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.

Sunday Sevens #110 19.11.17

Hello and welcome to this week’s Sunday Sevens (or in this case Sunday Sixes). I hope you have had a good week…

Sunny Sunday

Sadly I wasn’t feeling too well last Sunday. I was laid low with a bad fluey cold. Mr Postcard went out though and took this lovely sunny photo. Look at that blue sky!

Buttonholes

by Tuesday I was feeling much better and back at sewing. The time had come to put buttons and their button holes on my blouse. Slightly daunted by the fact I haven’t done one in about a year, I practiced on scrap fabric and put off doing it until next week!

I must clean my windows

Tuesday’s sunset through a dirty sash window – sorry Mum, I’ve let you down! It still looked lovely despite the muck!

Coffee & crochet

Two of my favourite things in the world beginning with ‘c’ apart from … chocolate! I had a lovely catch up with an old friend who’s new to crochet this week. We have to spread the love haven’t we?!

Gibraltar Literary Festival

The Gibraltar Literary Festival was back this week. I only managed to get to a few events this year, as I was busy with other things but a post about my experiences this year will be on its way soon.

Watercolour rooftops

At watercolour class this week, I did some more work on this painting of Gibraltar’s town and Upper Town. Striking the balance of what detail to include and what to miss out is proving tricky.

It’s just a Sunday Six this week I’m afraid, a lot of what I got up to wasn’t really photo worthy, so I shan’t bore you with the mundane stuff. I was hoping to have my autumn leaves crochet project finished by now but that’ll have to wait until next week…

I’m linking with Natalie of Threads & Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Sunday Sevens #109 12.11.17

Hello there. Please forgive the underwhelming nature of this week’s Sunday Sevens, I’ve been a bit under the weather of late (autumnal sniffles) so my photo taking opportunities have been rather limited this week…

The last rays of sunshine 

Last Sunday afternoon we spent a little while on the Eastside of the Rock at Sandy Bay. You can tell we are heading towards winter as the sun disappeared behind the Rock sooner than it did a few weeks ago…

A posh boat


While on a walk in Ocean Village at the start of the week this rather posh boat caught my eye. I thought it looked unusual with its black hull.

Setting in my sleeves

At my Dressmaking class this week, it was time to set in my sleeves. Amazingly they went in perfectly, at the first attempt!

Under the weather


By midweek I was feeling a little bit off colour. Since then, I have spent a lot of time in bed. It’s just a cold, but I’m a reluctant patient and I’m feeling decidedly frustrated that I’ve run out of energy to achieve anything beyond the basics. Poached eggs are just the ticket when you’re feeling run down don’t you think?

Friday night dusk

I caught sight of this beauty out of the window on Friday evening. You can’t beat a lovely sunset to lift the spirits. 

Autumnal leaves


It has felt decidedly autumnal here this past few days (and I don’t think it’s just because I’ve felt ill). Bright sunny skies yesterday made me yearn to kick through piles of autumn leaves at a National Trust property. I started working on this delightful project from Little Box of Crochet at the end of last week, when we were on holiday and yesterday I added this cute amigurumi toadstool to my autumnal crochet leaf collection. It’s been such fun to work on. 

Thank you for joining me for this week’s sniffly and sneezy edition of Sunday Sevens. I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Sunday Sevens #108 5.11.17

Good morning and hello from a very sunny Gibraltar! You join me as we calm down after a very pleasant mid term break in Spain and and prepare for a return to the usual routine. Here goes with this week’s Sunday Sevens…

And relax…..

We were so lucky last weekend to be able to return to our favourite nearby holiday destination. This resort is on the Costa del Sol, very close to Marbella. We often debate about trying somewhere else, but are drawn back to familiarity and love the fact that as soon as we arrive it feels like coming home and we totally relax. Ahhh, bliss 😊

Spooky shenanigans 

Tuesday of course was Halloween and we took a trip to Puerto Banus and had lunch in the very  spooky Hard Rock Cafe. We were served (or should that be severed) by a zombie. Not sure about the waiting staff recruitment but the food was good, even if it was devilishly loaded with calories….

Boo!

I finished Gloria the ghost, who came free with the Halloween edition of Simply Crochet Magazine from last year. As my copy always arrives too late to be totally relevant for the season, I was astonished that I managed to unearth the kit and correct magazine for instructions in time!

Midterm break sunshine

A new month, meant a new project using a new stitch. I can’t say any more about this as it’s a secret.

Nooo! Too soon!!


I don’t know about you but I’m not ready to be faced with Christmas merchandise in the shops yet!! This was one small section of a large Christmas shelf in a Spanish supermarket…

Thunderbolts & Lightning 


On Friday night we experienced a very long and dramatic thunderstorm. I didn’t manage to catch a photo of fork lightning this time but these two photos were taken about a second apart. An amazing amount of rain fell, just in time to remind us to dig out the waterproofs in time for this winter’s rain.

Homeward bound


The rains continued into yesterday morning but less heavy and there were glimpses of sunshine too, so we saw a couple of rainbows 🌈. Can you spot the faint one over the hill?

October mosaic

Here’s a few of my October highlights….

I’m linking with Natalie from Threads & Bobbins for the Sunday Sevens weekly blog series.