Sunday Sevens #113 10.12.17

Hello there, I do hope it’s been a good week for you. Thankfully this week has been a bit calmer than the one before for me, the Littlest Postcards had Thursday and Friday off school due to in-service days and a Roman Catholic holiday so that helped a lot with the rising chaos in the run up to Christmas.

Here’s this week’s edition of Sunday Sevens…

Caleta Christmas Craft Fair

It was a beautiful day last Sunday as we headed to Catalan Bay and the Caleta Hotel (the white building on the left – for anyone unfamiliar with Gibraltar). The Hotel hosted a Christmas craft fair last weekend and we popped in on Sunday to visit a friend of ours who makes lovely jewelry with Swarovski crystals as well as painting and sewing.

Sea creatures

I was very fortunate this week to be asked to help on a school trip. The trip was to the seaside to hear the Nautilus Project speak about the sea creatures who occupy the waters around our Rock. It was fascinating and I learned all sorts of new things, like for example; starfish have an eye at the tip of each leg, which means these starfish (above) have 5 eyes each! Apart from the starfish which had a sixth leg (s/he has six).

Drafting patterns

My pattern drawing continued this week at my Dressmaking class and ladies and gentlemen, I have gone a-symmetrical! I am hoping to make a dress with only one shoulder in it. I was inspired by a lovely dress worn by Claudia Winkleman on Strictly a few weeks back. Not sure it will be up to Strictly standards when I’m finished with it, but it’s worth a try!

Charity crafty coffee morning

On Wednesday (my last child-free day this week), I popped into the Arts & Crafts Centre for their charity coffee morning in aid of GibSams (Gibraltar Samaritans). The charity has only been operational for a few months and offers a phone support line Monday – Friday evenings at the moment, although it’s hoped that will be able to expand to 7 days a week in due course.

It was lovely to be able to have a chat, eat delicious Christmas biscuits, pick up a few Christmas gifts and support a great cause at the same time!

Sadly, I forgot to take a photo at the coffee morning but as I returned to my car I caught this view of the Bay framed by the arch of the multistory carpark. I thought it looked rather picturesque even for a dull day.

Another Christmas crochet project started…

A bit last minute I know, but I’ve just started another Christmas present…. will I finish it in time for the last post? I hope so….

It’s up!

I have finally accepted the fact that Christmas is a lot closer than I would like it to be, and we put up the Christmas tree yesterday. I was going to dig out our old artificial one, but Mr Postcard surprised me when he returned from the shops with this chubby beauty. Isn’t it cute?

That’s all for this week’s Sunday Sevens, I wonder what next week will have in store for us?

I’m linking with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins who created the Sunday Sevens blog series.

2017 Weekly photo challenge (week 48) Dark

This was the so-called ‘super moon’ which we had in our skies on Sunday night and Monday morning this week. This was taken at Europa Point looking eastwards towards the Mediterranean. Only armed with my phone camera, it’s not the best moon photo, but it’s certainly dark!

I’m linking with Nana Cathy and Wild Daffodil for this weekly photo challenge throughout 2017.

Sunday Sevens #112 3.12.17

Hello and happy Sunday to you. Crikey, we’re on the third door of the advent calendar already!!!!

I say this every week, I know, but it has been a busy one this week. As you were short changed a couple of weeks ago with a Sunday Six, I’ve spoiled you with a Sunday Eights this week!

Sunday fun

Last Sunday afternoon we did something we haven’t done for ages… bowling. We had a good laugh, well those of us who don’t mind losing did! I am officially rubbish at bowling and got whooped by one of my off-spring.

A cheery crochet start to the week.

This Monday, amazingly I had nothing in the diary to do while the Little Postcards were at school – what luxury. I did feel a teensy bit guilty about not finding something household related to do, but it didn’t last long as I was able to sit down uninterrupted and do some work on my latest Little Box of Crochet project.

Here comes the rain.

I know it’s all my fault mentioning the rain last week… it arrived on Tuesday and came down like a monsoon on Wednesday. This lovely rainbow greeted us as we set off on the school run on Tuesday.

New sewing project

As I finished my blouse at last week’s Dressmaking lesson, it was time to begin drawing a pattern for my next project – a dress. I find this part of the process the hardest of all. I was pretty brain dead after 3 hours of calculations and drawing.

It’s finished at last!

At my watercolour class this week I finished my painting of town. It’s not perfect or completely accurate but I like it and it was fun to paint.

Convent Christmas craft fair

It was the annual Convent Christmas Fair on Thursday and it didn’t disappoint. One of the new stalls this year was by the education team at the Alameda Botanic Gardens. They had made these beautiful Christmas decorations out of reclaimed wood. The Convent Christmas Fair is a major fixture in the social calendar on the Rock, you can read about previous years’ fairs here and here.

A pretty Christmas pud

My lovely group of girlies went out for an early Christmas dinner on Friday night. A great evening was had by all (some even danced a bit). I had this pretty Christmas pud which was eyed enviously by my panacotta eating neighbour!

Another weekend, another sunny match

Can you feel the heat of the sun off this photo? 😉 It was so lovely and warm at yesterday morning’s football match, I had gone dressed in several layers of clothes because first thing in the morning we are down to single figures on the thermometer (I know that sounds positively tropical for those of you up North – but it felt cold to me!). I ended up having to strip off mid match! (Perhaps I should rephrase that – I took my coat & scarf off!!)

So, that’s it for this week. Another week closer to Christmas  – eek!

I’m linking with Natalie at Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

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Sunday Sevens #111 26.11.17

Hello there, I hope you have had a good week. It’s been as busy as always Chez Postcard and I’m staring down the barrel of a frantic few weeks with all the pre-Christmas antics there are are for the Little Postcards. There’s actually one day next week where I need to be in 4 different places at the same time…. I may be calling on the services of Dr Who and his Tardis to get everything done!

Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens…

A sunny start to the week

There was an in-service day for some of the Little Postcards on Monday. I haven’t been feeling too great for the last couple of weeks and they behaved so well for me letting me have an easy day, that we did a late afternoon trip to the park at Europa Point for ice cream as a reward. (My fluey cold from the other week turned into bronchitis 😕). The weather was glorious, as you can see, with just the hint of a Levanter cloud forming on the top of the Rock.

It’s finished #1><

Ta-dah! It’s finished at last! I have actually completed a blouse in my Dressmaking class, with a collar, cuffs and buttons (although I was tempted with velcro when the button holes weren’t behaving as I wanted them to). It’s a bit ‘loud’ colourwise so I’m not sure when I’ll wear it… perhaps under a cardigan!

Cloud free skies!><

We had more beautiful cloud-free skies mid-week. We have been so lucky to have a warm, dry autumn here in Gibraltar so far. I’m dreading having to dig the waterproofs out when the rains come….

It’s finished #2><

It’s been quite the week for finishing things, I managed to finish my autumn crochet wreath – before the end of autumn (a miracle!). I’m thrilled with how it turned out, it looked great in the autumnal sunshine on our front door. The kit came in a Little Box of Crochet and the designer was Kate Eastwood of Just Pootling.

Not much watercolour progress…><

I guess I can’t finish everything at once, so I’m still working on my watercolour painting of town. I’m getting there slowly but surely.

A new project><<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Yesterday I treated myself to starting a new crochet project. I was very disciplined and waited until I’d finished my wreath before cracking open another little box of crochet…

Christmas is coming>

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The Gibraltar Christmas lights were turned on on Friday night and yesterday we took a trip into town to visit Gibraltar’s first ever Christmas market. There are artisan stalls set up in little wooden huts, you can even get mulled wine – it smelled lovely (I shall have to go back once I finish my antibiotics!).

I’m linking with Natalie (the proud Mummy of a beautiful new baby girl) from Threads & Bobbins for this weekly Sunday Sevens blog series.

Gibraltar Literary Festival 2017

This time last week, ticket in hand, I lined up to have my bag searched before taking my seat in the Convent Ballroom. It was that magical time of the year again when (to me at least) the town centre is buzzing with excitement. Posh cars draw up to venues to deliver public figures to their talks and there’s the chance of bumping into Maureen Lipman or Kate Adie outside M&S. I am of course talking about the annual Gibraltar Literary Festival.

Now in it’s fifth edition, the organisers have said they sold over 3,000 tickets for the events. The whole festival ran over four days with daytime and evening functions. The fact that, as a mum with young children, I can get to some talks during school hours is just wonderful for me.

This year I was only able to attend a handful of talks due to other commitments, but it was still a great highlight to my month.

My first event was a fascinating talk by three members of the same family in the grand surroundings of the Convent. Clive, Geraldine and Stewart Finlayson have produced a coffee table book filled with stunning wildlife photos. Their book ‘Lost World : Secrets of a World Heritage Site’ was born out of the research work they have done in the Gotham’s Cave complex.

The network of caves and area of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve was the site of the first ever discovery of a Neanderthal Skull. In order to better understand the environment that the Gibraltar Neanderthals inhabited, the Finlaysons traveled around the globe to photograph and study creatures as diverse as from leopards to snowy owls, gannets to wolves. Many of the fossilised animal remains found in Gotham’s Cave are now no longer resident in the area due to climatic changes but they can be found elsewhere.

The lengths that the authors went to, to actually capture these beautiful creatures in their natural habitats is quite something. The stories they told of being on the lookout for lions in the Savannah while their guide changed not one, but four wheels on their safari truck or lying in snow in sub-zero temperatures for hours to capture a picture of a snowy owl were inspiring.

The Garrison Library was the venue for my next talk, a conversation with Patrick Gale (above right). The novelist spoke about his childhood, growing up in Wandsworth Prison, where his father was Governor and early career as a piano playing singing waiter in Convent Garden (he had taken the cabaret job in an attempt to gain an Equity card so he could become an actor). It was during down times during his overnight waiting shifts that he began to write and subsequently published his first two novels on the same day.

Since his early night shift writing, he has written prolifically with novels, short stories and TV screenplays to his name. Perhaps the most famous of these is ‘Man in the Orange Shirt’, which featured in the Gay Britannia season on BBC 2.

Patrick’s conversation with Chief Fiction Reviewer at the Sunday Times, Peter Kemp, was funny and at times very touching as he discussed his own sexuality and that of his great grandfather, whom his latest novel ‘A place called Winter’ is based on. Patrick came across as a very generous writer, and was keen to encourage anyone thinking of having a go at writing a novel to be brave and do it.

The John Mackintosh Hall was the location of my last Gibraltar Literary Festival event, Just Laugh a Minute, with veteran broadcaster Nicholas Parsons.

Despite being in his nineties, the entertainer showed no sign of slowing down and was keen to prove that despite his legs not working as well as they used to, his brain is still in good working order. He spoke for an hour (without any notes) reminiscing about his childhood and his first forays into entertainment by impersonating his prep school master which earned him a caning.

His account of his apprenticeship in the Clyde dockyards brought many laughs as he described the communal toilet arrangements. He then went on to recount his first job on wartime BBC radio, broadcasting from a disused cinema in north Wales and his brief career in the Merchant Navy which was cut short (just 5 days in) due to ill health.

Now a Gibraltar Literary Festival regular, Nicolas Parsons was great fun to listen to, and sounded like he could keep going for hours, had he been allowed. He put his good memory down to the fact he is dyslexic, saying he instinctively uses his memory to get by.

I would’ve loved to have gone to see Kate Adie speak, as one of my heroines growing up, I think her talk would have been fascinating. Sadly I left it too late to book my tickets and the event had already sold out. I have a couple of her books though to read, so I shall content myself with that.

One of the big successes of this year’s festival was the launch of a new book all about Gibraltar:

The What on Earth Wall Book ‘The Story of Gibraltar’ which charts the history of the Rock from prehistory to present day sold in excess of 900 copies. That makes it’s author, Christopher Lloyd, the most successful author in the Festival’s history.

Yet again, I had a great Gibraltar Literary Festival this year. I feel so lucky that just a few minutes from my home I can go and see authors, journalists and other public figures speak about their work. Many of whom have succeeded against the odds and their stories inspire us all to never give up.

If you fancy reading my posts from previous Gibraltar Literary Festivals, you can find them here:

Gibraltar Literary Festival 2016

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

2017 Weekly photo challenge (week 47) Light

When I saw this week’s prompt for the weekly photo challenge, there was only one example of light I could use. The shaft of light which comes through the ceiling of the Pantheon in Rome is awe inspiring.

Not only was the self supporting concrete ceiling built by the ancient Romans, it’s beautiful too and miraculously still standing! I found this place quite magical when we visited in the summer and how appropriate that this light should shine in a place of worship.

I’m linking with Nana Cathy and Wild Daffodil for this weekly photo challenge throughout 2017.