Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Monday 4 January 2016

And now....2016

I'm more of a looking forward than a looking back sort of person, but as so many do, when the new year arrives, I find it quite healthy to assess how the previous year has gone.
First thought is usually, 'Oh my goodness! Another year gone! How, when, where....' and then it slowly starts to take a focus with various peaks and troughs. My view is surprisingly like a 3D contour map. I look back and see the colours - peaks are lighter, brighter and even a bit glittery. The troughs, naturally, are darker, deeper shades with one or two parts that are definitely black. There are a couple of rift valleys too when the ups are side-by-side with the downs...

I've had to go and search Google for an image that represents what I'm talking about and I've found a really good one. You'll just have to believe me that this is very similar to what I am seeing in my head! (They've got the colours a bit wrong though..)
I found this on site.

Contour 3D

A huge peak was Romy's beautiful school performance at the end of May when she was Mrs. Potts in 'Beauty and the Beast' and she discovered how she loved to sing - and the bigger the audience, the better. She hasn't stopped singing since!

And then Ruy won second place in the National (Spain) 3D Bosque Archery competition which thrilled all of us, coming, as it did, just a few weeks after we heard that FR's father was terminally ill. Cesar Snr was delighted with the news, of course, and I'm also very pleased to report that we found him in a remarkably good state of health this Christmas - more of which in a moment! And as a result, he was awarded a sum of money towards a new bow, which is now in his possession...he's very pleased with it! The is is just after we arrived back from Valladolid - his first opportunity to pick it up. The back pack quiver is also new. 

Mateo's ideas are crystallising. After chugging rather drearily through school, he's starting to change gear and realise that if his desire to be an anthropologist is to be fulfilled, he has to dig deeper and channel his intelligence into passing his exams. He still needs a lot of help with the maths, but he's getting there and his teachers are in no doubt as to his capabilities. I have a lot of faith in him and as he is now in the year of his 18th birthday, I feel sure that he's going to find there are lots of opportunities for him to do the things he wants to do - and is capable of doing. Go for it Teo!

My own peaks have been through some of my teaching moments. There's almost always a lot of laughing and fun and enthusiasm. I manage to get up and teach a class at 8am four days a week and despite not being a morning person, I am always happy to face the morning folk for an hour of lively and comical conversation. I have little peaks most days!! A real peak this year too for me was when I went to England and saw a couple of my old school friends. I can't tell you how energising I found it and how lovely it was to be back in touch, face-to-face in a hugging sort of way - not just Facebook messages - with good friends. Very special. I shall do it again. Special as well to see Sam and David and the girls again - we saw a lot of the girls in the summer and I do hope they repeat the arrangement again this year. I love having a houseful of happy children and young people. 

FR and I have had a good year together. He's had some peaks and troughs of his own, but we have ended our year feeling grateful for and to each other. Just two weeks ago, I'd returned from town with Ruy and Romy and was beginning to prepare lunch. FR was outside working - I'd seen him chopping logs with his chainsaw as we came home - and so had such a fright when he appeared at the doorway clutching his arm and asking me to take him to 'Urgencias'. There was a lot of blood and one of the boys got a towel to wrap around his arm. I dashed him to the hospital in record time, driving on the wrong side of the road as we met the slow Saturday traffic in Alcala la Real. I chose not to look or even think as he went straight into the casualty room, although I had questioned him on the journey in and it seemed as though he could still feel and move his hand - something I found extremely reassuring. He had to go to Granada in the ambulance so I whizzed home again and got a few belongings for him to take and then he was gone. It was an extremely scary few hours. 

In short, he was exceedingly lucky - lucky beyond words - as the cut, which was deep and to the bone, managed to avoid any main arteries, tendons and nerves although he is a vein or two missing now. He had surgery later on Saturday night and had to stay in for three days to receive an intensive course of antibiotics. An infection could have destroyed the luck he'd had...And boy, was he lucky. Definitely a rift valley moment! 

Ruy's school performance has been a bit of a trough during the past 12 months or so. He didn't pass his exams last year and so has been repeating the year again. Pure disinterest and total lack of application. And despite hoping that he would pull his finger out immediately this year, his end of term report indicates that this hasn't been the case...sigh. We have tried so many ways to deal with this but we keep drawing a blank. At home, he's a treasure. No underlying problems at school other than he doesn't want to learn. He's 14. He's not Mateo - whose thirst for knowledge is immense - and we have to try and find what will press his buttons. Or rather, hope that he finds something because in the end, he will need to find his own motivation. In the meantime, we are just trying to help.

This is the year we found Meesha, our amazing little kitten. Along with Pippin, she travelled up to Valladolid with us to spend Christmas with all the family. And having been rescued by Romy and I at the end of October, she has really made herself a key member of the family.
FR - never much of an animal person to start with - made quite a fuss when we came home with her, predicting illness and infirmities as the least of our problems. However, the following day, he simply fell in love with her and continues to be so as I write.
She really is very beautiful, extremely relaxed and friendly - apart from with Pippin who she dislikes intensely and growls at him every time he tries to come into the kitchen. He occasionally gets his own back by eating her food when she's not there to block his entry. I've seen her sitting on the kitchen window sill, behind the bars which are on all Spanish windows, with Pippin approaching her carefully...and when he's within reach, she bats him soundly on the nose. I absolutely love her to bits.
And so far, have no signs of being allergic to her - not that I'd tell anyone if I was though!

Christmas 2015 was a great big family fun occasion. All three brothers and their families met at my in-laws house for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and a few other days along the way too. We ate, laughed, played, walked and chatted. My father-in-law looked well, if a little paler than the last time I saw him but was able to join us for all meals and joined in when we played a Christmas game I'd prepared for us all.

With Abuelo Cesar

The cousins (and I) played Monopoly and Risk with gusto;
there was a great family outing to the cinema to see the new 'Star Wars' film (though I abstained...) and Meesha was an absolute star as she sat on all the best chairs and made herself at home straightaway!

A Christmas we will all remember with pleasure, I am sure. 

Impossible to get a photo of Amelia in a pose that looks right on camera....some of the other attempts are hilarious!
I think in summary, 2015 is the year that I have felt most comfortable in my own skin for a long time. That's quite something, don't you think? My children are growing up and need me less on a daily basis. In many ways, I am doing less than I have done in previous years, but what I do, I enjoy more. FR has done so much in the garden this year and I'm trying to straighten out the inside of the house - which has more or less - created itself since we first arrived. This year, I will be making some changes and will be glad when FR finishes off the outhouse that will be his office and additional storage space. The task of decluttering will be a pleasure when I can get round to it!!

This is a personal blog and not one where I usually pass much comment on world events. But it would take a hard heart not to express the deep feelings of concern, sadness and frustration at the plight of the refugees and the action of extremists. (And the popularity of hideous characters like Donald Trump.) I just wanted to say though, that I have been very impressed at the efforts of an ex-colleague of mine from Kirklees. Nel Hargrave has been working tirelessly on behalf of the refugees, initially in Calais, and now she's due to go out to Lesbos in the next week or so. I do admire so much what she's been doing and if anyone knows her or wants to check out what she's doing, you can find her on Facebook here, where she also posts links to other groups that help out. All power to your elbow, Nel!

One small peak was definitely returning home after the long journey from Valladolid. Coming home to our house was an unexpectedly lovely experience. The house is old, it's 'campo' (which means it is higgledly piggledly and not really very well made), we've had problems with the neighbour's stinky animal house which joins onto our house...including a problem with a horrid smell that took FR a lot of work to resolve. The summer and autumn have been so hot and dry that the land - mainly clay - has shrunk and we've got some serious cracks appeared throughout the house.

After a week away, we were a tad worried about opening the door again ....but it was delightful. My house smelled wonderful, it wasn't really cold and it was super-welcoming to be home again. 

It is good being here.

Happy New Year to everyone.