The Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast! (Episode 001: Christmas & New Year Festivities)


A New Year means a new podcast, in fact this is the first in a whole new series of podcasts. The plan is to release a new episode every fortnight and see how it goes. I hope to be able to bring you some of the sounds of Gibraltar and introduce you to some of the fascinating people who make the community I live in a thriving, interesting place to be.

Catalan Bay Polar Bear Swim

In this episode you can join me dipping my toes into the Med on Boxing Day, climbing to the top of the Rock on New Year’s Eve and soaking up the atmosphere at the Three King’s Cavalcade.

View from the Med Steps

 

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Credits:

Theme music: Happy Me by Twisterium

Incidental music : We wish you a merry Christmas, played badly by me.

One of this year’s Cavalcade floats

Sunday Sevens #64 1.1.17

Happy New Year! Is it really only a week ago that we were celebrating Christmas? It feels like much longer!

Christmas Day Lunch


Mr Postcard reprised his role as Christmas Day chef and was so proud of his turkey, I was called into the kitchen to take a photo for Sunday Sevens! It was delicious.

We had a lovely day at home, joined by my parents. We were all very lucky and got lots of lovely things. Among my favourites were a new lens for my camera from Mr Postcard – watch out for loads more Postcard from Gibraltar sunsets… and some lovely fluffy yarn and an Amigurumi book from my little brother.

This year’s Christmas makes


I can share a few of my festive makes,  now they have been gifted. I was asked by a friend to make a mermaid blanket for her daughter. I made a couple of ring cushions ahead of two weddings next year and the wreath was a request for my Mum.

Polar bear swim


Boxing Day for us was dominated by turkey leftovers and the Catalan Bay Polar Bear Swim. If you haven’t already, you can read all about it in my post here. I’m so glad I did it – I was wavering until about two hours before hand and I just thought what the heck, life’s short and one day I may look back and regret not doing it.

Crochet, rosé & Dirty Dancing 


So in the space of a few days, we lost two people who played a big part in my formative years (and those of countless others) albeit via the silver screen and the radio airwaves. I think an awful lot of people from my generation really felt the loss of George Michael and Carrie Fisher this week. Sometimes only crochet, wine and Dirty Dancing on the telly will do… Thank you Channel 5 – I really needed that.

Legotastic 


Despite all the new toys which appeared in this house over Christmas, the trusty box of Lego featured heavily over the last week. We have had vehicle races and competitions and all sorts of creative fun. The lounge floor was awash with those sharp little bricks but it was a small price to pay for fraternal harmony (for a few hours) and a break from TV and gadget screens.

Beach walk


We revisited Catalan Bay on Thursday afternoon to stretch our legs. It was somewhat quieter than it had been on Monday… and I resisted the temptation to jump into the crashing waves and stayed on the sand. 😉

Shopping in Spain


On Friday we took a drive up the Costa del Sol coast for a brief shopping trip and lunch. We were away from the Rock for less than 6 hours but we enjoyed our mini-mini break!

New Year’s Eve Med Stepping


Yesterday, I ventured up the Med Steps for the first time in weeks. What a change those weeks have meant for the vegetation and wildlife up there. There were loads of delicate white narcissi lining the paths and on the roof of this old army look out post. There was also a lot of these wild clematis type of plants…


It was so pretty up there. The beautiful flowers took my mind off the fact I was out of breath!

One last sunset of 2016

I know I have gone way over the normal seven photos for a Sunday Sevens post, but there has been such a lot going on this week. As Gibraltar was gearing up for a big night of celebrations (see photo below) we headed home for a quiet celebration. Here’s a couple of shots of the last sunset of 2016 as seen in Gibraltar – can you see a sliver of moon among the clouds?


This photo shows the lights in Morocco across the Strait of Gibraltar from here we live. It’s slightly blurry (apologies for that) but it gives you a sense of just how close we are.

I do hope that you have a wonderful new year and that 2017 is a happy and healthy one for you. Thank you for taking the time to read this and for all the lovely comments I’ve received over the past year, it’s so nice to know that there are actually people out there (apart from my Mum and Dad) who want to read what I have to write. Thank you!

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

Review of the year : 2016

As the clock ticks inexorably towards midnight on 31st December and we close the door on 2016, I thought it was time to take a look back at the year we have just had. Most of the newspaper reviews I’ve read so far have focussed on the negative aspects, celebrity deaths, the seismic political changes afoot both in Europe, America and the rest of the world, and general doom and gloom.

I am very fortunate in that for us, in our little corner of the world, apart from the uncertainties of Brexit and what that could mean for us in the years to come, we’ve had a pretty good year. Looking back at all the interesting things we’ve done makes me think about how fortunate we are. If your 2016 has been a difficult one, I sincerely hope that 2017 will be better for you and your loved ones.

January 2016

The New Year saw us spending a few days up the coast from Gibraltar on the Costa del Sol, but we were back on the Rock in plenty of time to see the Three Kings Cavalcade. It was also back in January when I went for the first of my strolls around Gibraltar the first one was an homage to the many beautiful balconies, the second one paid tribute to the many steps we ‘enjoy’ here!

February 2016

February brought us some misty and stormy weather, but there was plenty of indoors activities to keep us busy here in Gibraltar. The second annual Gib Talks event saw speakers from all walks of life take to the stage for short talks on a huge range of subjects. Later in the month, the extraordinary Gibraltar Womens Association celebrated their 50th Anniversary, I found  their story fascinating.

March 2016

In March, we were blessed with some beautiful sunny days with bright blue skies. Along with completing a tin man outfit for World Book Day, I finally managed to finish my Attic 24 Cosy Stripe Blanket after a year of hooking! We made the most of the lovely spring weather and took a dolphin trip out into the Bay of Gibraltar. There was also a beautiful exhibition in Gib celebrating  women’s creativity.

April 2016

During April we made another short trip up the coast and headed inland to Ronda a beautiful Andalucian town. I was very productive at my dressmaking and home furnishing courses inserting my first invisible zip and producing curtain tie-backs for the public transport fan in my life. A tall ship called into port at Gibraltar and members of the public had the chance to go on board and have a snoop around.

May 2016

May meant Med Steps for me big time as I completed my final training sessions for, and then finished, the Med Steps 5 Challenge with my two stepping buddies. It was a rather intense day but we were so proud of ourselves for climbing to the top of the Rock five times in quick succession. We also managed to raise a fair amount of sponsorship money for the brilliant Cancer Relief Gibraltar. Some of my sponsors are readers of this blog and I am so touched that you took the time and effort to support our fundraising efforts – thank you.

As I spent so long prattling on about the Med Steps during my training, I figured I should tell you all about it:  The Med Steps: a few facts & figures . May also meant saying goodbye to a good friend to me and my blogging adventures. One of the sad things about living an expat life is that many of the friends you make are in the same boat as you and therefore may not be around for long Saying goodbye…

June 2016

June was a very eventful month not only for me but for Gibraltar and the rest of the UK as a whole as BREXIT loomed large (this post was my most read of all time and by a very long way). Six months on, we are still no further forward knowing what it all means.

Another unexpected thing to happen to me in June, was when I chose to go back up the Med Steps one foggy morning. I thought that the mist would make the climb cool as the summer heat had begun to build. I was wrong. As I climbed up the Rock, I climbed out of the mist and fog. I was nearly roasted alive, but I did manage to take a rather good photo of the Rock emerging out of the mist below (see second left image on the bottom row above). I got loads of likes and shares and retweets with that picture taken on  A mini stroll in the mist!

11th June 2016 marked International Yarnbombing Day 2016 and I had a little go myself with my first guerrilla crochet project as I attempted to Yarnbomb the Alameda Gardens to celebrate the park’s 200th anniversary.

July 2016

July equals the beginning of the very long school summer holiday in Gibraltar. As I stared down the barrel of 8 weeks of no school and the prospect of entertaining the three Little Postcards I felt a little overwhelmed. In an effort to find some way of surviving (with my marbles intact) I decided on day one that I would set myself the challenge of doing something crafty every single day of the holidays…. and the Summer Craft Challenge was born. One of our summer holiday outings took us up into the Upper Rock Nature Reserve to visit one of Gibraltar’s newest attractions, the  Windsor Suspension Bridge .

August 2016

August, for us, was mainly spent in England. I travelled back with the Little Postcards to spend two weeks based in the North West with my parents (with a lovely trip down to Berkshire to visit friends) and then two weeks with Mr Postcard visiting his family in East Anglia. We were blessed with the best of English summer weather. When the sun shines – there really is no better place to be. Our East Anglia holiday base was Southwold in Suffolk, it gave us the perfect opportunity for multiple visits to a special place for us Southwold Pier .

The end of the month brought the school summer holidays to an end. After eight weeks of full-time kiddiwinks and eight weeks of the summer craft challenge, I was very proud to still be in full possession of my marbles (I think) and I also managed to do something crafty on every day except for one (the day we travelled back to Gibraltar). The final instalment of my challenge is here.

September 2016

September is always a very busy month in Gibtraltar. Just after the children return to school, we all have a day off for Gibraltar National Day on 10th September. Around this time we now have the Gibraltar Music Festival to enjoy too. This year saw the Stereophonics headline and Europe played the air guitarist’s dream of The Final Countdown live on the Rock.

Towards the end of the month, I was able to fulfil an ambition of mine to visit the Yarn Festival of Yarndale. It was everything I had expected and more, with bells on. My absolute highlight was meeting my crochet hero Lucy from Attic 24 and being able to give her one of my Llanitas (Llanita, the Gibraltar Yarndale sheep that is). The sheep were made to raise funds to support a children’s hospice in North Yorkshire, I made two and they have both gone to live in Yorkshire!  My Yarndale 2016 (featuring Llanita’s Yorkshire adventures)

October 2016

In October I was still determined to keep up some of the crochet momentum I had achieved during the summertime and finished off my contribution to the Sixty Million Trebles project. I made a rainbow granny square blanket which will go towards the World Record breaking attempt to create a huge crochet blanket made up of sixty million treble stitches. Each treble stitch represents a displaced person or refugee. After the world record attempt the giant blanket will be made into smaller blankets and handed out to charities in the UK and those helping Syrian refugees. The organisers also hope to raise a considerable amount of funds too to help Syrian refugees.

A big event locally was the fourth annual Gibraltar Literary Festival 2016 I was lucky enough to be able to attend several events this year and really loved it.

November 2016

At the beginning of November we had just one Bunny in the Postcard household, then one Sunday afternoon during a walk through the Alameda Gardens, we found some abandoned rabbits. One of them, Blizzard, came home with us (Blizzard turned out to be a girl and she is now known as Snowflake). It was back in November when I had my first attempt at Podcasting I had such fun making it, and hope to be able to share another one with you soon.

December

In December we sadly said goodbye to Bunny Postcard. She had only been with us for 11 months but she’d quickly become a much loved member of the family.

This month I also headed out for my most recent stroll, to see some of the Christmas lights  we have on the Rock – amazingly it was the 16th stroll post I’ve written this year. I also took the plunge (literally) and joined with the annual Boxing Day Polar Bear Swim at Catalan Bay – I’m still feeling proud of myself for doing it!

 

Thank you so much for joining me this year, I have loved having your company and enjoy reading all the lovely comments. Here’s to next year, who knows what it will have in store for us all, here’s hoping it will be a good one.