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Thursday, 29 May 2008

Which comes first the Blossom or the Fruit?

At last the sun is shining. Today we have sunshine and according to the forecast more to come. Not before time I might say. In view of this, after dropping the girlies at school - and it was excursion to the beach for No1, I donned the ever trendy backpack, went out and sprayed all my weeds, which due to the recent rains are positively flourishing. I was surprised to see that my apple tree as well as now bearing fruit is in bloom again

I've never noticed this before, I'm used to seeing lemons and blossom, but never apples and blossom.
I feel that I have been neglecting my photography somewhat just recently, and would really like to get my mojo back. One of the nearby villages is in fiestas next weekend, so am hoping to get some pictures of the firework display.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

The Garden

The pig pish man came again yesterday morning and has spread about 10 tankers on both parts of the field. The smell this time was quite revolting, so close to the house, and going down to the kitchen garden this morning, it looks as though some of the lettuces, the water melons and one row of tomatoes might just have drowned in pig effluent :o(. I might just try with the hose pipe to wash it off, or water it down.

No2 and her little friend decided that we needed a scare crow for the garden, so on Sunday we built one

He really needs some straw or something for stuffing, but the main thing is that they are pleased with the result. Another gloomy day today, spent mostly indoors sorting out the clothes of the girlie's, and generally mucking out their bedroom.

Another weekend of fiestaing......

The weather is still pretty intermittent at the moment, but thankfully the rain held off on Saturday afternoon for No2's birthday party. The thought of 30 children indoors was quite horrific, however, a good time was had by all, they swam, ate, bounced and played all afternoon. And I was voted best mummy in the world by No2 for giving her the best ever party. A lot of hard work condensed into about 2 days this year, because of the appalling weather, but there you go.
Unfortunately Sunday did not dawn so fair, a bit of thunder, a heavy downpour and basically murky all day. It was a great pity as today was the first communion for the majority of the children in No1's class. She left the house dressed in her finery at about 11:15 to go to the church with her friends and then on to the party after.

I spent the day clearing up after the party and having a bit of a lazy day with No2, Nanny and some friends. Later that evening 21:00 we went down to watch the procession of the newly confirmed children. How splendid they all looked in their finery, nothing at all like the little scruff bags that come running from the school gates every evening.
We eventually got home at around 23:30 and it was straight to bed for everybody. A lovely but very hectic weekend all round.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

La Romeria de San Isidro

Fortunately the day dawned fair. We have had an inordinate amount of rain just recently, whilst the UK has been bathed in sun. When the summer finally comes this year, it will come as a real shock to the system. We gather outside the church at 08:00 - yes on a Saturday morning and admired all the decorated carrozas. Some were tractor and trailer, some vans adorned with palm leaves and sheets of bamboo canes, all had made a very big effort. Vino and beer were being swigged and the youngsters had already hurled the first water balloons.

At about 08.30 San Isidro led the romeria up through the village and out on to the main road. He was followed by the band and the dancing villagers, all in high fiesta spirits. Small girls dressed in their Sevillana dresses and high heels were soon being carried by their mum's and dad's.

The band played the whole way and everybody was dancing and skipping, laughing and singing. Little ones in the carrozas and some on horse back.

We reached our destination, a tiny church in the middle of nowhere, that is only used once a year for the Romeria. Vans were unpacked, all sorts of sausages and "migas" - sort of fried bread crumbs - were handed out by the commission of fiestas and the fires were lit.

After the almuerzo - 2nd breakfast - of sausage, lamb chops, beer, wine and bread, the water fights broke out in earnest. Water balloons, water bottles, plastic cups, in fact anything that would hold water was used.

A quick tidy up, the carrozas were reloaded and the procession moved on out, following San Isidro once more. The band struck up, fireworks clattered in the skies and the return to the village was under way. At this point I cheated and had a lift back home in a car, where I prepared the hosepipes to help the hot and weary walkers on their way! As they passed the house we managed to give them a good soaking as in years gone past and were on the receiving end of a few water filled balloons ourselves.

Up to the village to collect the girlies who were in the back of a carroza and on to a lunch of paella with a group of friends. The heavens opened at this point and consequently the paella burnt a little on the bottom, it did not spoil the taste though.

After lunch it was up to the plaza where there were bouncy castles and a mechanical bull for the children. Home for a late, but well deserved siesta and back up to the village for dinner with the same friends we lunched with. A long, but most enjoyable day was had by all.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

After the Rain

It has been a very wet few days, but the garden is loving it. Picked the last of the apricots this weekend and made a very delicious - if I say it myself - apricot tart. Spot of cream and it was perfection. Have now lightly pruned the apricot tree, but I think it needs a little more :o)-

Had eight for lunch on Sunday to include a cousin I've not seen for about 20 years, with her two and half year old daughter, kept my two girlies well on their toes, they could not believe how much mess she could make. When I told my eldest, that when she was that age I had her baby sister as well, she rolled her eyes heavenwards.

I've also got the makings of a compost heap, which appears to be attracting all the flies in the neighbourhood. Not totally convinced by this idea yet, especially having learned that it will take 12 to 18 months to be any good. We'll just have to wait and see. Very impatient me.

Have removed about 20 snails from the plants this morning and nipped out the side shoots on the tomatoes. They have really benefitted from the recent rain, and the best is that it is free water :o). I look to have a few blackfly on the tomatoes and on the hibiscus, so am going to try boiling some garlic in water and applying that. If this dosen't work, then I will have to check out some sort of chemicals I guess :o(

Am hoping to find a light tent on ebay today to help me with some of my macro photos. Then I need to source some cheap form of lighting. Things like this appear to be so expensive here, compared to the UK, so I will have to investigate some of the bigger DIY stores and maybe a trip to IKEA will be in order. Lighting conditions here are pretty good normally, for portraiture and landscapes, but more is definately needed for some things.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Back to normal

After a weekend of much fiestaing, it is back to normal. Much housework has been done and nothing really exciting to report.

Wednesday I spent up to my oxters in Apricots, as the tree from which we have never before tasted an Apricot has more than done well this year. I now have a freezer full of stewed apricot, some jars of apricot chutney and something called Apricot Leather - which is basically stewed, pureed and dried out in the oven apricots. Think I may be able to use it in cookies or muffins.

Yesterday it rained all day, which is so good for the garden, and also for the house, which has had a good old clean, due to me not being able to get outside. The rain brought the snails out too, so not good for the garden

I also managed to take some "contrast photos" for a competition on another forum, but not really happy with them. I NEED a light tent. Might retake some of them today if there is better light.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Dia de la Madre

Mothers day dawned without the girlies, which put me a little bit morose, but they do love to stay with their daddy when he is here, and I really can't begrudge them that. A day of tidying the garden beckoned. The tomatoes now have a new trellis to support them when or if they grow and the watering system is now in and functioning. Managed to rope in some uninvited help from the bar next door, fed up with the shouting of advice across the fence, I invited Titi to come down and show me what he was talking about. He was quite impressed and surprised by my horticultural knowledge which pleased me somewhat. It is the little things in life that can brighten your day

In the bancal next door, they have just finished cutting back some orange trees and nestled in the branches of a cut back tree was a nest with two fledglings. Had to get my camera, another thing to brighten my day. Popped quickly to the market and bought some bread and tomatoes for lunch of a chicken and cannelloni bean casserole, very nice. Picked some apricots from the garden and pottered a bit more. The garden is definately benefitting from much pottering.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Feria de Mayo - Torrevieja

The first thing I noticed was how fresh the breeze was down by the coast. There were the odd one or two dressed in the traditional costumes of Seville, and as I walked down towards the harbour, there were the horses. Beautifully groomed with cleaming coats ridden or pulling carriages or carts. I wandered around and watched them practising and being prepared.

The riders were all equally well turned out in traditional dress, the
carriages with brightly coloured shawls for decoration. In the bullring there was a display
of riding and driving. Beautifully executed passes and high
school dressage.

Afterwards a cold beer was called for in one of the tented bars in the especially erected plaza. Home for lunch, obligatory siesta and a pootle around the garden.
A quick change of clothes and a bit of a tart up and we went back down to Torri for the evening. Following a lovely dinner of assorted tapas in one of the towns bars, we hit the fairground once again. There were hands clapping and feet stamping as the ladies of Sevilla partied in the bars and in the streets. I couldn't help but wonder what the newly arrived tourist would make of all this jollity and the beautiful costumes, as when Monday comes all will be back to normal.

Friday, 2 May 2008

La Romeria

The alarm went off at 6:00 am and I struggled to get out of bed. Raised the girlies and they slowly started to move. With bags packed with water, sunhats and bocadillos we met with a group of friends outside the church in a neighbouring village to begin our first Romeria. It was a gentle 10km walk with lots of chatting and only a few whinges from the girlies.

We reached our destination about 2 hours later. There was a short mass in the church, which I managed to avoid by having a well deserved coffee in a nearby bar, and then we called in at another bar for an almuerzo of monstrous proportions.

The return journey was a lot easier, we piled into Yayas old bus, commonly known as a guagua (wawa). A lot easier, especially as the journey back is mostly up hill.

Then it was home, for a late lunch, of hurriedly put together paella and salad, followed by a well earned siesta. Spent the rest of the afternoon and evening pottering around the garden and cleaning the pool, topped off by a bonfire, to the delight of the girlies.