Gibraltar is steeped in history, where ever you go in this small but perfectly formed place you can see it to abundance. From the Tower of Homage, also know as Moorish Castle (you can see this above), which stands sentry above the old Upper Town, and the city walls and fortifications of the Northern Defences.
Around town we have lots of lovely old buildings including the beautifully restored King’s Bastion (below).
From the outside, you wouldn’t know behind these walls there is a ten pin bowling alley, cinema and ice skating rink would you?
If you are ever on Gibraltar’s Main Street on a Saturday lunchtime, you are sure to see some living history in action, when the historical reenactment society parades past in uniforms of years gone by. Each Saturday, the former soldiers reenact the Ceremony of the Keys to the delight of many passers by and tourists.
Wearing different uniforms for different occasions, they are photographed and watched on their trip down to Casemates Square and back again.
This week’s Sunday Sevens begins with a look back at our Commonwealth weekend trip up the coast…
A Sunday morning walk
Making the most of our bank holiday weekend last weekend we headed out for a lovely walk on Sunday morning. It was so lovely and bright and we walked a loop from where we were staying (near Marbella), along the beach and then back inland.
Breakfast with a view of home
On Monday morning we enjoyed this gorgeous view from our breakfast table. Never before have I seen so much on the horizon from this part of the world.
The bumps on the right hand side of the horizon are the hills and mountains between Marbella and Gibraltar. The bump on it’s own above the street lamp is Gibraltar and the one to the left of the boat mast is Morocco across the Straits of Gibraltar.
You could also see a lot more of Morocco’s mountains but sadly they could only be seen by the naked eye and didn’t show up on my phone camera.
It was a fab end to our last minute getaway.
My word it’s been stormy – at the beginning of the week (back in Gibraltar) we had gale force winds. Our plant pots got blown over and there were chunks of trees and debris in the road. The authorities had a big cleanup operation on Wednesday morning.
It certainly wasn’t the kind of weather when I’d like to be out in a boat. One day I parked on the edge of the new small boat marina and it effectively takes you out into the harbour. I got an up close and personal view of some of the boats without leaving dry land. The pilots and tugs which work in Gibraltar’s waters have a heck of a job to do.
Franks for the post
I got this locally posted envelope in our mailbox this week. I have never seen a postmark like this before. We share our home with “wild Barbary Macaque Monkeys” in case you didn’t know that…
The Navy’s largest warship called into the port of Gibraltar this week. HMS Ocean is the flagship of the Royal Navy.
I’ve been too busy this week to make a trip up the Med Steps while the Little Postcards were at school, but I managed to fit a trip in yesterday afternoon. It was glorious. I even managed to spot my first sighting of Gibraltar Candytuft (one of Gibraltar’s National flowers) for this year.
Unfortunately we have lost our rescue bunny, Snowflake. She hadn’t been well for a few weeks and seemed to be making improvements but she went downhill again and she was put to sleep by the vet. We only had her with us since autumn last year, when we found her abandoned at the Alameda Gardens, but she soon became part of our family.
If you missed the tale of how she came to live with us, you can read all about it here.
We still have little Diamond, who we got just before Christmas. He is missing his pal but is getting lots of attention and cuddles.
People are turning to their phones and tablets more and more these days to keep abreast of the news and find out what’s happening in the world. In this episode of the Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast, I caught up with Giordano Durante, editor of the online news service; Your Gibraltar TV, to talk about this new age of news at our fingertips.
On returning to his native Gibraltar after studying Philosophy at University in London, Giordano worked at the Gibraltar Chronicle and as a prison warden at the newly opened Windmill Hill Prison before joining YGTV. Now the news service’s Editor, he told me how in this age of Facebook and Twitter, Your Gibraltar TV is often the first port of call for many people when they want to read the news.
I make no secret of the fact that I do crafty things to keep myself sane. When things get on top of me, as long as I have a little bit of head space free to craft, I can find a way to negotiate myself out of my pickle. When I am in a stinker of a mood, it’s generally because I haven’t been able to create anything for a while.
I have been interested in making things all my life pretty much and was taught to sew, knit and crochet as a child by my Mum and Gran. My making was rested a bit while I studied, although I did manage to knit a cardigan for myself during my second year at University, mainly because it was far cheaper to knit one than to buy a ready made one.
Over the years, as friends and family got married and had children I got back in touch with my crafting side as I made gifts to mark the special occasions but when I was working full time I didn’t feel the same need to make for myself when I was relaxing at home.
Once I’d had my first child, that’s when the crafting bug bit hard again. I bought a sewing machine and started making bags to be sold in a craft co-operative near to where we lived at the time. Just as a space came free for me in the shop, we were forced to move areas with my husband’s work and unfortunately nothing came of my bag making (I did go on to sell some of them at craft fairs once we landed in Gibraltar though).
Wherever we have lived (and there have been quite a few homes over the years) my boxes of yarn, stash of fabric and sewing machine have travelled there with me. I’ve tried my hand at quilting, embroidery, dressmaking, card making, crochet, knitting, tapestry, watercolour painting and glass painting, but there are so many other crafts I would still like to try (stained glass making really appeals to me.)
I feel incredibly privileged that I have been able to put my career on hold to have a family and now that my boys are at school and need me a little less, I can turn my attention now to indulging my passion for creating. Regular readers to my blog will know that I attend two lessons each week during term time, watercolour painting and dressmaking. I love this time I can dedicate to improving my skills, but it does so much more than that. It gives me the chance to expand my mind and use my brain after 13 years as a stay-at-home-mum. In short it does wonders for my sanity.
I believe that like so many other things in life your craft muscle needs to be exercised and the more you exercise it the more your creativity grows. I am making and thinking about making so much more these days than I ever thought I possibly could. Of course the internet has a lot to do with this, I try to stay off Pinterest as there is just so much wonderful stuff on there I get frustrated that I can’t do it all, but Instagram and other blogs provide me with such amazing inspiration.
It is through Instagram and the blogs I follow that I became aware of several opportunities to get involved in crafting for a cause far greater than just making something pretty for myself or my family. Over the past few years I have been able to contribute items I have created to fundraising and awareness raising events which have much further reaching benefits than just keeping my brain ticking over.
In recent years the Yarndale festival organisers have called on crocheters and knitters to send in items to be raffled off to raise funds or to raise awareness to the good causes they support. Yarndale 2016 was the year of the sheep, hundreds and hundreds of little yarny sheep were sent in to raise money for the Martin House Children’s Hospice (you can read about the 2016 Woolly Sheep Project here.) Do you remember Llanita the Gibraltar Yarndale sheep who went along to the Yorkshire Dales?
Last summer, Jenny’s Blanket of Hugs was organised by Kate Eastwood at Just Pootling. Kate appealed for crocheters to send her squares which were made in a strict palette of colours and to her design to be made into a special blanket for Jenny, the daughter of Amanda Bloom (the lady behind the Little Box of Crochet).
Jenny has terminal cancer and the blanket was made to show solidarity for Jenny and her Mum. In the end enough squares were created all over the world and sent in, over 1,000 in total, that both Jenny and Amanda received blankets and five extra blankets and cushions were made and given to charities to raise funds. You can read all about the Blanket of Hugs story on the Just Pootling blog.
Last summer I also became aware of the Sixty Million Trebles project. At the end of 2015, the UN announced that there were 60 million displaced people in the world. The team behind Sixty Million Trebles decided to take action and use crochet to raise awareness about the plight of refugees as well as raise funds to help those affected.
They are asking for donations of square blankets which measure 36 inches x 36 inches which will be joined to create a record breaking blanket totaling sixty million trebles stitches (one treble stitch = one life). The Gibraltar Crochet Collective is currently working towards the goal of sending more blankets to the cause from Gibraltar.
We are currently making a square for every day in Lent in an attempt to boost our blanket production process!
Another ongoing appeal is through Cherished Gowns UK, the organisation takes donations of wedding dresses which are then made into tiny gowns for babies who are stillborn. They are currently appealing for 2500 knitted or crocheted blankets to be made during the month of March.
Having seen friends of ours go through the pain of losing a baby, anything that can be done to help comfort bereaved parents at this terribly difficult time has to be a worthwhile cause. If you would like to support the #wrappedinlove appeal, please click on the link below.
So there you have it, crafting doesn’t need to be a self-indulgent passtime (although there’s nothing wrong with that!). There are so many opportunities to help contribute to good causes through your craft if you want to and there is very little cost involved other than yarn, time and postage.
If you would like to join in with one of these initiatives, please click on the links below to find out more about them and help spread the crochet love ❤️
For more information on how you can support these great causes, please click on these links:
For this week’s photo challenge I have found four ‘spirals’; two man made and two natural.
The first one is the staircase inside the lovely lighthouse at Southwold in Suffolk which we visited last summer. I wish I had a photo of the interior of the Europa Point lighthouse here in Gibraltar but sadly that’s not open to the public.
For more on our visit to the Southwold lighthouse, you can read a bit more about it in my Sunday Sevens #45 post.
Another man made spiral, and slightly less dramatic is this one on the engine of a plane on the runway at Gibraltar airport (you can just about make out the Rock in the background).
Now for the natural ones…
I tried to find a spiral shell when we were on the beach this weekend but failed, so here are a couple of ammonite fossils we have in our house. The Little Postcards got interested in fossils during their dinosaur phase.
Hello there, I’m pressing the publish button on this edition of Sunday Sevens in Spain. It’s a bank holiday weekend in Gibraltar and we have taken the opportunity to get away for a couple of days.
Without further ado, here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens…
A first attempt at corner to corner
YouTube is a wonderful thing… I have used it to learn lots of different crafty things. My latest tutorial to watch was one on corner to corner or ‘C2C’ blankets. It was presented by Bella Coco and I can highly recommend it for clarity and being easy to follow. You can find a link to her channel here.
I decided to have a go at making a baby blanket with this new found skill, and I rather like it. It’s very addictive though – you have been warned!
A new project…
I’m trying my hand at patchwork quilting. I have made a few quite basic ones in the past, and this one will be similarly basic too. I love the look of the really intricate ones but the thought of how to make them makes my head ache.
I had a few hours spare on Monday so I decided to set about cutting out my fabric pieces and laid out the pattern on the dining room floor. My word, it took such a long time to cut out and figure out the pattern that I only had an hour left before the school pick up. Unfortunately that’s as far as I got with it this week. I hope I can get a bit more done on this soon.
I missed my dressmaking class last week because of a poorly Little Postcard. Part way through this week’s class I received a phone call from school to go and collect another Little Postcard as he’d had a mishap. I’m pleased to report that he’s fine and was none the worse for his sporting injury by bedtime. I’m also pleased to say in my brief time at my lesson I managed to insert the invisible zip into my dress.
A walk in the clouds
In case you missed my post midweek, here’s another chance to see my view from the top of the Med Steps. We climbed up through the clouds to get to the summit. You can see the post I wrote about it here.
Flower making at football training
So at football training this week I struck up a conversation with one of the other mums as I sat crocheting in the afternoon sun. She really surprised me by telling me that she had read Postcard from Gibraltar and it was one of the reasons why she’d moved here! Holy moly, I did not expect to hear that!!
It’s the weekend!
It’s a bank holiday weekend in Gibraltar this weekend. Schools are closed on Monday because it’s Commonwealth weekend (a fact I find befuddling given that it’s not celebrated in the British Isles). Anyway, we made most of it and ran away for an impromptu couple of days along the coast.
The Little Postcards didn’t know we were going, although they did question why we were crossing the frontier into Spain straight from school. It was a gorgeous afternoon and so clear. We could see the Rock getting smaller and smaller as we drove along the coast to Marbella.
Saturday night rock and roll
Hibiscus and strawberry gin and tonic with a side order of crochet, that’s how I roll on a Saturday night these days! Perhaps it’s my age… Did you spot the fact that I’m on my second C2C blanket already?? I warned you the are addictive!!
Thanks so much for stopping by, whatever you’re up to this weekend I hope you’re having a good one!