I cant leave out the animals at Christmas and they both had their parcels. Sooty got a collar with a blue bandana & bells plus some cat nip treats while Lisa got choc drops, a snowlady soft toy & a new collar with bandana.
The picture shows them admiring each others bandanas.
Christmas Day has been & gone but it was a good day spent with good friends.
Each couple had got gifts for the others which we opened in the break between the main course & dessert. Gill had made up small Christmas sacks which took us all back to our childhoods, with a tangerine, a chocolate coin and sweety treats as well as gifts. Dane & Gordon had traditional Christmas hats while Allen received a chefs hat complete with Santa.
Marina had got Gill & I special scarves that we both had admired on a girly day out, while the men got wine & a treat. I had got the men mugs & some of their favourite sweets, with the girls getting a floral storage case for their handmade cards & a craft magazine. Lisa hadn't been left out with some choc drops from Marina & a new teddy from Gill.
Dane, Allen & Gordon
Marina, Gill & Me
Today we are all at Marinas, and on 6th January - Three Kings at Gills.
I have just completed my first attempt at icing a Christmas cake. Allen had made the cake some time ago, along with 5 others for friends. My decoration isn't up to the standard of my niece Chloe http://clobell.blogspot.com/ but for a first effort I was quite pleased.
Following on from a previous blog. My Christmas table is now set, complete with my table centre. The theme is plum & silver. I made the silver place mats by covering standard plastic ones with embossed paper silver table runners. I got matching napkins and the crockery & cutlery were bought on a recent trip to Ikea in Murcia but put away for Christmas. Happy with the overall finish.
I have had to wait before I could post the blog as the person the card was made for hadn't received it. One of my crafters husband asked me to do a special Christmas card for his wife Marina. So this was what I came up with. The card is made using the Keepsakes Tall Books embossing board and the box is designed to fit it & show off the card as it has acetate it the window. It also has a stand to support the card.
I have been looking around at the shops for ideas for a Christmas table decoration but nothing, as they say, rang my bell. Then on a visit to a local DIY shop with 2 friends we came across contemporary silver metal Christmas trees which were on special offer. With a red glittery reindeer - yes I know Santa had 7 - some matching snowflakes & some clear gems I had the start of my decoration.
A visit to our local Chinese shop yielded a large red glittery plate, a red, green & silver tinsel & small red & silver baubles. The tree was stuck down to the plate using silicone glue, then some of the baubles were threaded onto the tinsel, which was then wrapped around the base of the tree. The remaining baubles were then dotted around on top.
An inexpensive table decoration but it will fit in perfectly with my colour plan for the table - maroon & silver. Watch this space for a photo of the finished table.
When we collected our post yesterday there was a package from my nephew Andi & his lovely wife Chloe. Along with our Christmas card was a lovely banner which Chloe had handmade for us. She is such a talented young lady. To view more of her beautiful work go to http://clobell.blogspot.com/.
Since I started running the craft group I said that they had to make each others birthday & Christmas cards. It is always nice to see what they come up with. These are this years Christmas cards made for teacher (me).
Clockwise from 12 - made by Gilly, Pammy, Irene, Mavis, June & Marina. Centre is by Janet. I am so proud of them all.
Having had a few days of cold weather Thursday was much better so we decided to get the outside lights up. We had bought a new set as one of the ones from last year had gone to the Christmas light heaven. First the shooting star went up followed by the new set along the bottom of the balustrade and finally 2 shorter sets meeting in the centre.
The Zumba classes are still continuing - much to my surprise and I am really enjoying them. The arms & feet are now doing the same dance at the same time - well most of the time they are. The hour flies by & I am well & truly shattered by the end of it, but I am starting to see results - waistline has reduced & I have lost 7lbs in 4 weeks. I know its not a lot but that is without dieting so I am happy with the results.
Classes are continuing through the Christmas holidays so it will be ideal & in the New Year I can combine it with dieting too so should see improved results.
Last night we went to our first Christmas function. This was for all my crafting ladies & their husbands. We went to a local restaurant and had a superb meal with lots of chat & revellry.
When we arrived there was a beautifully wrapped parcel in front of my place & when we had finished they gave me a thank you card & I was allowed to open my gift. A box of my favourite choccies - Lindt D'Or & a gift voucher worth 30€ for my favourite jewellery shop - Bijou Brigitte.
As Allen is tea boy when they all come they also bought him a bottle of Reserva Red Wine, which he will really enjoy.
I thank them all & for posperity their names are:- Pammy Walker (Mrs Straight Lines), Gilly Howard (Dizzy Blond), Marina Beardsall (I Like Green), June Whitworth (I Can't Decide), Irene Everett (Dancing Queen), Janet Pocock (Can I do Lilac) & Mavis Riley (Mrs Messy). They are a great bunch of girls & I love them all.
A special mention for Pammies husband Arthur/Wally. A man came around selling single long stem roses which all the husbands declined but Wally followed him out & bought one for all the ladies. A special touch which went down well with all of us. Big thank you Wally x
The nights have been getting colder even though the days are still warm enough when the sun is out. Last night was the coldest yet with the temperature down to 1.3ºC. Not quite as cold as UK but cold enough that even Lisa needs her bed socks on to go to bed.
At least her front feet & legs were warm. Doesn't she look cute.
Well following the last blog about our success in the club rinks match we had problems within the club. Allen, myself & four others have left Vistabella and 3 of us have gone back to our old club San Luis, where we have been greeted by many good wishes. Makes us wonder why we left in the first place.
So all our efforts in the Club competitions were in vain - but sometimes you have to lose something to gain in the long run. In this case it means that I can again play Ladies pairs with Sheila Cox in both Nationals & Valencians so hopefully we can go one better than last year.
This morning we played a rinks match in our Club competitions. There had been so much rain overnight that when we arrived to play there was a duck pond instead of a bowling green but 1 rink was almost drained. We decided to defer the start until 11am by which time the rink was playable.
Our team was Pammy Walker leading, Brian Dunn at 2, Allen playing 3 & me skipping. We were against Brian Donohoe, Diane Hudson, John Ester & Russ Hudson. They scored a 3 on the first end but we immediately picked up 3 on the next end followed by a 4 on the 3rd end. This provided us with a comfortable cushion and although there were some close ends we pulled away and the closest they got was 6 shots. With 2 ends to play we were 10 shots ahead & picked up another 2 on the next end to win the match with an end to play.
This win puts us into the semi final - a good result with Pammy & Brian both in their first season of bowling.
Pammy & I are already through to the final in the Ladies pairs, & in the semi of the Ladies 2 wood pairs so this is another boost to her confidence.
Well it is official - I have started doing Zumba classes twice a week. The classes are Tuesday & Thursday evenings for an hour at a time. They are such fun & a really good workout, which is good because I really want to lose some weight & tone up. At the moment it is a case of me going one way while everybody else goes the other way or the feet doing the right moves while the arms do a totally different dance, but no doubt they will all soon coordinate - I hope.
Will keep you all informed of how it goes - so keep your eyes peeled.
Yesterday we played the annual 4 Nations tournament, between expat bowlers from England, Scotland, Ireland & Wales. Allen is a selector for the Welsh team
While I have the honour of being Captain of England.
Each country fields 6 teams of 4 with 3 playing morning and the others playing in the afternoon. After the mornings matches England were first by just one shot - but how the mighty are fallen. On a very tricky green (and thats being complimentary about it) the English managed to score only 38 more shots & finished in 4th spot - the humiliation!
Ireland were just ahead with Wales, last years Champions in 2nd position so by process of elimination Scotland took the spoils and received a gold medal each.
Each country also gives a prize of a mug with the relevant design to each member of the highest scoring rink - needless to say I didn't get one!
We had one end on our rink where at the finish of an end there were only 2 bowls in play - out of a possible 16 - the rest had finished out of the playing area. Someone threatened to take a photo but don't know that they did. I for one won't look forward to playing at El Rancho anytime soon.
I was asked on Saturday to make a card for Allens' nephew Stephen to send to his new baby daughter at Christmas. Stephen is serving in Afghanistan & will miss his daughters first Christmas.
One of the Craftsuprint designers responded to my request for a special sheet & within 12 hours it was up on the site & in my basket. The card was made, but it the first time I have ever made a card which made me cry while making it. I found it very emotional. The designer of the sheet said she felt exactly the same.
I hope & pray that all our troops stay safe & return to their families.
I haven't blogged for ages as I just haven't had any spare time. I've been trying to get all my special Christmas Cards made for mine & Allens' lovely families back in the UK. Got Allens' batch all done & sent to his sister for distributing. All the other special cards are made & ready to go as soon as I finished the little gifty bits to add in - was going to post piccis but as some of the family check my blog I can't until after the event.
Anyway I have just got to finish a bit of knitting & then I'm done & can start planning Christmas Day. We have 4 or 6 friends coming for traditional Christmas dinner - I love cooking this meal so volunteer to do Christmas Day. The others then do Boxing Day & Three Kings, which is the main day for celebrations in Spain. Will make table gifts for everyone so have to decide what to do for each one before I can start to make them.
Last Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday Allen & I played in the Triples of the Spanish Nationals along side Keith Roberts.
On Tuesday we were against the all lady triples from El Rancho skipped by Maggie Furness. This was never close & we won comfortably to move to the next round.
Wednesday morning we were back at Monte Mar against an Emerald Isle triples skipped by Rod Payne. They had also comfortably beaten their opponents on the first day. Once again we were always in control and after only 16 ends we were through to the next round in the afternoon.
The afternoon match against Spanish International Sheri Fletcher, her husband Jim & Spanish National Team Coach Pat Metcalfe was always going to be difficult and over the first few ends they were in command of the match building up a lead of 10-2. On the next 2 ends we picked up single shots to double our score then on the next end we managed a good 4 to take us back to 10-8 down. A single on the next end and we were only 1 shot behind. As I went to the mat we were 2 down on the next end & Keith said to me "Who wants this the most?". My answer was "I do". I played a bowl & managed to trail the jack slightly & we picked up another 3 shots to put us ahead. We kept repeating the mantra "Who wants it the most - we do" and never dropped another shot winning 21-10 with 19 unanswered shots.
The following morning we moved greens to Quesada for the semi final against the Country Bowls team Lynne Bishop, Noel Verity & Terry Padgett who had also come through from Monte Mar. Allen struggled with his weight in this match but Keith & I played well. We progressed through to the final in the afternoon.
The final was against Debbie & John Colquhoun & Jan Dando of Indalo. Debbie & Jan are both Spanish Internationals. This time Allen played really well finding both line & weight but Keith & I could find neither consistently & we were beaten comfortably. A disappointing finish but at least we got to the final - there were plenty of favoured teams who didnt make it.
Well I haven't blogged for over a month. I was away in UK for the whole of August & seem to have been fully occupied since coming back - hence no blogs.
Last Wednesday I met up with 3 other Craftsuprint card makers for lunch & a chat. This turned out to be a very long lunch - 5 hours. We all got on like a house on fire & plan on meeting up again next month with a 5th member joining our group.
Photo shows Carol Sear, Joan Prince, Lorraine Appleby & Myself.
Margaret Swaby will be joining us next month. Who knows we might end up with even more of us "Cuppers".
Back in April the garden looked forlorn - overgrown, covered in weeds - to be honest - a mess.
We decided that to cut down on the weeds we needed to put down new plastic under the gravel. This meant that all the gravel had to be moved before the new plastic could go down and then put the gravel back.
After a lot of hard work the gravel was back down and looked much better. Under the 2 gazebos we removed the gravel and replaced it with plastic & green carpet. We refastened the netting around the gazebos and repaired the canopies. The conifers were cut down and it looks much tidier now.
Some of the gravel from under the gazebos was moved to the path down the side of the house and then the ivy & honeysuckle were trimmed back to finish the transformation.
Having got it all tidy I held my craft class under the gazebo as it was cooler than in the house. We made 2 cards before our new monthly girls lunch out. One was a Christmas card - strange making them when the temperature is over 30C!
A new bowls club has recently been completed here on the Costa Blanca. It is owned by the Spanish company Terrapilar and is part of the Vistabella sports complex. There cannot be a better view from a bowls green than this.
Allen & I were unsure whether to rejoin San Luis because of the vandalism problem and we didn't want to rejoin and then find we had lost our money. So with the new club opening we made the decision to join there and the journey is only 3 minutes more than to San Luis.
Having decided we were joining and paid our monies I was then approached and asked to take on the role as Captain - another decision to make but with Allens support I agreed.
The first official function was a cocktail party held to introduce the new club to invited members of the bowling fraternity. With the Presidents of Costa Blanca Bowls, Valencian Federation and Costa Blanca Umpires & Markers invited, together with various committee members of CBBA & SABA it was quite an occasion.
The Directors of Terrapilar, Eduardo Lopez, Benjamin Lopez, Joaquim Grau and General Manager Pablo Riestra were asked to bowl the inaugural bowls on the green and after some instruction on the bias of bowls they proceded to do so. Considering they had never even held a bowl never mind bowled one they did quite well and it will be interesting to see whether we can encourage any of them to join us on a regular basis.
Following the opening we retired to the club house for drinks & buffet courtesy of Terrapilar.
The following morning we held a small bowls competition designed to give some idea of the green & complex to bowlers from other greens. Ian Young (Club Chairman) & I were sporting our new club shirts which will be used for all our league matches and we posed with Joaquim Grau & Pablo Riestra.
The general concenus of opinion on the green was favourable and although heavier than most greens should be nicely bedded in by the start of the league season.
The winners were from Greenlands, Mike Regan, Penny Tompkins, Brian Miller & Barry Collins and they were presented with their trophies by Eduardo, Benjamin & Joaquim.
Once again Terrapilar provided a free buffet and a drink for all competitors. Eduardo decided that a glass of cava was needed to toast the new bowls club and so Ian, Allen & I joined Eduardo & Pablo in a glass to celebrate. Having finished the cava Eduardo disappeared and came back with a bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne for us all to try. Pablo whispered that the bottle cost more than 200€ - no wonder it was good. When we finished the expensive stuff Eduardo opened a bottle of Reserve Cava - we decided he liked having a bowls club!
Wonder whether we should start the tradition that he come with bottles after all our league games - or maybe just those we win.