A Postcard from January & February

Sand dunes on Crosby beach yesterday

Hello there! I hope you’re doing ok. I kept meaning to post my postcard from January throughout the beginning of February but there seemed to be so many other things which needed my attention, so I was rubbish and let things slide. We are now on the cusp of another month though, and I’ve decided that it’s time to take the bull by the horns and stop procrastinating. So here you go, two for the price of one, a postcard from January AND February rolled into one.

I deliberated about whether I should even post at all, there is so much going on in the world at the moment that things like this seem very frivolous, but I think it’s important to keep going, as burying my head in the sand and veering between trying to block the outside world out and being glued to the news updates and fretting about the helplessness I feel about the plight of so many innocent people isn’t actually helping anyone. I thought it better to try to put some sunshine and positivity out into the world, so here goes, and if you have been affected by the terrible actions taken against Ukraine, please know that you are very much in my thoughts.

A New Year and a continued fitness quest…

A view from one of my January runs

Back in November I began my quest to get my weight down to a healthy number and get a bit fitter and began the Couch to 5K programme for the third time in the last couple of years. This time though, I managed to see it through. I am now over a stone lighter and I managed to complete the whole Couch to 5K programme. Not only that, I’ve kept going and am now running just over 5K in 35 minutes. I don’t want to sound like I’m blowing my own trumpet too much or that I’m building myself up for a fall, but I’m really rather proud of how far I have come.

I haven’t found the process too arduous and in fact have quite enjoyed getting out and pounding the streets and enjoying the beauty of sunshine and nature on my way around the neighbourhood. Who knows where it might lead me?

My couch to 5k graduation!

A New Year and a new hedge

The terrible plastic ‘hedge’

You might remember last year that I said goodbye to our old ‘fake’ plastic hedge which we inherited when we moved into our home the year before. Well, the intention was always to replace it with something else, of a more natural variety. It took me a while to decide what to do for the best, but in December I realised that winter was the perfect time to plant a hedge, so I did my research and ordered my new privet hedge which arrived early in January. Then came the hard work…

Our front garden is more of a carpark than a garden, we inherited an area covered in small stones which lie on top of black weed suppressing fabric. After a lot of scraping away of stones, and the lifting of not one, but two layers of fabric which had several inches of compacted dirt between them I was ready to dig the holes ready for the baby hedge plants.

It was quite a job. Fortunately the weather was favourable – it was cold, but the ground wasn’t frozen, and it stayed dry for most of the two days it took for me to plant these 22 specimens. Plus my very helpful neighbour offered me the use of this rather nifty device (on the right of the picture below) for digging holes.

They are in, and I’m really chuffed that I managed to do this – single-handedly! How many years it will be before it’s an actual hedge is anyone’s guess but it’s a vast improvement on what we had before! My next project is a flower bed out front, but I may wait a while before beginning that.

A lovely walk and coffee by the river

River Mersey

In the middle of January, the weather was being very kind to us indeed, so a really good friend and I decided to leave the jobs which needed doing one afternoon and put our muddy hiking boots on for a wander along the River Mersey and a coffee at the Riverside Café. It was such fun, and just what we both needed to have a chat and mull over stuff which was going on before heading back home in time for the school run.

Getting the garden kickstarted

Who needs a potting shed when you have a wheelie bin lid?!

I so enjoyed having sweet peas in my back garden last summer, so decided to have a go at planting them again. I had quite a few seeds left over from last year’s attempts so I went ahead and planted them up in loo rolls again like last year. Fingers crossed this year’s crop will be as successful!

Some of last year’s sweet peas

A Sunday walk

I don’t know if it’s because of memories of lockdown and being restricted on where we can go, but I often find that it’s suddenly Sunday afternoon and apart from going to Littlest’s football match and perhaps the shops, our weekends are passing without heading out of the house as a family. I decided to change that and am trying to get us out and about if the weather & teenagers allow!

Fortunately, the lovely National Trust property; Dunham Massey is a short drive from our home and once the youths are corralled into the car, we can be in amongst the deer within half an hour. As long as there’s the promise of ice cream or hot chocolate involved in the outing, it’s generally a goer!

Another WIP begun…

Back in September last year, you may remember that I made the trip across the Pennines to the Yarndale festival in Skipton – it was a truly amazing day which you can read about here. While I was there I bought some lovely hand dyed yarn from Michelle at Woolly Wumpkins. I’ve been debating what to make with it; another pair of hand-knitted socks? A bobble hat? I settled on a shawl/scarf as that is the item of woolly clothing I wear most of all.

Unlike in my previous experience of winding a skein, this time it was a painless experience (perhaps because It hadn’t been sitting in my stash for years first) and I got to work on this pattern for a one skein crochet shawl which I bought from Annie Design on Etsy. I’m rather happy with the colours and look forward to enjoying wearing it when I eventually finish it. I have a feeling it will be something I dip in and out of while working on other things.

Llanita’s Travels continue…

Llanita in Catalan Bay in the summer of 2016

Long time readers of Postcard from Gibraltar may remember my little friend Llanita the Yarndale Sheep. I made her back in 2016 for that year’s Yarndale charity appeal. You can read all about Llanita’s adventures with me here.

Can you spot Llanita in Karen’s sewing room?

Well when Llanita arrived at Yarndale back in 2016, she was bought by Karen (aka WakeyMakes on Instagram). Karen’s sisters have recently been to Gibraltar on holiday and they took Llanita back to her homeland for a visit!

Llanita in Ocean Village

I had a lovely treat when I logged into Instagram one day to see that Llanita was back in the sun!!

Llanita on the Windsor Suspension Bridge

Stormy weather


We got off rather lightly when Storms Eunice and Franklin came to town. Just a couple of wobbly fence panels which are rather worse for wear and this one almost bit the dust. Thankfully my lovely Dad came round with his bag of tricks and some timber to patch it up until it can be replaced.

A sunny seaside walk

Crosby beach beckoned on Sunday when the sun came out and I found myself with an empty diary. The ironing and housework could wait, living back in Manchester makes you realise that you need to grab sunny days by the hand and make the most of them. I got the Little Postcards in the car and headed off west to Crosby on the Merseyside Coast.

We first visited Crosby last year after it was recommended to me by my lovely friend across the road. It’s pretty much the nearest beach to where we live and it takes under an hour to drive there. Plus the beach is home to a load of Antony Gormley statues so that makes it even more special. It’s a favourite with the Little Postcards – as is the ice cream reward at the end of the walk.

And that just about brings this postcard to an end. Thank you so much for stopping by. Where ever you are in the world and whatever you are facing, I hope that you can find some positivity in the days ahead.

Love,

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #25 11.4.21

Hello! I hope you’re doing ok. It’s been a funny old week hasn’t it? The last one of this stage of UK lockdown and the news being dominated by the death of Prince Philip. I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose your partner of more than 70 years. My thoughts are with the Queen and her family.

Closer to home, we have tried to make the most of our Easter holidays in spite of a mixed bag of weather. As I looked out of the curtains after midnight last night – it was snowing here in Manchester!! No sign of the white stuff this morning though. Here’s a little look back at our week…

Easter cake

We had such a lovely Easter weekend last week, the weather was kind to us and the eased restrictions meant that we were able to spend time with loved ones who we hadn’t seen for too long. To celebrate, my Mum made this yummy cake! It was delicious!

Easter Monday walk

Despite a forecast of snow and ice, we woke up to more stunning weather on Easter Monday and made the most of the sun with a walk around fields near our home. Little did we know, the snow and cold weather would still be heading our way…

Snowy treasure trail

Lymm Cross

Last summer, we went on a treasure trail around the centre of Manchester as an activity to get us out of the house amid the severe restrictions we were facing. During the recent months of lockdown I have long wished we could do another one, as there are several within easy reach of where we are in south west Manchester.

On Tuesday, despite the grey skies and the drop in temperature, we paid for and downloaded another treasure trail – this one for the nearby village of Lymm in Cheshire. It took us along paths we had never visited before and taught us a little about the history of the place. In spite of the snow and cold, it was a fun afternoon!

Slittern Brook

We were glad of the hot drink back at home though!!

If you fancy a go at a treasure trail yourself, you can find them here. (This is not an advert! We just enjoyed it and thought you might too).

Bridgewater Canal in Lymm

Latest project

This was supposed to be finished by Easter, but life and lack of room in my brain to figure things out have got in the way of creativity. Hopefully, she will be making an appearance soon!

Reacquainted with an old friend

Tatton Park

On Friday morning we headed into Cheshire to visit a place I haven’t been to in years – Tatton Park. Unfortunately we were too late to book to visit the gardens, but we did get the chance to wander around the deer park. It was lovely, in spite of sibling bickering and a passing snow shower!

The aviation geek amongst us was even able to watch the planes taking off from nearby Manchester Airport and passing overhead.

New garden delights

Cherry plum (Prunus)

One of the joys of seeing a new garden wake up for spring is the delight of watching new things appear. Just two weeks ago, this small tree was simply a tree with new red leaves, now it is covered in the most beautiful, perfect, white blossom! It’s definitely a keeper!

It’s been fun to be able to get out and potter about in the garden. I was also able to get my brand new lawnmower out for a spin and potted on a few seedlings. Fingers crossed the threat of frost passes soon so I can actually plant them out in the garden soon!

Second National Trust visit of the week!

Footpath from Dunham Massey to Little Bollington

So yesterday we managed to get into our favourite and nearest National Trust property- Dunham Massey. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great and we were only able to get a parking entry for late in the afternoon. We managed a short walk in the park and then out towards the village of Little Bollington before the rain and sleet came!

Heading back into the park

We didn’t hang around for long once the sleet arrived – it looked set to stay (and it did). Never mind, it was a nice trip out to see some green space!

That’s all from me for this week, I hope the coming seven days are good to you. A couple of our household are particularly excited about the prospect of going clothes shopping next week before returning to school. I think my standards have dropped since Covid first started because I’m not bothered about clothes – it’s yarn shops I want to get into!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #17 27.12.20

Hello there! I hope you have had a decent Christmas – it’s been a strange one hasn’t it? Just like probably everyone else, we had a quiet one seeing limited people, but it was nice nonetheless. Now it’s the countdown to the end of the year and all that 2021 will bring – good things I hope!

Here’s this week’s Sunday Postcard…

Del Boy…

Last Sunday as Littlest and I popped out for a walk to deliver the last of our local Christmas cards, we were stopped in our tracks by a certain yellow Robin Reliant belting out music and shouting happy Christmas messages to bemused looking passers-by! It was quite a sight!

A Manchester Bee for our tree

As I picked up the last few last minute gifts for Christmas I happened across a fabulous selection of stalls in John Lewis in the Trafford Centre called Curated Makers. It’s a cooperative of local makers who create the most lovely crafts of all sorts. I treated myself to a Manchester bee for our tree. You can find Curated Makers on Instagram.

A pre Christmas walk at Dunham Massey

When we first arrived in Manchester in the summer I imagined that we would be regular visitors to our nearest National Trust property ‘Dunham Massey’ however because I didn’t have a National Trust membership at the time and because of lockdown that didn’t happen until this week. I treated us to a NT membership and booked for us to visit the deer park and gardens. It was wonderful.

The grounds were decorated for a special after dark Christmas experience but we enjoyed it in the daylight.

It’s such a lovely tranquil place and was managed so well by the staff and volunteers to be Covid safe. We will be back again soon if we can.

Christmas visitors

When we first moved into our new home in October, we bought a bird feeder for the back garden. It’s been rather unloved by our feathered friends so far but this week there were sparrows and thrushes fighting to get to the seed! Word must have got out that there were tasty treats available! I look forward to seeing many more birds in future!

Finished for Christmas?

‘Christmas Eve’ blanket from The Crochet Sanctuary

Did I finish my Crochet Sanctuary Christmas CAL in time for Christmas? Sadly not, but I am on the final part, so I’ll take that as a win! I’m hoping I can manage to get it finished before the end of the year if I possibly can.

Happy Stitchmas in podcast news!

On Christmas Day morning the latest episode of Making Stitches went online. This extra long bumper Christmas episode features several different makers sharing their ‘Stitch Stories’ from 2020. Among my guests were Eleonora from Coastal Crochet and Lisa & Lynda-Rose from the Crochet Sanctuary as well as four Making Stitches listeners who spoke to me about how their crafts have helped them this year.

You can listen by searching for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or just Google Making Stitches.

Thank you Eleonora!

Eleonora is top middle of the above mosaic

My lovely blogging friend Eleonora from Coastal Crochet published the most amazing blog post today all about Making Stitches! I’m utterly thrilled and chuffed to bits that she did this for me. Do please have a read…. you can find it here.

Eleonora’s Instagram post from today featuring Eleonora in a rather lovely red coat on Christmas Eve!

And that brings this week’s Sunday Postcard to an end. Thank you for stopping by. Do take care of yourself, and I’ll be back again soon. Happy New Year when it comes.

Lindsay x

Sunday Sevens #215 5.1.20

Hello and happy New Year! I hope you had a good celebration. Are you still sticking to your resolutions or have you decided not to bother? I’m trying to get a bit fitter and have a few plans up my sleeve for projects this year… watch this space!

In fact, I’ve even been for a run this morning so I’m feeling rather virtuous!

Here’s the first Sunday Sevens of 2020:

Leaving on a jet plane…

On Sunday we waved goodbye to Mr Postcard and Gibraltar and hopped on a plane to visit my family in Manchester. It was a nice smooth flight filled almost entirely with the task of attempting to untangle the humungous knot I’d managed to get tangled in my Scheepjes Whirl. It took until New Year’s Eve to get sorted and required help from my brother and my Dad!!

A late afternoon stroll

On Monday afternoon we took a trip to one of my favourite places, Dunham Massey National Trust Park. I was rather stunned by the early dusk compared to Gibraltar – this is my first midwinter visit to Manchester in about 9 years!! The sunset did make for a lovely backdrop for the deer though!

New Year’s Day – starting as I mean to go on…

I impressed myself for getting out for a run on New Year’s Day – not my usual view of the Bay of Gibraltar but it’ll do just the same!

A wander around Manchester

Later on on New Year’s Day I jumped on the train into town and had a wander around in the cold! I even bumped into Miss Pankhurst which was a thrill!

Hitting those New Year goals!

I have so many unfinished craft projects on the go that I’m determined to get some finished this year. First one completed was this leaf pattern scarf from My Picot. I’m ashamed to say it’s been on the go for about 18 months and been calling me from the sidelines for ages. Well it’s done, and I love it!

Homeward bound

We flew back home to Gibraltar on Friday after a lovely, if brief, trip to Manchester. It was a fabulous few days and so nice to be able to catch up with friends and family. It was a stress free flight home, and I even got time to start work on my second WIP (work in progress) of 2020 en route!

After much squinting at Google Maps, me & Eldest think it’s the Devon coastline you can see in the photo above and Dartmouth in particular.

Home!

It was a corker of a day yesterday. Just look at that late afternoon sun reflecting off the water. Just the weather for getting my washing dried (oh the glamour!).

And that is Sunday Sevens done for another week. I hope it’s been a kind one to you. Back to school normality begins at some point next week for us, which is good in some ways and less so in others. Until next time, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday Sevens was first created by Natalie from Threads and Bobbins.

Sunday Sevens #151 26.8.18

Thanks to everyone who responded so positively to my 150th Sunday Sevens last week! This week, I packed up with the Little Postcards and headed back to Manchester to visit my family, leaving Mr Postcard at home to look after our rabbit and some baby birds…

Birdwatch update

You may remember a few weeks ago I told you about the pair of collared doves who were nesting in our roof and then gave up and went away. The nesting material didn’t go to waste – a pair of sparrows took it and made another nest further along the roof and we have been listening to the chirps and cheeps of babies for a few weeks now. Then, early this week, we saw them fledge!

A final Gibraltar sunset

There must be something about me leaving our place that the apartment doesn’t like. The day before we left for Suffolk earlier this summer for a holiday visiting Mr Postcard’s family our two hot water boilers both blew up. On Tuesday evening, as I was looking forward to enjoying a calm quiet evening before flying to Manchester, the pipes behind our washing machine split and sprayed water everywhere. Mr P reckons the house is haunted and it doesn’t want me to leave!

On our travels again

Wednesday saw me heading off to Blighty again. It’s been such a relief to leave the high humidity behind, it’s just been unbearably hot in our apartment lately.

Beeing in Manchester

On Wednesday evening, after unpacking, I went for a walk with Eldest to the park and gardens at the end of the road where I grew up. I remember them being beautiful when I was very young, but as I got older, they were neglected and vandalised, which was very sad. In recent years though, a group of volunteer gardeners have got involved and they have made the place looking lovely again. In one corner of the garden is a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Manchester bombing last year. This bee mosaic is part of the memorial, it’s lovely.

Cooling off!

I haven’t done any proper exercise since about May, so I made use of the flat pavements and cooler weather to go for a run…. and got soaked through! The heavens opened once I was past the point of no return. I’m not complaining though!

Gnome alert

I spotted a rather funny collection of garden gnomes and other ornaments in a front garden not far from my Mum & Dad’s house which made me chuckle. I’ve never seen an astronaut gnome before!

Dunham fun

Yesterday, we visited Dunham Park in Cheshire. It’s a place I’ve visited since being very young and I love it there.

The deer were so tame, coming up close to the human visitors. We even saw some of this year’s fawns which were just 3 or 4 months old, although they were a bit more timid and kept their distance.

Despite it still being August, there were a few signs that autumn isn’t far away. This fungus looked beautiful in the afternoon sunshine.

That’s all for Sunday Sevens this week, thanks for stopping by!

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

Sunday Sevens #92 16.7.17

This week’s Sunday Sevens sees our summer break beginning in earnest…

So long Gibraltar 

Last Sunday, myself and the three Little Postcards boarded a plane bound for Manchester. The summer holidays got off to a flying start in every sense of the word. As we left, we got this great view of the Rock and the Spanish Mediterranean coast before taking an unusual flight path along the Strait of Gibraltar hugging the Moroccan coastline before heading north. I have never flown that way before and it was interesting to see the Moroccan mountains complete with lakes and winding roads so closely.

Looking for colour on a grey day


I am a great lover of Manchester, having been born and brought up there. Marrying a southerner, I had to put up with years of abuse about it raining constantly in Manchester (it doesn’t by the way). Anyway, just to prove me wrong we have had a bit of iffy weather at the start and end of the week. To divert my attention away from the grey skies, I found tons of beautiful colour in the front gardens close to my parents’ house.

Cinema time


Another sketchy weather day on Tuesday saw us head to the cinema in the Trafford Centre to see Despicable Me 3. We try to go to the multiplex most summers when we visit. Being used to just 2 small screens at the cinema in Gibraltar, it’s a rather grand affair here in comparison. 

A trip to the country


Wednesday, and we took a trip to a very familiar place for me, Dunham Massey. This National Trust property featured heavily on my childhood Sunday afternoons. It’s beautiful deer are always a treat to see.

Harvest time

Back in June, I made a quick trip home to visit my parents and we stopped for a pub lunch on the outskirts of Warrington. At the time, I posted a photo of the beautiful field next door in my Sunday Sevens. We revisited the pub with the Little Postcards on Thursday as it was a warm and dry day and the pub had a great kids play area and football nets too. As we ate our lunch, we spotted some activity in the next door field – it was harvest time. That’s something we don’t get to see in Gibraltar!



Old and new

On Friday I took the Little Postcards into town to visit the fantastic Museum of Science and  Industry. We have been before, but not for a few years and felt it was due at return visit. The boys loved all the hands-on experiments. After the museum, we took a walk into the centre of Manchester. It has changed so much in recent years, but amongst all the new modern developments there are still some reach architectural jewels.

An astronomical trip


Yesterday we took a drive out to the Cheshire Plain to see the Jodrell Bank radio telescope and visitor centre. The venue for stargazing tv extravaganzas with the likes of Dr Brian Cox and Dara O’Brien, it’s certainly undergone a bit of a transformation since our last visit around 8 years ago. It was another hit with the Little Postcards for the hands-on exhibits. 


Thanks for joining me for this week’s Sunday Sevens. Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog.

A history lesson

  
We have been lucky enough to visit two National Trust properties this week; Quarry Bank Mill and Dunham Massey. They are both in Cheshire and less than an hours’ drive from Manchester. We were blessed with good English summer weather with just a few light showers of rain. 

   
At Quarry Bank Mill, we learned about how cotton production moved from a domestic setting to an industrial one. We also learned the origins of several common English words and phrases; ‘spinster’ – an unmarried woman would spin cotton into thread in order to make a living; ‘spinning a yarn’ – the practice of gossiping while spinning cotton; ‘ heirloom’ – a manual loom for weaving cotton (and the knowledge of how to use it), which would passed down from generation to generation, thereby guaranteeing an income in lean times.

 
The spinning wheel and hand loom would have been a common sight in homes at around the time Gibraltar was ceded to Britain (1713).

   
Quarry Bank Mill was built in 1784 when water power became widely used to run machinery. It uses the water of the River Bollin to run it’s machinery.

    
The machines were so noisy! Not all of them were running – it must have been deafening to work there.

  This giant waterwheel powers the machinery upstairs.

 
Quarry Bank Mill was built by Samuel Greg, a Unitarian, who along with his wife, Hannah, believed in providing a better standard of living for their indentured workers. Conditions at Quarry Bank were tough by today’s standards, although vastly better than in some of Manchester’s inner city mills.

   
A short walk from the mill is the Apprentice House (above). In this three storey building, sixty indentured children would live while working at the mill – yes sixty. They would come to Quarry Bank from workhouses (mainly in Liverpool) at the age of nine and sign up to spend the next nine years of their lives working six days a week in the mill.

 
This picture (above) is of the girls’ dormitory, forty girls would be locked in here at night, two to a bed. The children would rise at 5:30am and have a quick breakfast of porridge before beginning work at 6am. A thirteen hour working day would follow, with a 30 minute break for lunch (porridge again, with added vegetables). A great guide took us around the house, beginning with the school room, where children would learn the basics of reading and writing and on to the treatment room, where a doctor would use leeches and other delightful remedies to keep the workers healthy and productive.

   
The kitchen made use of the nearby allotment garden, where the boys would help grow crops to eat.

   
It was a great day out for the whole family, and helped my boys realise just how lucky they are to be born nowadays.

   
  The River Bollin  
  

Quarry Bank Mill is a beautiful and fascinating place to visit, I would highly recommend it.  
 
As I mentioned before, we also visited Dunham Massey. The property is a finalist in the Museum of the Year 2015 for it’s recreation of a World War One military hospital. The Stamford Military Hospital is re-enacted inside the main house with actors, the property also has beautiful gardens. We, however just took advantage of the beautiful estate parkland to give the children a chance to ‘run wild’ for a bit. In more than thirty years of visiting the park at Dunham, I can never remember being so up close and personal with the resident fallow deer. They are beautiful creatures and seemed incredibly tame this time.

   
 
Another treat for the boys was a great den built with storm fallen branches! You can’t beat a bit of stick collecting and tree climbing to while away an afternoon.

  
For more information on Quarry Bank Mill and Dunham Massey, please click on these links: Quarry Bank MillDunham Massey