The adventures of Llanita, the Gibraltar Yarndale sheep

Llanita, the Gibraltar Yarndale sheep

Introducing Llanita, Gibraltar’s very own Yarndale sheep. For those of you unfamiliar with Yarndale, it’s a festival of all things woolly which takes place in Skipton, North Yorkshire in September. It’s in it’s fourth year now and each year, the organisers ask for crocheters and knitters to contribute a little item to decorate the festival, and as with last year’s event, those items will be used to generate funds for a local charity.

Baa!
 
In past years they have asked for bunting triangles, mandalas and flowers. This year, they have asked people to contribute little knitted or crocheted sheep. I have contributed to this effort in the past and couldn’t resist sending a Gibraltar representative to Yarndale again. 

The charity they are supporting this year is the wonderful Martin House Hospice for children & young people. Many years ago before having small people of my own, I was lucky enough to visit this marvelous place through my job. It is a magical place where everyone is greeted with a smile, so positive and uplifting. 

Before Llanita was packaged up and sent off, I couldn’t resist having a little bit of fun with her … she’s been around the Rock on a bit of an adventure, and even got lost! Here’s what she’s been up to:

Visiting the Convent

You can’t fly the flag for Gibraltar without a visit to the Convent, the official residence of the Governor of Gibraltar. She popped in for afternoon tea and a chat about her important job representing the Rock at Yarndale. 😉

Hanging out in Casemates Square
She loved hanging out in Casemates Square, it’s quite the place to be seen, especially on a Friday night when the bars and restaurants are busy.

Admiring the art at the Gibraltar National Gallery
Quite the sheep about town, Llanita decided to soak up some culture on a visit to the Mario Finlayson National Art Gallery at City Hall.

Llanita likes nothing more than a sheep dip in the pool on a very hot day…

You just can’t beat an early morning frolic in the luscious grass at Commonwealth Park. A little nibble of that for breakfast sets her up for the day, but please don’t tell the park keepers!

Frolicking in the grass at Commonwealth Park

So here’s the thing… I discovered to my horror, shortly after taking the above photo, that Llanita was missing. No!!! Cue: little Bo Peep tune.

I could only assume she must have loved the feeling of the grass on her hooves so much that she didn’t want to leave Commonwealth Park. 

But we still need a Gibraltar Yarndale sheep I hear you cry… Drum roll please: in a Dolly the sheep type cloning exercise we have a replacement…. Llanita Mark II.

Continuing the good work done by Llanita Mark I, Llanita carried on her pre-Yarndale tour of Gibraltar. Next stop: the beach!

Llanita loves it at Catalan Bay but isn’t a fan of the sand on her hooves. She loved it so much that she’s been twice!

She also really enjoyed her trip to the Gibraltar Fair but the candy floss at the family pavilion was more her thing than the noisy rides…

The imposing Trinity House Lighthouse at Europa Point is right up her street. It even matches her woolly jumper!

Just like all beauty queens who represent Gibraltar on the international stage, Llanita posed for a photo on the runway in front of the Rock before flying off to join the flock of woolly sheep at the Yarndale Festival.

She packed her very own postcard from Gibraltar so that the other Yarndale sheep know her name and where she’s from.

Bye bye Llanita, have a safe trip! Keep the Gibraltar flag flying!


Baa baa!

But that’s not the end of Llanita’s story, no sooner than she was ready to set off, who should put in an appearance?

The original Llanita turned up in a totally inexplicable place, under a beach towel at the bottom of the beach bag! She must have been hiding in there all along. What a happy ending to the Llanita the Yarndale sheep story – now one Llanita can fly off to Yarndale and the other can stay at home with me!!

Llanito or Yanito is the dialect spoken in Gibraltar and includes a mixture of English, Spanish, Genoese and words borrowed from other languages.

A Llanita (pronounced Yanita) is a female Gibraltarian.

Convent Garden Party 2016

 

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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

 

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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

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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!

 

A stroll up the garden path…

 
Today we’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Convent Garden. The Convent is the official residence of the Governor of Gibraltar, Sir James Dutton and his wife Lady Liz. Normally, the Convent and it’s grounds are off-limits to the general public, however twice a year the doors are thrown open for the Convent Garden Open Day (June) and the Convent Christmas Fair (November). Both are fundraising events supporting local charities and are very much highlights of the Gibraltar Social Calendar.

   

The walled private gardens are an utter delight offering peace and much needed shade. It’s an oasis in such a densely populated place – you almost can forget you are still in Gibraltar. The building itself is a former convent (as the name suggests) dating back to the sixteenth century, it’s been home to Gibraltar’s Governors since 1728.

As well as the gardens, a number of formal rooms were open to the public as well. Indoors there was an art exhibition featuring a number of locally based artists and choral and musical performances.

   

The grand banqueting hall and lounge. 

  

  The busy courtyard featured craft stalls.
 
Enough of indoors … let’s get back outside to that gorgeous garden! 

  
Dotted around the garden are trees which have been planted by various dignitaries and members of the royal family including the Queen and most recently the Earl & Countess of Wessex. The colours of the blooms are beautiful and in spite of the number of other visitors, the place still felt like a sanctuary away from the bustle of Main Street, just metres away.

  
If you visit early enough in the day you can actually buy a little bit of the garden to take back home with you from the plant stall. For the younger visitors there was an elevated rope walk run by the Scout Association, a bouncy castle and face painting.  There were refreshments served on the lawn including home baked good and the most delicious homemade ice cream. 

  
I think this is our third visit to the a garden open day and I can’t recommend it highly enough if you ever have the chance to see it for yourself. I’ll leave you with a few more flower pictures, thanks for reading!