Thursday, August 22, 2019

Unappreciated gift

Cats are renowned for showing us their love by bringing us presents.
With 10 furries we do get our fair share at times.

When I was hosting the needlework retreats at the farm we only had the one cat, but she never lost the opportunity to be part of the picture.
One lunch time as we were all around the table chatting away,  she strolled in with a live baby rabbit, holding it by the scruff. After strutting around for awhile she then let it go.
We had to stop everything to round it up and return it to the fields whilst she just sat preening herself with a satisfied grin on her face.
When ever MIL visited she would always present her with a mouse, MIL hates mice at the best of times and would be on the lookout for one of her ´pressies´
Occasionally she would bring a bird but funny enough she would never touch the hens or chicks or even the ducklings, she always gave them a wide berth, head and tail up in the air showing no interest.

Of course here there is a wide range for them to try to play with or catch as we live in the campo, including crickets, mice, voles, tree rats, lizards etc.
Monster surpassed himself the other evening, luckily I had already gone to bed, when he trotted into the lounge, proud as punch,  with this dangling from his mouth

It was about two and a half feet long, a bit skinny, but never the less, still a snake.
Not sure if it was poisonious, but he had killed it luckily 
Thank goodness Chris was still up, couldn´t bear to think what would have happened if he had brought his present to the bedroom.

A few years ago Amber had brought a very live and angry one in to the craft room, but she soon decided that her new playmate was not very happy when it kept rearing and spitting at her. So she dropped it, turned tail and headed outside, leaving us with the task of trying to locate its where abouts amongst all the drawers and craft materials.
We did find it, but had to clear the room to do so, we put it in a large plastic box to dispose of it.
I do not like snakes, never have, so whilst I would be able to deal with most other things I would certainly have turned tail and ran.

Thank you for your gift Monster, but next time don´t bother.......

Chris has continued to revamp some of the old family photos, painstakingly repairing and researching colours of buildings etc.
This is his latest one

Certainly brings it to life

Better be off as I have something new on the needles that I am trying......
take care

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


We were invited to join our friends at Maria´s for a meal last Friday as it was Leslie´s birthday
We spent a lovely evening dining and chatting, especially as the evening cooled to a reasonable temperature. 
I also received 65e as a result of some of my jewelry items being sold.
Nothing like selling something to give you the incentive of making some more.
Maria is quite happy to display my board without any commission as she says it gives an added interest to the place.

I try to keep the prices reasonable, as I would rather sell the pieces, covering basic costs of materials with a little for time. You never seem to recoup all the time costs involved when hand making items, but every little helps and there is no point in having loads of beads sitting in a drawer when they could make a few pennies.

I decided to make something a little more chunky and came up with this necklace and bracelet set

Various shapes picked at random

I also made a collection of  spiral bracelets but in smaller sizes, more for childrens or smaller wrists.

Although they are made with the same basic pattern, I love the way they all look so different with the various bead combinations.
I have to think outside the box on some of the colours as they are not really ones I would wear

It certainly whiled away the hours as its been too hot to be outside (up to 39C)
Just need to put them on the display board and hope they sell.

take care

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Peace after the fiesta

Peace and tranquility has returned to the plaza
I enjoy sitting first thing of a morning in the courtyard, a cup of tea in hand with just the insects buzzing and the birds twittering, a gentle breeze wafting the heady scent of the Jasmine around and a reasonably cool 26C before it hots up (currently 33)

A week before, the council come around and strim all the edges to the road, paint the stage, then the bins and the charanguito (pop up bar) get delivered and next years festeros stock it up
The festeros arrive early Friday evening and decorate the plaza and set tables etc up 

,Friday evening we had a reasonable band providing music after the ´meal´ although they didn´t start until after 11pm and finished around 2.30am.
Snacks such as monkey nuts, plates of pickled veg with olives, gherkins, onions etc are laid out with water melon slices followed with the traditional cake and Muscatel wine, with everyone tucking into their picnics.

 The beer and wine is also free, although no one takes advantage, the charanguito sell spirits, soft drinks and coffee and the proceeds go towards next years fiesta.

After the meal, the tables are cleared and the dancing begins

This is the beer station

Saturday follows a similar vein, although the band wasn´t quite so good and they were still packing away at 3.45am

Sunday morning is the church service followed by next years festeros being given huge slabs of cake with a red carnation in it. Iced lemon drinks are served (rather like slush puppies) then the childrens races with a prize for every child, the winner of the adults races are given a live rooster, quite what they do with them afterwards I don´t know! 
There is a lull until early evening when the traditional Spanish dancers give a display

The video was taken from our courtyard balcony, birds eye view!

The duo played for a while during the meal and again afterwards
They were upbeat and really enjoyable to listen to

They do like their sequence dancing and were happy to play whilst people wanted to dance. This was about 1am

I must admit I did give up by midnight and headed home, absolutely bushed
As usual, everything had been cleared away and collected by Tuesday, with just the streamers to take down

Our friends came up from the nearby town of Jalon for a couple of the evenings and said we were lucky as their fiesta goes all week long with music not finishing till 6am, don´t know how they do it.
No wonder everything here either closes for August or are on reduced hours. Even any building work, unless it´s a public building, is forbidden

I think the pool beckons
take care

Friday, August 2, 2019

Busy weekend

On our last trip to the UK we managed to go to the cinema to see Rocket Man which we both enjoyed so when Chris heard of the film Yesterday, he really wanted to see it.
We thought we would have to wait until it came out on DVD blueray, but we found out it was being shown for a one off performance at the Casa de Cultura in Calpe.

The venue was very comfortable and it was shown in English but with Spanish sub titles,
It was really funny as we both found ourselves reading the sub titles as well as listening.

It was a good film, although there were a couple of places in the story that were a bit weird

We were pleased to have caught it, although I think he will still get the DVD

It´s all going to kick off here in a few hours time as it is the fiesta, it seems to have come around again so fast.
3 days of partying, very late nights, the bands will not start until after the food, usually about 11pm
and some go on till 3am.
So definitely have to have some siestas to combat the sleep deprivation.

We shall be rounding up the furries soon and shutting them in, they hate it, but there are so many cars and people they could easily come to harm, especially as some of them can´t resist sneaking into buildings that are usually kept locked up.
Last weekend they were cleaning the church and I found Thomas mooching around being noisy and shooed him back home again.

Have a good weekend whatever you are doing
take care

Thursday, July 25, 2019

BBQ night

Last Saturday was BBQ night in the plaza
No one turns up very early here and to start with there were only a few but by about 10pm the numbers grew.

People share their picnics, which can vary from the delicious to the weird
Someone was making a huge pot of some alcoholic concoction, finely sliced turnips went in, spices, lemon etc and would you believe 4 bottles of dark rum and copious amounts of sugar.
I had a sip, well it would be rude not too, nearly blew my head off 
Rosada and fizzy water suited me just fine.

Chris had set up earlier on the stage

and he continued playing till about 12.45 when everyone started to clear up and drift away.
By the time we had packed up and Chris had chilled out a bit it was nearly 3am before we got to bed!. What a long night.....

I haven´t been doing very much on the craft front, but when we were clearing cupboards out at Mum´s I found quite a few balls of yarn, so I scooped them up and decided to make a few beanies for the homeless with them. I made a few last year and they were well received.
This one I started whilst staying at Rebecca´s, but I didn´t have a darning needle to finish it and I left it there for another visit

Another one on the needles

Easy to pick up at any time

This little blanket is another one of those projects - as and when

My kids loved the story of the Hungry caterpillar and ours was a well thumbed version
I have made several of these for Rebecca´s friends children
Here is the latest one

We also lopped 6" of the tealight, so now we have one for the table too

I believe Deramores are having a 30% sale today, so I might just go and have a browse
Have a great weekend
take care

Friday, July 19, 2019

Cocos sunflower

Ages ago we were asked to look after Marias cockatiel, then she decided she didn´t want her returned, so Coco became a permanent resident.

The furries basically ignore her, even when she is out flying around, as she has a very sharp beak and is not afraid to use it.

She has a mix of bird food and sunflower seeds and Chris is in the habit of emptying her bowl into a garden waste container, a few weeks ago I spied a rouge plant growing, rescued and potted it up.
This is what grew

We hope to harvest the seeds then Coco can have a few treats.

This photo was taken back in 1971 when I was 14 and had just met Chris at the local youth club.
He was well into his photography even then, back in the days when you had to wait to finish the roll of film before developing. Although he did have a dark room up in his familys loft for black and white prints. This was a slide that he has turned into a photo.

Can´t believe the long white socks with hot pants!
We found all sorts of photos whilst searching for ones for Mums video

Enjoy your weekend
take care

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Garden ornament

When we bought our finca the bottom garden was full of algarve cactus plants, all quite mature and gradually over the years they have sent out huge flower stalks, quite spectacular, however once flowered the plant then dies, so we cleared the area ready to start a new type of garden.

They were also growing at the entrance to our drive, along the terraces, a couple of years ago one of them flowered and after chopping the stem down we stored it away.
I had an idea of turning it into some sort of garden feature (watching too many Garden Rescues I think)

At last we have done something with it, varnishing and making recess holes in the tops

A tea light holder
Personally I feel the tallest one is a little too tall, but its a bit late now unless we get the chainsaw out
These lengths are all from one stem and there is still another 5ft of small stem left
Shows you how tall it grows

take care

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Music with tapas

Well I am happy to say that Antoni is very slowing on the mend and managed to get to London with Rebecca driving to Hammersmith and a short train journey.
He attended his interview, which lasted over two and a half hours, meeting all sorts of top brass and left with the promise of a proposal.

He is so chuffed that he got the job, it will give him great scope to grow a new department and the fringe benefits were quite generous too. He is working remotely for some of the week which will cut down the travel costs, such a relief he has secured the immediate future for them.

We are hoping he will visit the GP for a referral for physio, but in the mean time Rebecca has found some stretching and strenghening exercises on the NHS web site so hopefully he can get on with those.

Last night we ventured further up the mountain to the restaurant that Chris used to play at regularly, the new owners invited him to play for their tapas evening.

There was a nice gentle breeze on the terrace, cooling everyone as we have been having quite high temps of late, last week we reached 39.5C, but even the 34/35 is still a wee bit hot.

The tapas were delicious, a set menu of 6 with a bottle of wine to share for 19.95e per couple
A refreshing salad was an extra 3.50 but it was very tasty.
Although they had had cancellations the ones that were there stayed all evening listening to Chris play, it was a lovely evening.
One couple were over for a holiday from New Zealand and lived very close to where Chris used to and were in the entertainment/tourist industry, so knew all of the places he used to play, so he enjoyed catching up with all that. 

It looks like Chris will have a Friday night spot again, he does enjoy doing it

The tapas were pork slices with honey, tiny chorizo sausages, calamari, deep fried camembert, pate with caramalized onions and pea sprouts and a beef meatball. 

Hmm back to normal fare today then lol
take care

Friday, July 12, 2019

So disappointing

Rebecca, Antoni and his sister Daisy were all booked for a 10 days visit starting last Monday
Antoni had a very important job interview in London in the morning and they were due to fly in the evening.
Then disaster struck!
Antoni was all ready to don his suit and leave when his back just twanged and gave out
He ended up on the floor of the bedroom, racked with terrible back spasms every few minutes.
They decided to call an ambulance, who took 15 minutes of talking before they decided they would send one, then saying it could be between 1-2 hours wait.
The paramedics arrived after about an hour and were surprised at the severity of the spasms, so first it was gas and air, then some relaxant then morphine.
Nothing touched it, so they fetched a stretcher, rolled him on his side then back on the stretcher, lifted him on the bed and did the reverse. Arranged for a prescription, said there was nothing more they could do, and left!
So there he was, stranded like a beached whale in agony.
The meds still didn´t help so they called 999 again and were told to ring the GP for out of hours doctors, when she finally got through she was told the surgery was closed and they didn´t offer that service.!?
So back to 999 who arranged for one of theirs to ring, he upped the meds, said it was ridiculous they hadn´t given him pain meds and no he wouldn´t visit as it would take him 2 hours to get there, but faxed a prescription to their nearest Asda pharmacy for collection.
Talk about feeling dumped
The next day he was just the same and we were getting worried because he hadn´t been able to visit the bathroom or use the bed pan they had left him.
The meds slowly kicked in and things improved a tiny bit.
Rebecca went out and bought a back brace and yesterday he managed to get downstairs wearing it and be in the car for a little ride, in preparation for today to attend his missed interview.
Goodness me, you couldn´t make it up
We are all gutted that the trip was cancelled,
 Rebecca was so looking forward to ´coming home´ and relaxing, and of course Antoni was gutted to have spoilt it all, being told that these things happen and it wasn´t his fault was of little comfort to him.
We have turned it around into positives that Antoni gets his interview and have rescheduled the trip to the beginning of September. We shall just have to be patient and wait to have our huggles and cuddles and be content with phone and skype calls.

take care 

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Fiesta time again

Last weekend was the reenactment of the Mores and Christians fiesta in our local town of Benissa.

They really go to town with these, with the main town closing for days and the car park being used for the castle. Each year the costumes change with the most elaborate finishes
It begins on Friday with marching bands and continues Saturday and Sunday with thunderous blunderbuses, parades, storming of the castle and retaliation, on through till Monday. All very late nights and usually packed with onlookers.
We had a friend staying, so Chris took him down to enjoy the fun.

Not really my thing as you have to stand for hours with the crowd and it´s just plain ear bashingly noisy.
Thought you might like to see some piccies of it........erm there´s quite a lot!!!!

They really love the blunderbuses and fire crackers

Then they move into the narrow side streets where it is even louder, you also get covered in hot spent gunpowder if you are not careful!

It is quite something to see, and each night everything is cleared and cleaned and you would never know anything had been going on apart from the props.

All back to normal now, we can use the square, cafes and shops, until the next time

take care

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Party time

The day before the party, we took Mum to Old Basing and went on to Reading to collect last minute items and the flowers. There is a flower stall in the main street where Rebecca had placed my order. I picked statice, small carnations, gyp, some bell shaped ones (don´t know the name) and the huge bouquet we wanted to present to her. We had our arms full and the total price was only 35.00, extremely good value.
Then on to Rebecca´s where I spent most of the evening decorating the glass jars for the table posies and assembling the decorations that I had flat packed in my case.
I invested in a new glue gun which was waiting for me, so glad I did would have been very hard without it. It also worked so much better than my old one.

Daniel, Shine and the girls were supposed to join us for dinner, but when they went to collect the cake, there had been a misunderstanding about the collection day so they had to wait for it to be decorated, that got us in a bit of a tizz and they didn´t arrive till after midnight.

Saturday we were up early, packed and off to the venue to decorate

The place is centuries old complete with working water mill, the room had low beams which made hanging the decs much easier.

Luckily we had Rebecca, Antoni, Daniel, Shine and SIL, Jo helping, we were gluing, blowing up balloons, at least I remembered a pump, stringing, sprinkles for the tables, I mixed up the coloured water using acrylic paints and took it in bottles so we made 14 posies. The girls were enjoying themselves playing with balloons and ´helping´!

With just enough time to change, we finished before the first guests arrived, then the guest of honour arrived at 1.15, completely flabbergasted by the whole thing, seeing so many people there (48) wishing  to celebrate with her

Mum has lived in the same cul de sac, along with most of her neighbours, all of a similar age, for 63 years and she was totally overwhelmed by the fact that they were all there.
Along with nieces, nephews, grand and great grand children, old work mates and friends.

After the buffet we all gathered round to watch the video Chris had painstakingly made for weeks. What was truly wonderful was everyone could identify with it, having found photos of her friends and neighbours and of her parents and Aunts etc so all the rellies had a connection with the film too.
There were quite a few giggles and a lot of tissues being used as it progressed. Chris had coordinated music from each decade as the photos flipped past and all wanted to know just how he had managed to get such good images from the very old cine films. There was even a clip from 1971 of me as a very young teenager, when I joined the family on a camping trip to Ringwood with us playing piggy in the middle with Mum.

It was cake time next, I wanted one of the delicious Filipino ones and asked Shine to organise it. They use purple yams and is the lightest, fluffiest yummy cake ever and of course, when cut its purple, Mum´s favourite colour.

Unfortunately the centre flower failed, it was supposed to slowly open, play Happy Birthday and sparkle, but it was still effective.

Chris performed a few songs, we couldn´t take his guitar with us but during our house search found his first original one that hadn´t been played for 40 odd years, but with new strings it certainly did the job.

About 5, people began to drift away, I think the oldies had partied enough
Then came the clear up, always quicker than putting up
Everyone loved the afternoon and with the sun coming out we managed a series of family photos too,
it was certainly worth all the effort, just a shame it all seemed to whizz by so quickly.
Mum was joking about what are you going to do for my 100th then?
We shall see

take care

Saturday, June 29, 2019

I´m back

Hi everyone, I´m back
What a trip and a half that was, I have gone from sitting there with a cardigan and fleece on, (it was really chilly, dull and raining) to coming home to temps in the high 20´s and today it was 30C at 10am. It´s hot in the UK too now, so take care everyone.

Luckily the weather on the day of the party was quite good and the last day of my trip I actually managed to wear a short sleeved top, getting me in training for coming home!

We took lots of photos, especially the decor, which I am pleased to say everyone loved, but they are on different devices so I will have to collate them to post.

A couple of weeks before we went we learnt that Mum had had a fall and banged her head, leaving her with rather a large bump, but she didn´t have signs of concussion and was luckily Ok.
So it was a shock to learn that other members of the family had taken it upon themselves to investigate a care home in Basingstoke. Not only that but Mum had been whisked over to view and they signed her up on the dotted line and had already started the procedure to sell her property! Talk about fait  accompli.
We had plans in place which meant we were hopping around the countryside to fulfill them, Chris was only over for 8 days so when
 we were suddenly given the task to remove any personal memorabilia, mementos etc it was panic mode. Especially as we had to find temporary storage ready to ship over to Spain.

Mum´s house is a 5 bed, 3 reception house that she has lived in for 63 years and she is a self confessed hoarder. It was absolutely bedlam, everything was crammed in and we had to declutter a bit first then find all the treasures.  Old Edwardian and 1920´s family photos stuffed in shoe boxes, Victorian items from Mum´s grandparents, including a mug from 1897 Victoria´s diamond jubilee, WW1 artifacts from her parents and many sets she has collected over the years.

We at least persuaded the others to organise auctioneers to come and value the items rather than their preferred method of house clearance. Most of the clearance companies wanted between 4 and 5000 and they kept the goodies! outrageous!

Anyway I´m sure you have the gist of the proceedings, so the whole trip was tainted by this sudden revelation with ´family meetings´, lots of stress and upset and that poor Mum will be living in one room, leaving most of her treasures and memories behind as the place is too small.
All this in 3 weeks, including viewings which resulted in accepting the first offer! Perhaps they don´t want Mum to change her mind!

However, we had a lovely day sharing Rebecca´s birthday with Antoni and we took the train to London, had a very nice meal (omg! the prices though) then went along to the Prince Edward theatre to see the musical Alladin. It was a brilliant show. To save money on taxis we walked from there afterwards to Paddington, it was a long way but we did save over 40.00 and passed landmarks for photo opportunities. 
So lovely to create memories and enjoy each others company. I used to take the kids to the theatre in Barnstaple which is where Rebecca got her love for going.

We also found our train fares covered the cost of the underground, so with much trepidation I agreed to go on it, I hate, long tunnels, caves etc so this was quite a feat, of course we then had to do the same in reverse which was not so pleasant, probably because I was tired, but I did it, although I think I shall quickly gloss over that bit

Well I really need to find the various photos so will go now, enjoy the good weather and weekend. Catch up soon
take care

Monday, May 20, 2019

Busy bees

We have both been very busy with prep for Mum´s birthday party
Chris has been sitting for hours on end at the computer, firstly making a photo album ready to be sent off for printing, then making a narrated video for screening at the do
Last time we were over he took images of the old family photos and even managed to re video some footage of their old cine movies of the 60´s and 70´s.
Using todays technology, he is a whizz at making them look like new by taking out the grainy bits he has even managed to colour her original black and white wedding photo. It starts out in b/w then gently turns into colour.  A bit of clever conversation being used to find out the colours of her bridesmaids dressses and flowers

He has made it into each decade with music suitable for that time, with a short narration, he has even taken a photo of Mum taken when she was in her late teens and at the end of the video this fades and turns into the latest one wishing her a happy birthday.
Think she will be blown away when she sees the video on the day

He is now putting the newspaper together using font from the era and all the research I have done over the weeks. We will then need to get it printed

Me? well I have been busy too, making decorations for the venue, the colour theme is purple, lilacs and silver

I decided to make a flower swag for the buffet table

just need attaching to ribbon now

I am going to make little posies for the tables, I have asked for glass jars to be saved and will decorate them and add coloured water by mixing some acrylic paint in 

In my stash I found some little lacy flowers so sat there separating the gems and putting them in the centers, unfortunately their sticky backs wouldn´t hold them in place when they were moved, so I had a rather laborious job of finding the ones that had pinged off then removing them all and reattaching using a glue gun. Now ready for the jars with some butterflies
Then made a little brooch for Mum to wear

Organza spheres - going to put different colours together ready for hanging

I punched out butterflies and added a little bling, wound organza around an embroidery hoop and made it into a mobile

(cant find that photo at the moment, have to add it later)

I found some really pretty wrapping paper so am hoping to make some paper fans with them. I shall have to make them and then assemble together when we are there

Luck was with me that day as I also found in the chinese bazaar, an English happy birthday banner with balloons attached, thought that could go on the outside patio, 
although the bunting is the wrong colour, it has given me the template, the card is cut just the lettering to do

Right, well I had best be off then and crack on
take care