Convent Garden Party 2016

 

dsc_0055
Entrance to the Convent

A couple of Saturdays ago, on 25th June, the Governor of Gibraltar opened the doors to his official residence for the annual Convent Garden Party. The event, which has been running for several years now, gives mere mortals like ourselves the chance to enjoy a wander around the beautiful Convent Gardens.
Before heading out into the gardens this year, we took a walk upstairs to have a mooch around the state rooms. This stunning dining room is adorned with shields and crests which (according to Wikipedia) form the most extensive collection of heraldry in the Commonwealth of Nations.

State dining room

In the ballroom there has been an art show in previous years but this time there was an exhibition of weapons by the Gibraltar Museum. I have to admit that weapons aren’t really my thing, either old fashioned ones or modern machine guns.

The one weapon of note which caught my eye was number 42, which is a relic from the Battle of Trafalgar.

Heading back downstairs we cut across the tranquil courtyard with it’s charity stalls.

Cloistered courtyard
Out in the garden we were entertained by jazz musicians playing by the fountain. There were bouncy castles for the children as well as a rope walk between the trees put on by the Scouts. (The Governor is the Chief Scout of Gibraltar and allows scouts to camp in his back garden occasionally).

The ladies of the Convent Charity Committee had a lovely stall with home-made cakes and other refreshments. The people you can see in the gazebo were sitting in the shade enjoying the tasty treats. The Convent staff also had their regular stall selling plants which have been propagated and grown in the garden itself.


The main attraction for me though, as always, is the plants. I’ll let them speak for themselves.

At the far end of the gardens this year there was a display of birds of prey – I don’t remember seeing this on our previous visits.

I really love coming to have a look around this garden – we have been going for about six  years now. Last year I wrote one of my first blog posts on the event A stroll up the garden path….

It’s a great fundraiser for the local community and it’s so nice to have the chance to have a look around. When I’m feeling homesick for the British Isles it reminds me a little of a National Trust garden (if you ignore the heat and the Mediterranean planting), in times of uncertainty (as we were feeling two weekends ago immediately after the EU Referendum result) it’s a constant which doesn’t really change. Whatever way you look at it, it’s a really beautiful colourful oasis in a very busy and hectic place.

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 🙂

 

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…

 

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…

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… 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!

 

Sunday Sevens #37 26.6.16

Well then, that was quite a week on all sorts of levels. I shall refrain from mentioning anything political in this post as it makes references to mundane everyday stuff, well err mundane and perhaps a little irrelevant. So here goes, it feels like a lot longer than seven days since my last Sunday Sevens, but it’s not. Who knew this time last week what was about to happen?

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series devised by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins. If you fancy joining in, pop over to her blog and find out how to have a go.

 

A crafty paradise

Last Sunday was Father’s Day in the UK and I spent it in England with my lovely Dad for the first time in years. My little Postcards took good care of their Dad when I was away and I think they really enjoyed their time with just Daddy. My Sunday was completely different from the usual routine. I wasn’t woken early with the pitter patter of small feet coming into the bedroom to ask for a cuddle/juice/breakfast/the TV remote. I had a lie-in (bliss) and after breakfast we jumped into the car and headed out into the Cheshire countryside to the fabulous Black Sheep Wools at Culcheth in Warrington.

It was wonderful to be surrounded with all this wool of every colour imaginable, there were fantastic books, fabric, sewing kits and all sorts of crafty delights. I was in heaven. We stopped for a tasty lunch in the cafe there aptly named ‘Tea Bags Full’ and before heading to our next destination I made use of the facilities.

On the way to the loo, I spotted these cute pompom sheep (above) and a fascinating series of maps on the wall. The maps were of the British Isles and also the world. People had written their names and where they were visiting from on tags. It was such a good idea as it showed how far their customers had travelled from. In the scheme of things Gibraltar wasn’t that far. South Africa and New Zealand featured tags from customers as well as many other exotic destinations. There were no spare tags for me to write on and say I was visiting from Gibraltar so this is my tag. Hello Black Sheep Wools, my crafty stash grew quite a bit thanks to you. I hope to be back again one day!

 
Back home

Monday meant time to head back home to Gibraltar. I had a really great time with my parents and was also able to see my little brother and his lovely fiancee. My weekend away flew by so quickly that I was on my way back to the airport before I knew it. On the flight I was blessed with a window seat on the right hand side which gave me a wonderful view as we circled the Rock. As we approached along the Spanish Mediterranean coast from Malaga, Gibraltar was shrouded in cloud caused by the levanter winds. Moments later, after we came around the southern tip of Europa Point I got this great view of the Rock  with it’s cloudy hat on. It’s amazing to think that these two pictures were taken just moments apart.

Dressmaking class


I’m growing to love this fabric. After buying it I was worried it was a bit too Hawaiian shirt-esque but it’s so bright and summery it’s really growing on me. This week the side seams of my final skirt project were stitched, the lining was attached to the skirt and front pleats stitched into place. In theory there’s just a waistband and hem standing between me and a finished garment. It doesn’t sound a lot if you just say it quickly but I have a feeling it may not be straightforward…

Another dinosaur gets a new home

Meet Wonkysaurus. He’s my fourth dinosaur crocheted from a pattern in Simply Crochet magazine. I do rather like him, he’s got slightly wonky spikes, hence the name. This week he went to his new home to meet his new owner. I’m not sure what his new owner makes of him yet (he’s just 4 weeks old) but his Mummy approves.

Time for another one…

No sooner had one dinosaur left me and I received a request for another one. This one’s for a baby not yet born so I have a little while yet to make him, however as the little Postcards are on summer hours at school (i.e. they finish at lunchtime) my crafting time is vastly reduced so I’m making hay while the sun shines, or should that be making heads while the sun shines? (Sorry – couldn’t resist that one 😉 )

Convent Garden Open Day

Saturday saw the annual Convent Garden Open Day in Gibraltar. It’s a regular event on the Gibraltar social calendar and gives us mere mortals the chance to wander round the Govenor’s back garden. The planting is gorgeous and a riot of colour beneath the lovely shade giving trees – many of which were planted by visiting Royals in years gone by. It was hot hot hot so that shade was very welcome. I’ll share a few more photos of this soon.

Postcard birthday

IMG_4348

I’m amazed to be saying this but yesterday Postcard from Gibraltar had it’s first birthday. I can’t believe a whole year has gone by since I made my first post. It’s been such fun. I have come into contact with so many lovely, encouraging people during the past 12 months both online and in person. Thank you to all of my new friends as well as my old friends and family who have supported my fledgling blogging adventure so far. Here’s to the next 12 months! Now it’s time for cake don’t you think?

Review of 2015 … well half of it!

 

2015 was the year I took the plunge and decided to have a go at blogging. For several years I have followed blogs including Attic24, The Patchwork Heart, Bunny Mummy and  Just Pootling and I have admired the beautiful photography, their ways with words and their beautiful crafts. A couple of years ago I decided I had a long way to go before attempting my own blog but set myself the challenge of taking a photo each day and writing a bit about it. Obviously on some days (like holidays, trips out & special occasions) it’s incredibly easy to snap away and you’re spoiled for choice, on others you are forced to think hard and be a bit creative about what the daily photo might be. This turned out to be good practice for  my blog posts, especially Sunday Sevens.

  Convent Garden, Gibraltar June 2015

Since I gave up (paid) work on the arrival of my first child, I have struggled to find something to entertain my brain, I’ve dabbled in crafts & craft fairs, done a bit of voluntary work and tried and failed to get a job which can work around my main job as a Mum.   

July 2015 (Manchester, Cheshire, Berkshire)

Recently, I guess my friends have picked up on my need to stimulate my brain and a few have independently suggested I try blogging (I hadn’t told them that I had previously considered and discounted it). I guess the planets came into alignment as when the most recent suggestion was made, I thought ‘why not?’ and set off on my Postcard from Gibraltar journey. In order to protect my boys from future ridicule, I decided to keep my blog anonymous for now.

August 2015 (Algarve & Gibraltar)

And so my Postcard from Gibraltar adventure began in June, hence the review of only half a year! We are very fortunate to live in a vibrant and interesting place, so there is never a shortage of things for me to write about, I also now have an outlet to talk about my various crafty fascinations of crochet, watercolour and sewing (friends and family heave a huge sigh of relief).

  September 2015 (Gibraltar)

I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far, I am thrilled when I look back at my old posts and see photos of things we have done and seen as a family, it’s almost like an online journal or photo album (both are things I have started many times but failed to complete).

  October 2015 (Gibraltar)

I have met some really supportive and kind people through the magic of the blogosphere and found inspiration for future projects and positive criticism for my own crafty endeavours. I used to think I was just a frustrated crafter who never had the time to create the things I want. While I admit I still get a bit frustrated at times as there are so many ideas in my head of what I want to do, but looking back at the makes I have documented I can see that I do churn out quite a bit as it is!

  November 2015 (crafts) 

Away from the world of the internet, blogging has also helped me build some networks in real life here in Gibraltar. There are some very talented people residing on this great Rock and I am pleased to have met some more of them during the past six months.

  November 2015 (Gibraltar & Marbella)

I won’t ramble on any more, but will leave you with my thanks for taking the time to stop by and read my blog, I’ve had a great time with it so far and very much look forward to what 2016 holds. Happy New Year!

  December 2015 (Gibraltar)