I managed to escape the worst of the bad weather that swept across Europe last week. How did I manage it? I did as the birds do and flew south! Just as the worst hit Madrid I left to go to Murcia - a region in the southeast of Spain. I have to say that Madrid was a chilly 2ºC when I left and in Murcia it was 15ºC!!
Ok, so it wasn't all sunbathing and swimming, actually, there was none! Murcia wasn't totally free from that scandalous Siberian front - we had howling winds for about 6 days. It's a long time since I've been woken in the night by the sound of the wind and thought that I was about to be blown away - oh no, we're not in Kansas now Toto!!
And it wasn't all sitting with my feet up waiting for the worst of the bad weather to pass. I did manage to keep myself busy...
Not exactly the Cistine Chapel!
Yep, I've been painting. My parents wanted to redecorate the house they have in Murcia and I offered to help. It was nice to be able to lend a hand and it meant that the job got done a lot quicker. It was hard going as there was quite a lot to do, but I can't complain - I was well fed and the cups of tea were constant!!
I've also come back with ideas for future posts and I've been sorting out some photos to accompany them so hopefully, fingers crossed, my poor ol' blog will start looking like it used to.
We've been warned. Today the temperatures are going to plummet, winter is finally going to arrive and we should be expecting Arctic freezing and Siberian winds.....
This is the current view from my bedroom window across the rooftops of the town where I live. Hmmmmm. I'm not saying that it won't come eventually, but perhaps not today.
To be honest, it would probably do the city some good to have a bit of winter wind and some rain. This photo is taken in the direction of Madrid, the capital. Can you see a hazy, murky, brown looking cloud hanging on the horizon? That's pollution. It hasn't rained here since the the beginning of the year and that was only a light drizzle. It really does make you wonder what we are breathing in!
So, I say 'bring on the big freeze' (and a little bit of rain, not too much now, to wash all the gunk away!).
The tradition in Spain is that children only receive their presents on the 6th January, which is the Epiphany on the Christian calendar, after the arrival of the Kings on the night of the 5th. Father Christmas or Santa Claus is slowly becoming more popular but it is seen as a marketing gimmick and linked to the culture of North America. So the kids have to wait and wait and wait until the 6th January before they get their goodies!
If you think about it though, although it's a tradition that has been around forever and is still upheld, it's not really that fair on the children; two days after getting their presents and it's time to go back to school! But to make up for the long wait the arrival of the Kings is widely rejoiced and celebrated. Practically every town has it's own procession. The theme is changed every year and the floats and costumes all represent the same theme.
This year, in the town where I live, the theme was the Jungle Book.
The Jungle Book
Different associations, youth groups, dance schools and even the local OAP centre made their own floats and costumes to participate in the parade.
Apart from the monkeys and tigers there were elephants, birds and a giant snake. Between the floats there were dancers in costume and marching bands. The music was playing, the lights were flashing and the children loved it! Each float was loaded high with sweets which were thrown out to the hundreds of people lining the streets along the route. They made there way through the centre of town to the Town Hall building in the central square.
And bringing up the rear of the parade were the stars of the show, the ones that all the children had been desperately waiting for to arrive - the Kings! It's definitely a time for children to enjoy but it's not surprising to see all the 'accompanying' parents, grandparents and other adults having a great time too.