Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Monday, 27 July 2015

Lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

Yes, the song sung by Nat King Cole that I remember so vividly from my childhood. His voice, so easy, so hypnotic and smooth was one that my father, in particular, loved to listen to. My dad was not musical but I have two clear memories that relate him to the music he obviously loved and that we often heard at home when I was young - up to me being about 8, after which the fish and chip shop they bought and worked in wore my parents out to a frazzle and left them little time for listening.

The first of these memories is the singing of Nat King Cole. We had only a couple of his records but they were played a lot and I knew them all. At the time, I wasn't a fan of any of them, apart from the title of this post - which I thought was great fun and I loved those three rhyming words - lazy, hazy and crazy. The second memory is his love of Mario Lanza and his permanent regret that he missed going to a concert by him as he had an ear infection. I've done a bit of research and I think this must have been the concert in Sheffield in 1957. It would have been amazing and most memorable, I am sure. However, I never really grew very attached to this voice, although his power is undeniable.

Nat King Cole, however, has, in the intervening years, become utterly irresistible for me and I love just about everything he sings.

All this is totally irrelevant preamble - because this is my blog - to sharing a few photos and thoughts from our home and lives during these incredibly hot weeks we've been having. I know it hasn't been the same everywhere - some of you have been feeling damp or chilly at times - but it's been so very hot here for so long that I cannot remember what it's like to get up and not see bright blue sky and know that the temperature is going to be well into the 30s.

So - what do we do all day? Well, I have had a couple of weeks where I've been up early and off to work before the sun really starts to hit. It's been fantastic to arrive home and have a dip in the pool - even the little plastic one that we are still using. But the afternoons are when we have to have all the windows closed to keep the sun out, stay as cool as possible indoors and basically wait until around 7 or 8pm before we can start to do anything useful.... Afternoons here in Andalucia are for eating a very late lunch, watching silly films, having a siesta and probably doing some drawing.

Here are some of my Mandala/Zendalas - apologies if you've already seen these posted on Facebook but on here for posterity, or as long as there's a web and because I scanned some of them so the colours are truer to real life. A mandala is a circular drawing, often done in sand or rice, the process of creating it is partly spiritual and partly meditative. A Zendala is a combination of the circular format and the use of specific Zentangle patterns. I am absolutely hooked on creating these at the moment and can confirm that they really do focus the mind and help relaxation and concentration.

I had to laugh recently as I have another blog, Annie's Tangles, where I usually post all my drawings, Zentangles and challenge entries. I had a comment left on one of my posts from a blogging friend from this blog, who'd popped over for a look. I laughed because she said she thought I was speaking a strange language and was there a glossary? And looking at my other blog from a non-tangling point of view, I absolutely understand how she might have wondered what on earth we were all on about! Annie, for your information, it definitely takes a while to get to know all the right words, descriptions and technical terms...but hope you liked what you saw!

This was the first one I did and it took me ages because my usual pens didn't like drawing on top of the acrylic paint. I also wasn't sure what to do about the bit of canvas that the zendala didn't 'fit' - it being round and the canvas being rectangle. I decided to leave it as it was.

Then I found a canvas that I'd had for a while that was square. It is actually quite white in real life but as the canvas is 50 by 50cms it was too big to go in the scanner, so this is a photograph, done without any real photographic help - ie. taken on my phone in the kitchen! I also tried using a permanent marker, rather than my special Zentangle pens, plus white and gold gel pens . It is very finely detailed and quite pretty, I think.

Then I went and bought a couple of smaller canvases - 20 by 20cms - and prepainted them and I got on quite a roll....

I ran it through a Photo Editing programme to put the frame round it - but the scanner reproduced the colours really well - this is pretty much how it looks. What has impressed me is that I started with just three concentric circles in yellow, green and blue. The patterning makes it look more complicated than it really is. 

In this one, I painted and blended related colours - yellow/orange, yellow/green, green/blue, blue/red and red/orange on the canvas to begin with. Then I added a Zentangle 'frame' which you can see around the edge before doing a Zendala starting from the middle and moving outwards. 
And then, utterly inspired by colour, I decided to add some to a tangle I did quite a while ago, just for practice. Here it is in a photo edited frame. I have decided to go and get them framed in town and then I shall put them somewhere in my bedroom and enjoy looking at them.

OK - enough about drawing, painting and Zentangle....or is it????

There are three of mine just about visible in the sea...

Last week, we went to the beach for the day - all together - and decided to go left at the coast, rather than the usual right. We ended up in a lovely place called Calahonda - or rather a little area just before Calahonda called, very appropriately, La Perla de Andalucia - where the beach was clean and long and quiet and the sea was divine.

We wanted a pebbly beach as we had a plan....and the pebbles were spectacular - smooth, round, lots of white ones, lots of sparkly ones. Perfect pebbles.

I had a couple of pens with me, of course, and so now, someone sometime will probably find a smooth, round Zentangled pebble!

During the course of the day, we gathered three big bags of pebbles to put in the garden. However, when we got home and unloaded them, we only filled a quarter of the space - so we have to go back at least another three times!

And after a day on the beach, what did our children do when they got home? Went in the pool! I swear they'll grow fins and flippers before long.....

And our garden? We're definitely learning to live with the ugly floor. We have to, so we are doing. I bought some little mosaic solar lights and love them so much that each evening, at about 9.45, I go outside to count them all as they light up.

A close up of the colours and patterns - bought from Amazon, of course - and Amazon UK at that. How can it be that they are cheaper and the postage is less from there than buying them from Amazon Spain?? And not a bit less but a lot less!

I have them lined up along the terrace and also all around the curved part opposite and they do look lovely, although difficult to photograph with my phone. I may try and get some better shots with my proper camera - if I can remember how to use that... I'm very out of practice.

A few people around, 
but a quiet Paseo de los Alamos.

Did I say 'lazy'? Well, a bit of that, but quite a lot of 'crazy' too. We've had visits and sleepovers and Etnosur in the past couple of weeks. Etnosur, a big music festival held every year in Alcala la Real, seemed more subdued this year. Many local residents leave the town during this weekend but many others have opened their doors in the morning to find someone asleep  or cooking their breakfast on the doorstep...and perhaps have got a bit fed up of finding evidence of a lack of toilet facilities outside the houses. For the first time this year, a lot of wire fencing went up to protect park areas and streets from the visitors who come in camper vans or on the bus and doss down anywhere. They have been directed to designated parts of the town instead - but on the morning and evening when I went into town, the places that are usually packed with people, were very empty.

The shops and stalls around the edge of the park were also fewer than usual and without much custom.

The fountain is always a fun place to go
 and these are not locals, but there aren't many there.
The music was apparently quite good. Mateo went on Saturday night and was out all night. He said there was a real mixture of styles, including rock and African and he enjoyed it. However, we got there at about 2am, with Romy, Ruy, Jasmine and Isabel and there was some really awful music that we didn't like at all. This year, as usual, on the Friday night, we'd heard the distant sound of music in Villalobos. But the organisers had changed to position of the stage to face away from the town, instead of towards it and I was amazed as we walked down from the Paseo de los Alamos, at the top end of town, to the stage area as we simply couldn't hear anything at all! It must be such a relief for the local residents - it's one thing to have a free concert in town, but to not get away from it is quite stressful. I couldn't believe the difference it made. Wonder why it has taken 18 years for someone to think of this solution?

And so the summer continues and the 'hazy' comes from the rolling of one day into the next and then one week into the next. The children have already had one month of holiday - another six weeks to go. There are plans, not quite in place but in mind, to send the children up to their grandparents in Valladolid at the beginning of August, but first, there's the Medieval Festival at La Mota, here in Alcala this weekend and this year, our neighbour, Sergio, has succeeded in convincing the local council that an Archery competition is just what is needed to add authenticity to the event. So he and Ruy will be donning their costumes and taking on all comers...although actually, I have no idea what is planned. Maybe it will be a proper competition and maybe it will be the chance for visitors to fire a few arrows themselves. I will report back! Should be fun either way. Do come along if you're in the area, won't you? There is always some good fun activities for the children - last year organised by a friend of ours - and the food is excellent. And there could hardly be a better setting than the wonderful fortress castle in our historic town.  If you go in costume, it's free entry too!

A photo taken from a previous event that I found on the internet.

So - lazy, hazy or crazy - we definitely feel like it's summer at the moment.
What's the weather like where you are?


  1. Every time your blog comes up I smile at 'may contain nuts'...

    Despite the heat you are having fun!
    I'm going to check out those lights on Amazon as they will be ideal for the Castillon house...wish I'd seen this before as there is a wedding party there at the moment and they would have been ideal.

    1. And if you ever visited us, Helen, you would understand why I keep that phrase in!

      And yes, despite the heat - and threats of yet another wave of it arriving next week - we are having fun. Curtailed for me somewhat today as my sacroiliac joint seems to have wandered off....ouch. The lights are really lovely and arrived incredibly quickly. I suspect they didn't come from the UK but from a European depot. Shame I didn't post a bit earlier - for a wedding, they really would do the trick and an excellent price. Axxx

    2. I've looked them up...they look just right for our place...I need some which will go round a pool on hard surfaces...will these do or do I need some with different stands? It's not totally clear on Amazon.
      My father was a Mario Lanza fan too...he went up to Edinburgh for one of his final concerts - it could have been in the same year - when he was singing lots of Neapolitan songs as well as some of his old operatic stuff.
      i'm sorry you have a real pain in the proverbial..Leo has found some horse rub which is supposed to use nano technology and it has worked wonders for his shoulder joints..i'll try to see what is in it and e mail you.

    3. I've sent you some photos and details of the lights, Helen. I am trying lots of exercises to help the sacroiliac joints but so far, nothing is working. I have a fantastic the UK! Hopefully, I'll get something sorted so I don't have to make a trip back otherwise, it will be horse rub for me too! Ax

  2. Really, no words needed for those beautiful designs

    1. Thank you B2B - I took them to be framed today. And bought some more canvases...:-)

  3. O my ears and whiskers, I'm late coming to this! You're obviously having a lovely, productive summer despite the intense heat. I really LOVE yyour Zendalas. I have a thing for symmetry and pattern and find these so satisfying to look at. The remind me of the gorgeous patterns and colours of a kaleidoscope. :)

    My father was another huge fan of Nat King Cole and also Bing Crosby - those effortless crooners with golden voices - and he passed his love for their singing on to me. :). I don't remember Mario Lanza figuring very much though.... As for the weather, we've had hot spells even up here in Normandy, but nothing approaching the long, continuous period of intense heat you've had to cope with. Hope it's a bit cooler by now.

  4. And here I am rolling up even later than Kathy ... in my defence I'm just emerging from a long blogging break caused by a defunct laptop. Looks like a fab summer was happening back in July, I hope August delivered as sunnily x


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