If You Would Like To Join In

If you would like to join in visit Suzie's 365 Blog for details.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Day 60 Extraordinary

It always seems extraordinary to me that plants that are hot-house florists' flowers in more northern climes grow like weeds here! Freesias seed themselves everywhere around the garden and beyond. Twenty-odd years ago I bought a pack of mixed colour corms from a supermarket. There were white ones, yellow ones, purple ones and deep red ones. Since then they have cross pollinated into every colour combination you can think of. In a couple of weeks from now I will be able to pick bunches of them, but at the moment they are only in bud. I noticed last year that a lot of the latest seedlings are producing brown/bronze/yellow mixtures, in fact, reverting to type, so I think I may dead head as many of them as I can so they don't seed.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Day 59 Grey

There is nothing grey about the weather today, although there was a morning mist that might have come in handy yesterday. I have decided to take a photo of our grey and white lodger cat, Chancie. He is tame insofar as he will come in for food, as long as he can see that the door is open and he can make a swift escape. He will condescend to have his head scratched as long as you are sitting down and he comes to you, but he doesn't like to be indoors for long.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Day 57 Tree or Misty

It isn't misty as far as the weather goes, and Mondays are always too busy for me to spend too much time thinking about other ways I could interpret the word, so I have gone with the easy option; it's the almond tree again as that is the only one in my garden likely to show much change as the year progresses. Pine trees, palm trees and rubber trees all look much the same whatever the month, and the Mimosa trees, the other option apart from some fruit trees, have just passed their best and look slightly brown and bedraggled.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Day 56 Light

This is an Edwardian electric mushroom lamp that lives by my beside. By rights it should probably be rewired, as the original thread and rubber covered flex is getting frayed, but modern flex seems stiff and inflexible compared to the old one that falls inside the cut glass stem and out through a small semicircle cut in the base. It only has one bulb in at the moment as bayonet fittings are not found on local supermarket shelves, and even in the import shops that do stock them, clear glass incandescent candle bulbs are not easy to come by.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Day 56 Saturday or Raindrops

Suzie gave us a choice today; raindrops or if it wasn't raining where we are, what Saturday means to us. Well it isn't raining. When it rains here, it really rains...

the garden soon looks like this....

... but it isn't raining, so what does Saturday mean to me? Saturday kitchen! After that the TV is tuned permanently to the sports channels and I do anything else but watch it...

Friday, 24 February 2012

Day 55 Clouds

When we set off for our walk this morning the sky was mainly blue, but when we turned for home and headed back towards the Peñon the clouds were moving in.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Day 54 In the details

Another early start today as we had to be back at the hospital for 8.15am. to have the eye checked by the surgeon. He was happy with the result so far, but wants to see Justin again in a fortnight as the incision is larger than usual and more open to infection. As we were driving away from the hospital Justin was very pleased to note that his double vision has disappeared when he looks into the distance, he only saw one set of white lines, not the- usual crisscross. This is now only evident at middle and close distance. We went shopping on our way home, so I didn't see today's word until late morning. I thought about it while I was eating my lunch. I had just finished writing out the details of Justin's new eye drop regime into a table; five different kinds of drops, to be administered at differing intervals for a differing number of days, ranging from 4 to 30 ... but I have already taken photographs of words on paper so I looked around for something else.

I love beach combing; wherever I am I can't resist picking up bits and pieces, be it a shell, a bit of sea glass, a tiny crab's claw or a pretty pebble. I have a box filled with  small scale driftwood I used to use with tiny shells and other titbits for decorating photograph frames, assorted boxes of shells, even jam jars of different colours of sand...one of these days I shall have to downsize and have a clear out, but until then...

On my coffee table I have a low glass bowl with a layer of sand from our local beach, and in it I have an assortment of small reminders of places I have visited in past years. Everything is on a small scale, the pleasure is in the detail and the memories. This little group is just a sample. The red Serpentine pebble is from an misty morning visit to La Isla de La Toja in Galicia. The glass bubble, just a centimetre in diameter, is a reminder of the glass factory in Hergiswil. The tiny sea urchin and the abalone shell I found on a pebbled beach in La Coruña; how they survived being thrown about in the Atlantic and washed up on a stony beach I don't know, but there were many of them scattered amongst the pebbles without any sign of damage. The small black scallop shell came from the beach of Lido de Jesolo, picked up while I waited for the ferry to take me into Venice. The pink and black marbled scallop came from our own beach here in Calpe. Some years ago a very bad storm washed nearly all the sand from the most Southerly of our long beaches and it was replaced with sand dredged up from the sand banks off the Sierra Helada. The sand came loaded with assorted shellfish, many not seen before on our beach and of course those deposited above the tide line had no chance of surviving. The mechanical beach cleaners employed by the local Council to clean the beaches have removed all the larger shells, but the smaller ones escape the mesh, and make walking the tide line more interesting than it used to be.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Day 53 Ordinary

Today has been anything but ordinary so far; up at 6am, out of the house at 6.30, and then drive up the motorway in order to be at the hospital for a 7.30am appointment. Justin's name was called at 7.35, and by 8am he was stripped, gowned, capped, tagged, bagged and sat in a reclining chair admiring his fetching paper slippers. I was then sent to wait outside while they fitted a drip and took him in to remove the cataract in his left eye. It took a lot longer than normal, because one of the medications he takes affects the iris muscle, but all went well, so my ordinary on this anything but ordinary day is Justin at 10.30am, back in his ordinary clothes, (I am not so cruel that I would show you his previous get-up) waiting for the nurse to remove his drip catheter before we went for a late breakfast. Don't you just love his fetching wraparound sunglasses, courtesy of the Spanish Health Service? These are for tomorrow, when we have to return at 8am to have the dressing removed and the first of many drops inserted...I've just been and collected a carrier bag of five different ones from the chemist!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Day 52 Sky High

A clear cloudless blue sky is "situation normal" for me. A few fluffy clouds or a towering thundercloud have me leaping for my camera. I have sunrise clouds and sunset clouds, far out to sea clouds and over the mountain clouds, but today is one of the clear blue days so far...

I thought I might be lucky and catch con trails. We live in a part of Spain where north, south, east and west flight paths intersect and make fantastic criss cross patterns in the sky, but there mustn't be the right atmospheric conditions today; I have heard the far off sounds of aircraft, but they have left no trails, so here is the clear blue sky as a back drop to the hips on a rambling rose bush that originally scrambled over the stump of a pine tree, and now that the stump has completely rotted away, scrambles over itself and a couple of  reinforcing rods bent into a lopsided arch. Most of the hips have dried and shrivelled, especially the ones that birds have pecked, but here and there some are still bright red.

Monday, 20 February 2012

The New Word Verification Box

I'm posting this on all my blogs because I have different readers on each. I apologise if you are one of those who visit more than one and read this more than once.

There has been a lot of complaints recently about the new double word verification box on Blogger. People who run Challenge blogs and have to visit lots of blogs have been making pleas for bloggers to turn off wv. I thought I had complied; I turned it off on all my other blogs a couple of years ago. Recently I have read many more comments and complaints refering to it, I have even had a comment myself today.  I have visited other blogs written by the very ones pleading for its demise only to find that they have it in place themselves. I decided to check my settings and found that the option to turn wv on or off has disappeared. Not only that, but in blogger help, the link to an explanation of wv led to an error notification page. I Googled and eventually read the suggestion that one try clicking on the question mark at the side of the wv box...and this is what I learnt:

Helping the World One Word at a Time
By entering the words in the box, you are also helping to digitize texts that were written before the computer age. The words that you see were taken directly from old texts that are being scanned and stored in digital format in order to preserve them and make them more accessible to the world. Since some of the words in these texts are difficult for computers to process, we are using the results of your efforts to help decipher them.

There followed a link to another page with more information. It made interesting reading, but I was still no nearer to finding out if wv is now compulsory or not. I searched on and found the answer eventually. The only way to have the option to remove vw is to go back to the old Dashboard interface! So there you have it. Write on an all singing, all dancing new version of Blogger and you are stuck with wv.....but you can click on the cog, go back to the old version of your Dashboard, change and save your settings, then go back to the new version and hopefully the new settings will stick!

Day 51 Fragile

Spring is in the air, the biting Siberian wind has gone back to Siberia, and more gentle breezes are wafting in from north Africa. The freesias are in bud, the violets and cyclamen are just beginning to open, and over the weekend, the almond tree has reached its full glory.

 The first of these fragile flowers opened last week when the wind was still icy, and strangely enough, not on the south side of the tree where it caught the warming sun, but on the north side that was bearing the brunt of the cold wind.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Day 50 Fashion

I have never been a follower of fashion, I always bought classics styles in good material and wore them until they became unwearable for one reason or another. These days comfort and warmth are my main priority, so here is my Winter fashion of choice around the house; comfy track suit style trousers, woolly socks and fluffy slippers!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Day 49 Domestic

The last word anyone would use to describe me is Domestic. I can always find something that has a higher priority. When I was working I paid someone who loved housework to do it for me. One of my first domestics refused to use electricity; she cleaned the way she had been trained, brushing all carpets with a stiff brush and beating rugs over the clothes line. When she turned up for work in the morning she donned a flowered pinny and matching cap. She got great pleasure from taking home linen tablecloths to boil and starch, and, when she was finally persuaded to stop work at 70, it was not because she wanted to, or was incapable, but because her sons who had both done well in life were finding it an embarrassment. It took a couple of years of trial and error until I finally found someone who loved her job as much and took pride in it. Someone who looked forward to our going on holiday for a couple of weeks so she could "bottom the house" ie scrub all the carpets and wash all the paintwork without anyone getting under her feet. Since retirement I have never really got into a cleaning routine, I just do jobs when it becomes very evident, even to a man on a flying horse, that they need doing. One thing I did learn from Dorothy was to always wash cloths and dusters after use, so this is what I have photographed, the cloths I have just folded and placed in my cleaning bucket. Along with the simple products I use when the spirit moves me; a bottle of strong white vinegar, a spray bottle of vinegar and water, and a spray bottle of alcohol and water.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Day 48 Abstract

I may have taken the easy way out today as I have just photographed part of the relevant page of the Shorter OED....so here you have it... an abstract of Abstract...


Having gone to post my link, I see that Suzie has been there done that so for a little variety I am adding this felt and embroidery ATC that I made a few years ago entitled Maybemiro. I've lifted the photo from my craft blog and here is the accompanying blurb:

This little fellow was embroidered for the "Travel the World" wall of ATCs at a Belgian Craft Exihibition. I was asked to do something that represented Spain, as up to now I am the only one sending from this part of the world. I decided to do a series on modern Spanish artists; Miro, Dali and Picasso. Not copies of their work, but in their style. I've had this little fellow sitting on my desk for a week now, and have grown rather attached to him, so I think I'll keep him, but I need to get my head down and do the others.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Day 47 What's inside your handbag?

Starting at 12 O'clock;  small carrier bag for use as 'doggy bag' when eating out, empty needlepoint specs case that holds my reading glasses when I am not wearing them, mobile in slashed rag cover, pack of tissues, laminated card of telephone numbers, tube of Tyrozets, lipstick, 3 pens, plastic folder containing assorted lottery tickets, 5 spice biscuits (they always come with a cup of coffee, and if I have ordered something else to snack on, I save these for emergencies), citron hand wipe, small leather purse that I use as a camera case, smaller leather purse that holds housekeeping money, even smaller purse that holds my 'pin money', diary, wallet containing my cards, prescription sun glasses, a small leather case that holds a looking glass and 2 receipts. There are no keys because the car keys get thrown into a tray by the front door, and my door keys are in my pocket because as the front door cannot be opened without a key and often blows shut in the wind, I always try to have them on my person.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Day 45 Candle

Well, when I read the prompt word this morning, I thought of the candle that was in my immediate eye-line; a scented candle in a glass jar with a pretty glass shade. I planned to take the photo later in the day when the table wasn't piled quite so high with the general detritus spawned by visitors who don't have a home for their assorted electrical gadgets. The day moved on, and I had a visit from a neighbour carrying a large white pottery cache-pot full of candles! They have been trying to sell their house for a couple of years without success, their business has folded, and they now seem to be in the process of removing everything from the house bar the furniture and their clothes. T comes round almost daily with bags or boxes of oddments asking if I can use it, or will it be useful to the craft club (his wife was a member before she had to return to the UK to work) or would the charity shop take it, or should he just dump it...

A dozen or so tea lights have found a home in the kitchen cupboard with the glass coffee jug warmer, another dozen have gone down to the girls' apartment to be used in the little scented oil burner. These larger candles are awaiting a home somewhere I can easily lay my hands on them next time we have a power cut. If the long red candle on the top of the pile looks slightly out of kilter, it is not an illusion; candles left upright in a candlestick throughout our summers take on a graceful droop in the heat!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Day 44 Friendship

Some of my Craft Club "girls"...the youngest in her mid 60s, the oldest in her 90s. We meet every Monday, sometimes we actually do some crafting of one sort or another, but more often these days we sit and natter! In case you are wondering, I'm bottom right with the specs, and this isn't an everyday meeting, it was a birthday lunch...there are usually coffee cups and water glasses on the table, not empty vino bottles!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Day 43 From your Past

This tiny sauce boat and saucer sits in a cupboard in my kitchen. It belonged to my Mum, and through my childhood it was always used for mint sauce to go with the Sunday roast lamb. The glaze is very crazed now, and the jug is discoloured where the vinegar has soaked through into the pottery. It has only been used on rare occasions since it came into my possession in 1991, not only because of its condition, but because my OH doesn't like lamb, and it is a treat I reserve for restaurant eating.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Day 42 Portrait of a Loved One

 Like a lot of men, my OH does not take kindly to being photographed; squints, tongue pulling and rude gestures all feature in my photo record of him. Having already posted a photo of my Gin O'Clock daughters, (or as L3m0n pointed out, on that particular day, the Guinness and Tia Marias ) I thought I should probably resign myself to a portrait of my 'son', Charlie Badmash.

He is quite nonchalant about having camera lenses at close quarters, although he does give me the evil eye when I try to catch him in that spread-eagled-washing-the-lower-abdomen pose. 

Then, in a sneaky move, I caught this side-view, under cover of rummaging in my handbag for my ever-missing keys, while he caught up on the golf results...

Friday, 10 February 2012

Day 41 Heart

"What is in your heart?" asks Suzie today, so she obviously wouldn't be interested in my usual Friday supermarket shot....

....she wants something a little more personal...

...so here they are....My Gin O'Clock Girls...not taken today.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Day 40 Compact

The word compact immediately brings to mind the words powder and Stratton, the brand I remember from the 50s. Oh, the fiddle-faff of decanting loose powder into one of these decorative metal cases, then fitting the gauze screen that stopped the powder escaping, not always successfully, and remembering to wash the puff before it got too greasy! I no longer wear powder as I hate the way it settles into the wrinkles. This little travel pack was a Christmas present from a friend; everything in it is a very compact size and it all fits very compactly into its "compact".

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Day 39 Fence

The honeysuckle and bignonia that clothe this stretch of wire fencing were cut back hard to the wire a few weeks ago as the weight was making it sag. This stretch of fence is really redundant as it is left over from the days when we had a dog and it kept him in a part of the garden that had high enough walls to keep him from escaping.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Day 38 Damaged

 A damaged leaf on one of my orchids, hanging on by a bare centimetre but after the best part of two years, still green and healthy apart from the calloused edges of the break. The plant as a whole seems to ignore the damage; last year's two stems are re-budding, this years pair have now reached the same height, and if you look carefully, a fifth is just sprouting from the node between.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Day 37 Packaging

Here I am again in the supermarket; I think the staff are getting used to seeing me with my camera in hand.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Day 36 Rubbish

This photo is taken from my gate. The large green wheelie bin in the distance is where I deposit my rubbish, carefully bagged. This bin serves between 25-30 houses, depending on how many are occupied, and is emptied every night in the Summer months and every night bar Sundays in the Winter. Garden waste, if bagged, may be left at the side of the bin and will be removed for composting. At convenient points around the residential areas are paper bins, glass bins, cooking oil bins, plastic and tetrapack bins and clothing bins. Alternatively, if you have transport, you may patronise the Punt Blanc on the edge of town, where there are containers for wood, rubble, garden waste, white goods, batteries and so on. If you have anything too large for your car, furniture for instance, you can telephone the town hall they will give you the date when the free collection service is in your area. Does all this service cost a fortune? No it doesn't. Refuse collection is billed separately and for the suburbs is €180 a year...unless you happen to be a pensioner on a low income, and then it costs the princely sum of €4... to cover the cost of sending you a bill for the costs of sending you a bill...

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Day 35 Liquid

Liquid...but in a slightly solid state! My little fish pond, made from a large redundant satellite dish, has a thin sheet of ice on the surface, so I am quite glad that a couple of days ago, having heeded the weather warnings, I scooped out a quantity of surface weeds and my one remaining water hyacinth and put them in a bucket of rainwater that is above ground level and partially under cover. Last Winter, one night's frost was enough to kill all my surface floaters...Salvinia and Water Hyacinth just turned to mush. Salvinia grows so quickly that a handful of plants soon expand to cover half the surface and provide much needed shade from the hot Spanish sun during the Summer.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Day 34 Interaction

When Charlie Badmash was a kitten and first venturing out into the garden on his own, I would sometimes find him playing with a beautiful grey and white kitten of the same size. This green eyed beauty appeared to be feral and was quite unapproachable. My neighbour Ann started to put food out for him, and when they were of an age to be castrated, the vet provided a trap and he was given the snip as well as Charlie. By this time, no longer a kitten, Charlie started to get territorial and their interaction became confrontational. Chancie continued to visit Ann twice a day for food and would even venture inside her house providing all the doors were open and he could see his escape route, but he rarely ventured over the wall into our garden. He is a sweet natured boy, and there was never a bad word between him and Ann's two female cats. Years passed, and after she retired, Ann decided to move South and inland, away from the expensive coastal strip. But what to do with Chancie? She was moving to an apartment in the centre of a pueblo near Granada. Ann asked if I would see he didn't starve if the new residents next door didn't take to him, and of course I said yes. The new owners had a trail of short term tenants, non of them interested in feeding a stray, and so from feeding Chancie on the top of the stairs by their front door, I gradually moved his dishes closer and closer to the garden wall and eventually he was eating at the bottom of my stairs. To begin with I had to keep a tight grip on Charlie, but after a month or so he stopped being aggressive and I was able to put Charlie's food down upstairs in the kitchen then go and feed Chancie downstairs. Soon Chancie began to wait at the top of my stairs at feeding time and I started to feed him inside the porch. He now comes through the cat flap into the porch when he wants food and rattles it by going in and out until we notice he is there. He still refuses to use the cat flap from the porch to the house, but comes into the kitchen to eat with Charlie as long as he knows the doors are open. Their interactions these days are quite amusing. A nose to nose greeting when they meet, and a careful tasting of what the other cat has in his bowls when they are fed. Charlie Badmash has always turned his nose up at cat food from tubs, but has to consolidate his position as Top Cat by eating a mouthful from Chancie's plate, and never complains if Chancie eats the bits of fish that fall of Charlie's. In the photo Chancie is eating out of Charlie's biscuit bowl and ignoring the identical biscuits in his own bowl! I don't know where Chancie sleeps exactly, I see him jumping over the wall and strolling up the road when he leaves. If it is raining he doesn't turn up until it stops and I rarely see him wet so he must have a snug hideaway somewhere. He has been known to sit in the sun in the living room and have a postprandial wash, but only if he can see that the door is open. They are 11 years old now, and still have time to learn new behaviour, so maybe he will eventually "come in from the cold".

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Day 33 Button

This little button is one of the most important in my life at the moment. When I see it glowing steadily I know I am not isolated from family and friends however far away they may be.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Day 32 - Accessory

These are the accessory feet I have for my Elna SU sewing machine, a veteran of the 70s with a system of loose pattern cams that have to be changed when you need a different fancy stitch. I have four machines at the moment; the Elna, a Newhome, a Lidl lightweight and a Singer. Last week I had five, but when I was given the Singer by a friend after his wife died, I asked at the Craft Club if anyone would like a sewing machine, and one of the members put her hand up. The machine I gave her was old, of Belgian manufacture, with a good strong motor and working perfectly. It even had a solid case rather than a floppy vinyl cover and the original instruction book in Flemish... not bad for something rescued from the side of a roadside bin! I found it a couple of years ago and only stopped because I thought it was just the case that had been dumped. I was pleasantly surprised to find the machine inside it. I took it home, stripped it down, cleaned and oiled it and found it sewed well, so it has been used whenever the Craft Club activities needed an extra sewing machine. I'm glad it has now found a new home where it will get more use. The Elna is  my machine of choice and is out permanently. The Lidl machine was bought as a spare as it was only 60€ in the sale and had a range of stitches that the Elna lacked. I use it when I have to stitch knit material. The Newhome came from an old lady I used to sew for. She gave it to me when she moved into a home, but I have never really liked it as it was very clunky even when clean and oiled. I have hung on to it and plan to turn it into an embellisher when I can borrow a strong pair of hands to remove the screws that hold the bobbin race in place. The Singer I am still getting to know. I used it this week to shorten two pairs of curtains for a friend and was very happy with it. I noticed that it was possible to sew very slowly with it so may use it for embroidery and more fiddly work. So...four machines and would you believe, four different types of feet? The Elna uses screw ons and the others clip-ons, each with a different fitting. At least I only need two types of bobbin; shallow ones for the Elna and the Singer and deeper ones for the other two!