Sunday Sevens #143 1.7.18

Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of Sunday Sevens. The first of July… how on earth did we get to this point already? I feel full of excitement about what the summer might have in store for us.

Without further ado, here’s this week’s round up of what I’ve been up to…

Enforced tidy up!

It’s been needed for a long time, but at last, thanks to the arrival of tradesmen to sort out our rather old fashioned floor tiles, I was forced to sort out my sewing/ crafty broom cupboard. I can just fit a chair in when the door’s open to sew at my machine. Let’s see how long this new tidy arrangement lasts…

Sports day season

So as time marches on towards the end of term, sports day season is well underway. This week I had one to go to. It’s a rather warm affair as you sit on the stand at the Victoria Stadium in direct sunlight toasting nicely like a rotisserie chicken. At least the view is stunning, even if you can’t make out which one of those many children actually belong to you!! There can’t be too many places in the world with a more impressive setting for their school sports days…

Morning sun, again

I realise that this photo is rather a lot like the last one, in that it features the Rock and the morning sunshine. I was parking my car one morning and glanced up to see the sunshine casting long shadows formed by the chimneys across Casemates Square from where I was and thought it worthy of a photograph. I was en-route to my sewing class, unfortunately as I am working on something which is a surprise for someone who may see this, I can’t share it just yet. I will though, later on in the summer.

Bright bougainvillea

The bougainvillea is looking fab throughout Gibraltar at the moment and it looks at its best set off against a cloudless blue sky. This great swathe of red / pink blossom caught my eye as I was walking in South District this week, it looked lovely against Parsons Lodge.

Last watercolour lesson

It’s approaching the end of the academic year for children in Gibraltar and this week, I went to my last watercolour class until September. I spent the lesson working on an exercise by William Newton. It didn’t quite turn out like the picture in the book, but it was good fun. I’ll miss my lessons over the summer break, but am determined that I will find time to pick up my brushes at some point before September.

A new perspective

One evening this week, I visited a building I hadn’t been to before – one of the towers at Brympton. I find it amazing that despite Gibraltar being so small, it can be quite easy to find yourself face to face with a view of Gib that’s completely new to you. My trip coincided with a meteorological phenomenon which is rather unusual for this part of the world. The cotton wool ball effect strip of clouds are called Altocumulus Floccus, and looked rather fantastic.

Happy birthday Postcard from Gibraltar!

I didn’t actually realise it on the day, but this Tuesday Postcard from Gibraltar turned three! In some ways it feels like Postcard from Gib has been with me for a lot longer than that. It has opened doors for me, like giving me the opportunity to write for a couple of publications and websites but most important of all, it’s introduced me to a whole host of lovely people around the world, for which I am most grateful for.

Thanks so much for stopping by this weekend, I hope that wherever you are in the world, you are having a lovely weekend. I’m linking with Natalie from Threads & Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Calentita! 2018

Calentita, Gibraltar’s annual food festival came to town on Saturday. Started back in 2007 (before we arrived on the Rock), the festival just gets better and better, and this year, attracted chefs from much further afield.

In our early years on the Rock, we attempted to ‘do’ Calentita on a few occasions, but found it tricky with small children. Now, with older children and a bigger, more spacious format for the festival, it’s much more do-able for us as family. (You can read about our experience of last year’s festival here.)

This year’s Calentita was a special one for me, as an article I wrote featured in the specially published Calentita Press magazine.

Anyway, down to business… Calentita. Being English and having kids with us, we turned up early. Over the years turning up early for events hasn’t always gone our way (like when it seemed like the rest of Gibraltar got the memo to come half an hour to an hour later for something), on this occasion though, we were in luck. We found a prime location for a base (one of the Casemates pubs which allowed us to buy drinks from them, but bring our own food from the stalls to the table) and we managed to get served at a few of the stalls before the, at times, humongous queues formed. Win, win!

Another perk of being early meant we could have a good nosey around at everything before it got too crowded.

There was so much variety to choose from. From the biggest barbecue I had ever seen…

To gorgeous cakes…

…And lots more besides, like craft gins and food from all four corners of the globe.

And so to the food… first stop for us was the cake stall (above), unfortunately I forgot to photograph the Oreo and Black Forest cupcakes I bought. I went there early before they sold out and saved them until we got home. You’ll have to take my word for it that they were beautiful both to look at and eat!!

For our first foray into the stalls we went for meat, (the huge barbecue hadn’t yet begun serving so we headed to another barbecue stall) the Iberian Secreto of pork (above) was just melt in the mouth and these mini burgers were lovely too. They came from the Gourmet Grill stall in Casemates.

Next came the taste of Asia with Chicken biryani and kebabs cooked by the Gibraltar Hindu Community.

The Little Postcards sampled hot dogs (which were available from a number of different stalls) and these rather tasty hot waffles smothered in Nutella….

As you can see, the food came on paper plates (you could bring your own plates and cutlery if you were organised – I wasn’t) and the cutlery was wooden. This year, Calentita was free from disposable single use plastic items in a bid to help the environment.

A few drinks may have been drunk too… ;-).

The atmosphere was brilliant, busy but not overly so, and it was very friendly and there were lots of families about. Among the non-edible attractions was the Casemates stage which had performances from local dance and musical groups, although this hadn’t properly got going while we were there… I did spot a couple of rather snazzily dressed witches behind the scenes…

And in Market Place, there was a stage for chefs (some local and others from further afield like Malta and London) to carry out demonstrations for the audience of diners sitting at the nearby tables and the people queueing at the stalls.

Calentita, yet again was a really well organised event and drew large crowds to come along and sample some of the many different foods on offer.

We only stayed for about 2 hours, as by that time tummies were full and we had played Top Trumps several times so the younger members of the party were ready to head home. If we had been there without children, we would most definitely have stayed longer. I can imagine the atmosphere being lovely after sunset, as the stalls began to light up. Maybe next year…

And finally, confession time. I have lived in Gibraltar for almost 9 years and until Saturday, I had never before tasted the Gibraltarian national dish of calentita (after which the food festival is named). It’s a kind of flan made with chickpeas, and was probably brought over to Gibraltar by the Genoese fishermen who migrated here (it’s known as farinata there, although a similar dish, known as karantita is served in nearby Northern Africa).

I decided the time had come to finally sample this local delicacy. Now, I’m not sure whether I will have to return my ID card and pack up and head back to England, but I’m afraid it wasn’t for me. I’m a fan of flans and custards and quiches and this was kind of a savoury combination of all of the above, but no, I’m not sure I’d go in for another slice. I don’t know what I was expecting, but perhaps after the lovely spices of the Hindu community’s gorgeous biryani it was a bit bland. Sorry!

And so that was our experience of Calentita 2018. A great evening, a lovely atmosphere and lots of tasty treats to eat. I think it may be time to hit the Med Steps again though to burn off those extra calories, it’s beach season again after all!!!

A stroll around Gibraltar No. 23 : Skywalk (Upper Rock Nature Reserve)

Last week, we took advantage of the Bank Holiday for the Queen’s birthday and did the touristy thing. We took the cable car up to the top of the Rock with the intention of walking back down via Gibraltar’s newest tourist attraction; the Skywalk.

Opened in Spring, by none other than Luke Skywalker himself, I had been meaning to pay the Skywalk a visit. I figured it was something I really should do with the Little Postcards, as Star Wars is quite a thing in our house and they may not have appreciated me doing it before them.

Being local residents means that we are able to use the cable car at a discounted price and access the facilities on the Upper Rock for free. It’s something I forget about from time to time and really should make more use of.

We were lucky enough to be enjoying a sunny but reasonably cool day, just perfect for pootling about on the Upper Rock without it being too hot or too chilly.

We really should come up here more often!

Looking down upon Main Street and the rest of town reminds me how small Gibraltar is and how much of our lives are caught up in such a small area; school, work, home and leisure.

Gibraltar’s furriest residents were putting on a great show for the tourists.

We didn’t linger long amongst the apes, I caught one of them gazing admiringly at my backpack and didn’t fancy a fight. This trio of apes (siblings I think) were winding each other up and play fighting – it was very reminiscent of our house on most days!!

We headed off downhill towards the Skywalk taking in the views across the Bay of Gibraltar and the Strait to Morocco.

And there it was…

Now let me lay the cards on the table here, I’m not a fan of heights. I kind of put off this visit because of that, as much as because I wanted the Little Postcards with me. I was a little bit trepidatious as I climbed the stairs up to the platform.

The first platform is solid stone, and it’s from this vantage point that I could see the glass floored Skywalk below me as well as a new view North across the ridge (below).

The time had come to be brave and go onto the glass platform…

I did it! Look those are my toes!! And there’s Sandy Bay way, way down below…

I amazed myself! Here’s Sandy Bay again through the glass wall surrounding the Skywalk.

It wasn’t as scary as I imagined it would be!

It felt like a big achievement ticked off for me. Now time to head back down the Rock to have a celebratory cuppa at home! For some Gibraltar residents, these views are so boring though…

My Skywalk experience wasn’t my only ‘first’ on this trip, I also experienced dragonflies in numbers I have never witnessed before in Gibraltar. It reminded me of driving down country lanes in summer in Norfolk or Yorkshire back when we lived in the UK.

There were loads of them…

I loved seeing them!

Then, just as we were getting back down into South District, just below the Jews Gate entrance to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, I spotted some small brown creatures rushing up an embankment out of the corner of my eye. My first thought was mice or rats…. but it was a mother Barbary Partridge and her brood of chicks!

Can you see the chicks in amongst the undergrowth?

They were so well camouflaged, there were about 5 or 6 of them in total. It was so lovely to see them up close. We are really lucky to have this nature on our doorstep.

Later on Monday, I was on Sir Herbert Miles Road, below the Skywalk. Look, I went on that!! It looks a lot worse from down there!

For more information about the Skywalk, you can check out its website.

Friday photo challenge (week 24) Tiny

It was a bank holiday on Monday this week here in Gibraltar, and we took a trip up in the cable car to the top of the Rock. While we were up there we spied on the bank holiday beach goers down below us in Sandy Bay. They looked so tiny!

Next week’s photo challenge is: Midsummer (eek, that must mean we are halfway through the year already!)

International Yarnbombing Day 2018

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while may remember that 2 years ago, I undertook some guerrilla crochet and yarnbombed the Alameda Gardens for it’s 200th anniversary. You can read all about in this post from International Yarnbombing Day 2016.

Alameda Botanical Gardens Yarnbombs June 2016

Well it turns out, today is International Yarnbombing Day 2018 and I fancied getting my yarnbombs out of storage to see the light of day again. This time though, it was a bit less guerrilla (I actually had permission this time – must be getting old and more responsible!).

I dusted off my original yarnbombs and added a few new ones including this handful of butterflies…

Want to see them in situ? Here goes…

Molly Bloom’s got her necklace back on…

Giuseppe Codali’s got his scarf back on too…

He’s looking rather dapper as he stands guard overlooking his bridge:

My mini blanket is now hanging up alongside the fundraising plaques for the Alameda BioDome.

This time it has some little crocheted butterflies holding it in place.

More of those little butterflies are fluttering about nearby…

And last of all, vines of little crocheted flowers have wound themselves around the railings too.

If you would like to go and see them for yourself, they should hopefully be there until Wednesday.

Happy International Yarnbombing Day!

For more information about the Alameda BioDome Project, why not check out their blog?

Friday photo challenge (week 20) Challenge

This, my friends is the Med Steps. Tomorrow it’s the Med Steps 5 Challenge, when around 200 brave/crazy people will attempt to walk it 5 times all in the name of charity.

The walk/climb takes you from the south west side of the Rock of Gibraltar, along paths, through a tunnel and up many, many steps round the south edge and up the west side to the summit of the Rock. It’s quite a climb.

I will be one of those walkers tomorrow morning, all of us raising much needed funds for the wonderful Cancer Relief Centre here in Gibraltar. Wish us luck!

(For more info on the Med Steps, this post may help you, and my experience of last year’s Med Steps 5 Challenge can be found here).

Challenge is the theme for this week’s Friday photo challenge, next week, it’s floral.