Postcard from Gibraltar Review of 2018

Well here we are at the end of another year, it’s been a year of crafty and photo challenges, and on the whole a good one for the Postcard clan. It’s only now I’ve taken a look back at what we’ve done that I realised that we’ve packed a lot in! Here are some of my highlights from 2018…

January

I started the year off with a lovely walk up the Rock, those paperwhite narcissi were photographed on New Year’s Day. After enjoying participating in a photo challenge in 2017 under the stewardship of Sandra at Wild Daffodil, I decided to have a go at running one in 2018, so #postcardfromgibfridayphoto was born on Instagram and in Blogland. I also embarked on the Seaside Stash Busting Blanket CAL in January too. Little did I know what fun it would become.

February

February saw plenty more crochet and a fair bit of watercolour painting, along with the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth to Gibraltar. The huge Royal Naval aircraft carrier was quite a sight to behold.

March

March, very fortunately for us was a month for travel, first to attempt skiing for the very first time in the Italian Dolomites – it was amazing, and second to take the Little Postcards on an Easter trip to the South of England.

April

We began April on Easter Sunday on the Jurassic Coast in Devon, then headed to London for a few days before heading home. It was a fun trip.

May

May meant Med Steps 5 Challenge, Gibraltar’s Comic Con and some lovely spring weather.

June

June brought with it the Calentita! food festival and my very first printed article in the Calentita! magazine. We celebrated World Environment Day and I had a go at Yarnbombing the Alameda Gardens!

July

Summer holidays we the order of the day in July (along with my now traditional annual Summer Craft Challenge). We headed off to Suffolk to help celebrate a big birthday for a member of the Postcard family. We traveled by plane, old trains and kayak! Which reminds me, we went to a fabulous country fair at Worstead, I really should get a post written about that…

August

August was spent in Suffolk, Gibraltar and visiting my family in Manchester. We watched acrobats and magicians in Gib and followed the Bee trail around Manchester.

September

Back to Gibraltar in time for school starting and the end of the Gibraltar Fair. We had National Day celebrations and the MTV Presents Gibraltar Calling Music Festival.

October

At midterm in October we headed off for a short break in Portugal. We’re so lucky to be able to drive to so many lovely places from where we live. This was also the month that I finished my Sandy Bay blanket.

November

November began for us in Portugal and ended with the Christmas light switch on with the fabulous Gibraltar Literary Festival in between. It’s a truly wonderful festival which happens right on our doorstep.

December

December saw the end of the Friday photo challenge I curated as well as a rather pleasant pre Christmas trip up the Med Steps

Thank you to everyone who has followed and read my posts this year, it’s been lovely to know that there’s someone out there actually reading them! I hope that 2018 has been a good year for you and that 2019 is too!

Sunday Sevens #168 23.12.18

Christmas is so close you can almost touch it, schools broke up here on Friday, and Christmas begins properly now. Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens:

Farewell

Some friends of ours left Gibraltar this week to move back to England. We went to a little party in Queensway Quay last Sunday to wish them well and say goodbye. It’s a shame when people leave, but that’s very much the nature of this place within the expat community, it can be transient at times especially when people are brought here by work.

Med Steps

I had a lovely trip up the Med Steps on Monday morning. I could see the way the week was panning out (ie extremely busy) so I thought I’d better make the most of the window of opportunity and the good weather and get up there while I could. It was stunning up there and as I’d not been up there for a while I thought I should pace myself and walk up slowly, I took loads of pictures and was hoping to write a blog post all about it, but as I mentioned before – it was a bit busy this week so that didn’t happen. All being well, a Med Steps Post should materialise this week.

Bunny

Bunny Postcard aka Diamond hasn’t featured in Sunday Sevens for a while, so here he is chillaxing on the rug after one of his crazy evening run arounds. He’s a lovely little chap.

Sunset

On Wednesday we had a terrific sunset, we’d had a lovely day and it was rounded off with this amazing light show. The sky was on fire.

And twinkly lights…

And after the sun had disappeared on Wednesday evening, we had a crystal clear night. It was so clear you could make out the coloured lights at the entrance and exit to Ceuta port in Morocco as well as the red twinkly lights on the top of the wind turbines on the hills above Tangier.

Crafty frustrations

I haven’t done any crochet for ages and was feeling a bit frustrated this week, so managed a quick wonky crochet star in time for the Friday photo challenge. I have a backlog of WIPs and future projects to do… I’m hoping the Christmas break will mean I can get cracking with those.

Full moon

There was another clear night last night with a huge full moon. This photo doesn’t really do it justice but the moonlight on the sea was lovely.

And that, my friends, is the last Sunday Sevens before Christmas. However you spend yours, I hope you have a very happy one with your loved ones. Until next week, goodbye for now.

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

Sunday Sevens #167 16.12.18

The sixteenth of December already?! Just 9 days to go to the big day – crumbs. Christmas has been looming but at last it’s just around the corner. We have had yet another busy week with end of term excitement, I’m hoping things start to calm down soon!

Visitors arriving

Last Sunday, my Mum and Dad arrived on the Rock for a couple of weeks. As I went to pick them up from the airport, the traffic came to a standstill to allow a plane to take off. It may be a bit of a pain at times but I still find it rather dramatic….

Birthday celebrations

My Dad arrived just in time to celebrate his birthday. Any excuse for a thickly laden chocolate cake! Crazy end of term madness meant no time for a home-baked cake, but this one was rather tasty.

Last dressmaking class of 2018

The jacket I’ve been working on has progressed as far as it can for this year. It’s hanging up now waiting patiently for sleeves…

That’ll be why it was busy in town…

Town has been swarming with people this week, Christmas shoppers, visitors from across the border and one day, two rather large cruise ships paid us a visit too. The one on the left was gigantic!

Double rainbow

We have been blessed with lovely weather this week, Sod’s Law meant that Thursday morning brought rain and strong winds just in time for my long-booked hair appointment! Still at least we had a gorgeous rainbow (and faint double rainbow) in the Bay. That’s always got to lift your spirits. A pair of bunkering ships were the pot of gold at the end.

Bye bye HMS Astute

On Friday the visiting nuclear submarine HMS Astute left Gibraltar. You may have seen it feature in last weekend’s Sunday Sevens as it arrived. I missed seeing it moving away from its moorings but caught a glimpse of it out in the Bay. Never a dull moment in Gibraltar – there’s always something going on!

And relax…

Yesterday evening I found myself on the Eastside of the Rock. It was so peaceful and the sky was changing colour as the sun went down behind me. That’s another week done, just one week left of school term craziness before we can all relax and enjoy our festive celebrations. Things have been at fever pitch in our house just lately with all the extracurricular goings on in the lead up to the big day – I’m ready to stop the ride and get off!

I do hope that you have had a good week and that this week is a good one for you too.

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

Before I go though, I have to recommend a YouTube video. Gibraltar vlogger Ninja Monkey has just posted a fab video showing him climbing the Med Steps. It gives a great idea of what it’s like for anyone who hasn’t walked up them themselves and if you are thinking about tackling them yourself, you’ll see what you’re in for. Do give it a watch – you won’t be disappointed. The link for it is here.

A postcard from Lagos

We’ve just had the midterm holidays and last week, we packed up the car and headed off to Portugal, Lagos to be precise. We’ve been to this part of the world a couple of times before but stayed closer to Portimão, this time we fancied a change of scenery and headed further west to Lagos.

We stayed in a lovely apartment on the western edge of Lagos. Sadly it was too nippy to make use of the outdoor pool (well for the softy grown-ups at least!). Can you see the Atlantic Ocean in the distance? It was a lovely spot.

Lagos has a rather pretty old town which is surrounded by city walls.

The archetypal Portuguese tiles are in abundance here.

Even the pavements are artistic…

And there are some gorgeous front doors too…

At the start of our visit to the city there was a craft fair going on in town. Housed in an old building which used to be a munitions store, it was the home for stalls selling needlework, jewelry, fused glass and cork items.

I was in my element and bought a few bits and bobs which will come in handy for Christmas presents.

Among the stalls was a marvelous collection of yarns and woven items.

The lady who runs this stall hand dyes all her yarns and weaves them into beautiful scarves and bags. She also sold balls of yarn…

She dyes the yarn using seeds, vegetables, bark (for the deep purple) and insects for the pink and red tones. I bought this gorgeous yarn which was coloured using tree roots.

If you would like to see more of her work, you can check out her Facebook page.

Another craft emporium had this fabulous window display;

It was run by a German couple who between them wrote books and poetry and whittled beautiful wooden jewelry. They had been living in Lagos for 20+ years and raised their children here. I bought some earrings made by the wife and a book of folk lore stories written and illustrated by the husband.

Zoo Lagos

One morning we took a drive out to Lagos Zoo. I’m uncomfortable with the whole ‘zoo’ thing but at this one, the animals seemed well cared for.

It was a perfect small zoo for young children. In some areas there were no fences at all, and some of the creatures just wandered around at will.

These pelicans caused quite a stir as they just ambled along the path amongst the visitors. We even got to see them being fed a little while later…

There were plenty of primates, many of whom lived on this primate island. The noise of the calls and booming cries could be heard a good distance away in the car park!

This bird had a really funky hairdo…

I’m told that this Pygmy hippo bore a more than passing resemblance to me…

I loved the flying foxes, they were fascinating to see up close.

My absolute favorites had to be the rainbow coloured parrots (macaws to be precise) and this angora nanny goat!

Lagos fort

At the western edge of Lagos seafront/riverfront stands an old fort-like building. Rectangular in shape, with lookout towers at each corner and with a drawbridge on the land side, it caught my eye the first time I saw it.

On our first trip into Lagos, we had tried to get in, but it was closed for lunch sadly. I made it my mission to be back in town one day while it was open to have a mosey inside.

Over the drawbridge and through the old wooden doors we went to buy our entrance tickets.

The Forte da Ponta da Bandeira is a restored 17th Century maritime fortress. On the ground floor are a series of small rooms which were being used as galleries displaying a photographic exhibition.

There was also a very small chapel, dedicated to Santa Barbara. It may be small, but there was such a calming, yet powerful atmosphere in there, and as you can see it was totally covered with traditional Portuguese tiles.

Up the ramp, to the upper floor…

… and the many wind sculptures…

They were so striking.

In each corner of the fort, as I mentioned, there is a little lookout turret, and we were able to go into three of them.

The narrow slit windows perfectly framed the views they looked out on…

…. both inland….

….and out to sea.

It was such a lovely spot.

Back downstairs, we found another small gallery featuring more work from the artist who had created the sculptures on the roof…

José Maria Silva Pereira is the artist who created these installations and the sculptures on the roof are called Caminhos do Vento (which I think translates of Paths of Wind). They were specially designed to be moved by the north wind which is common in Lagos during the summer months.

And that, is just about it for this postcard from the Algarve. We had a lovely few days, and mainly good weather, if you’re ever in this neck of the woods I’d definitely recommend a visit.

Sunday Sevens #149 12.8.18

We’ve had one full week back in Gibraltar after our trip to England, and blimey it’s hot here. The weather has been so humid that everything’s so exhausting and wearisome. I’m counting down the days to my next trip back to England!!! Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens:

Back home

It’s been a few weeks since a sunset view like this has appeared in Sunday Sevens… the humid weather has brought with it lots of murky misty days and this evening last Sunday was no different.

Street Art

A new Government initiative to have legally created street art is underway in Gibraltar at the moment. Apparently a number of different murals will be appearing over the coming weeks and months. This one is being painted by a local artist and is meant to signify her childhood memories growing up in Gibraltar. It certainly brightens up this gloomy underpass, I’ll include an ‘after’ shot once it’s completed.

Gecko watch

Nothing represents hot steamy Gibraltar summer nights to me more than geckos on our kitchen windows. We’re having these windows replaced soon, so I do hope they still visit us on the new ones!

Sandblasted

Fancy having the beach to yourself in August?? Well the secret is to go on the windiest day of the summer… we didn’t last long. We looked like sand monsters when we gave up and packed up our stuff to head home, every exposed piece of skin had sand stuck to the suncream…. delightful!

Fun in the sun

The sandy beach day was rounded off nicely though, we were invited to a barbecue at some friends’ villa in Spain. It was a lovely evening and the Little Postcards loved the use of the pool!

Summer nights

Every summer for a night or two each week, the Government in Gibraltar lays on free performances with bands, local dancers and so on. For the first time in the nine years I have lived on the Rock, I attended one of these ‘Summer Nights’. There’s no particular reason why we haven’t gone before, it just hasn’t happened.

The event was great. Entitled Magic Circus, it featured acrobats and magicians and was fab for the children and grownups alike.

Dinner with a view

Last night, we were very fortunate to be invited to our second barbecue of the week. This time it was in Gibraltar on a roof terrace with this fabulous view! How lucky are we?

So that’s it for this week’s Sunday Sevens. I hope it’s been a decent week for you. Thank you to everyone who has commented on my recent posts, I haven’t had the chance to respond to several of them, but I will as soon as I can. Things have been a bit hectic with the boys off school and windows of peace and quiet seem to be few and far between at the moment!

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

Sunday Sevens #147 28.7.18

Oh it’s been difficult to choose what to put into Sunday Sevens this week! We’ve had a rather busy time of it on our holiday, although it’s been busy in a very good way. Here’s a photo from each of the last seven days, there will be more posts to come though in the coming weeks with more pictures….

Hollyhocks galore

The flower of the moment in this part of the world (Suffolk/Norfolk) seems to be the hollyhock. They are everywhere and are truly beautiful – the epitome of an English country garden.

A woodland walk

Monday was a special day for one member of the Postcard family, celebrating a milestone birthday of 70 years. We went out as a big family group to visit Fairhaven water gardens on the Norfolk Broads before a big family dinner. It was such a beautiful, green, heavenly place and as the sun was rather hot, the dappled shade offered by all the trees was very welcome.

Aldeburgh

We took a drive along the Suffolk Coast on Tuesday, visiting Orford and Aldeburgh (above). The coastline is so beautiful here.

Messing about in canoes

Wednesday saw us repeating something we did on a visit six years ago. Back then, Littlest was too small to join in, so I stayed on dry land with him. This time, we all went canoeing on the Broads. My only previous experience was on a canal in Cheshire when I was a Venture Scout, that didn’t go too well (think hitting the canal bank with such force the sharp front end got embedded in the mud).

This time, though, it was wonderful – so peaceful and slow. There were literally hundred of beautiful dragonflies buzzing about, and I even got pecked by a swan!

A lovely day for a train ride

Thursday saw us heading north to the north Norfolk coastal town of Sheringham. Central to the town is the beautifully restored train station and the start of the North Norfolk Railway (also known as the Poppy Line). We had hoped for a trip on a steam train, but the sustained dry and hot weather made the steam engines a fire risk, and we had to make do with a Diesel engine. It was still a nice trip though…

Summer Storm

Whilst visiting Aldeburgh earlier this week, we were told that this part of the world hasn’t had any rain at all since May 4th. On Thursday night, that changed. A thunderstorm came in off the sea, and before the rain came, I went for a walk onto Southwold Common to watch the lightning. Seconds before this photo was taken, the sky was pretty dark. The sheet lightning lit up all the clouds with a pinky glow.

Wrestling at a summer fete!

Yesterday, we visited not one, but two summer fairs. The first one, in Worstead, will get a bigger mention in a future post, the second one, was at Gorleston in Norfolk. The Gorleston Clifftop Gala is an annual event, with fair rides, stalls by community groups (backwoodsmanship & a local rugby team’s stalls were enjoyed by the Little Postcards) and live music. We attended specifically to see a member of the family perform on stage with his band. Our attention was drawn to something I’ve never seen before in real life…. wrestling! It was quite a sight!

So that’s this week’s Sunday Sevens, I hope you have had a great week.

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

Sunday Sevens #146 22.7.18

Greetings from sunny Suffolk, here’s this week’s edition of Sunday Sevens:

Bird family update

A few weeks ago I told you about the couple of collared doves who appeared to be making a nest in the eves above our apartment. Well it looks like they didn’t fancy the location and have gone elsewhere. They have popped back a few times though to say hi, and some sparrows moved in and took their nest making material away to build their own elsewhere.

BBC camera crew

Early this week at sunrise and sunset, a film crew from the BBC who are responsible for making amazing nature documentaries like Blue Planet did some filming from a helicopter of the Bay and Rock of Gibraltar. Can you spot the tiny speck above the tree? That was the helicopter…

Scorchio

I was passing through Sandy Bay on Wednesday morning and by Jove it was hot! It was so hot by 9:45, that I have no idea how people coped on the beach later on!!

Sea mist at sunset

On Wednesday we had a rather unusual sunset as the wispy sea mist rolled into the Bay. It was the last evening of filming for the BBC crew, so it will be interesting to see whether the mistiness makes it into the programme.

First lizard this summer

Lizards (or geckos) are a common sight on our kitchen windows on hot summer nights. They lurk about waiting for moths to fly up to the window and pounce. It’s quite interesting to watch. On Thursday night, I saw my first gecko of the summer.

Holiday time

On Friday we flew to England to visit one half of the Postcard family, and ended up in one of our favourite places, Southwold. Look, they even put the bunting up ready for our arrival! How thoughtful of them!

An evening stroll across the marshes

After spending a bit of time with the family, we headed back to Southwold in time for an early evening walk across the marshes. I love it here, it’s so beautiful and quiet.

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