Friday photo challenge (week 18) Keyhole & April roundup

I do like an old door, especially when they still have their old bits attached. You don’t have to look too far when you are out and about in Gibraltar to see some old fashioned key holes. I love the fact that in quite a few cases, the later generations of owners have kept the old locks intact and just added their own modern equivalent alongside. Old and new sit so well together and hint at years gone by, as well as all the people who lived inside these doors and came and went over the years.

Looking around for keyholes to photograph reminded me of my post from a couple of years ago; A stroll around Gibraltar No 5: Doors

I spied the lock below just over the border in La Linea one day when I was visiting the market there. What kind of key must have been used to fit in that lock shaped like a seven?

This door has the most ancient key hole I’ve ever seen though…

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It was on the door of one of the ancient buildings in the Forum in Rome, which we visited last summer. The upside down ‘L’ shaped hole on the left hand door is, according to our tour guide, a genuine keyhole created by the ancient Romans and with the right shape of key, will still work today.

‘Keyhole’ has been the theme for this week’s photo challenge. Next week, we’re aiming for the stars with ‘sky high’.

Monthly roundup for April:

It would appear that the Postcard from Gibraltar Friday Photo Challenge hit a bit of a milestone at the end of April as it reached 200 posts on Instagram. Thank you so much for everyone who has joined in so far, it’s great to have you along for company. It’s not too late to tag along, just tag your photo with #postcardfromgibfridayphoto to join the gang!

Here’s the monthly round up for April, I haven’t included all the Instagram entries as that would just end up as a boring list, but please check out the tag yourself to see more:

Sweet:

Wild Daffodil took us on a trip to Japan for her take on sweet.

Over on Instagram Randall Peck joined in with the photo challenge – welcome Randall! He took a fab photo of a shop window filled with all sorts of sweet treats and featuring a reflection of himself taking the photo! For Sandra Capano, one of her entries for sweet was of a rather cute Gibraltar ape posing for a photo! Hookstitchsew featured some ‘sweet’ crocheted strawberries.

Clock:

Amazingly, two Instagrammers featured photos of the same clock for this challenge. The clock in question is the astronomical clock in the Old Town Square in Prague and both Alison in Andalucia and bluejake235 used it as their entries. Mrscjohnson4 offered a vast array of timepieces for her entry, including a rather cute clock with four kittens above it.

Transport:

Again Wild Daffodil took us back to Japan for this weekly photo, for a trip on a bullet train and also to her photo challenge from last year along with Nana Cathy, which featured a rather handsome rusty pick-up truck (which is rather Mater-esque for those of you who have watched Disney’s Cars). Jacqueline the yellow submarine was the transport of choice for bluejake235. Apparently her trip abord which took her 60 metres underneath the Red Sea in Israel was unforgettable.

Blue:

On Instagram, Susan B of bluejake235 included the most striking photograph of an Icelandic boat sculpture agains a stunning blue sky for her entry. Blue skies were the predominant theme on Instagram for this challenge. Isisjem featured a great shot of the wide blue yonder taken from an aeroplane window high above the clouds.

A beautiful blue iris features in Sandra at Wild Daffodil’s post.

Blue skies and beautiful blue embroideries are the stars of the show for Crafty Creek.

I wonder what interesting pictures will appear in May…..?

Sunday Sevens #51 2.10.16

Let the sewing begin!

Three weeks into our dressmaking course and we have finished with the pattern drawing and cutting and we are now in the process of constructing a sample top. Because it’s a sample, we are just using curtain lining material to make it, hence the rather boring photo. I’m eager to get this finished and move onto the next ‘real’ project.

Bunny bombshell

Bunny Postcard had a trip to the vets this week. We had been meaning to take him for months so that he could have some vaccinations to allow him to play out in our back patio. Now the weather is beginning to cool a little bit, we thought he might like to have a hop about outside. The first thing the vet said when she saw Bunny was ‘Oh what a lovely girl’. I thought nothing of it, thinking clearly she’s made a mistake…

Once the full medical was done, including checking his heart, ears, eyes and teeth, the vet cottoned onto the fact that we had never actually officially been told Bunny’s gender. Well the big news this week is that Bunny is officially a girl! It’s taken a bit of time for that news to sink in in certain quarters, but I’m thrilled to know that at last I am no longer the only female in the Postcard household!

Suspension 

When I flew back from Yarndale last weekend, not only did I bring with me a suitcase full of yarn and wonderful memories, I also brought my Mum and Dad with me too. They hadn’t been to see the Windsor suspension bridge yet so one afternoon this week, while the Little Postcards were still at school, we took a walk up the Rock and along the bridge. I have to say, since my last visit, a discernible creak has developed as you walk from one side of the gorge to the other which did put me slightly on edge. The view is still as stunning as ever from there though.

Not much painting going on…

Inspired by our summer holiday in Southwold back in August, I decided that my next paining project should include some of the beautiful beach huts you see along the seafront. Last week I spent the entire lesson trying to sketch out the huts freehand, and not using a ruler. Unfortunately due to the composition of the photo I’m using and it’s perspective, even when just one line was out of place, it made the whole thing look wonky and a bit rubbish.

This week after a quick refresher lesson on perspective, horizons and eyelines, my teacher very kindly gave me some tracing paper to get the skeleton of the picture down onto the paper so that at least next week I can start painting. Shhh, don’t tell anyone I cheated 😉

Interesting keyhole



I went exploring over the border in La Linea on Friday morning looking for yarn shops (not that I need to buy any more after Yarndale last weekend mind you). I had heard there were some and that they sold nice stuff. Thinking ahead to Christmas presents and such like I thought it was worth following it up.

Almost next door to a really lovely yarn shop, this most unusual keyhole caught my eye on the front door of an old building. There’s some really lovely architecture amongst all the late twentieth century and more modern apartments and shop fronts if you keep your eyes open. Next time, I need to take my camera with me….

Cake anyone? 

Yesterday, if you were in Gibraltar town centre there’s a good chance you were  ‘encouraged’ to part with your cash for raffle tickets and cakes for the Scouts. As two of the Little Postcards are in Scouts, there was a bit of baking going on this week for the annual cake stall fundraiser. My fairy cakes aren’t in this picture, they were hidden down at the other end of the stall… I photographed the pretty cakes instead 😉

Rainbow hope blanket completed


Begun on the last day of August (the very last day of the school summer holidays) and completed on the last day of September – it’s taken me a month to complete my contribution to the Sixty Million Trebles project. The blanket I made will join hundreds of others and be joined to make the worlds biggest ever blanket. It will be used to yarn bomb a site in London before being unpicked to make ‘normal-sized’ blankets which will go to charities in the UK and Syria.

The project is being run to raise awareness about the plight of the sixty million refugees who are displaced from their homes around the world at the moment. It will also raise funds for the cause too. It’s hoped that sixty million treble stitches will be crocheted to represent all the people who have been driven from their homes. Where ever my Rainbow Hope Blanket ends up, I hope it brings some hope to whoever receives it. This 36″ square blanket adds 10,656 trebles to the current count of almost five million.

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Nat at Threads & Bobbins. For more information about it, and if you would like to join in, why not  pop over to her blog.

 


Sunday Sevens #29 1.5.16

Hello there, happy May Day to you all. I hope the sun’s shining where ever you are and that you’re enjoying a good Bank Holiday weekend. 

A message has just popped up to tell me this is my 100th blog post – how did that happen??

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog. It features seven photos from the last seven days. To find out more about it or to join in, pop over to Natalie’s blog.

Med Steps…

Well my Med Steps training has continued this week as we are now less than two weeks away from the Med Steps 5 Challenge on 14th May. There was a bank holiday in Gibraltar on Thursday (one of our usual training days) so training has had to be fitted in around the family a lot more than usual. My first trip up was on Monday and as you can see from the photo above it was very cloudy. That made for great stepping conditions, it was cool, there was no sun and there was a double bonus of climbing up into the cool, damp cloudy conditions at the top – just when you need it most. There was no one else about; I had the whole Med Steps to myself. The wild flowers were looking gorgeous even though there was no sunshine. They are so beautiful up in the Upper Rock at the moment and probably at their peak before the hot summer sun scorches the ground. I can feel a wildflower post coming on – only problem is I don’t know most of their names…. I’ll need to do a bit of research.

More Med Steps…

My BIG Med Steps training session had to be done  yesterday morning. I decided to forego my Saturday morning lie-in, and set my alarm so I was well on my way up the steps by the time the clock struck nine. I was also on my own and I’m very proud of the fact that without anyone with me to egg me on, I managed three times round solo for the first time. I’m feeling quite proud of myself but am feeling a little bit achey as I write this. The countdown is on now though so I need to step it up a gear next week I think…..
Watercolour class

Last week I had a bit of a go working on a looser style as I painted some bird of paradise flowers. I had another go at improving them this week but it didn’t go well so I gave up and started preparation work for my next project. You may remember from my post on doors that I had a go at painting one of the old doors I had photographed. I really enjoyed doing that so I decided that now is the time to start work on my next architectural painting based on a photo I took a while ago of a particularly beautiful window in the town centre.

The painting so far…

 

I found myself with a bit of time yesterday between climbing the steps, doing the washing and heading out to a kids birthday party, so I decided to crack out my paints while everyone was happy entertaining themselves. I’d been practicing how I was going to paint the reflections on the window panes – something I’d never attempted before. I had a lot of fun with it and am very happy with the result. I just hope I don’t make a mess of the rest of the painting now!!

1st holy communion season


Gibraltar, being a predominantly Catholic place, is currently in the middle of Communion and Confirmation season. My two eldest are of the ages that their school friends are celebrating these milestones of growing up. Being a non-Catholic family it’s not something we do, but it’s lovely to see their fellow students in all their finery heading into church for this big event. For those of their friends who were receiving their Holy Communions on Wednesday, the weather was beautiful and allowed for sunny photo shoots with friends and family in the park. They looked lovely.

Off the beaten track

Considering how small Gibraltar is, I find it amazing that even after almost seven years of living here, I am still discovering new things. On Friday I took a slight detour off Main Street along a side street I must have walked past hundreds, if not thousands of times during our time here and found these windows up above my head on a residential building.  I have never seen anything like this in Gibraltar before, where the windows have been bricked up and then images of windows painted over the bricks! That’s certainly one way to liven up your facade!

Cake!

Another discovery on that street was a lovely little cupcake shop. It would have been rude to return empty handed from there don’t you think? It tasted as good as it looks. The diet went a bit out of the window, but I reckon I burned it off on the Med Steps the next day 😉
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you have a great week!

Gibraltar’s old buildings in beautiful watercolour : James Foot exhibition April 2016

Regular visitors to this blog will know I have a bit of a fascination with Gibraltar’s old buildings, the slightly shabbier ones in particular. So imagine my delight when I took a few moments to shelter from yesterday’s thunderstorms at the Fine Arts Gallery in Casemates Square and had time for a good look at the James Foot exhibition.

James is an English fine artist who splits his time between his homes in London and Lakonia in southern Greece. He has had a long association with Gibraltar and has held several exhibitions of his work here over the years.  

  

In this exhibition he included a few paintings of Venice and Greece, however the vast majority of his work on show is of Gibraltar. I’m mesmerized by the water in these paintings of Greek fishing boats. So many different shades of blue and reflections – just gorgeous!

  

Enough of Greece though, let’s get back to Gibraltar… I promise that I had no idea about James Foot and his work before going on my strolls around Gibraltar looking at balconies,  doors and windows.

  
 

It does rather seem that we are on a similar wavelength when it comes to our appreciation of Gibraltar’s colonial architecture. 

  
 
Sadly, that is where any similarities between myself and this immensely talented artist ends…

  

Just look at the shadows cast by those shutters! Oh to be able to paint like that!!

   

I fear the photos I took on my phone don’t do these beautiful watercolours justice. (I did get permission from the artist himself to take the photos by the way)
    
I would love to have a go at painting one of Gibraltar’s ornate ironwork balconies, but I fear that after seeing this great work I could never produce anything half as good – just stunning!

  

And look, do you remember the special door at the rear of Holy Trinity Cathedral with the special ‘Books for Seamen’ letter box which features in my Stroll No 5 about doors? Well even that has been reproduced in beautiful watercolours – can you see it peaking out from behind that palm tree? 

  

If you are in Gibraltar and want to have a look at these and the many other beautiful paintings in this exhibition (there are 47 in all), you’ll need to be quick. The exhibition’s open for just two more days. 

I’m so glad I got the opportunity to see this work, thank goodness it rained yesterday and gave me the excuse to stop and take shelter at the gallery!

For more information on James Foot and his paintings, do have a look at his website.

A stroll around Gibraltar No 5: Doors

  A door is such an important part of the personality of a building don’t you think? Here in Gibraltar we’re surrounded by beautiful colonial buildings and in many cases they have kept their original style of doors if not their actual original doors. If you’ve seen any of my previous ‘strolls’ you’ll know I have a bit of a thing about the older style of buildings here and I like the look of a slightly neglected window/door/façade. I must, however, reinforce the fact that although I am partial to taking photos of things which are perhaps a little shabby, it’s done with respect and Gibraltar has many new, shiny and well maintained doors too :-). Cue the freshly painted door…. 

 Look at the shine on that fresh gloss paint! I do like that shade of blue very much, reminds me of my old school blazer!

 Many of the front doors of buildings here feature a beautiful decorative metal panel above the door (presumably to allow a cool breeze into the hallway behind in the heat of the summer). There are so many examples of this around town.

 
  These two doorways (above & below) have got glass behind the metalwork, I presume that’s a relatively recent addition. The one below is on a rather narrow road with a non-existent pavement, the scratches in the stonework are caused by passing lorries which passed a little too closely.   

Isn’t this a fab paint job? I love the magenta/purple door surround!

 

 A beautiful (modern) door & (old) stained glass window combination just behind Main Street:

 
 They just don’t make doors like this anymore. Just look at the workmanship that’s gone into this… 
The next photograph (below) is of the rear entrance to the Law Courts. When we first arrived in Gibraltar this building was in a very poor state. When the Court House behind it was extended a few years ago, the old building was demolished leaving just the façade which was restored and incorporated into the new extension. It’s a beautiful example of how the existing architecture can be maintained and preserved for future generations.

 Gibraltar’s churches have rather fine examples of doors too. Here’s the front door of St Andrew’s Church of Scotland: 

 

And the very imposing entrance to the Catholic Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned: 

 
And this is a back door of the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. I have walked past this countless times and have been a regular visitor to the cathedral during my time in Gibraltar but I never noticed this was here until I spotted a photograph of it on Instagram on the @zuzamarecka account. Can you see it has a very wide letterbox? 

 Here’s a close-up. 

 It says ‘books for seamen’. The Cathedral is the base for the Gibraltar Seamans’ Mission to this day and there’s a dedicated Port Chaplain based here who can be called on to offer support and guidance to visitors to Gibraltar’s Territorial Waters. I asked about the letter box for books and it’s no longer used, but if anyone wants to donate books for seamen, they can post them through the Cathedral’s main letterbox (to the right of this door). Please make sure they are labelled for the seamen.

I think that’s enough of the well maintained doors, back to my ‘old’ favourites…

  
Whoops – sorry I couldn’t resist taking that photo! 😉

   Oh what stories they could tell about the comings and goings in these buildings…
 
They would make such a great subject for a painting don’t you think? What about this one? 

 
That metalwork and the magnificent letter box are a bit special…. Here’s my interpretation of it from my watercolour class:

  Not an exact representation but it was fun having a go. I used candle wax and cling film to get the paint effect on the door and bubble wrap and natural sponge on the window. It gave me several very happy hours doing that on :-).

Thanks for joining me on my stroll, I do hope you’ll join me on my next one – it promises to be a little bit more energetic next time!