Sunday Sevens #154 16.9.18

Sunday has come round remarkably quickly this week, I’m not sure I’m ready! I hope you’ve had a good week…

Back up the steps

Last Sunday I took the bull by the horns and headed back up the Med Steps for the first time since the Med Steps 5 in May. It had been too warm to attempt it before then, but Sunday felt a bit cooler, so I thought I’d have a go.

I was amazed at the progress being made at the building works for the Island Games (above) since my last visit.

I took quite a few breaks en route (including a stop off in one of the caves: above). And on my way back down, I spied the visiting submarine HMS Talent down below me in the harbour.

National Day

Monday was 10th September and around these parts that means it’s Gibraltar National Day. You can see more pictures in my last post for the Friday Photo Challenge.

Are you looking at me?

Wednesday morning saw me heading back up the Med Steps. On my way up, I came across a group of about 8 Barbary Patridges. They were so tame and very close to me, this one was giving me the once over though!

Murky night

Wednesday evening saw a sea mist come into the Bay and envelope all the ships out on the water. It was funny how the beams from their lights spread through the mist.

Watercolour class

Term restarted for my watercolour class, and I had a go at some poppies to get back into the groove. They were meant to be covered with splatters which was handy as they covered the area where I dropped my brush on the paper!!

I’m really looking forward to my dressmaking classes restarting next week!

Out and about

I had a nice walk on Friday morning with a few friends, it was calm and sunny and lovely to have a catch up. Unfortunately my walk was cut short this time with a minor crisis at home (which was resolved without incident) hopefully next time, I’ll get to walk further!

Birthday boy

We have a birthday coming up in the household soon and on Saturday we had a bit of a celebration. Pokémon cakes were the order of the day. Thank goodness for the stick-on pictures, they distracted from the wonky icing and burnt bits!!! They tasted ok thankfully!

That’s it for this week’s Sunday Sevens, a big thank you for everyone who’s taken the time to read it! I have had a bit of a spike in activity on my blog during the last 24 hours with lots of views from the UK, so hello to any new readers, it’s lovely to have you along. As always, I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

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.

Sunday Sevens #134 29.4.18

Hello and welcome to this Bank Holiday edition of Sunday Sevens. We are enjoying a 4-day weekend here in Gibraltar with Workers Memorial Day tomorrow and May Day on Tuesday. Fortunately, we enjoyed some rather nice sunshine yesterday, although we have had heavy rain and thunder storms overnight, so it’s turning out to be your usual British bank holiday! However you are spending this weekend, I hope you’re having a good time 🙂

Heavy seas

Last Sunday I took a walk around the eastern side of the Rock and was mesmerized by the waves. They were crashing on the rocks below like billy-o and were quite hypnotic to watch.

Poppies & partridges

Poppies and Barbary partridges were the order of the day for my Monday trip up the Med Steps. These were the first poppies of spring this year and are always such a treat to see.

Just killing time with a crochet rainbow

One afternoon I found myself with some time to kill in the car while waiting to pick up Little Postcards. Fortunately, I came prepared with my crochet. A lovely way to while away a few moments.

Another painting finished…

At my art class this week, I finished off my freesia painting. That’s four now that I have done in this style and I’ve really enjoyed painting & drawing them (all four are below). The first one (the purple iris) was a copy of a greetings card, which my watercolour teacher had by an artist called Judy Ball. The original was a lino print rather than a ink and watercolour picture.

I then copied that style to do my own compositions of daffodils, tulips and freesias.

Gib Rocks

The Postcard from Gibraltar ‘Gib Rock’ has been set free in the beautiful Alameda Botanical Gardens. It was left in a particularly tranquil spot, one that’s special to me, because it reminds me of my lovely Gran. She sat in this area for a while on her only trip out to Gibraltar to visit us. If you should happen to see my rock, I’d love to hear from you 😊.

Out of my window

I love that whenever I look out of my window here, my view is always changing. I glanced up while on the phone one lunchtime this week and spied this old fashioned ship picking it’s way amongst the bunkering tankers and cargo ships. I have a great app on my iPad called Marine Traffic (a bit geeky I know) which lets you see the name, country of origin and destination of many of the ships out in the Bay. Sadly, I was too busy to take the time to find out about this one. It does look rather magestic don’t you think?

And finally, time for something different…

I spotted this little chap in the middle of the lawn behind the Gibraltar Register Office this week. I hadn’t walked that way for quite some time and had never seen him before. I think he’s rather sweet, and I think Gibraltar needs more garden gnomes!

I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

2017 Weekly photo challenge (week 19) bird

Ornithologists actually pay to travel to Gibraltar from the UK in order to volunteer to monitor the birds here, and more specifically to record the birds which stop off in Gibraltar on their migratory path, so there are plenty of birds to be found here. Sadly, the impressive eagles, vultures and other such exciting birds do not feature in this post, as I failed to photograph them!

We do have seagulls (yellow legged gulls to be precise) in abundance though!



One day last spring, I took a walk up the Med Steps and found myself walking through a blanket of cloud and fog and emerging above it. This poor seagull had lost his lovely sea view!

It normally looks like this…

We also have our own native species of bird here in Gibraltar; the Barbary Partridge. Here’s one I spotted a couple of weeks ago.

 

I’m linking with Nana Cathy and Wild Daffodil for this weekly photo challenge throughout 2017. 

Sunday Sevens #66 15.01.16

Hello there, I hope your week has been good. It’s been good to get back into a routine here as school started again in Gibraltar on Monday, although just as normality was restored I was struck down with a bad cold. The photos for this week are rather underwhelming as a result and were mainly taken at home! Here goes…

Barbary partridge

The photo credit for this one goes to Mr Postcard. He went for a walk up the Med Steps on Sunday last week (I didn’t have the oomph) and on his walk he saw a Barbary Partridge. These partridges are native to Gibraltar and were reintroduced on the Upper Rock recently. You quite often see them but so far I have failed to capture one with my camera because as soon as you realise you have seen one it’s vanished into the undergrowth. Hats off to Mr Postcard for managing to be quick enough to snap this shy creature.

Orchids at golden hour

There has been very little crafting going on this week, I did make it to my first dressmaking class of the year on Tuesday but as I’m pattern drawing at the moment for my next project there aren’t any pretty pictures of fabric to share yet. Will these orchids do? They looked so pretty in the golden light just as the sun was going down.

Morning Moonlight


As I opened the front door to see Eldest off to school one morning, I was struck by the bright full moon in the sky. This was less than an hour before daylight came but it looked magical as the moonlight lit up the water of the Bay.

Pink sky in the morning 

Another moonlight in the morning photo, this time it was on Friday when I saw the pretty pink sky at sunrise. We don’t get to see the sunrise as such as we face west but you still get the gorgeous colours lighting up the sky.

Poorly bunny


I haven’t mentioned before now, but our rescue bunny, Snowflake, has been rather poorly of late. In fact at New Year we were worried we might lose her. It turned out that she had mange. Perhaps she had it when we found her, perhaps she caught it from our newest addition, Diamond (although he shows no signs) we don’t know.

While she was laid low with the mange, an X-ray revealed that she had a chest infection, plus she had an eye infection. I spent the past week giving her children’s banana flavoured antibiotics and administering eye drops and sinus massages (I kid you not) to try and get her well again.

Here she is at the vets (again) on Friday morning. She was just about to have her final mange injection. I’m pleased to say that she has completely recovered from her chest infection and eye infection and the final signs of mange should disappear in the next few weeks.

The amazing climbing bunny

 

Diamond, on the other hand has shown no signs of ill health, in fact he’s positively bouncing. It turns out he’s quite a handful. On Friday I put him into his ‘run’ in the hall to give him a bit more space. It’s made out of an old fire guard and is attached to Snowflake’s run (an old play pen). I never in my wildest dreams thought he’d be able to get out – I was wrong. 

He was discovered wandering around the lounge. He must have climbed up out of the run, went for a wander in the hall (there were poos and straw marking his route) and then went for a run about in the lounge. I’m just relieved he decided to give the wide open front door a miss.

I thought that as Snowflake is having a bit of time post injection in her cage, I’d move him into her run (it’s taller and has chicken wire around it so it’ll be harder to climb out). Wrong again. When I went to check on him later, he’d climbed out of that and back into his original run. 

He now has a lid on it, rather fetchingly made out of old oven shelves and washing line… not the most attractive thing but until we think of an alternative it will have to do… honestly he’s worse than a toddler!!

Crochet

 

By the end of the week I was feeling well enough to pick up a crochet hook again and managed to finish a project I’d been working on since before Christmas. This meant I was free to get on with something new. I’ve been looking forward to getting started on this, and it’s taking shape quickly – one of the joys of amigurumi I guess. 

The lovely book I am using for the pattern was a Christmas gift from my ‘little’ brother and I have got the perfect opportunity to make a little creature. I’m being a bit mysterious aren’t I? All will be revealed soon….

 

That’s all from Sunday Sevens this week, not the most inspiring one I know. Hopefully I’ll be back to full form next week and I’ll be able to tell you about more interesting things! Until then, I hope you have a good week and thanks for stopping by.

 

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

The Med Steps: a few facts & figures

Unless you are completely new to this blog, you will no doubt be aware I have a rather daunting event on the horizon. Along with two friends, I am planning to climb the Med Steps to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar 5 times as part of the Med Steps 5 Challenge on Saturday. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of taking this rather scenic, steep walk, I thought I’d take you along with me. You won’t need your trainers though – I’ve done the hard work!


The length of the walk from it’s beginning at Jews’ Gate on the southern edge of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve (just opposite the monument to the Pillars of Hercules) to the summit (close to O’Hara’s Battery) is 1400 metres. At it’s start, you are 180 metres above sea level, at it’s summit, you are 419 metres above the waves below – that’s a climb of 239 metres.


It runs round the southern edge of the nature reserve and then along the eastern side of the Rock on narrow rocky paths and steps up along the cliff face.

Just next to the Jewish Cemetery and bird observatory is a flight of steps leading the way into a small wooded area.

The path winds gently up hill before opening out to offer a great view across the top of Europa Point, and the northern coast of Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar.

Close to here is Martin’s Cave the roosting and breeding site for rare bats. 

The path takes a downward turn down several steps before levelling out to a beautiful path lined at the moment with wild flowers.


Then the Med Steps begin in ernest. They are rather irregular in size, some man made, others just appear to be lumps of rock. Some take the size of ‘normal’ stairs, others are well over 30cm deep. Approximately half way up this first set of steps is the Goats Hair Twin Caves.  

Excavations during the 1970s found evidence here that suggests prehistoric man once lived there. It’s believed that many years ago, these caves were actually at sea level.

Just above the caves, there are several old military buildings serving as a reminder to the role the Rock played during World War II. 

At the top of this climb the path takes us through a small tunnel which offers much needed shade and a chance to take a breather.



It’s at this point that you often see seagulls sitting on the path, they look most put out as you approach and they feel the need to move. Clearly they are making the most of the peace and quiet and taking in the view! I have also seen a couple of native Barbary Partridges near here too, I believe Peregrine Falcons are a relatively common sight as well, but I can’t say I’ve seen any.

A little further along here and you end up on a great viewing platform which affords a fantastic view on a clear day along the eastern side of Gibraltar, across the runway and north towards the Spanish Costa del Sol.

A few metres back from this and the rocky path takes you onwards and upwards towards our goal. 

This part of the walk is particularly verdant and it was along here that I saw one of Gibraltar’s national plants, the Gibraltar Candytuft for the first time a few weeks ago.

There are several other plant species native to the Rock which can be found in this area, the Gibraltar Thyme, Gibraltar Campion, Gibraltar Chickweed and Gibraltar Saxifrage to be precise.

The walk continues meandering back and to along the side of the Rock with several more flights of stairs here and there until you find yourself at the foot of the cliff where there are 15 flights of steps zig zagging up the rocky face leading to the summit. (In my opinion; the killer part).


Up you climb, up and up. 

I love seeing this ‘seat’ carved into the rock. Every time I see it, I think of my Dad who walked up the steps with my Mum and me a couple of years ago. He stopped here for a rest. If I’m still fit enough to climb the Med Steps when I’m in my seventies, I’ll be more than happy!

Two flights later and there’s the wild flower sign – oh we’re almost there!

Just two more flights and we’re at the top – Hurrah!!!

I may have lost count due to exhaustion but I think I counted 595 man made steps up to the top (I didn’t count the extra natural rocky steps or the ones which rather annoyingly take you downwards before the main climb).

So we’re at the top, time to give yourself a pat on the back and take in that magnificent view. 


It’s now time to head down the military road which zig zags down the western side of the Rock past St Michael’s Cave and back to Jews’ Gate again. Just another 4 times round and then we can stop for a cup of tea – wish us luck!!

All information is courtesy of the GONHS