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.

English garden appreciation 

Row of cottage gardens, Greater Manchester

Now I know I’m incredibly lucky to be able to live where I do. The weather is mostly very good, we’re by the sea and surrounded by great friends and a wonderful community. But you know that old chestnut about the grass being greener… I really do wonder what life would be like to live in a house and not an apartment and have a real garden not a balcony & patio.

Echinops

I know, I know, I’m very spoiled but I really miss having a garden (a green one full of grass etc). I’ve been seven years without one now and it’s only when you don’t have something anymore that you really appreciate what you’re missing.

Terraced house front garden in Caversham, Berkshire

When I return to England each summertime I see the gardens in the town I grew up in at their absolute best. Hanging baskets galore, neat lawns, climbers, roses and huge leafy deciduous trees.

A row of hanging baskets in Greater Manchester

During my summer break I took quite a few photos of flowers and shrubs in other folk’s gardens – I hope they didn’t mind!! While speaking to a good friend of mine when I was over, she pointed out the fact that I probably notice nicely planted pots and beds of traditional British bedding plants because they are a novelty to me. Perhaps they are, but it doesn’t make them any less special.

No matter how much or how little your patch of earth is, it doesn’t matter. Just look how glorious these hollyhocks look outside this cottage we drove past:

Cottage in Sonning, Berkshire

I just LOVE these fuchsias which were in a hanging basket in my Mum & Dad’s back garden. They looked so voluptuous and alive – I doubt very much they are looking as glorious now that we’re in November!!

I appreciate that all of the beautiful gardens and plants I have included in this most probably don’t look like this anymore now that Autumn is well and truly underway in the British Isles, but let’s just revel in that glorious colour a little bit longer should we?

 

Cottage garden in Southwold, Suffolk
Thatched Cottage near Ludham on the Norfolk Broads

Clematis
Hydrangea

Ah, that feels better! I just love gardens…

My Mum’s Agapanthus

 

 … thank you for allowing me to indulge in that glorious English summer one more time! 🙂

 

 

 

Convent Garden Party 2016

 

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Entrance to the Convent

A couple of Saturdays ago, on 25th June, the Governor of Gibraltar opened the doors to his official residence for the annual Convent Garden Party. The event, which has been running for several years now, gives mere mortals like ourselves the chance to enjoy a wander around the beautiful Convent Gardens.
Before heading out into the gardens this year, we took a walk upstairs to have a mooch around the state rooms. This stunning dining room is adorned with shields and crests which (according to Wikipedia) form the most extensive collection of heraldry in the Commonwealth of Nations.

State dining room

In the ballroom there has been an art show in previous years but this time there was an exhibition of weapons by the Gibraltar Museum. I have to admit that weapons aren’t really my thing, either old fashioned ones or modern machine guns.

The one weapon of note which caught my eye was number 42, which is a relic from the Battle of Trafalgar.

Heading back downstairs we cut across the tranquil courtyard with it’s charity stalls.

Cloistered courtyard
Out in the garden we were entertained by jazz musicians playing by the fountain. There were bouncy castles for the children as well as a rope walk between the trees put on by the Scouts. (The Governor is the Chief Scout of Gibraltar and allows scouts to camp in his back garden occasionally).

The ladies of the Convent Charity Committee had a lovely stall with home-made cakes and other refreshments. The people you can see in the gazebo were sitting in the shade enjoying the tasty treats. The Convent staff also had their regular stall selling plants which have been propagated and grown in the garden itself.


The main attraction for me though, as always, is the plants. I’ll let them speak for themselves.

At the far end of the gardens this year there was a display of birds of prey – I don’t remember seeing this on our previous visits.

I really love coming to have a look around this garden – we have been going for about six  years now. Last year I wrote one of my first blog posts on the event A stroll up the garden path….

It’s a great fundraiser for the local community and it’s so nice to have the chance to have a look around. When I’m feeling homesick for the British Isles it reminds me a little of a National Trust garden (if you ignore the heat and the Mediterranean planting), in times of uncertainty (as we were feeling two weekends ago immediately after the EU Referendum result) it’s a constant which doesn’t really change. Whatever way you look at it, it’s a really beautiful colourful oasis in a very busy and hectic place.

Sunday Sevens #35 12.6.16

Wow, it’s been quite a week for me, it started off quietly but built to a crescendo after I posted a photo I took on a walk up the Rock. More on that later…

#gotgotneed

I’m sure I’m not the only Mum to be swamped with Panini football stickers at the moment. In a family of five I’m the only one without an album. Somehow that doesn’t excuse me from the delights of having to try to peel the backs off the awkward ones! 

A sunset walk

When I escaped one evening this week for a walk after the little Postcards were in bed, I saw this gorgeous sunset. The tower in the photo is the Royal Naval dockyard here in Gibraltar, it looked so pretty lit from behind. 

New skirt


Work has commenced on my final skirt for my dressmaking course. I took a drive across the border to La Linea last week and bought some rather bright floral fabric (think pink and orange orchids). I’ll save the delights of the fabric choice until next week, as I don’t think I’ll have too many other crafty things going on. 

Anyway, the design was drawn, the pattern made and now the fabric’s been cut and sewing the seams has begun – I do hope it turns out ok! 

Sports Day part 1


This week we have experienced the first of two school sports days we have on the calendar. Because there’s no such thing as large school playgrounds or school sports fields in Gibraltar, the teachers, pupils and parents all decamp to the Victoria Stadium for the event. There can’t be too many places in the world where school sports days take place in the national stadium can there?

That photo…

On Thursday morning I set off for a walk as soon as the little Postcards were safely deposited at school. As I set off I wasn’t necessarily intending on climbing up the Rock but my feet just took me there (force of habit perhaps). It appeared to be a perfect morning for the Med Steps, cool and foggy. If you’ve read my Mini stroll in the mist post you’ll know my reading of the weather conditions were way off the mark, as I climbed higher I climbed out of the fog and into the baking sunshine! 

One positive from that predicament was this view. I snapped it and then posted it as I got home. That’s when the crazy stuff happened… As I write it’s been seen by more than 12,000 people on Facebook and a good few more on Twitter. That sort of thing doesn’t happen to me everyday!!! 

Summer’s here


In between the foggy and misty days we have enjoyed some high temperatures and sunshine. The municipal areas like parks, traffic roundabouts and flower beds are looking glorious in town. Perhaps at their best, as they are not yet wilting under the intense heat of the mid-summer sun. This plant (it’s name is a mystery to me) grows close to a car park I frequent regularly and it’s blooms are looking glorious at the minute. It looks rather tropical don’t you think?

International Yarnbombing Day 2016


In case you missed my post yesterday on my little Yarnbomb, well I did one. It was my homage to one of the most beautiful places in Gibraltar, the Alameda Botanical Gardens, which is celebrating its 200th birthday this year. 

I have had a truly amazing week in the world of blogging. All of a sudden my tiny corner of the Internet came to the attention of many people who’d never heard of Postcard from Gibraltar before. It’s been incredibly flattering and I’m very grateful for all the lovely comments I’ve read over the last few days. 

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series devised by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog and features seven photos from the last seven days. 

A stroll around Gibraltar No 4: Gardens 

  Convent Garden fountain

Space is at a premium here in Gibraltar so very few people are lucky enough to have gardens. Nevertheless, it would appear that for many, lack of space is not a problem for would-be gardeners. Whichever road or street you go down, you will find keen green-fingered Gibraltar residents making the most of the space we’ve got.   

 St Jago’s

Whether it’s a window box, a row of pots outside the front door or a verdant balcony or roof terrace, those of us who love plants will NOT be beaten! 

 Upper Town

Gibraltar has it’s own Horticultural Society – did you know that? It’s been running for over sixty years. It was founded by Lady MacMillan, the then Governor’s wife back in 1953. Two flower shows are held each year with categories including; balconies, patios, courtyards, terraces, gardens, schools, corridors and estates. So no matter how much or how little space you’ve got, you can still have a go – even if it’s a single geranium plant in a pot. 

 Upper Town

It would seem that the British love affair with gardening persists even in these sunbaked and at times, rather unforgiving climes. There’s a Facebook page for Gibraltar home gardeners which boasts nearly 300 members and is a forum for gardeners to share hints and tips as well as sharing pictures of their horticultural successes and failures. 

 Upper Town

Sourcing plants isn’t too much of a problem here thankfully as there is a (small) garden centre – possibly the smallest in the world! The supermarkets here also stock some plants, although we have found to our cost that a few of them are a bit too ‘British’ for the Gibraltar climate and haven’t necessarily done too well here like hydrangeas and raspberries. 

 Garrison Library garden

We are also lucky enough to have a few garden centres situated a short drive away in Spain, so if we can’t find what we’re looking for here, we don’t  have too far to go to get new stock. 

 Europa Point Lighthouse keepers cottage gardens

Also, in my experience, I have found Gibraltar’s gardeners very generous in parting with their plants. In the last year I’ve been gifted nasturtiums and two types of lily. I have also bought a few plants from the Convent Garden at it’s annual garden party. 

 Upper Town

For some people, of course, their gardens can’t be on ground level and a roof terrace is their only outside space. 

 Town centre roof terrace 

One of the greatest upheavals of moving to Gibraltar (apart from leaving friends and family) was leaving my garden. I was a keen gardener and an avid watcher of Gardener’s World. I attended Gardener’s World Live at the NEC in Birmingham twice and made a wonderful trip to the Chelsea Flower Show. We may not have a beautiful display of bulbs in Spring, a lush green lawn in Summer or a beautiful show in Autumn with our Acers in our old front garden, but in Gibraltar we can embrace a different form of gardening. 

 South District

One plant which has always failed for me after at least half a dozen attempts, both in the UK and here in Gibraltar is agapanthus. I would just love to have some in our patio and lust after these beauties in the Governor’s own back garden:   

 Convent Garden

We have, however, had great success with our geraniums and pelargoniums which we inherited when we moved into our place. I was, at first, filled with trepidation about becoming custodians of such mature plants, but  so far, we’ve succeeded :-), we haven’t lost one yet! They grow so big here as they don’t lie dormant long in the winter like they do back at home (or indeed get killed by frost), as long as they are regularly dead headed and have a bit of plant food every now and again, they give us a wonderful show. They look their absolute best at sunset after a sunny day as the just seem to glow!

  I do hope you’ve enjoyed this short stroll around Gibraltar’s ‘gardens’, please call in again soon as I’ll be heading out for another stroll next week!