Sunday Sevens #166 9.12.18

Hello! Here’s Sunday Sevens again, a great week for us and full of sunshine. Here goes….

High pressure parking maneuvers

As we headed out on Sunday morning, I spied a submarine heading into port. HMS Astute to be precise. On our travels we went down to the waterside to see the sub up close.

If you’ve ever driven in Gibraltar you’ll know that parking can be a bit tricky at times, on hills, against rocky walls and just inches from the passing traffic. That said, I don’t fancy trying to park one of these… even with the help of a couple of tugs!

Dressmaking booboo

Arghh! As I started sewing this week a spied a terrible thing – a hole in one of my back panels which had already been attached to my collar! The hole must’ve been in the fabric when I bought it but as it was cut double I didn’t see it until too late. It had to be unpicked, then another panel cut and reattached. So glad I did it though, no one wants a jacket with a hole in!

Wanderers return

Last weekend we were a bit depleted in the Postcard household. Two members of the family were overseas on school/work trips. I’m pleased to say both came home safe and well.

Watercolour class

I’m making slow progress with my painting of the ceiling at Sacred Heart Church. That said I don’t want to rush at it a make a hash of it… baby steps!

Winter sun

We’ve had a belting week weatherwise. Mornings have been misty but by lunchtime we’ve had beautiful blue skies and sunshine – we’ve been so lucky!

#Elfy

So, we have an elf… up until this point we’d dodged this current fascination but this week, the pester power was too much and #Elfy arrived.

The tree’s up!

Not our personal one of course 😉 We walked past this huge one in Casemates Square last night and saw it lit up for the first time. It looked lovely.

So that’s it for this week’s Sunday Sevens, I hope it’s been a good week for you. Until next week, bye for now.

As always I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Friday photo challenge (week 49) Sunset

We are incredibly fortunate to have a beautiful west-facing view from our home. We look out on the Bay of Gibraltar and the hills behind Algeciras in the distance. Each clear evening we get to see the sun plop down behind the hills and often, the sunsets are spectacular (the top one was taken on Sunday).

Sometimes we just get a quick glimpse as the sun comes out from cloud cover before disappearing!

We’ve been lucky enough to see some lovely sunsets while on holiday too. The one above was taken on a bridge across the River Garonne in Toulouse in Southern France, and the one below on the beach at Marbella on the Costa del Sol (Costa del Sunset on this occasion).

But my favourite sunset photo has to be this one….

…taken at a hotel a short drive along the Spanish coast from where we live in Gibraltar. I love how the dark silhouettes of the trees and bridge are reflected in the pool.

Next week’s Friday photo challenge is: ‘Decoration’.

Sunday Sevens #165 2.12.18

Hello and welcome to the first Sunday Sevens of December. The advent calendars are being munched and there’s no denying that Christmas is around the corner – so far, so good on the planning stages, but still there’s lots to do! I hope you’ve had a good week! Here’s what I’ve been up to…

Black Sunday rainbow

Last Sunday afternoon I took a trip into town to go shopping. The shops in Gibraltar are usually closed on a Sunday but as it had been Black Friday, the sales and opening hours continued into Sunday for one weekend. I was lucky and got a few things at a discount and we even had a rainbow to kick off our shopping trip. Casemates Square was the pot of gold!

Dressmaking class

I’m finally feeling like I’m getting somewhere with my jacket at last. After weeks of drafting a pattern and cutting out a gazillion pieces of fabric, lining and interfacing, I have done a bit of sewing. I have a collar attached to the outer bit and a nice pleat in the back of my lining.

Watercolour class

Wow I have spent hours sketching this ceiling out at my watercolour class, and finally put paint on it! Now that the colour’s gone on, I can see some wonky bits but I’ll try to sort that out later!

Convent Christmas Fair

The annual Convent Christmas Fair was on this week. I love going along and picking up some Christmas presents, especially unusual handmade gifts. I can’t show you what I bought, but I’m sharing a photo of a gorgeous fused glass Christmas card I got. It’s amazingly lightweight.

Like my super yacht?

How’s that for an impressive boat? I had to park my car out by the quayside this week and was rather bowled over by these huge boats which were moored here. That’s some serious money. I don’t really fancy one myself – but I wouldn’t say no to a trip on one ;-).

Now that’s magic!

It’s been a bit magical in Gibraltar this week! Hot on the heels of the Gibraltar International Literary Festival came the Gibraltar International Magic Festival. I took the Little Postcards along to watch and really enjoyed it. Some of the tricks were amazing.

Bon voyage!

It’s been rather quiet around these parts for the past 24 hours. Mr Postcard headed off on a work trip in the wee small hours of yesterday and then Eldest jetted off on a school trip around lunchtime too. Our household shrunk from 5 to 3 in a matter of hours. I’m used to Mr P going away for business but it felt weird waving Eldest off on his way… he’ll be back soon!

That’s it for this week’s Sunday Sevens, thank you for stopping by! As always I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Friday photo challenge (Week 48) Wild

Our rather famous ‘wild’ inhabitants here in Gibraltar just had to feature in this week’s photo challenge! What are they talking about I wonder?

My favourite place here has to be the Med Steps, and they are covered with ‘wild’ flowers in Spring.

Gibraltar Candytuft

It’s not just the Rock which has ‘wild’ inhabitants, we have beautiful dolphins in our waters too…

Next week’s Postcard from Gibraltar Friday Photo Challenge is ‘sunset’.

Sunday Sevens #164 25.11.18

Hello there, I hope this week’s been kind to you. It’s been a rather grey and soggy one here in Gibraltar, but that said, as I type the sun has broken through the clouds momentarily and is streaming through the window….. Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens:

A wet Sunday afternoon

It was rather grim last Sunday, proper monsoon style Gibraltar rain hit. Thankfully I was prepared and had pre bought cinema tickets to take the 2 Littlest Postcards to see The Grinch. It was a decent film, as far as animated kids films go, and we had long enough at the end of the film to play air hockey while we waited for our lift home!

A murky Monday morning.

The weather wasn’t too much better on Monday to be honest. There have been no Med Steps trips for a few weeks and I’m getting itchy feet to go back up again. Sadly my free time hasn’t coincided with any decent enough weather to head up there. Hopefully I’ll get back up there soon.

Rainbow

We had a treat on the school run on Tuesday morning – a rainbow! That’s a lovely way to start the day.

Dressmaking class

At Dressmaking class this week, I actually made progress on my jacket. All the interfacing has been ironed on, and I actually sewed the collar! Baby steps…

More rain!

On Wednesday I had a meeting in town, it rained, again!

Sunset

We did see some sunshine on Friday teatime, as the sunset peaked out from behind the clouds!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Later on Friday we popped into town (it was dry!) to see the big Christmas light switch on. Rather than rain, there were water fountains, paper snow, smoke and lasers!

And Gibraltar has some new Christmas lights this year. Some even feature the castle and key emblem from the Gibraltar flag.

And that just about brings Sunday Sevens to a close for this week. I hear that next week, the weather should improve…. I’ve got everything crossed for that!

Have a great week, and thank you for stopping by! As always I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Friday photo challenge (Week 47) Climb

My regular climb, apart from up the stairs to our apartment is the Med Steps. But another big climb which we made at Easter time this year, was to the top of St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Up and up we climbed to the very top. It felt rather odd peering down through the little window in the floor of the upper room to the huge cathedral below. It was a wonderful day out with some very dear friends.

Next week’s Friday photo challenge is ‘wild’.

Gibraltar Literary Festival 2018

This time last week, the sixth Gibunco Gibraltar Literary Festival was underway and there was a palpable buzz about town. This has got to be my favourite event in the Gibraltar social calendar, when local and international speakers come to the Rock to speak about their books, their lives and so much more. To have an event like this, just a short bus ride or walk from my home is a luxury I treasure and I do my best to attend every year – this one is my fifth. Here’s my experiences from this year’s festival….

First thing last Thursday morning I made my way to the John Mackintosh Hall for a talk by local biologist, Dr Alex Menez. He’s written a book called Almost Homo Calpicus about Gibraltar 1, the Neanderthal skull which was found in Forbes Quarry in Gibraltar the nineteenth century. In his talk he detailed what happened to the skull after it’s first presentation to the Gibraltar Scientific Society back in 1848. This very famous and important fossil, which was actually discovered before the ‘Neanderthal skull’ in Germany, was not recognised as being different from a human skull in the early days.

It was thanks to the work of amateur scientists and archaeologists in the British military that early excavation work was carried out in Gibraltar. It was a chance meeting of one of these achaeologists and a visiting physician (who was aware of the Neanderthal discovery) which lead to the skull being identified as being from a different species. When it was taken to London for further investigations it was seen by a whole host of prominent figures including Charles Darwin, who described it as “the wonderful Gibraltar skull”.

Dr Menez said that he believes this skull was of much more importance than the one found in the Neander Valley, because this one has a face. He went on to say that it’s still a valuable fossil and catalyst as it still captivates people all these years later. The Gibraltar skull can be seen at the Natural History Museum in London, a replica is on display at the Gibraltar National Museum.

Dr Geraldine Finlayson from the Gibraltar National Museum (centre left) & Dr Alex Menez (centre right)

My second talk on Thursday was by local poet Giordano Durante at the Gibraltar Garrison Library…

Giordano Durante being introduced at the start of his talk

In a talk entitled “The poem I’ll never write” Giordano took us back to his childhood living in Upper Town and extolled the benefits of living alongside and going to school with families from all walks of life. He said he was educated with children who’s parents were accountants and doctors, and others who’s parents were tobacco smugglers. He said that unlike in the UK, where there’s an early segregation of children from different backgrounds, his upbringing in Upper Town granted him “entry into two worlds in a frictionless way”.

After leaving Gibraltar to study Philosphy in London, he returned to the Rock and found work as a prison officer for 3 years. Again, he said that he was able to mix with people from all echelons of society, something which has now been reflected in his poetry which focuses on “the harsh beauty” of characters living on the fringes of society. Now working as a journalist, Giordano pinpointed the moment he first felt compelled to write a poem; after catching the waft of bleach as he walked past Bishop Canilla House one day back in September 2016. The smell triggered something which led him to write the poem; Bishop Canilla House, which is the first in his collection of poems ‘West‘.

His collection is split into four sections focusing on Gibraltar, Spain, the UK and a miscellaneous section to end with – it draws from his own personal experiences and observations. Describing himself as a philosophical poet, he says he fights against clichés both in his journalism and writing saying “clichés are the enemy of original thinking and limit one’s view of the world”.

As for the poem he’ll never write? Well, it would be about Gibraltarian identity, “an epic Llanito poem” charting the rise from notoriety of a young Gibraltarian hoodlum or ‘vrada’ from his life of petty crime to a new found respectability as a lawyer who marries Miss Gibraltar. Giordano claims the process of writing the poem, committing the Llanito dialect to paper, would fall short of what he wants to convey. I for one, would love to read it if he ever finds the right words….

On Friday, I was transported to the Medieval world of Game of Thrones during a fascinating talk by Oxford University Fellow and Tutor of Medieval English Literature, Carolyne Larrington. Her book came about after a meeting with her publisher about another project. They found the conversation kept returning to her fascination with Game of Thrones, and her publisher suggested she should write a book about that as well. In fact, she described her binge reading of the George R.R. Martin stories as the “lost summer of 2012”.

Drawing parallels between the world of the Seven Kingdoms and actual historical fact, Carolyne explained where she believes Martin got the inspiration for the settings and events in his epic tale. The Hereford Cathedral Mappamundi (map of the world) is a possible inspiration for his map of the Seven Kingdoms, with the Mediterranean Sea a basis on which to model the Narrow Sea. Westeros, she believes has a very British feel with “European bits” (I always imagined Hadrian’s Wall when reading about the Wall) and that the Dothraki are very similar to the real life Mongols.

The social settings for the story are also, she says rooted in reality, with the northern way of doing things at Winterfell very similar to an Anglo Saxon English earldom and Kings Landing being more like a medieval court and city. It was fascinating to hear how many parallels there are between historical fact and this huge work of fiction. This was a hugely entertaining talk for anyone who has read Martin’s books or seen the HBO TV series.

Carolyne Larrington

And finally, my last Gibraltar Literary Festival experience this year was with TV actor, playwright and ‘cosy crime’ writer, Robert Daws. To date he has written four stories featuring police officers Detective Sergeant Tamara Sullivan and Chief Inspector Gus Broderick of the Royal Gibraltar Police. His first novella, The Rock was published back in 2012, and was followed by a full-length sequel; The Poisoned Rock in 2017. His third novel Killing Rock is due out early next year.

At his talk on Friday afternoon, he first of all treated his audience to a reading of a short story featuring DS Sullivan; Tunnel Vision, a ghostly tale set in the Dudley Ward tunnel – it was captivating. Robert went on to explain how he got into writing novels, after a screenplay he had written didn’t get made and he thought his plot would easily transfer location to Gibraltar. That screenplay evolved into his first novella, The Rock.

It was a family connection which first brought him to Gibraltar around 30 years ago, and he has been visiting every year since. It was his knowledge of the place, it’s streets and people which gave him the background to set his books here. Robert has been to the Gibraltar Literary Festival on several occasions before and this wasn’t his only talk, he gave another one on Saturday and also appeared in Just a Minute on Sunday.

Robert also spoke a little about his work as a screen and stage actor (on Poldark, The Royal and Outside Edge), recounting anecdotes about productions and colleagues with affable charm and wit. As the talk drew to a close, we were again treated to a reading, this time of an excerpt of his third, and soon to be published Sullivan and Broderick mystery; Killing Rock. I shall be looking out for that one when it hits the shops.

I was lucky enough to meet Robert before his talk (he has followed Postcard from Gibraltar for a while now – fancy that!) and he is a truly lovely man. (If you’re reading this Robert, thank you again for being so generous with your time).

So that is my experience of the Gibraltar Literary Festival 2018. It’s a brilliant event, with so many diverse speakers and topics to see – I just wish I’d had more time to see even more. I’m counting down the days until next year….

If you enjoyed reading this, you may like to read my previous blog posts about the Gibraltar Literary Festival:

Gibraltar Literary Festival 2017

Gibraltar Literary Festival 2016

So many books, so little time… Gibraltar Literary Festival 2015