Sunday Sevens #150 19.8.18

So, here we are at my 150th Sunday Sevens! Feels like a bit of a milestone… so far I’ve managed to publish them all on time (ie on Sunday – even if they only made it moments before the strike of 12!). I hope I’m not tempting fate by saying that!!! So, here’s number 150:

Evening beach walk

Last Sunday night I’d had enough. I felt rather homesick for England. I get that way sometimes after a trip back home. I was tired, grumpy, and thoroughly fed up.

Eldest clearly picked up on my mood and suggested we go for a drive. Normally I’d say no, but I put my lethargy out of my mind and picked up the car keys. I’m so glad I did. We left the youngest 2 with Mr Postcard and drove to the East side for a walk on Eastern beach.

It was really rather lovely and brightened my mood no end. Well done Eldest, and thank you ūüėä.

Hunting for shade

On Monday we had a few errands to run in town and ended up seeking a bit of sanctuary in Commonwealth Park. It was a beautiful, calm oasis and coincidentally we bumped into a few friends from the boys’ schools, so it was a great detour.

Protests

On Wednesday I took a drive into Spain with the boys. It was only as we crossed the border that I noticed the large protest which was going on on the Spanish side. It was industrial action to do with the Spanish police forces and had a huge impact on the queue of motorists heading into Gib. The queue of traffic waiting to cross into Gibraltar stretched almost all the way to Campamento (about 4 km).

I had been planning a strategic dash into the shop in question and then to head home straight away, but we went for lunch instead before shopping and the queue was much shorted on our return, just 50 minutes wait…

Thursday

We had a lovely day at the beach on Thursday, this was the view as we were packing up to go home, with a police speed boat whizzing last.

Patio problems

Our poor patio’s not looking too great at the minute. We live next to a long, and I mean long, building project (as is a common occurrence in Gibraltar) and our poor plants are covered in dust, masonry paint and even cement. These blooms are the best bits.

Cardboard boat race

The annual charity cardboard boat race took place in Gibraltar yesterday. The event has really grown over the years, from maybe 8 boats the first time we watched it to a junior race, and two heats and a final for the adults yesterday. Some of the creations were amazing to see. Such a lovely community event.

That’s it for this week, thanks for stopping by to read number 150! I’m linking, as always, with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

A Postcard birthday

 

1

 

 

It’s been a whole 12 months since my first blog post on Postcard from Gibraltar and what a fun and busy year it has been. I started out publishing my first post and wondering if anyone out there in cyberspace would actually read it but I soon discovered a lovely community who share my interest in craft and want to hear about this lovely Rock I live on.

Thank you very much for all the lovely comments and likes over the past year, I appreciate you taking the time to leave them. I read them all although sometimes it can take me a while to reply.

I know that an important part of being in this community is that it’s not just a one way street and we should all take the time to read each others posts and sometimes I’m not too great at that as life tends to get in the way a bit. Please know that I always mean to, and I usually get around to taking a look at my fellow bloggers posts eventually!

I’m afraid I’m being very lazy this week with my midweek post and I’m just going to share a few of my highlights from the last year with you. I hope you enjoy this trip down Memory Lane ūüôā

 

Expat life:

Moving countries with two small children and leaving all our family and friends behind was no small feat. I have to admit that when I was faced with the prospect of moving here (due to Mr Postcard’s work relocating) I wasn’t impressed. I had my life sorted and was happy where I was, the prospect of having to start all over again didn’t fill me with joy.

Back in September last year the annual cardboard boat race in Ocean Village reminded me of what life was like back when we first arrived and that the warm welcome we received as a family helped us on the road to settling in: Cardboard boats and memories of moving

Apart from arriving here and making a fresh start, one of the hardest things about being an ‘expat’ is that many of our community are transient. For those who come with work or their partner’s job, rather than just making the choice to move here for good, their tenure in Gibraltar can be short.

However short that stay may be, friendships can develop fast. In the absence of family nearby friends very soon become each other’s support network and that makes saying goodbye all the harder: Saying goodbye‚Ķ

 

Crafty highlights

I love, love, love making things. If you’ve caught any of my Sunday Sevens posts you’ll know that most of my weeks are dominated by crafty things including watercolour lessons, dressmaking lessons and of course, my love of crochet. In May, I was inspired to make a wreath celebrating the wild flowers I’d seen this Spring while I trained for the Med Steps 5 Challenge : Wild flowers of the Med Steps

 

Along with the Med Steps I have become very fond of the Alameda Botanical gardens during our almost seven years here in Gibraltar.  International Yarnbombing Day 2016 proved too much of an opportunity to miss paying homage to the Alameda Gardens bicentennial celebrations.

 

Gibraltar highlights

Last Saturday was the Convent Garden Party, an annual event which the Postcard family usually attends. It’s the one chance in the year for ‘normal’ folk to have a wander around the beautiful back garden which belongs to the Governor of Gibraltar. My post about last year’s event ended up being my first ever blog post based on a walk (a theme which has featured heavily in the last few months): A stroll up the garden path‚Ķ

As I mentioned earlier, I am a bit of a fan of the Med Steps. So much so that I climbed them five times in the one day last month as part of the Med Steps 5 Challenge. If you have never had the pleasure of climbing them yourself, here’s what you’re missing! The Med Steps: a few facts & figures

 

On 9th June, Gibraltar woke to find itself wrapped up with a blanket of fog. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to climb the Med Steps again (as it had been getting a bit warm to do it in recent weeks). On that walk I experienced the most amazing view (the one you can see above). I had been misguided in thinking that the fog would help me with its cool damp air, as I climbed the steps I soon realised that I had, in fact, climbed up out of the fog and was viewing it from above.

At one of my many rest points on that morning, I witnessed this stunning view of the Rock swathed in fog. It was otherworldly and truly mesmerising. I was also only one of a handful of people who had braved the Med Steps that morning, we were incredibly lucky to see this weather phenomenon from such an elevated vantage point.

As soon as I got home I posted this photo online and got the most amazing response. So far, more than 12,000 people have viewed it on Facebook! I also wrote a post about my foggy walk and featured a lot more photos: A mini stroll in the mist

 

A year on the Rock

IMG_6071

One of the great things about living in Gibraltar is that despite it’s size (which is really quite tiny) there is so much to do. The social calendar includes the Three Kings Cavalcade, the Calentita food festival, the Gibraltar Fair, National Day, the Gibraltar Music Festival, the Gibraltar Literary Festival, and the Christmas Light switch on to name just a few.

Here are a couple of my highlights from the last 12 months: Rock stars & heart throbs: Gibraltar Music Festival 2015 & So many books, so little time‚Ķ Gibraltar Literary Festival 2015

Looking back at all that makes me realize we’ve packed a lot into our last year on the Rock. I know we are very lucky to live in such a great place and to have the opportunity to experience all we have. 

I first started this blog after being encouraged to do so by friends and family and I’m really glad I did. Postcard from Gibraltar has opened doors for me both virtually and in real life, it’s been a great adventure so far, here’s hoping the next 12 months are as good if not better!

Thank you for dropping by!

 

Cardboard boats and memories of moving

  
Life here in Gibraltar has a certain rhythm to it, the longer you stay the more you realise that the same things happen every year. For some that might seem boring but for us as a family it gives us things to look forward to and back at as we work our way through the year. It’s six years ago this month that we packed our lives into boxes and headed off from our home in the north of England and arrived here in Gibraltar. 

It wasn’t an easy thing to do with two small children, we had a house with a small  (but perfectly formed) garden and lived a 60 minute drive from one set of grandparents and within half a day’s drive of the other set of grandparents. Although we usually saw the nearest family once a week we would also have regular trips for long weekends to visit the rest of our family further away. We never lived ‘out of each other’s pockets’ as it were, but the boys got to know their grandparents, aunts and uncles well and had good relationships with them. However, due to work commitments we chose to leave our family and friends behind, waved goodbye to our ‘forever home’ and for me, with a heavy heart, made the trip south to our new home in Gibraltar. 
Thankfully, colleagues at my husband’s work were well prepared to welcome newcomers to the Rock as many of his company’s employees came from abroad. People helped us settle in, one colleague even picked up the keys to our rented apartment for us because the agent closed before we were due to arrive. He met us outside the front door, key in one hand and housewarming pot plant in the other. I soon discovered that when people live a long way from their oldest friends and family, newly made friendships soon accelerate into much deeper relationships and fill some, if not all, of the holes left behind in our old lives back home.

Gibraltar itself, or should I say, the Gibraltarian people also helped our transition into our new life. On the first day of school a local mum approached me to apologize that she hadn’t invited my son to her son’s party as she hadn’t expected a new child in the class in September. The next day my eldest came home with an invitation to his first Gibraltarian birthday party. The two boys went onto become fast friends. Also at school, after a couple of weeks, my son’s teacher called me aside saying, “now we have your child settled into school, what can I do to help you and your husband?”. What an amazingly kind thing to ask.

Aside from the people we met during our early days here, two other things stood out to me; the weather (doh how obvious) and the social calendar. There were mornings when I’d wake up with the ache of homesickness, wondering whether we’d done the right thing moving countries, missing my family at home and counting down the days until our next trip back to England. But how can you stay down in the dumps when you wake up to this outside your window?  


Oh that blue sky! I’m not sure how well I would have coped had we moved in January and not August, but thank heavens we arrived when we did!

The hectic social calendar here also meant a week didn’t go by without at least one public event happening so there was always something in the diary for us to do as a family in an evening or at the weekend. Due to the small size of the Gibraltar population, such events usually meant bumping into people we knew, either from the school gates or through my husband’s work. One of the first I remember going to was the annual charity cardboard boat race. 

Each year a group of brave (read foolhardy) souls create ‘boats’ (I use the term loosely) out of corrugated cardboard. There are very strict rules governing the methods used to stick them together and make them watertight. Nothing which could endanger marine life (like staples, nail or tar) can be used. The competitors (a minimum of 2 per ‘boat’) have to paddle from one side of Ocean Village marina to the other, go around a buoy and make the return journey. 

Today, Ocean Village again played host to the charity cardboard boat race. Despite the grey and humid levanter conditions, loads of people turned out to support the intrepid crews.

  
There were people craning for a good view from every pontoon. Ready to cheer the teams on.

  
There were two boats entered into the children’s race including this pirate ship which sadly lost it’s Jolly Roger early in the race. Both children’s teams completed the race and did far better than some of their adult counterparts!

  
Then it was time for the main event, and it didn’t disappoint.   

 A couple of entries sank early on but the majority of crews made it all the way around the course. The green one below lost a man overboard halfway round, so he swam along behind pushing and steering when he could!   

 

The real stars of the show were the crew of this boat decked out in the Gibraltar flag and red and white balloons. Despite being submerged in water above their middles, the crew valiantly rowed on around the course and finished the race with the water up to their chins! 

It really was good fun to watch, and was a useful reminder of how far we have come since our first August here in Gibraltar. We are now a family of five, with three children happily immersed into life on the Rock. My husband and I have a great circle of friends and I’m involved in a few groups here which keeps me busy and hopefully in some small way helps others out too. Today  I even had one child asking if we could enter a boat next year. I won’t be committing to that I don’t think, but for now, at least, I’m pleased to say that Gibraltar is my home.