Sunday Sevens #125 4.3.18

While the UK has been in the grips of the snow and ice brought by the ‘Beast from the East’, down here in Gibraltar, we’ve had a bit of a battering from Storm Emma too. We knew it was coming, but we got a heck of a pounding from the winds, rain and hail storms.

Where ever you are I hope you made it through the last seven days warm and dry! Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens:

Last rays of sunshine

We were well warned that there was bad weather on the way so as the sun was shining on Sunday afternoon I felt compelled to take the Little Postcards out on their scooters to the park while we still could. Initially they were reluctant to leave their digital devices but they had a great time and were very pleased that they’d made the effort. We haven’t visited the Alameda Botanical Gardens for a while, so it was lovely to go back there and admire the architectural plants (and tear down the sloping paths at high speed!!).

First trip up the Rock in ages

On Monday, the terrible weather we had been warned about hadn’t yet arrived so I took the opportunity to climb up to the top of the Rock for the first time in a month. I had a nasty dose of bronchitis in February and it knocked me out of action for a bit, I’m now a lot better although have been left with very sore ribs from coughing.

Anyway, I wasn’t brave enough to attempt the Med Steps in case I felt a bit funny, I thought it safer to attempt the roads instead – you can climb to the same height but it’s more gradual and there’s a better chance of seeing other people. I made it up to the top and was rather pleased with myself. Once the bad weather clears I think I’ll be ready to attempt the Steps next time.

I went for a bit of a wander while I was up there and went along Douglas Path (a newly refurbished part of the Upper Rock) for the first time. You can see the pictures here.

Oh, and I spotted some processionary caterpillars on the way back down. They may look furry and cute, but they are best avoided – they fire off the hairs on their backs which are loaded with nasty toxins.

Dressmaking

Enough of the toile already, let’s get cracking with the real thing!! I’ve reached the nerve wracking part of my dress construction at dressmaking class – actually cutting it out. If I make a mess of this, it could be disastrous! No going back now!

Rainbows

Grey skies don’t bother me when I have a crochet rainbow to work on!! I’m really enjoying the bright colours on this project. Just the antidote for the bad weather.

Wild weather

The flags were barely still hanging onto their poles at Parsons Lodge on Thursday morning. It was a bit wild. Between getting up at 7 and leaving the house around 8:30, we had thunder and lightning, hailstones, gales, drizzle and calm. It was a lovely trip to School though (I drove for a change and the roads were empty) as many people must have decided to keep their children at home and out of the storm. It was very eerie. Needless to say I was brought up up north and my children weren’t going to miss school for a bit of rain, hail and gale force winds 🙈.

The bad weather continued into the weekend. World Book Day was postponed over here until next week so costumes weren’t ruined by the rain and wind and outdoor activities could still go ahead. We had bits blowing off buildings and even a large rock fall from the north face of the Rock on Friday which closed a road and made an awful mess of some parked cars.

Watercolour class

I did a little poll on Instagram for what flower to paint next after my irises and daffs, and tulips won! We’ll see how this one progresses when I start painting it next week at my watercolour lesson.

That’s all for this week, let’s hope this bad weather soon comes to an end! Here’s a few pictures from last month – that blue sky looks lovely after this last week!

I’m linking with Natalie from Threads & Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

A stroll around Gibraltar No. 22 : Douglas Path (Upper Rock Nature Reserve)

On Monday morning, before we were hit with the bad weather we’d been warned about, I took one last chance to go for a walk in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. It’s been a month since I have been able to do the Med Steps, so thought I would break myself in gently with a walk up the western side of the Rock using the roads to reach the summit. After reaching the top of the Med Steps (above) I decided that rather than to rush back down, as I usually do, I would go for a wander.

Over the last few years, there has been a lot of investment in the Upper Rock and certain parts have been cleared and new paths and attractions created for tourists and locals alike (one notable addition in recent times has been the Windsor Suspension Bridge). As you come down from the summit of the Med Steps, there is a ramp up to the right, which for months has been barricaded off with screens as work was being carried out. On Monday, I noticed that these screens had gone and went for an explore.

The path led upwards and in a northerly direction back towards the top of the Rock. As the gaps between the trees and bushes grew larger, I was given a great view down to the town area and harbour ahead.

As I turned a slight bend in the path, there in front of me (admittedly shrouded in cloud) was the northern summit of the Rock.

The path lead down some steps amongst a number of old disused military buildings (you can see inside the one above later on). How tempting does it look to go down down these steps and find out what lies beyond?

The first building I came to afforded great views across the Western side of the Rock, along with some rather intriguing looking hooks cemented into the ceiling! I’m assuming that they were for holding cabling or equipment at some point in the past…

Opposite this small building lay a network of other rooms and corridors, which were sunk into the ground and set into the Rock itself.

This room below is in the building you first see as you arrive at this place, there are two seagulls sitting on the roof of it in the photos earlier on.

It was such an atmospheric place to be. It almost felt forbidden to be there, or like I was the first person to go into these buildings for years and years (that’s clearly not the case but it felt like it!). I believe that these rooms were used for charts and telephone communication. The ones with lookout positions were clearly used to keep an eye on what was going on outside. If these walls could talk….

It was only when I entered the room above that I realised I had passed under the top of the Rock and was peering through these openings to the other side – towards the Mediterranean Sea! This place is one of the few positions in the Upper Rock which affords spectacular views out to both the east and the west.

It reminded me a lot of when I visited the Devil’s Gap Battery on a similarly accidental basis a while ago. We go about our daily business in the streets and buildings below and forget about the rich military heritage Gibraltar has up above our heads.

I was unable to continue any further north along this path, as it was gated off, but it gave a great vantage point to look northwards.

What an interesting place. I shall have to do a bit of investigating to find out more about it. I have been in Gibraltar now for about eight and half years, and it never ceases to amaze me when I stumble across something new.

As I headed back down the Douglas Path (below) to pick up the road back down to my home, I passed a tourist notice board with some information about this area: the path runs along the top ridge of the Rock and connects a series of military installations. To the south are O’Hara’s, Lord Airey’s and Breakneck Batteries (what a name!), as well as Douglas Cave.

I couldn’t do a post about the Upper Rock without featuring one of furry neighbours could I? Cue obligatory ape shot:

I’ve saved the most interesting fact until last (well it’s interesting if you like James Bond films). Douglas Path featured in the opening sequence of the 1987 James Bond film ‘The Living Daylights’. In his first role as 007, Timothy Dalton parachuted onto the Rock before zooming down the nature reserve’s rather vertiginous roads on the roof of a hijacked Land Rover and crashing through a wall towards the sea – Douglas Path was one of those roads!

That little nugget of information may help you in a pub quiz one day – you never know!! You’re very welcome. 😉