks empty as the only chance he got to take any, was when everyone went off to find the food!
After a refreshment break we did it all again, and some of us were still singing into the 'wee small hours'.
Tuesday saw us going out again, this time to the carol concert at our church. It is always a very special time, and this year we had a beautiful solo sung for us by Shaz, which has had a heap of likes when the video was shared on facebook. We all have lit candles for the singing of Silent night at the end, and one of the readers took a quick picture from behind a pillar at the front of the church.
Wednesday was our last night out, and it was for my choir's Friends and Family concert. As usual we sang to a full hall who were a very appreciative audience.
This time we had the same scarves as for the last concert, but they were worn around our shoulders and fixed with a sparkly silver star, which looked very nice for Christmas. We usually have a couple of songs sung by small groups from the choir, so here I am with my group, getting ready to sing "When a Child is Born".
We went straight from the concert to our favourite Chinese restaurant, which just happens to be the next building along the road! We took Ben and Dave there on their last visit and they wanted to go again, and as usual we had an enormous, very tasty meal. Half the choir with their guests were in there too.

Thursday we had a day off, but I had to go out at tea-time because on Tuesday I had a phone call to say my MRI scan was on Thursday at 4.40. Not a very pleasant experience, but I am glad it is done, in plenty of time for the results to be with my consultant when I see him again at the end of January.

Today was the last day for our visitors so this morning we all went down to Garrucha to the big market that is held there every Friday. I haven't been to that one for ages, and I enjoyed wandering through all the stalls. Ben and I bought dried liquorice and mint to make our favourite tea, I bought lovely fresh vegetables, and we all bought jumpers, slippers etc, so it was a good trip. We then wandered down to the sea front to walk along to where the car was parked. It was the warmest day of the week, though probably not beach weather, and the sun was shining down from a blue sky, onto a long stretch of empty sand. That's the Spain I like.

All week the weather has been kind except for Monday when we were stroked by the very edge of storm Ana, the first storm in Spain to have been given a name. They were hit hard further north, but we just got a night of very high wind when everything rattled and banged, plants were over-turned and the pool was covered with garden debris. Then we had some much needed rain, but it didn't last. All the other days have been quite warm enough for us all to sit outside in the sun, reading and playing games on our lap-tops. By evening we have been glad to come in, close all the shutters and light the fire. I have been watching my home town in UK as it struggles with very cold weather and an unusually heavy fall of snow. I hope everyone is keeping safe and warm.
After our trip to the market we came home and had a cuppa while the menfolk packed their bags, and then we all went to the near-by campsite for our regular  Friday Fish and Chip dinner. Then we drove into Vera to see them onto their bus. They were going on to Benidorm for another week before returning to UK. It was windy in the bus station. Here are Chris and I, with Ben,  huddling up together while we waited for the bus. Dave took the picture. I look a bit wind-swept!

In the odd moments of this busy week I have been trying to finish off my last Christmas craft project, and last night it was finally done. I made a tree from thin card. It was a very clever cutting file that I bought from svgcuts, and cut on my silhouette cameo machine. It is lit from inside and looks really pretty. It was a fiddle to put the final pieces together, but I was determined to do it, and I am quite pleased with it now it is done.
And finally some sky photos all taken today. While we were in Vera bus station I noticed an interesting cloud formation. (I know there is a special name for it, but I can't remember what it is!).
A few more of these circles started to form, but then they slowly 'unformed' again, and drifted away.
An hour or so later as the sky darkened, there was a ferocious looking sun set. I can see him. Can you?
As usual, nothing stays the same for long and soon it changed into another, slightly less intimidating face, ...
... and eventually settled into a beautiful red sky  (I can still see a face in it, but that may just be me!), which soon faded to dark blue, and disappeared.

Hopefully this will be a quieter week, but not too quiet as tomorrow afternoon we are collecting our Grandson from his flight. He will be with us all over Christmas, and goes home on 30th December. So I am hoping we will get a few more days of sunshine for him.
Now I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles, and Rocking Your World, and then go and find us some tea.

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 appliqu├ęd 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.