Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Saturday 28 June 2014

Medieval Market

(Before anything...I have always used 'Mediaeval' as the spelling but I checked and double-checked and it would seem that the current preferred spelling is 'Medieval' even in the UK so I'm going with that.)

On Sunday afternoon, Ruy, Romy and I went with our neighbour, Sergio, to the neighbouring town of Priego de Cordoba.
It's a lovely town about the same size as Alcala la Real but with a different and rather more prosperous feel to it and once you get into the town, its much flatter!

It has lots of narrow streets that in May are awash with colour from the potted plants that are typical of the provincial capital - Cordoba.

However, it was already coming to the end of June when we went and the flowers had passed their most abundant. And we hadn't come to see the flowers anyway.

We came to the Medieval Market that was being held in front of the old castle and for a another more specific reason...I'll get to it in a mo but first a bit of background!

I remember when we lived in Huddersfield checking out local Archery clubs as I felt sure it was something my children would enjoy doing - and we were surrounded by lots and lots of clubs, all within 5 to 10 miles of us and all offering classes for young beginners. We never actually got round to joining any of them as it happens but obviously, the idea stuck with me and when I discovered the opportunity for them to have a go at archery here in Spain, I signed them up at once. I wrote about the day here. All three of them enjoyed the session but Ruy had either outstanding good luck or was something of a budding archer. Indeed, he got a bow for his birthday last year and has been practicing (on and off) ever since. Finding a club has been more difficult though!

The nearest is in Priego - about half an hour away - but the club only meets informally and sporadically - usually, a text message is sent out as the weekend approaches to say if there's a meeting. I spoke to the president of the club and he said he'd let me know but I've only had one message and it was on a weekend when we couldn't go. And there's no teaching per se.

However, how incredibly lucky are we that our wonderful neighbour, Sergio - who turns up and helps whenever we might need him, who is a fount of knowledge and wisdom about what's going on, when and where, who offers advice on dogs, cherries, cars - is also a passionate (and, more importantly, a non-hunting) expert in archery!!

He knows all the archers who ran the session that my children went to last year and has taken Ruy under his wing. He was going to the Medieval Market in Priego as part of the archery club and was dressed as a monk (I resisted the temptation to call him Friar Tuck....but it was difficult!) and as Ruy just happened to have a very convenient 'Knight' costume, which he donned without hesitation - we were whisked off for a bit of 'authentic' target practice in the grounds of the castle. Sergio had made all his own arrows from wood, finished with feathers, including an amazing one that whistled as it went - to frighten the enemy, apparently.

Deserted streets....where was everyone?

Doesn't Sergio make a great monk...? 

The Archers were all at the old castle - in costume and with some great Mediaeval props.

There was music...

...and madness
A Medieval shopping mall...

And quite a bit of nifty bow work....well done Ruy!

And of course, Romy had a go too.

And there were demonstrations of excellence all evening from various experts - including Sergio, of course.
 Choose your target, Ruy.

Not bad...though he went on later to hit the centre spot.

Entertainment - albeit of a rather gruesome sort...this creature was quite grotesque!

Romy in middle, keeping only a fairly save distance!

Monk with camera....

He moved very quickly.....
But was happy to pose for photos after the show...Romy snook on the end for a picture
 We had a great evening and Ruy proved that it wasn't just luck that afternoon. He has a natural ability and will be going regularly to the meetings  - apparently they use a mobile app to keep each other informed and I don't have it - hence the lack of information. But now, Sergio will keep us informed. He likes to do that.

Sunday 15 June 2014

Small steps...

We have such a lot to do. Sometimes when the job ahead seems overwhelming, the only thing to do is to take one step at a time.
We've had a few setbacks in the past couple of weeks - I'll spare you the details but it has something to do with living in a small village where minds are not quite as open as they might be - and so progress has been very slow.
And now the temperature has risen to well over 30 degrees centigrade, so FR is often found working as night falls and the temperatures drop. It may well be excuse for any wonky walls....working in the dark makes it difficult to see the spirit level....

But a little shape is forming:

FR's curved wall

Here's where we must imagine a cooling oasis of blue....

The beginnings of steps up to the patio...and a new door ordered and expected on 20th of this month.

Where FR is will be the summer/winter kitchen. The plan is to have a bread oven in there plus a place to cook that will save the house from getting hot in summer. It will also be additional storage space and home to the big chest freezer that currently lives in the kitchen. I am looking forward to this being done....

In taking small steps, it's also important to keep an eye on little things too - like this beautiful rose that came to us from Sam and Dave's terrace when they left. I need to report that they seem to be thriving in Scotland, and although they are really missing being here in Alcala, they are making the most of being back with friends and family. And importantly, both are working in good jobs and the girls are happily settled in their old school. Doesn't stop me missing them but it helps to know that things are going well!

We have several rows of tomatoes growing and having learnt a lesson from last years' glut of cherry tomatoes, which were so difficult to turn into sauce, we've opted for the biggest ones we could find - and they're showing good signs so far!

I'm not absolutely sure that FR saw the funny side of his first sowing of corn seeds. He wanted to grow corn for the chickens, but they ate the little seedlings one day when he let them out! I found it comical but he wasn't amused at the time. The second lot is doing better and he has another couple of rows in different parts of the garden. I was just really glad it wasn't Pip who ate them!

Another little step of progress is that the trees we planted last year have produced a little fruit this year. OK, the one fig was pretty pathetic and the nectarines dropped off before ripening  but we have at least two plums....(they're as hard as stone at the moment but I'm taking it as a good sign for the future.)

Grapes we will have in plenty!

Pip - in a brief moment of release from the dreaded plastic collar. Isn't he just a handsome boy?
(Still an absolute pain in the backside though!)
And my own little step. I have a morbid fear of sewing machines...I jest not. I bought one in England many years ago from eBay as I felt I should have one. I think I've used it all of three times in all the time I've had it. We need to put up awnings over the front of the house - for which reason FR has had some iron frames made. It's my job to make the awning...and I'm dreading it. We can't quite decide on the best material at the moment so I took the opportunity to face my fear and replace the chair covers we have on our dining chairs. They needed replacing badly!

 Pip enjoyed a little chew on the corners when he was very young (I am hoping he's grown out of this habit completely now!)
So yes, they were in a dreadful state.

And I made one! I was so pleased with myself, although in a dreadful mood as I worked on it.

My sister uses a sewing machine as I use my Zentangle pens....give me Zentangle anytime though!

They're not puckered at the front, honest, they're 'gathered' as they are removable and on an elastic underneath. Washable.

I admit to being rather proud of myself.
Just another two to do and maybe one extra as a spare for when one of my mucky lot spills their lunch.

So, I might not be blogging as much as I used to. I am certainly not reading as many of my blogger friends' blogs as I used to and I apologise for that, but we are not sitting around on our laurels here in Casa Rosales. (Especially as when we did - to watch both the Spanish and English World Cup matches - we wished we'd been doing something else!)

Actually, I was doing something else. This challenge, by Laura Harms, a Certified Zentangle Teacher based in Canada, was to create a tangle that was inspired by 'Beads of Courage'. Her own little boy suffers from Moebius Syndrome  and has an impressive collection of beads from his varied contacts with doctors, needles, tests and hospital visits. I was very moved to read the stories from some of the other tanglers about children in their own families who suffer from serious conditions or have had life-changing accidents...there are a lot of very brave people around and it feels important from time to time to think of them, to offer thanks for the health and happiness of those we care about and to hope and support initiatives that might find cures for those who suffer. Small steps maybe - but in the right direction.

Beads of Courage. For brave children and families everywhere. 

Thanks for popping by and know that if I haven't visited your blog recently - I will be doing very soon!

Friday 6 June 2014

Oh my!

I have just noticed that I am only 5 views away from 100,000 visits to my blog!!

I am feeling rather chuffed about this and thank you if you have been a passing or regular visitor. I feel I haven't really deserved too much attention recently as I've had so little time to blog. But I will be posting again soon!

Thanks again.