Sunday Sevens #170 6.1.19

Happy New Year and welcome to the first Sunday Sevens of 2019! We are on the final day of the school Christmas holidays here. And I’m writing this to avoid thinking about school uniforms and packed lunches! Here goes…

The sun goes down on another year…

This was the last sunset of 2018, a calm end to the year. We spent New Year’s Eve at home and ate nice food before watching the coverage of local celebrations on the TV as the clock ticked down to midnight….

Bring on the fireworks…

…and then the skies lit up all around us. Several neighbours put on rather impressive firework displays.

New Year’s Day Med Steps trip

We thought we would start the year as we mean to go on and headed off up the Med Steps late morning on New Year’s Day. It was the first time we’d taken the two youngest Postcards up there and they loved it. They did so well, especially Youngest, who has the shortest legs of all. Two and a quarter hours door to door, which is very good going I think.

All the fun of the fair

There have been Christmas Fair rides and attractions in town all over Christmas. We managed to avoid them until this week (cruel parents that we are). Fortunately ours aren’t great fans of rides so a quick go on hook-a-duck was enough to satisfy Youngest.

Unusual boat

This huge crane ship has been in our eye line for weeks. It appeared across the Bay at Algeciras before Christmas and then around New Year’s Eve, it moved out into the Bay to be serviced by some of the bunkering ships from Gibraltar. It disappeared off into the Med not long after.

Christmas done for another year…

And so, after all that build-up, Christmas has been packed away back into boxes for another year. I felt sad putting my fairy lights away though, I love it when they twinkle at night!

Cavalcade

The 62nd annual 3 Kings Cavalcade took place in Gibraltar last night. It was honestly quite a sight. A few years ago there were concerns that it might stop as fewer floats being entered. This year saw its second biggest number ever, with 17 floats in total. Some of them were amazing this year…

Well done to everyone who took part!

And so that’s Sunday Sevens for another week. I hope you’ve had a good start to the New Year.

I’m anticipating that things will be a bit busier than usual for me in the next few weeks (all good things though) so I may not be around as much as usual. I will endeavour to keep up with Sunday Sevens and Friday photos, but there may not be the chance for much else for now.

Thanks for stopping by, and until next time, have a good week!

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

Sunday Sevens #65 8.1.17

2017 is now one week old. How’s it been for you? It started with a bang here in Gibraltar – well actually it began with about three hours of them….

New Year Fireworks

I’m not sure how the pets in our neighbourhood fared with all the New Year celebration fireworks but we had a heck of a show near us. Beginning seconds after the clock struck midnight and still going at 3am. I’m pleased to report that our bunnies; Snowflake and Diamond, were none the worse for it.

First sunset of 2017

New Year’s Day was a quiet one for us, after a late night kept awake by the fireworks. We had a lovely sunset to end a chilled day.

Giddy podcast news

Ooooh I’m on iTunes!!!! Who’d have thought it? My second podcast went out on Friday. If you missed it you can catch it here  or why not subscribe on iTunes if you have it? You’ll be able to hear some of our local New Year fireworks in it!

Sunny weather


We’ve enjoyed mixed weather this week but there have been some lovely sunny moments. This photo was taken down by the water at Marina Bay on Tuesday lunchtime. The perfect weather for an alfresco lunch… shame we were only there to visit the dentist!

Another sunset…

I did threaten a lot of sunset photos now I have my new camera lens… sorry if this is getting tedious! I happened to look out of the window at golden hour on Wednesday just as the sun was going down and there seemed to be an awful lot of activity going on out in the Bay. Boats of all shapes and sizes from little fishing boats to a gigantic cargo ship were heading in and out.

Just to give you an idea of the size of that cargo ship, here’s a close up… those containers look like matchboxes piled up like that!

Cavalcade

Thursday evening brought us the 60th Annual Gibraltar Cavalvade. The parade down Main Street features the Three Kings, floats created by local community groups, families and local companies as well as marching bands and beauty queens. Normally we stand about half way along Main Street to see the floats going past but this year we stayed in Casemates Square where the parade heads out from and kind of got trapped there by the crowds of folk.

I wrote a post about last year’s event but wasn’t able to get many photos this time because of our position on the route. The float shown below was put together by a local family and they received the first prize for their efforts based on the film Madagascar 3.

Goodbye to Christmas for another year…

The Cavalcade officially marks the end of Christmas in Gibraltar, but I have one last Christmas tree for you before we pack it all in a box and put it away for another year. This lovely interpretation of a Christmas tree has stood in the entrance to the John Mackintosh Hall (the home of the Gibraltar library) over the festive period. What a lovely idea. I kept meaning to include a picture and finally remembered to take one this week before it gets dismantled.

So that’s it for this week’s Sunday Sevens, I hope you have enjoyed it and that you have had a good week. School begins again here in Gibraltar tomorrow and I’d be lying if I said I was disappointed. I think the return to a routine will do all of us in the Postcard household the world of good. Until next week, thanks for stopping by and bye for now.

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

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.

We 3 Kings … Gibraltar Cavalcade 2016

  
 The Three Kings Cavalcade on January 5th marks the end of the Christmas festivities here in Gibraltar. In it’s 59th year, it still draws the crowds out on a wet January evening.  

 There were fewer people out this time than our previous experiences, perhaps some had been put off by the torrential downpour which started an hour or so before the scheduled start of the procession. That worked in our favour as it meant little people didn’t get squashed nor did they need to be hoisted onto shoulders to watch the passing floats (hurrah for that says my back!). Thankfully the rain stopped in time and me stayed dry too. 

 One of the staples of Cavalcade is the handing out of thousands of free sweets. Previously it was traditional for those taking part to throw sweets from the passing floats, the result being that you often got pelted by boiled sweets and toffees hurled by over enthusiastic kids. Which is kind of fun, but also kind of dangerous. With Health and Safety in mind, last year (I think) the decision was taken to stop the throwing of sweets and instead hand them out at the start of event. So along came Minions, Disney Princesses and Ninja Turtles scooping buckets of jelly sweets and chocolates out of the back of a pick-up truck!

Cue a blurry photo of one young man’s stash. When his hands were full, another sweetie distributer stuffed a load into the hood of his coat!   
  

Next came the Gibraltar Regimental band:  
  And a few familiar faces, though I don’t remember Yoda being taller than a Storm  Trooper!  
Now for the main event: the first floats contained the three main men, Balthazar, Caspar and Melchior: 

    
 Apologies for the blurry photo! This year, the Kings had new floats, last year and for many years previously they rode on artificial ‘camels’ which looked rather uncomfortable. Once upon a time, I believe, real camels were shipped in for the event. 

The Cavalcade is always on 5th January, the day before Epiphany. This was a completely new experience for us when we first arrived from England but across the border in Spain this time is incredibly important as it’s when Christmas presents are given and received, not on 25th December.

  Hot on the heels of the Kings came Miss Gibraltar 2015, who’s just back from the Miss World Competition in China. 

 Then came the community floats. This year 8 were entered. The majority were created by community groups like Scouts and youth clubs but this year a family entered their own float in support of the event. The one above featured the nativity and was put together by St Bernard’s Church.

 These Sumo wrestlers and their comedy dancing raised giggles from the crowd, they were jigging to the beat of these ninja drummers:   A dragon was tamed too! 

Ninjas were obviously a key theme as right behind was 1st/4th Scouts having a Ninja Turtle pizza party.  
The floats meet at Casemates Square earlier in the evening in order to be judged. There are different categories and prizes available.  

Inside Out was the theme of this family float. Then the procession was punctuated by a pipe band. 
 They played Christmas carols and had really funky glowing drumsticks. 

 The 75th Anniversay of the Evacuation of Gibraltar was marked by this float: 

 And Peter Pan and the Disney film Up were inspiration for these. 

 A local laser shooting company brought up the rear of the Cavalcade.

 And that was the Gibraltar Cavalcade over for another year. Thanks to the organisers and the weather for giving us a great evening out.  

 Time to head home and start getting ready for school beginning again on 7th.