In total Flat Susan will visit and stay with 36 people before she returns home. Yes, thirty six! That's a lot of travelling for such a tiny person. If you are new to this blog perhaps you should scroll to the very first post so you know more about who she is and what is happening with her. You are welcome to take the button on the right to display on your own blog and we hope you will visit the blogs of the people she has been staying with and leave a kind comment after your reading.


Monday, 9 February 2015

Waiting for a New Suitcase

Flat Susan is resting at home after her hectic trips back and forth across the world and she has never stopped talking about how much she has enjoyed meeting people, how kind they have been to take her here and there, and how much she has seen.

She needs a new suitcase now before she carries on with her journey through the UK but I have been admiring the lovely postcards she has collected along the way.  I thought I would take this opportunity to show you some so you could enjoy them too

The top one is from Sandy in Australia, bottom left from Kay in New Mexico and the one on the right is from Kimmie in North Carolina.

The top two are again from Kay in New Mexico, the next one down shows the San Francisco skyline and is from Darnell and the last one is Flinders Street Railway Station which was built in 1854 and is the oldest City station in Australia.

I also got some photographs and here is one of Susie but you will need to check back on her write up to see why she had Flat Susan meet these two handsome guys.

and here are two photos from Kimmie, I don't think you need any introduction to who the famous person on the left is or who the Star(r) on the right is.  If you do you had better check on Kimmie's write up.

I have some lovely tags to show you but they will have to wait for another post - and I need to sift through my stuff that did not travel with Flat Susan as I am sure there is a postcard or two there.

See you soon and hopefully will be sending Flat Susan off again.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Bread Festival?

Flat Susan´s Spanish Adventure: Part Two

As  promised, here I am again with the rest of Flat Susan´s activities while she was here with us.

Flat Susan has accompanied me to most places that I go, including church (she likes the singing best), and to my sewing group. She has watched us knitting, sewing, crocheting, and just chatting, but she was very interested to see my friend Sue making some bobbin lace.

In the afternoons she sat with me as I finished off the crochet blanket that I was making for my Africa project. When it was done I laid it out for her to see, and she chose to try out the red square.
I had to make sure I put it away after that so she couldn´t creep back on it when I wasn´t looking. I wouldn´t want to send her off to Africa by mistake!

She also came with us when we walked the dogs over on the campo. It was lovely to see them running around, but she was very impressed when they ran back to make sure we were still there. I told her that twice we have seen wild tortoise over there, and I think she was a bit disappointed that we couldn´t find one for her to see, but they are very protected and we would not have been allowed to take it away for her.

After our lovely sunny days, we all find the evenings very cold and we are so grateful to light our newly mended fire, which makes the sitting room so cosy. But Flat Susan knew instinctively that she mustn´t get too close to the flames, as she might go rather floppy! So she preferred to keep warm by snuggling into Tango´s lovely soft fur.

We had one more exciting day out for F.Susan that hadn´t been in our plans. My friend had intended to go to Lubrin bread festival, but her husband had to go to UK for family reasons, so we said we would take her. Lubrin is a little village in the mountains to the north of us, and it was high enough to be quite chilly there, so we all wrapped up well, and F.Susan stayed safely tucked into my pocket. She didn´t want to see out of the car window because it is a very narrow, winding road, and she thought it was a bit scary, but she did pop out in time to see the village as it came into view.

We settled at a café table by the plaza and watched the preparations. F.Susan liked the coloured flags on all the verandas, and I explained that the red and yellow ones are the Spanish flag, but the green and white ones are the flag of Andalucia. 

The bread festival marks San Sebastian day, so I took Susan down to the church to see his statue. She loved the red roses and the fresh bread all around the statue, so I let her creep up and sit among them for a while. She looks very tiny hiding in there.
Back at our table we joined with everyone else in buying a tiny bread circle to pin  to our coats, but Susan thought mine was just right for her to sit in. A friend who lives in Lubrin, told us that the children had made these in school during the previous week.
After a mass in the church, the fun began as larger bread rings were thrown from all the verandas and caught by the crowds below. 

The men carried ropes that they threaded their bread onto, and it was a real competition to see who could catch the most. Some caught so many that they needed help to carry them.
Because so many were needed, some of the bread had been cooked days in advance and was very hard, so we warned F.Susan to take cover, but she was so excited that she couldn´t stay hidden and she was even more happy when Chris caught our first ring.
She wanted to sit in that one too. Fortunately it was a nice fresh one, and quite soft, so we broke it and all had a little taste.
It was a very ´exuberant´celebration, and F. Susan wanted to record some of it to share with you, and give you a taste of the atmosphere there, so I took a little video as the procession passed our plaza. Here is a link to it. I hope it works for you. It looks a bit fierce but really it was a very good-natured event. Everyone is happy on Fiesta days.

On Friday I took F.Susan with me to Turre market. She loved all the colours and bustle, but it was a very windy day so I made sure she was pinned tightly to my jumper.
Then, as it was the last time I would be taking her out, we drove down to the beach at Mojacar Playa. The beach itself was almost deserted.
It can be a bit uncomfortable there on such a wild day, as the wind whips the sand up against your legs, but it was an off-shore wind so it wasn´t too bad, and we stood a while just enjoying the noise and sound of the waves breaking on the sand.
F.Susan was delighted to find some flowers growing out of the sand. She thought they were just the right size for her and insisted on sitting in them.
Then she spotted a patch of sea grasses with their furry seed heads, and quickly climbed on to one of these. It was so windy that I had to pick a grass stem to tie her on, to keep her safe, but she had a great ride, swaying in the wind.
Then we crossed the road at the big roundabout, and stopped to watch the fountain, and admire the red poinsettias still blooming around its base.
The white building behind the fountain is called Parque Comercial, and it is a complex of clothes shops, cafés, a supermarket and a collection of fancy goods and tourist shops. We went into one of these so that F.Susan could chose a tiny Indalo man to fix on the tag I am making for her to take back to Neet. Indalo man is a little stick man holding what appears to be a rainbow, and he was found in some cave drawings to the north of here. He has become the icon for Andalucia, and appears somewhere in just about every house, as well as on street furniture, and various small items such as jewelry and leather goods, that are a favourite buy for holidaymakers to take home as a souvenir. Here are the railings along the new path that runs all along the road leading up to Mojacar Pueblo, and you can see Indalo man on every second panel.
So now it is time for Flat Susan to pack her suitcase and head back to the UK. She has been travelling for nearly eighteen months, so I guess she will be quite happy to go home and rest, and share all her adventures with the folk there. We have loved having her here, and I think she also enjoyed her time with us. Safe journey Flat Susan. Thank you for visiting us.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Espana Por Favour

Flat Susan´s Spanish Adventure: Part 1

The idea was for Flat Susan to come to share Christmas with us in Spain, but unfortunately her flight from Australia was delayed, and she did not arrive until Boxing Day. That´s plain  old 26th December for us, as Boxing Day is not celebrated in Spain, so it is just a normal day, which why the mail man was working as usual. Poor Susan had done a lot of waiting around over the past few days so she was glad to meet her new hosts and just relax for a day. 

But she wan´t able to relax for long as the very next day we took her across the green zone at the back of our house, to watch a simulated traffic accident.  It was a training/information exercise, and we were impressed by the way all the local services worked together to sort out the traffic, give first aid, and get the patients (all volunteers from the village),  loaded into ambulances. 
Flat Susan was quite upset by it all at first, but once she realised it was only ´pretend´she began to enjoy it, but she stayed tucked inside my jacket for most of the time, all the same.

Her first real celebration was New Year´s Eve. By then she was getting used to having the dogs around and they no longer felt the need to sniff her to decide whether she was friend or foe. Foxy was more interested in pinching her snacks than in eating her!

Although they are yard dogs really, we usually invite them in to see the New Year in with us, so we all settled down to watch Big Ben strike midnight and enjoy the fireworks. I think F.Susan was a bit confused because we had already celebrated an hour earlier when the Spanish clocks all rang in the New Year. But she was happy to have a sip or two of wine from the tiny `glass´ I had made just for her.
With just a couple of days to catch up on some sleep, we then took her out to lunch with a group of friends from our village art club. They all wanted an introduction and she got on well with everyone.
My Spanish friend Cati was most interested. She thought I had made her, and asked whether I could make one for her, so I tried to explain that Flat Susan is quite unique, and soon she would be travelling back to her home in UK. Cati was very disappointed!

The meal started with entremeses, a plate of meat and cheese. Flat Susan nibbled at the cheese, but found the meat a bit too chewy. She decided to just watch while we ate the main course, but she got quite excited when the rice pudding came along!

After the meal we sat around chatting so I made her a raised seat from the wine corks so she could see better what was going on.

On January 5th, the night when the Three Kings arrive for Epiphany, we drove over to Almeria city, to meet up with some friends. We had never been to the procession there so it was new to us as well as to F.Susan, and we all enjoyed it immensely. Flat Susan couldn´t believe her eyes when the procession started with two real elephants walking down the street.   There was a huge crowd of people, and it was very noisy, so she was a bit afraid of getting separated from us, and decided to stay very close, but I pinned her to my coat so she could see everything. The Kings arrived on very ornate floats and she loved all their bright lights and music.

But we all loved the last bit when the big, inflated caterpillars (?) floated along with ever changing coloured lights inside them. It was the perfect end to an exciting evening. Then we had to drive home to get some rest before the Three Kings Fiesta in the village the next day.
So January 7th dawned clear and sunny. Once again we were blessed with a beautiful day for our fiesta. We went across to the plaza in time to watch the pageant. First the soldiers arrived at King Herod´s Palace, and it is fun to see our friends dressed up and obviously enjoying the parts they played.
Then it was time for the Kings to arrive, and F.Susan thought they looked very fine!
When the play had been acted out, we took Susan around the stalls, stopping to chat to friends as we went. 
I asked Flat Susan if she was feeling brave, and when she nodded I took her over to the tent where there were several birds of prey and some reptiles. i warned her to sit still while I held a very big, and heavy long-eared owl. He was very beautiful, and she stayed so still, I don´t think he even noticed her.

She behaved so well that I took a bit more of a risk and asked to hold the boa constrictor. They said he was too strong for me which was a shame, but they did let me hold this one, which is also a type of boa. Susan was a bit more wary of this, but she stayed very still, and afterwards, when she how close he was to her in the photo, she felt quite proud of what she had done!

Food plays an important role in  all our fiestas, but particularly this one, and she was amazed at the variety available. I always think this barbecue looks amazing, with its racks of ribs, slices of lomo, choritzo, black pudding, sausages and chicken. And it smells amazing too.
Other people prefer the big pan of paella, but I am not so keen on it if it has lots of shell fish or snails in it! Here the rice has just been added, so it will be a little while before it is ready to eat.
Then there is the meal provided by the Town Hall for anyone who wants it, and this year it was a giant tortilla - layers of potato and onion with beaten eggs, and cooked over a log fire. It is hard enough to cook evenly in a little pan made for the purpose, so I am filled with admiration for these men who use a pan the size of my dining table!
When it is ready they serve up big slabs of it in huge bread rolls so we all shared one.
After lunch we took Flat Susan home for a rest, but then, as it was twelfth night, it was the traditional time to take down the Christmas decorations and pack them all away. F.Susan asked if she could have one more cuddle with my little angel bear before I put him away, and she also had a last chat with Santa.
Well that is the end of Susan´s Christmas Adventure. Tomorrow I will write part 2, and you can see what else she has done during her stay with us.