Friday photo challenge (Week 48) Wild

Our rather famous ‘wild’ inhabitants here in Gibraltar just had to feature in this week’s photo challenge! What are they talking about I wonder?

My favourite place here has to be the Med Steps, and they are covered with ‘wild’ flowers in Spring.

Gibraltar Candytuft

It’s not just the Rock which has ‘wild’ inhabitants, we have beautiful dolphins in our waters too…

Next week’s Postcard from Gibraltar Friday Photo Challenge is ‘sunset’.

2018 Friday Photo Challenge (Week 8) Movement

Movement is today’s prompt for the Postcard from Gibraltar Friday photo challenge. Here are a few suggestions from me: the one above was taken while out on a dolphin boat in the Bay of Gibraltar. We were lucky enough to see lots of dolphins that day.

This following picture was taken en route to see the dolphins with the Rock in the distance.

And this final photo is a bit off piste – I loved the movement of the fabric in this outfit at the Rock Fashion Rocks! exhibition I went to last week.

Fancy joining in? Here are the prompts for the challenge:

Sunday Sevens #89 25.6.17

Hello there, I hope this week’s Sunday Sevens finds you well and happy. If you saw my last post, you will know that Postcard from Gibraltar is now the ripe old age of two years old! In some ways it feels like I have been writing these posts for ever, but in many other ways it feels like only recently I plucked up the confidence to start typing out my first blog post. Thank you to all of you for the positivity you have showed me over this last two years.

Now you see it… Now you don’t 


Well, Gib didn’t quite totally disappear, but you get the drift! Last Sunday we had talked about taking a trip into Spain, but we ended up staying a lot closer to home and heading down to Europa Point. We had visitors this week in the form of Mr Postcard’s parents and we went for a walk at Europa Point, the Little Postcards had a play at the park and I took my father-in-law for a walk down to the Europa Foreshore. 

While we sat chatting at the park I was watching the Levanter cloud coming and going over the peak of the Rock of Gibraltar. I kept taking pictures in the hope I would catch it completely obscured but this is as close as I got.

Dressmaking class 

In this week’s dressmaking class i actually managed to get some sewing done! I have lots track of the number of weeks I have spent drawing my new pattern. I am currently working on a blouse and boy, oh boy, it’s been a long drawn out affair. Well, the pattern is finished and this week I got the chance to actually sew. I made a sample collar ahead of the real thing. It was a relatively painless process, let’s see how the real thing turns out….

Chocolate cake and watercolours

We had a real treat at our watercolour class this week when one of my fellow students arrived bearing cake. She was weighed down with homemade flapjack and chocolate birthday cake from her daughter’s birthday party the day before. I was ‘forced’ to have a tiny sliver of flapjack and then was presented with this gorgeous piece of cake. It only slightly distracted me from finishing off my mussel shell…

Sports Day

I know I have featured a photo just like this one before in Sunday Sevens, but it never fails to amaze me when I take a seat at the Victoria Stadium for one of the Little Postcards’ Sports Days and see them running their races at the National Stadium with the Rock of Gibraltar as a back drop. It’s such a far cry from the school field behind a row of terraced houses that I competed on when I was trying to balance a clay egg on a table spoon!

Season of sea mists

We have had some belting sea mists this week. I know it is the season for it, and perhaps with the very hot weather we have been ‘enjoying’ of late, it has added to the phenomenon. Some days it has come all of a sudden and taken me by surprise, other days I have been able to watch it slowly creep up the Bay from the Strait and towards land. I love listening to the huge tankers almost singing to each other with their fog horns.

Dolphins!

As we had our special visitors this week, we decided to go out on a dolphin boat trip one afternoon when the Little Postcards had finished their half day at school. We were not disappointed as you can see. We saw literally hundreds of them. I took lots of photos on our trip and I will share some more of them in the next few weeks.

Against all odds…

You wouldn’t think that a pavement at the side of the beach would be the most fertile place for a flowering plant to thrive would you? One evening this week we took a trip to Catalan Bay to have dinner on a balmy summer evening and as we walked to the restaurant I spotted this plant growing up in a crack between the paving blocks. I am not completely sure what it is, but it does look a bit like the Hawaiian Busy Lizzies my Mum used to grow on her her kitchen windowsill and a woodier version of the Busy Lizzies I used to have in a hanging basket by my front door back in England  (I may be way off the mark with this). Anyway, whatever it is, it made me smile.

 

I hope that this has been a good week for you, whatever you have been up to. Thank you for stopping by, and thank you to everyone who has taken the time to post comments on my blog and who have responded to my Tweets this week too, that has made me smile as well.

 

Sunday Sevens is a weekly 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.

Sunday Sevens #39 10.7.16

The chaos of the last week of term grew to a crescendo last week. I spent most of the week chasing my tail and despite copious lists of things which I needed to do I still managed to miss a meeting and missed a deadline for some forms to be handed in, which were sitting patiently waiting on the sideboard in plenty of time. 

You know that feeling when you are so full you can’t eat any more? My brain’s been a bit like that – there’s no room for anything else! Add to that three young voices all speaking to me at the same time and I’m afraid I’ve almost gone into involuntary shut down!!!

So against the backdrop of all this busyness  (some of which is my own doing, although most has been foisted upon me) I have decided to look for the few calm positive moments which have happened to me this week. By next week, we will be in full school holiday mode and clock watching will be a thing of the past, not to be thought about again until September – how wonderful is that? 🙂

Teachers

What to do about teacher gifts? I really don’t remember giving teachers presents when I left school at the end of summer term. Maybe I’d produce a drawing on a spare piece of sugar paper from the scraps drawer, but we certainly didn’t go out and buy anything. It seems to be the done thing to buy gifts these days though. Last year I made book bags for the three form teachers in my boys lives, but this year, despite embarking on starting a similar project weeks ago, I failed to achieve finished gifts in time. I wimped out and bought sweets and had a go a making cards instead. 

Do you remember the frangipani flowers I featured in last week’s Sunday Sevens? I had a go at painting them and made it into a card for a special teacher who has taught not one but two little Postcards. Ms D is a very special lady who was my eldest’s first teacher when we arrived to live in Gibraltar and played a very important role in making both, our son’s and our job of settling in here, so much easier. This year she has been middle Postcard’s class teacher and has done a stirling job getting him ready for middle school. Thank you Ms D for all you have done xxx

More frangipanis 


Remember I mentioned the pink ones last week? Well they started blooming on a branch low enough to photograph this week. They’re gorgeous aren’t they? They’re so perfect looking that they almost don’t look real.

A lovely way to start the day

A few years ago, a group of mums from school used to regularly meet for coffee after the morning school run. It was such fun. We’d share news and help each other where we could. It was a great tonic at the end or the middle of a hectic school week. Slowly in the ensuing months and years, some of the mums got jobs, some moved away from Gibraltar and others saw their children move up to middle school so our coffee mornings became very occasional. 

I’ve missed my morning catch up with the girls (now when we do meet up it tends to be in the evening over a glass of wine – not an unattractive option granted). I’ve also missed my pan tumaca though too. I make it at home every now and then but it’s so much nicer eating it alongside a large cappuccino ;-). 

On Wednesday morning I had a little bit of time to kill in town before an appointment so took I myself out for breakfast. I sat and read Cider with Rosie on my own like Billy-no-mates and I didn’t care, it was delicious!

A last free morning for painting

On Thursday morning I had a whole hour to myself before an appointment to take littlest Postcard to look around his new school. I selfishly took that time to crack out my paints and have a go at a few little pictures which can be used to decorate the front of some more homemade cards. It was great fun and just what I needed.   🙂

The end of an era 


Friday was an emotional day for me as all three of the little postcards said goodbye to their lovely teachers and we said a final goodbye to the first school we have been attached to since our first arrival in Gibraltar. The two eldest are of an age to move onto their next schools and as we have since moved house from our original apartment and into a different catchment area, littlest Postcard moves this summer too. I underestimated how sad I would feel at the end of this chapter in our lives. We have enjoyed our time at the school so much.  

Summer holidays start here…


This weekend we have enjoyed the visit of an old friend of the family, a university friend of both Mr Postcard and myself. This is his fourth visit to Gibraltar to see us but until yesterday he’d never been out into the Bay to see the dolphins before. 

We all headed out on one of the dolphin trips which operate out of Marina Bay and had a great view of many dolphins. There was a huge pod of mothers and babies which came very close to the boat. Some of the babies were very small and just a few days old. It was a wonderful trip and the perfect way to start our long summer break.

If you would like to see more about the dolphins who visit the Bay and Straits of Gibraltar, you might like my post about our last dolphin trip.

Summer craft challenge


I have decided to set myself a challenge this summer holiday; to do something crafty every day. Often during the long 8-week-long summer break from school, my crafty pursuits are shelved in order to keep up with three children at home full time. That, I have learned from experience, has an impact on my mood and general ability to cope with the demands I face. For that reason I have decided to challenge myself to maintain my crafty endeavours throughout the summer, both for my benefit and the benefit of those around me.

Last night I started a new mini project while drinking fruit punch and waiting for Mr Postcard to cook a delicious barbecue for us all. I shall keep you posted on its progress. I will be posting daily photos on my Instagram account with the tag : #summercraftchallenge2016. Please tag me if you fancy joining in.

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog post created by Natalie from Threads & Bobbins. For more information, pop along to her blog. (Did you notice that this week it was Sunday eights? I couldn’t resist putting in two photos from our dolphin trip)

Until next Sunday, I hope you have a great week, thank you for stopping by 🙂

A stroll around Gibraltar No 8: Dolphins


This week’s stroll was less of a walk and more of a voyage. We took full advantage of the luxury of a long bank holiday weekend (it was Commonwealth Day on Monday) and the great warm spring weather and took to the high seas (well the Bay & Straits of Gibraltar) in search of dolphins. 

We are surrounded here on three sides by water; the Mediterranean to the East, the Straits of Gibraltar to the South and the Bay of Gibraltar to the West (and the Atlantic Ocean a bit further West!). This means that our local waters are frequented by several varieties of dolphins and occasionally Orcas. A couple of local companies offer boat trips out into the Bay and beyond with the 99% promise that you will see dolphins. 

As we had visitors over who’d never had a go on one of these trips, we thought we’d give it a try. We took our seats on our dolphin boat at Marina Bay in the March sunshine not sure of what we’d see.

The water was as calm as you could hope for and we waited excitedly to set off.

Before long, the Rock of Gibraltar was far behind us. There she is, in all her glory. 

On our way out into the Bay, we had planes overhead coming in to land at Gibraltar Airport.

  Photo credit: my Dad 🙂 



 

We also saw a large group of yachts making the most of the sunshine and spring breezes.  

 Looking towards Campamento

Once we were properly out into the Bay we were called to the front of the boat and it was time to scan the waves looking for dolphins. We have been on these trips several times as a family since we came to Gibraltar to live and every time we have been lucky enough to see some dolphins. However, they are wild animals and particularly at this time of year, they aren’t as common in the Straits and the Bay as they usually are. After quite a while searching the waves for a dorsal fin breaking the surface, the boat’s skipper announced that he was going to take us to another part of the Bay and try our luck there.

 Algeciras Docks

In his photo you can see tankers traveling through the Straits of Gibraltar, the Spanish mainland on the right, and the mountains straight ahead are Morocco.

  

It was the right decision to move on elsewhere because we soon saw a pod of common dolphins, several mothers with their babies along side.

  

Aren’t they just beautiful?

  

We were so lucky because after a while of watching them a short distance away, they came closer to the boat and we got a great view of them.

  

After several minutes, the pod took their leave from us and headed off. At this point the skipper and his crew announced that they’d take us further south into the Straits as Orcas had been spotted there recently – how amazing would that be to see whales?? We headed to a spot about half a mile off Europa Point lighthouse (the most southerly point of Gibraltar) and soon literally hundreds of dolpins could be seen arcing out of the water to dive for fish. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a clear photo of them as they were too far away and too quick for me to snap in time, but I did get to see the Rock from a totally new angle. I’ve never been this far south of Gibraltar in a boat before, so it was great to see where we live from a different perspective.

  
 

A few of the mature common dolphins who had been diving for fish came closer to the boat and raced along with us. It was so exhilarating to see these wild creatures at such close quarters and swimming around beneath our boat right where we were standing!

  

We didn’t see any Orcas but that didn’t matter at all as we saw so many dolphins!

  

After about two hours out in the boat it was time to turn around and head back home to Gibraltar. The crew said it had been the best trip of the year so far and it was definitely our best dolphin trip to date (we have seen dolphins before but not so many). It was magical; sunshine, calm seas and plenty of dolphins who came out to play for us. We won’t leave it so long before doing it again!

  

Our trip was with Dolphin Adventure this time. If you would like to find out more, check out their website. (I haven’t been paid to advertise this by the way, I just wanted to share a great afternoon’s trip out!). 

Thanks for visiting. Until next time, bye for now!