Sunday Sevens #81 30.04.17

Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of Sunday Sevens. My Med Steps training is going well and hopefully I’ll be ready in time for the Med Steps 5 Challenge next month…

Med Steps – twice

I managed twice round again in my Med Steps training last Sunday, it was a gorgeous sunny day for it and not too busy. If there are lots of other people around I find it quite hard to regulate my speed, I either end up going too slow so I don’t tailgate other walkers or attempt and overtake and go faster than I should and wear myself out!

On my second trip up the steps, my eyes were drawn by the colours of the sea. I am in the middle (well, start) of the latest Little Box of Crochet project and the sea & stone of reminded me so much of the yarn I’m using at the minute.

A tight squeeze 

On my trip up the Steps on Monday my legs were very tired, so I just had the one trip round. On the way back down I spotted this passenger ship being carefully parked in the dry dock. It looked a tight squeeze even for a relatively small boat. It’s not just car drivers who need to hot parking skills in Gibraltar then…

Dressmaking 

My sleeves are set in! It’s taken 2 weeks of jiggery pokery but they are in. Just got to sort the sleeve linings and the hem… hmm I wonder how long that will take??

Down in the Dell

On Wednesday I got the chance to go behind the scenes at the Alameda Gardens. I went to record the interview I used for my most recent podcast on the children’s gardening club there and their attempts to crowd fund a bio dome classroom. I was able to sit in the Dell under the Codali Bridge to record the interview – I felt very privileged to go there as it’s not open to the public.

Med Steps in watercolour


The Med Steps are on my mind a lot at the moment, this time last year I diverted my fixation into crochet and made my Med Steps wreath. This year I’m trying to paint them in my watercolour class. We’ll see how this turns out…

Rainy afternoon fun…


You can’t beat a jigsaw on a wet bank holiday afternoon… and Friday was just that. It was Worker’s Memorial Day so schools and many places of work were closed, just in time for the heavens to open. A month’s worth of rain fell in six hours apparently. 

From this…


….to this…


Crikey, it’s been so very wet. Yesterday wasn’t much better than Friday. We headed into Spain to do a spot of shopping and have lunch and the top picture was taken as we crossed the runway towards the frontier. By evening though, the clouds parted to produce this beautiful sunset.

The last day of April 2017


April began for me with fish and chips by the North Sea while on holiday visiting family and has drawn to an end with a gorgeous sunset over the Bay of Gibraltar. There’s been lots of crochet, Med Steps trips and perhaps a chocolate egg or two eaten in between too!

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie from Threads & Bobbins.

Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast Episode 010 : Alameda Gardening Club with Lucy Hart

The lush green Alameda Botanical Gardens are the green lungs of Gibraltar, lying at the heart of the community at the southern end of Main Street and below the iconic Rock Hotel. 


It’s home to plants and trees from all over the world, as well as an open air theatre, a children’s playground and a wildlife park. In recent years a scheme has been rolled out to encourage school children to get their hands dirty, many of whom don’t have access to a garden of their own. 



The Alameda Gardening Club which operates on two days a week helps children learn about the origins of the food they eat as well as forging a respect for the natural world around them.


In this podcast I met up with one of the education volunteers, Lucy Hart to find out more about the scheme they run here and heard exciting plans for the future.

Artists impression of the proposed BioDome
In a first for Gibraltar, the education team at the Alameda Gardens have launched a crowd funding project in order to build a BioDome outdoor classroom for the children of the Gardening Club.

***To hear the podcast click here!***

For more information on the crowdfunding BioDome project, please email the Alameda Gardning Club on: BioDome@gibraltargardens.gi

Alternatively search for Alameda Gardening Club on Facebook.

International Yarnbombing Day 2016

Being a big fan of crochet and pretty colours I have found my head turned of late by yarnbombing. To the uninitiated Yarnbombing is also known as guerrilla knitting and yarn graffiti, and is growing in popularity across the globe. Of the accounts I follow on Instagram, one of my favourites is @queen_babs. She is a well established and rather well known yarn bomber who’s based in Sydney, Australia, the following photo (used with @queen_babs’ permission) features one of her latest creations, a series of yarn bombed trees. Aren’t they stunning? She’s  inspired me to have a go myself.

 

Today, Saturday 11th June, is International Yarnbombing Day – so what better time to dip my toe in the colourful pool of yarnbombing. After a bit of research it became clear to me that most yarn bombs are put together by a collective of people. I decided to have a go just 2 weeks before the big day. That didn’t really give me the time to find a team of people to join me, so I decided to go it alone for the first time, perhaps it would raise awareness about the event for next year and a team of us could have a crack at it together in 12 months time?

So what to Yarnbomb? As it’s all a bit last minute, I couldn’t attempt anything too big. One friend suggested yarnbombing all of Gibraltar’s cannons – errr perhaps not this year. I didn’t want to go for the most common yarn bombs of a tree or a lamppost as that would require some planning – like how do you stop it slipping down the lamppost and ending up like an unloved Christmas jumper in a pile at the bottom. It had to be quick and easy to make and it had to be reasonably small and easy to attach.

I thought perhaps the back of a park bench would be a good start. I could sit on it while measuring it, and later while attaching it so I didn’t look like a complete loony. Ok then, we have a bench idea. But which one and where? Main Street is an obvious choice but is REALLY public and noticeable. Then a germ of an idea came to me as I was editing my recent post  A stroll around Gibraltar No.11 : Alameda Gardens Part 2. This year is the 200th Anniversary of the Alameda Gardens – what better than to make a special yarn bomb to commemorate this big birthday.

This gardens connection also meant I had an obvious colour scheme (green) and decoration theme of flowers. It was time to get hooking!

In order for this mini granny stripe blanket to look more than just a granny stripe blanket I thought it needed a bit of Gibraltar incorporated. What’s more obvious than the flag? So I set about trying to design an intarsia pattern for the castle on the flag. It turned out terribly, I unravelled it and tried again, that was rubbish. I gave up on that and embroidered the towers on later.

To balance out the Gibraltar flag on one side I thought I’d better knock out a union jack flag as well. That was much easier!

Next came the message – I thought just putting 200 on it wasn’t enough so I settled on the dates, 1816 – 2016 and to make them in orange so that they really stood out against the green background. It also needed a label saying it was made for the Alameda Gardens too.


Then it was time for the flowers – these were so quick and fun to make. I was able to carry a bag with me on after school activities and surreptitiously produce bloom after bloom. I don’t think the other parents thought I was too crazy….

The time came for me to go for a recce to find the exact destination for the yarn bomb. An evening walk to the Alameda Gardens was in order. I waited until the smallest Postcards were in bed before heading out, silly me I managed to get myself locked in!!! Well at one end of the park anyway – I had to walk the long way around to get out and back home again!! Anyway, I did settle up on a bench, both physically and metaphorically. This one looked perfect. It’s on the main avenue at the top of the gardens and is just below the beautiful new glass house which was built to commemorate the bicentenary.

 

As I continued on my walk, a couple of other things caught my eye which were calling out to be yarn bombed….

 The Molly Bloom statue


The Guiseppe Codali bust


The Alameda Gardening Club garden

They have a Bee Hotel  – it really needs a yarn bee don’t you think? That’s the first thing I did on my return home. I was late to bed that night!!

Ta dah! I think I’m a little bit in love with Mr Bumble.

So do you want to see what I did? Here goes…


Mr Bumble’s just waiting to check into the Bee Hotel.

Giuseppe Codali’s neckwear has got more of a Gibraltar flavor today.

Molly Bloom’s got a necklace of rainbow blooms to brighten her outfit a little.

And finally this bench has been given a woolly makeover.


I gave each yarnbomb a label explaining that it’s International Yarnbombing Day, so people ‘get’ what it’s all about. They won’t be there for long though, so if you want to see them for real, you’ll have to be quick. If you do visit them, please let me know what you think.

So who’s going to join me for International Yarnbombing Day 2017?
 

A stroll around Gibraltar No.11 : Alameda Gardens Part 2

Hello there, following on with last week’s A stroll around Gibraltar No.10: Devil’s Gap Battery , I thought I’d revisit one of my favourite places here, the Alameda Botanical Gardens. A few months back I took you on a stroll here in A stroll around Gibraltar No 7 but there is so much to see in this beautiful green oasis that I reckon it’s worth more than one trip. Plus, this year is a big one for the Botanical Gardens as it’s celebrating its 200th birthday.

During the past year or so, there has been a lot of work done here, especially in the top section along the avenue close to the Rock Hotel. Flower beds have been cleared and improved, sculptures have been added and a rather impressive glass house has been built.

As you can see in these photos, it’s an impressive structure surrounded with beautiful planting.

So what’s inside? Orchids, lots and lots of beautiful orchids…..

They are planted around a small pond and waterfall as well as hanging from trees as they would grow naturally in their natural habitats in Asia.

Apologies for the slightly dodgy quality of these pictures, I had to take them through the window. The orchid house was officially opened towards the end of April and it was open to the public for several hours on the big day. Sadly, I didn’t find out about it until too late, so missed my chance to see these beauties up close and personal. I keep trying the door whenever we visit to see if it’s open, but unfortunately it’s not been so far.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it is absolutely stunning. What a great way to celebrate the bicentenary of the gardens. I just hope that it will be maintained in its current state as it’s just gorgeous right now.

In addition to the orchid house and new planting, quite a few of these wooden tree stump sculptures have sprung up about the place. I love the deep orangey shade to the wood. I’m sure the colour will change as it matures over time but I do like it in it’s freshly sawn condition.

When I did my last stroll around the Alameda Gardens I was rather sad that I wasn’t able to include a part of the gardens which is very special to me. Just a little further along the avenue from the new orchid house is a shady woodland area with a stream and waterfalls running through it and a pond at the bottom. I think it’s known as the Lions Pond as the Lions Gibraltar Charity helped fund it when it was built several decades ago. When I went to photograph the area I was sad to see the pond had been drained and there were signs up to say that the area had been vandalised.

One of the joys of living in Gibraltar is that there is very little anti-social behaviour and vandalism in public places (certainly a lot less than in some of the places I’ve lived in the UK). I was so shocked and saddened to find that the pond had been blighted in such a way. But imagine my delight when I strayed back into the woodland area a few weeks back and found this:

Not only had it all been cleaned out, it had been replanted and refilled and was looking even more beautiful than I had ever seen it before.

A year or so after we first moved to Gibraltar a very special visitor came to stay with us: my Gran. She was in her 90s when she flew over to see us with my Mum. She wasn’t too steady on her feet but she wanted to see as much as she could of our new home and as we lived close to the Alameda Gardens at the time, and she was a plant lover, she naturally wanted to explore a bit here. I vividly remember her sitting on the bench overlooking the Lions pond as the little Postcards (there were just 2 at the time) spied into the water looking for fish.

Unfortunately Gran is no longer with us but I always think of her when I come to this peaceful shady spot and I think she would greatly approve of all the hard work which has gone into sprucing it up. It looks just beautiful.

It’s not just the top section of the gardens which are looking fine at the minute, many of the other flower beds are blooming too. These African daisies are just stunning with their purple and orange centres.

I have no idea what the name of this flower is, but there are quite a few in the gardens and I rather like them too!

Another of the wooden sculptures:

Please excuse the gratuitous floral close-ups, I was playing with my camera when I went on this stroll ;-).

I love the lavender flower bed in this raised area, the perfume’s amazing.

Nestling in among some of the flower beds are some headstones. I really don’t know why they are here (other than to mark the graves of people of course) but why they were buried in the gardens is a question I don’t have the answer to right now (one to research later).

If you read my last stroll around the Alameda Gardens Part 1, you may remember seeing the beautiful children’s garden tended by the Alameda Gardening Club. It had a bee hotel and lots of herbs and other eatables growing. That’s not the only children’s plot in the gardens, there’s also this very well kept veg garden at the southern most end close to the Wildlife Park.

I know of a few children who have benefitted from coming to the Alameda Gardening Club, and it’s a very valuable resource for the children of Gibraltar, the vast majority of which grow up without a garden of their own. The leaders do a truly wonderful job inspiring the young gardeners.

So there you go, I have taken you for a walk along the top avenue of the Alameda and it leads us up to this point where you can see the Bay of Gibraltar glistening through the trees. I’m sure you’ll agree with me it’s a really marvellous green space and one which is much needed in such a built up environment. I always feel so much better after a visit. This isn’t goodbye though, I’ll be back for another stroll here before too long, because there’s still more for me to show you.

Thanks for joining me, I hope to see you soon.