Hello there! This is a bit late. I have had a few technical gremlins at Postcard from Gibraltar HQ but I’m pleased to say they have finally been ironed out. Here’s the first of the posts I should have published over the past 10 days of internet silence!! Better late than never eh?!
Here’s my first Sunday Sevens to be published in December – it should have gone out on the first day of December, first Sunday of Advent… Christmas is round the corner! Here’s the final Sunday Sevens of November…
Gibraltar on telly!
Gibraltar and the apes featured in David Attenburgh’s Seven Worlds One Planet. Last year, in July, the camera crew were here in Gibraltar and they even flew over our home and they featured in Sunday Sevens #146.
It might’ve been a grey afternoon as I was sitting on the touchline at football training, but that view is still impressive!
At long last, after working on the pattern and a couple of trial runs, I got my trouser fabric out and started cutting at dressmaking class this week. It’s time to work on the real thing!
A splash of colour on a grey day
Wednesday was a bit of a grey, drizzly affair, but we got a glimmer of colour in the sky just after the morning school run. Can you make out the rainbow?
A bench with a view
At football training with littlest this week, I found myself with a seat on a bench with a view. It might not be the most upmarket sports stadium in the world but that’s one heck of a backdrop.
Convent Christmas Craft Fair
It was the annual Convent Christmas Craft Fair on Thursday. It was as fabulous as ever. I left with a shopping bag full of goodies, including an adorable mini sprout stocking and some mojito soap!
I came home from somewhere (I honestly can’t remember where – must be my age and not the drink 😜) and the evening sky looked lovely with a sliver of a moon and Venus.
And that’s all folks, thanks for stopping by again this week. I hope you have a great week ahead. I shall be doing a catch up Sunday Sevens again next weekend.
Hello and welcome to yet another Sunday Sevens, my word, that week went fast. It’s been a great one for us here in Gibraltar weatherwise, distinctly un-Januaryish. Normally at this time of year we can get some very wet and rainy days, proper soak-you-through-to-the-skin rain, but we have been remarkably lucky and had lots of clear skies and sunshine. Here goes…
Sunny Sunday walk
The aforementioned sunshine was out in abundance last Sunday, so we headed out for a nice afternoon stroll with scooters and looked for good spots to get up a bit of speed. I even got roped in for one of the races, not sure what the people who saw me zooming past thought (can I just point out that it felt like zooming to me, but was probably more like crawling to the onlooker).
Med steps on a Monday morning
I headed off up the Med Steps first thing on Monday, it was a clear morning in the diary. As I had just dropped the Little Postcards off at school for their first day after the holidays, I thought the laundry could wait and I’d head off for a walk to burn a few of the calories I may have consumed over Christmas and the New Year. There were a few apes about early on in the walk which is rather disconcerting as it was at a rather narrow part and I wasn’t able to give them a wide berth. I’m pleased to say they weren’t bothered about my presence and continued picking fleas off each other or whatever it was they were doing while I continued past.
This is the point in Sunday Sevens when I would normally post a photo taken at my sewing or watercolour classes. They are yet to start up again after Christmas, so I made use of my time by getting some boring admin jobs done. Hopefully there will be more creative photos in next week’s Sunday Sevens.
When I was out in town during the week, I happened to pass the old police station in Irish Town. It’s been lying empty for a few years now, which is a real shame because it’s a beautiful building. I was sad to see it slowly falling into disrepair, but it would appear that something’s going on. I hope that whoever has taken it on, will treat it with respect, because it’s facade is beautiful.
I’ve got nothing much to say about this photo other than to show you more sunshine. I was out and about doing jobs and spied some tourists heading off up the Rock on the cable car.
I don’t normally walk this route, but I ended up walking this way past St Joseph’s Church on Friday and it struck me how pretty this flight of stairs is down to Scud Hill below, especially with the boats in the distance.
A quick jaunt into Spain
Yesterday morning, once our footballing commitments were finished we headed into Spain for a bit of retail therapy, well actually it was just a trip to the supermarket, but it was nice to have a mooch around somewhere different and get some things we can’t get hold of in Gib as easily. It’s always nice to see the Rock waiting for us on our return.
That’s all for Sunday Sevens for this week. I hope you’ve had a good one and if you’ve returned to work / restarted a school routine this week, that it’s run smoothly for you. I have to admit I’ve enjoyed having a bit of time to myself again, as much as it’s nice to have everyone around at Christmas.
Well it’s been a lovely half term week, we escaped to Portugal for a few days, and it was fab. Here’s this week’s Portuguese Sunday Sevens (well actually it’s Sunday Eights this week):
We woke up on Sunday morning to bright blue skies in Lagos, in the eastern Algarve. It’s a lovely seaside town which we visited for the day on our Portuguese holiday in summer 2017 and fancied seeing a bit more. There are a few pictures here in Sunday Sevens but a longer post will be coming your way soon…
We did a few things while we were away, but it was overwhelmingly a holiday for doing nothing and it was delightful. I felt so relaxed and recharged, just what the doctor ordered!
We took the Little Postcards to Lagos Zoo and were very surprised to see this pair of pelicans waddling towards us down the footpath! Where possible, there were no railings or fences, and it was great to see the animals up close.
While Gibraltar was being drenched with very heavy rainstorms midweek, we had bad weather too, but thankfully not quite as much rain as Gib.
Our lovely time away came to an end and we hit the highway to head home. It’s always lovely to see the Rock come into view, so we know we’re nearly there.
Med steps and blue skies
It was gloriously beautiful day yesterday, I simply had to make the most of it and head up the Med Steps. It was like spring, and there were even narcissi out in bloom..
Instead of heading straight home as I usually do, I took a detour towards the Skywalk as it was such a beautiful day. I happened across a levitating ape!
That’s it for this week’s Sunday Sevens, back to normal from tomorrow as school restarts and we get back into a routine again. As always I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.
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.
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.
Hello there and happy Father’s Day to any Dads out there who might read this. Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens 🙂
International Yarnbombing Day preparations
This time last week I was installing my yarn bomb in the Alameda Gardens close to the fundraising sponsors plaques for the BioDome outdoor classroom. It was fun to do, and less pressure than the last time I did it (which was without permission). I had some lovely comments, which was fab to hear.
A pair of cuties
On Monday we had another bank holiday here in Gibraltar. My parents were over visiting so we did the touristy thing and caught the cable car to the top of the Rock. Up there, we encountered this pair of cuties. I posted the photo on social media asking for possible captions… the hands down winner has to be Sandra from Wild Daffodil with the comment “So, yarnbombing – what’s that about?” Very appropriate seeing as it was actually International Yarnbombing Day 🙂
I enjoyed a lovely evening out on Wednesday with my book club ladies. There was a lot of chat, a bit of wine and good food and it was such fun.
I think I have finished this paining of wild nasturtiums now. I’ve been working on it for weeks at my watercolour class and I think I should probably stop now before I make a mess of it!
Talking of flowers, I spotted this beautiful passion flower on a walk around town this week. It looks so exotic and interesting.
A day of sea mist
In late spring/early summer it’s quite common for us to experience fog and sea mists. The mist arrived on Friday and was ever changing throughout the day. It was fun to watch it change direction, thickness and shape. I also love listening to the ships singing to each other as they blast their fog horns!
Yesterday morning we had an early drive to Malaga airport to take my parents for their flight home. We decided to take a trip to IKEA while we were in that neck of the woods. We were there so early, Ikea hadn’t yet opened, so popped into McDonald’s next door for a small coffee. When I asked for a small cappuccino, I hadn’t bargained on it being a ‘tiny’ one! It came a day too late for my Friday photo challenge for this week.
I hadn’t been to Ikea for about 5 years. I had a wonderful time and bought so many things I hadn’t realised I needed in my life, like lampshades and picture frames!!! 😉
Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope you have a great week! I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.
Hello there, I hope you’ve had a good week. This week my trusty iPhone gave up the ghost and packed in after 3 years of loyal service. I managed to limp it through most of the week with a battery pack but it conked out for good (I think) on Thursday. As a consequence, I haven’t taken too many photos, so that’s why there are clusters rather than pictures of more events.
Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens…
Med Steps training
On Sunday I went for a gentle climb up the Med Steps accompanied by Eldest. It was nice to wander up leisurely and stop for more breathers than I do usually. It gave us the chance to admire the interesting clouds which were about as well as some of the wildlife.
This pink sky, complete with a rather strangely coloured rainbow is the sight that greeted us first thing on Monday morning. The first school run of 2018 was a rather soggy affair as the heavens opened just in time for us leaving home! I guess we have been very lucky over the Christmas break to be blessed with some fabulously sunny days so I can’t complain too much.
As the day wore on the skies cleared and school pick up just about stayed dry for us. In the afternoon we were faced with a sky of two halves!
Wednesday was a beautiful day and in the morning I headed up the Med Steps for the third time in this Sunday Sevens week (I also did Tuesday). This was the beautiful view which me and my training buddy enjoyed near to the top.
Early on in the climb we were overtaken by a team of military men, some running up the route, naturally we stood to the side and let them past. When we reached the top, they were waiting there and congratulated us for completing the steep walk. It turned out they were waiting for a few of their party which had yet to finish. I’ll take that as a win!
It was so nice to get back to my watercolour painting class this week. It had stopped over the Christmas break and it was great to get back to it again. I thought I’d have a go at painting a glass jar and was quite pleased with how it turned out. I still need to finish the flowers next week.
Car fire drama
We had a bit of drama on Thursday lunchtime. A car caught fire right next to my friend’s apartment. The flames came up to the height of her first floor windows so we had to hide behind the wall for fear that the car engine might explode. The fire brigade arrived pretty quickly and had the fire under control within minutes. Thankfully no one was hurt, but it was rather scary.
That’s all there is for Sunday Sevens this week. What ever you are up to in the next seven days I hope they are good ones for you.
Here we are on 1st October – how on earth did that come around so quickly? I heard the word Christmas mentioned this week in relation to booking nights out… not sure I’m ready to think about such things just yet! Here’s this week’s edition of Sunday Sevens 🙂
I decided to build on my Med Steps progress last week and head back up the Rock again on Monday morning. Last thursday there were literally dozens of apes but my camera was firmly zipped in my bag and I wasn’t prepared to unzip it and get mobbed by the apes thinking I had food, so they stayed unphotographed.
In reference to a comment on last week’s Sunday Sevens by Denis (Haiku Hound) in New Zealand, these photos are with him in mind. They were taken on my phone. I walked slowly through the pack and I have to admit being a bit scared by them for the first time in many years. There was lots of clicking noises going on – and don’t think they appreciated my company. Dressmaking class
Work is moving on a pace in my dressmaking class. I still love this Kate Fassett fabric I’m using to make my blouse. I bought it from Black Sheep Wools in Culcheth near Warrington in spring. They have a lovely fabric section in addition to the gorgeous range of yarn there.
More Med Steps
Being a glutton for punishment (or perhaps just a bit porky and needing some excercise) I headed back up the Med Steps again on Thursday morning. It was so lovely and cool (unlike on Monday when I nearly melted in the sun). What a difference the cool weather made – I got to the top
A book recommendation
This week I finished a book I have been reading and I had to give it a mention. Daughters of the Dragon is a fictional story but is based on real events. It tells the story of a Korean ‘Comfort Woman’, in other words, a child who was forced into sex slavery by the occupying Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. 200,000 such comfort women were abused in this way. It is very hard to read in parts but a truly gripping tale. I can highly recommend it if you would like to know more about this hidden history.
An evening by the boats
I had a lovely evening out with a few friends this week with this backdrop. It’s really rather special isn’t it? Sometimes I forget how beautiful it can be here and then I get stopped in my tracks by a view like this…
Those of you who followed the progress of my summer craft challenge this year will be familiar with this mandala in various states of development. Called Jenny’s Mandala, the pattern came as a kit from Little Box of Crochet. It was named after the daughter of company’s founder, who very sadly died of cancer in spring. Such a beautiful and poignant project to work on.
Fish and chips always tastes better when you are at the seaside doesn’t it? We enjoyed one or two cheeky portions of fish and chips when we had our recent trip to Southwold. They were so nice, we may have had to have some more again the next day! Shhh, don’t tell anyone!
Here’s a couple of Gibraltar related ‘lunch’ photos from the Postcard from Gibraltar archives…
…a couple of apes enjoying a healthy lunch provided for them in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve.
Gibraltar seems to be dominating the news a lot these days, so for those of you who don’t know much about this Rock which we call our home, here’s a little ABC…
A is for Apes
Our furry friends who live (most of the time) at the top of the Rock are perhaps Gibraltar’s most famous inhabitants. They’re the only wild apes in mainland Europe and rumoured to be the reason why Gibraltar remains British – legend has it that if the apes were to leave, the UK would lose Gibraltar. (Winston Churchill reputedly imported some extra ones during World War II to make sure the Rock remained under the British flag). Legend also has it that they first arrived on the Rock via tunnels which link Gibraltar to northern Africa… not too sure about that one!
B is for border
Gibraltar has only one land border to the north of the territory and shares it with Spain. It is across this border (or Frontier as it’s also known) that thousands of Spanish residents travel to work in Gibraltar each day and also which Gibraltar residents cross to access Spain and rest of the European mainland.
Under the Franco regime the border was closed between 1969 and 1985. Gibraltarians found themselves with lots of vacant jobs to be filled as the cross-border workers were no longer able to work here and resources like food and fuel had to be sourced via alternative means. During this period, the Rock’s relationship with Morocco flourished and resulted in the diverse community we now enjoy today.
C is for cable car
Gibraltar’s main tourist attraction is the Rock itself and there are a number of different ways of getting to the top, on foot and by car or taxi, but perhaps the most dramatic way (and certainly the fastest) is by cable car. It has been a feature on the Rock for decades and takes just six minutes from the base station to the summit.
D is for defence
Due to it’s strategic position geographically at the gateway to the Mediterranean, it’s no surprise that Gibraltar has been a key British military base. Though fewer service personnel are based here now than in it’s heyday, there is still a considerable Army, Navy and RAF presence on the Rock.
E is for Europa Point
At Gibraltar’s southern most tip, you can find Europa Point lighthouse, the only lighthouse to be operated by Trinity House which is outside of the British Isles. It’s been keeping watch over the Strait of Gibraltar for over 175 years. On a clear day, you can see across the Strait to north Africa and the Rif mountains of Morocco.
Europa Point is also home to Gibraltar’s largest mosque (the Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque) as well as the Roman Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Europe.
F is for Festivals
In recent years Gibraltar’s cultural life has flourished with the creation of a number of festivals, the biggest of which is the Gibraltar Music Festival or GMF as it’s become known locally. 2017 will see the festival run for the first time by MTV. Other musical festivals include the Festival of Colours and the World Music Festival. In addition to music another large annual event is the Gibraltar Literary Festival.
G is for Governor & Government
Although key defence and strategic decisions about Gibraltar are made in Westminster, day to day affairs on the Rock are looked after by Government of Gibraltar.
We also have a Governor, who is the Queen’s representative here. Our current Governor, Lieutenant General Ed Davies, like all his predecessors lives in the official residence known as The Convent.
H is for history
Gibraltar is steeped in history, from cave men to the Phoenecians, Moorish invasions and the Great Siege. Gibraltar is filled with historic buildings and sites. There’s even a weekly historical reenactment.
I is for isthmus not an island
Despite popular misconception, Gibraltar is not an island. It is an isthmus of 5.8 square kilometres. If you are looking for a diverse and challenging 10k route to run, Gibraltar is the place for you, it’s exactly 10km all the way round on the main roads.
J is for Jebel Tariq
Gibraltar is regarded as one of the Pillars of Hercules, Jebel Musa across the Strait in Morocco being the other one. The name Gibraltar is believed to have come from it’s Moorish name of Jebel Tariq, meaning Tariq’s Mountain or Tariq’s Path. Tariq lead the Moorish Invasion of Andalusia.
K is for Kaiane
Irrespective of your views on beauty pageants, Kaiane Lopez (née Aldorino) achieved something remarkable for Gibraltar. In 2009, was crowned Miss World. She was a great ambassador for Gibraltar during her year-long reign and has continued to fly the flag for the Rock ever since. Yesterday she became the youngest ever Mayor of Gibraltar as well as being the first ever Miss World to take mayoral office.
L is for lifestyle
Gibraltar boasts a great climate, healthcare modeled on the NHS, schools which follow the UK system and a thriving community. Plus everything is within a short distance so activities/entertainment especially for children are more achievable than our experience in the UK. As an ‘incomer’ I’ve had a really positive experience living here and was welcomed by locals and expats alike.
M is for Mediterranean
The Eastern side of the Rock is lapped by the tides of the Mediterranean Sea and the three Mediterranean beaches we have on the Rock are hugely popular in summer (Gibraltar has other beaches on the Western side too).
N is for Neanderthal
The first Neaderthal skull ever to be found was discovered at Gorham’s Cave in Gibraltar in 1848. The find, which is celebrated on Gibraltarian pound coins, has led to Gibraltar recently being granted UNESCO World Heritage status.
O is for ornithology
A hot spot for twitchers, Gibraltar is a haven for wildlife and, in particular, migratory birds. Volunteers from the British Trust for Ornithology travel to Gibraltar to study the migration of birds from the southern hemisphere where they have over wintered, up to northern Europe and Russia. Vultures, and eagles can often be spotted along with other smaller birds.
P is for port
Gibraltar has long been a stop off for seagoing travellers, from the Phoenicians who dropped anchor here before setting off into the Atlantic and up as far north as Cornwall. These days Gibraltar’s marine trade includes dry docks for maintenance, as well as bunkering services for ships which are mid voyage.
Q is for queues
We do spend quite a while in queues here in Gibraltar at times, especially if you choose the wrong moment to cross the runway – you can get stuck waiting for planes to land or take off.
We also have to queue to enter and leave Gibraltar at the border with Spain, which can at times be problematic. Thorough checks by the authorities across the border can mean long waits in rather uncomfortable conditions (like the height of summer) at it’s worst it can take several hours to cross.
R is for runway
Gibraltar Airport is famous for it’s stunning backdrop and for the fact that the main road to and from the Rock runs straight across it. It makes for an interesting commute to work for those who live over in Spain!
S is for St Michael’s Cave
The Rock of Gibraltar itself is full of holes, with natural caves and manmade tunnels carved through it. The largest and perhaps most dramatic of which is St Michael’s Cave which as well as being a popular tourist destination is also a venue for shows and concerts.
T is for tunnels
In order to get around the Rock we need to travel through a few tunnels. The World War II Tunnels (which include a war time hospital ward) and the Great Siege Tunnels are popular tourist attractions.
There are miles and miles of military tunnels excavated through the Rock most of which are out of bounds to the public. They are used for military exercises and there was even a plan during World War II for some military personnel to be bricked into a tunnel so they could spy on the enemy in case of an invasion.
U is for Upper Rock
The Upper Rock is a Nature Reserve, home to the Barbary Macaques and other native species like the Barbary partridge and national flowers like the Gibraltar Candytuft and Gibraltar Campion.
The Med Steps or Mediterranean Steps to give them their proper name, is a footpath and several sets of steps which lead from the southern tip of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, at the Pillar of Hercules monument and round the Eastern side of the Upper Rock before emerging at the summit.
It’s a place of outstanding natural beauty and affords walkers stunning views across the Strait to Morocco, along the Mediterranean coast to Spain and onto the Costa del Sol on a clear day, and across the Bay of Gibraltar to Algeciras.
V is for visitors
Gibraltar is a very popular destination for cruise liners and coach tours. At peak times in the summer, the population of the Rock can almost be doubled for a day, when several large cruise ships arrive all at once. Those are the times when it’s wise to give Main Street a wide berth, especially if you have small children and pushhairs to steer through the crowds.
W is for weather
We are blessed with pretty mild winters (although there was some snow a few miles up the coast this winter) and long hot sunny summers. Thankfully because of our location surrounded on three sides by sea we don’t get such high temperatures as they do further up the coast or inland in Spain.
We can get a rather large cloud developing on the top of the Rock called the Levanter. It’s formed by the easterly wind and just sits above us creating humid conditions below. Some people refuse to have their hair done on Levanter days and it’s been blamed for meringues failing to rise and paint from drying properly.
X is for BreXit (sorry couldn’t think of anything beginning with X)
Well this is the main reason why everyone’s talking about Gibraltar at the moment isn’t it? 96% of the Gibraltar electorate voted to remain in Europe and no one knows what Brexit will mean for us all here on the Rock (or the UK for that matter).
Y is for Yanito or Llanito
Yanito or Llanito is the dialect which is spoken by Gibraltarians. Anyone wandering along Main Street will hear locals speaking a mixture of English and Spanish with a few Genoese or Maltese words thrown in too.
Z is for zebra crossings (post boxes and red telephone boxes)
We may live at the very south of Iberian Peninsular and we can see Africa from our windows but there are a lot of familiar British sights around Gibraltar. There are often tourists posing for photos by the phone boxes and and post boxes trying to catch a little of Britain in the Med.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Gibraltar A to Z, if you only take one thing from it, can it please be that Gibraltar’s NOT an island? (I have read two articles today which described it as one) Thank you!