Sunday Sevens #104 8.10.17

Good morning, I hope you are having a good weekend. This week has seen a return to my watercolour class after a very long summer haiatus. It was so nice to be back…

Sunday afternoon on the beach

Sandy Bay

Last Sunday we did something rather out of character — we went to the beach. We aren’t huge beach goers normally as we don’t enjoy the crowds or the heat at the height of summer. We do, though, rather like sneaking down there out of season.

As you can see from the photo above, we weren’t alone, but there was loads of open space where we could sit, chat, splash and dig without upsetting anyone else. 

My neighbours may not agree with me but I really do try to keep a lid on the level of noise coming from our apartment (I don’t think I’ll ever get used to living so close to other people). Being somewhere where the Little Postcards can scream and shout without upsetting anyone is a very valuable space for me.

Oh, and I got a bit of crochet done too…

Monday Med Steps

Last week on one of my Med Steps trips I was surrounded by a pack (troop?) of apes, on Monday it was Barbary Partridge bingo! There were loads about. This pair were very tame and I got very close before they scarpered.

Dressmaking whoops

Don’t you just hate it when that happens? I was making great strides with attaching my collar to my blouse at Dressmaking class when I managed to accidentally sew my underarm seam to the collar by accident – whoops!

Med stepping into the Levanter 


These two photos were taken about 20 minutes apart. One below the cloud in bright (and rather hot) sunshine. The other at the top of the Rock and slap bang in the middle of the Levanter cloud.

I started Wednesday morning’s walk in hot sun but was relieved to hit the cool, damp Levanter near the top. I almost took an amazing photo at the top… as I gazed up at the misty summit, on that low bit of wall to the right of the fence was the silhouette of a mother ape with a baby on her back. By the time I’d got my phone camera on, they’d vanished into the mist. Never mind…

Watercolour refresher

Thursday morning saw my return to watercolour class.  I didn’t realise how much I’d missed it over the summer. Our teacher began the new term with a refresher lesson on washes. It came just in time for me to get back to a picture I was working on before summer which had a very dodgy wash for the sky. My new aim for this term is to be less wishy washy with my colours – I need to embrace BOLD!

Beautiful Botanic Gardens 

You may have noticed that my excercise levels have gone up in recent weeks. After a rather sedentary summer I have a good few kilos which I need to shed. On Friday I took a trip into town and on the way home I opted to walk rather than catching the bus. I was rewarded by with a walk through the beautiful Alameda Botanical Gardens.

Autumnal WIP-along

On Instagram recently I have noticed lots of  crafty people publishing photos of the WIPs (work in progress) they have completed as part of a WIP-along with Gosling & Plumb. Check out the blog post in the link above  to find out more about it.

When I finished my last crochet project (Jenny’s Mandala from Little Box of Crochet) I almost started something new but I could hear some of my many WIPs calling me from carrier bags hidden in my secret hidey hole. So far I have worked on three; circles in granny squares (see beach crochet photo), a green granny square blanket and a cute crochet cactus pin cushion from a Simply Crochet Magazine kit.

Thanks so much for stopping by for a read about my week. It’s been lovely to have your company.

I’m linking with Natalie of Threads & Bobbins for the Weekly Sunday Sevens series.

A Postcard birthday

 

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It’s been a whole 12 months since my first blog post on Postcard from Gibraltar and what a fun and busy year it has been. I started out publishing my first post and wondering if anyone out there in cyberspace would actually read it but I soon discovered a lovely community who share my interest in craft and want to hear about this lovely Rock I live on.

Thank you very much for all the lovely comments and likes over the past year, I appreciate you taking the time to leave them. I read them all although sometimes it can take me a while to reply.

I know that an important part of being in this community is that it’s not just a one way street and we should all take the time to read each others posts and sometimes I’m not too great at that as life tends to get in the way a bit. Please know that I always mean to, and I usually get around to taking a look at my fellow bloggers posts eventually!

I’m afraid I’m being very lazy this week with my midweek post and I’m just going to share a few of my highlights from the last year with you. I hope you enjoy this trip down Memory Lane 🙂

 

Expat life:

Moving countries with two small children and leaving all our family and friends behind was no small feat. I have to admit that when I was faced with the prospect of moving here (due to Mr Postcard’s work relocating) I wasn’t impressed. I had my life sorted and was happy where I was, the prospect of having to start all over again didn’t fill me with joy.

Back in September last year the annual cardboard boat race in Ocean Village reminded me of what life was like back when we first arrived and that the warm welcome we received as a family helped us on the road to settling in: Cardboard boats and memories of moving

Apart from arriving here and making a fresh start, one of the hardest things about being an ‘expat’ is that many of our community are transient. For those who come with work or their partner’s job, rather than just making the choice to move here for good, their tenure in Gibraltar can be short.

However short that stay may be, friendships can develop fast. In the absence of family nearby friends very soon become each other’s support network and that makes saying goodbye all the harder: Saying goodbye…

 

Crafty highlights

I love, love, love making things. If you’ve caught any of my Sunday Sevens posts you’ll know that most of my weeks are dominated by crafty things including watercolour lessons, dressmaking lessons and of course, my love of crochet. In May, I was inspired to make a wreath celebrating the wild flowers I’d seen this Spring while I trained for the Med Steps 5 Challenge : Wild flowers of the Med Steps

 

Along with the Med Steps I have become very fond of the Alameda Botanical gardens during our almost seven years here in Gibraltar.  International Yarnbombing Day 2016 proved too much of an opportunity to miss paying homage to the Alameda Gardens bicentennial celebrations.

 

Gibraltar highlights

Last Saturday was the Convent Garden Party, an annual event which the Postcard family usually attends. It’s the one chance in the year for ‘normal’ folk to have a wander around the beautiful back garden which belongs to the Governor of Gibraltar. My post about last year’s event ended up being my first ever blog post based on a walk (a theme which has featured heavily in the last few months): A stroll up the garden path…

As I mentioned earlier, I am a bit of a fan of the Med Steps. So much so that I climbed them five times in the one day last month as part of the Med Steps 5 Challenge. If you have never had the pleasure of climbing them yourself, here’s what you’re missing! The Med Steps: a few facts & figures

 

On 9th June, Gibraltar woke to find itself wrapped up with a blanket of fog. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to climb the Med Steps again (as it had been getting a bit warm to do it in recent weeks). On that walk I experienced the most amazing view (the one you can see above). I had been misguided in thinking that the fog would help me with its cool damp air, as I climbed the steps I soon realised that I had, in fact, climbed up out of the fog and was viewing it from above.

At one of my many rest points on that morning, I witnessed this stunning view of the Rock swathed in fog. It was otherworldly and truly mesmerising. I was also only one of a handful of people who had braved the Med Steps that morning, we were incredibly lucky to see this weather phenomenon from such an elevated vantage point.

As soon as I got home I posted this photo online and got the most amazing response. So far, more than 12,000 people have viewed it on Facebook! I also wrote a post about my foggy walk and featured a lot more photos: A mini stroll in the mist

 

A year on the Rock

IMG_6071

One of the great things about living in Gibraltar is that despite it’s size (which is really quite tiny) there is so much to do. The social calendar includes the Three Kings Cavalcade, the Calentita food festival, the Gibraltar Fair, National Day, the Gibraltar Music Festival, the Gibraltar Literary Festival, and the Christmas Light switch on to name just a few.

Here are a couple of my highlights from the last 12 months: Rock stars & heart throbs: Gibraltar Music Festival 2015 & So many books, so little time… Gibraltar Literary Festival 2015

Looking back at all that makes me realize we’ve packed a lot into our last year on the Rock. I know we are very lucky to live in such a great place and to have the opportunity to experience all we have. 

I first started this blog after being encouraged to do so by friends and family and I’m really glad I did. Postcard from Gibraltar has opened doors for me both virtually and in real life, it’s been a great adventure so far, here’s hoping the next 12 months are as good if not better!

Thank you for dropping by!

 

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. 

International Yarnbombing Day 2016

Being a big fan of crochet and pretty colours I have found my head turned of late by yarnbombing. To the uninitiated Yarnbombing is also known as guerrilla knitting and yarn graffiti, and is growing in popularity across the globe. Of the accounts I follow on Instagram, one of my favourites is @queen_babs. She is a well established and rather well known yarn bomber who’s based in Sydney, Australia, the following photo (used with @queen_babs’ permission) features one of her latest creations, a series of yarn bombed trees. Aren’t they stunning? She’s  inspired me to have a go myself.

 

Today, Saturday 11th June, is International Yarnbombing Day – so what better time to dip my toe in the colourful pool of yarnbombing. After a bit of research it became clear to me that most yarn bombs are put together by a collective of people. I decided to have a go just 2 weeks before the big day. That didn’t really give me the time to find a team of people to join me, so I decided to go it alone for the first time, perhaps it would raise awareness about the event for next year and a team of us could have a crack at it together in 12 months time?

So what to Yarnbomb? As it’s all a bit last minute, I couldn’t attempt anything too big. One friend suggested yarnbombing all of Gibraltar’s cannons – errr perhaps not this year. I didn’t want to go for the most common yarn bombs of a tree or a lamppost as that would require some planning – like how do you stop it slipping down the lamppost and ending up like an unloved Christmas jumper in a pile at the bottom. It had to be quick and easy to make and it had to be reasonably small and easy to attach.

I thought perhaps the back of a park bench would be a good start. I could sit on it while measuring it, and later while attaching it so I didn’t look like a complete loony. Ok then, we have a bench idea. But which one and where? Main Street is an obvious choice but is REALLY public and noticeable. Then a germ of an idea came to me as I was editing my recent post  A stroll around Gibraltar No.11 : Alameda Gardens Part 2. This year is the 200th Anniversary of the Alameda Gardens – what better than to make a special yarn bomb to commemorate this big birthday.

This gardens connection also meant I had an obvious colour scheme (green) and decoration theme of flowers. It was time to get hooking!

In order for this mini granny stripe blanket to look more than just a granny stripe blanket I thought it needed a bit of Gibraltar incorporated. What’s more obvious than the flag? So I set about trying to design an intarsia pattern for the castle on the flag. It turned out terribly, I unravelled it and tried again, that was rubbish. I gave up on that and embroidered the towers on later.

To balance out the Gibraltar flag on one side I thought I’d better knock out a union jack flag as well. That was much easier!

Next came the message – I thought just putting 200 on it wasn’t enough so I settled on the dates, 1816 – 2016 and to make them in orange so that they really stood out against the green background. It also needed a label saying it was made for the Alameda Gardens too.


Then it was time for the flowers – these were so quick and fun to make. I was able to carry a bag with me on after school activities and surreptitiously produce bloom after bloom. I don’t think the other parents thought I was too crazy….

The time came for me to go for a recce to find the exact destination for the yarn bomb. An evening walk to the Alameda Gardens was in order. I waited until the smallest Postcards were in bed before heading out, silly me I managed to get myself locked in!!! Well at one end of the park anyway – I had to walk the long way around to get out and back home again!! Anyway, I did settle up on a bench, both physically and metaphorically. This one looked perfect. It’s on the main avenue at the top of the gardens and is just below the beautiful new glass house which was built to commemorate the bicentenary.

 

As I continued on my walk, a couple of other things caught my eye which were calling out to be yarn bombed….

 The Molly Bloom statue


The Guiseppe Codali bust


The Alameda Gardening Club garden

They have a Bee Hotel  – it really needs a yarn bee don’t you think? That’s the first thing I did on my return home. I was late to bed that night!!

Ta dah! I think I’m a little bit in love with Mr Bumble.

So do you want to see what I did? Here goes…


Mr Bumble’s just waiting to check into the Bee Hotel.

Giuseppe Codali’s neckwear has got more of a Gibraltar flavor today.

Molly Bloom’s got a necklace of rainbow blooms to brighten her outfit a little.

And finally this bench has been given a woolly makeover.


I gave each yarnbomb a label explaining that it’s International Yarnbombing Day, so people ‘get’ what it’s all about. They won’t be there for long though, so if you want to see them for real, you’ll have to be quick. If you do visit them, please let me know what you think.

So who’s going to join me for International Yarnbombing Day 2017?
 

A stroll around Gibraltar No.11 : Alameda Gardens Part 2

Hello there, following on with last week’s A stroll around Gibraltar No.10: Devil’s Gap Battery , I thought I’d revisit one of my favourite places here, the Alameda Botanical Gardens. A few months back I took you on a stroll here in A stroll around Gibraltar No 7 but there is so much to see in this beautiful green oasis that I reckon it’s worth more than one trip. Plus, this year is a big one for the Botanical Gardens as it’s celebrating its 200th birthday.

During the past year or so, there has been a lot of work done here, especially in the top section along the avenue close to the Rock Hotel. Flower beds have been cleared and improved, sculptures have been added and a rather impressive glass house has been built.

As you can see in these photos, it’s an impressive structure surrounded with beautiful planting.

So what’s inside? Orchids, lots and lots of beautiful orchids…..

They are planted around a small pond and waterfall as well as hanging from trees as they would grow naturally in their natural habitats in Asia.

Apologies for the slightly dodgy quality of these pictures, I had to take them through the window. The orchid house was officially opened towards the end of April and it was open to the public for several hours on the big day. Sadly, I didn’t find out about it until too late, so missed my chance to see these beauties up close and personal. I keep trying the door whenever we visit to see if it’s open, but unfortunately it’s not been so far.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it is absolutely stunning. What a great way to celebrate the bicentenary of the gardens. I just hope that it will be maintained in its current state as it’s just gorgeous right now.

In addition to the orchid house and new planting, quite a few of these wooden tree stump sculptures have sprung up about the place. I love the deep orangey shade to the wood. I’m sure the colour will change as it matures over time but I do like it in it’s freshly sawn condition.

When I did my last stroll around the Alameda Gardens I was rather sad that I wasn’t able to include a part of the gardens which is very special to me. Just a little further along the avenue from the new orchid house is a shady woodland area with a stream and waterfalls running through it and a pond at the bottom. I think it’s known as the Lions Pond as the Lions Gibraltar Charity helped fund it when it was built several decades ago. When I went to photograph the area I was sad to see the pond had been drained and there were signs up to say that the area had been vandalised.

One of the joys of living in Gibraltar is that there is very little anti-social behaviour and vandalism in public places (certainly a lot less than in some of the places I’ve lived in the UK). I was so shocked and saddened to find that the pond had been blighted in such a way. But imagine my delight when I strayed back into the woodland area a few weeks back and found this:

Not only had it all been cleaned out, it had been replanted and refilled and was looking even more beautiful than I had ever seen it before.

A year or so after we first moved to Gibraltar a very special visitor came to stay with us: my Gran. She was in her 90s when she flew over to see us with my Mum. She wasn’t too steady on her feet but she wanted to see as much as she could of our new home and as we lived close to the Alameda Gardens at the time, and she was a plant lover, she naturally wanted to explore a bit here. I vividly remember her sitting on the bench overlooking the Lions pond as the little Postcards (there were just 2 at the time) spied into the water looking for fish.

Unfortunately Gran is no longer with us but I always think of her when I come to this peaceful shady spot and I think she would greatly approve of all the hard work which has gone into sprucing it up. It looks just beautiful.

It’s not just the top section of the gardens which are looking fine at the minute, many of the other flower beds are blooming too. These African daisies are just stunning with their purple and orange centres.

I have no idea what the name of this flower is, but there are quite a few in the gardens and I rather like them too!

Another of the wooden sculptures:

Please excuse the gratuitous floral close-ups, I was playing with my camera when I went on this stroll ;-).

I love the lavender flower bed in this raised area, the perfume’s amazing.

Nestling in among some of the flower beds are some headstones. I really don’t know why they are here (other than to mark the graves of people of course) but why they were buried in the gardens is a question I don’t have the answer to right now (one to research later).

If you read my last stroll around the Alameda Gardens Part 1, you may remember seeing the beautiful children’s garden tended by the Alameda Gardening Club. It had a bee hotel and lots of herbs and other eatables growing. That’s not the only children’s plot in the gardens, there’s also this very well kept veg garden at the southern most end close to the Wildlife Park.

I know of a few children who have benefitted from coming to the Alameda Gardening Club, and it’s a very valuable resource for the children of Gibraltar, the vast majority of which grow up without a garden of their own. The leaders do a truly wonderful job inspiring the young gardeners.

So there you go, I have taken you for a walk along the top avenue of the Alameda and it leads us up to this point where you can see the Bay of Gibraltar glistening through the trees. I’m sure you’ll agree with me it’s a really marvellous green space and one which is much needed in such a built up environment. I always feel so much better after a visit. This isn’t goodbye though, I’ll be back for another stroll here before too long, because there’s still more for me to show you.

Thanks for joining me, I hope to see you soon.

 

 

A stroll around Gibraltar No 7: The Alameda Gardens Part 1

The Alameda Botanic Gardens sits snugly between the town centre of Gibraltar and the South District. A calm, quiet, green oasis amongst the busy and densely populated streets, the Alameda Gardens are the lungs of Gibraltar. When we first moved to the Rock after leaving our ‘average’ three bedroomed semi-detached house with a front and back garden,  moving into an apartment with small children was a shock to the system. Very fortunately for us we lived very close to the gardens and they were a real life-saver and sanity restorer for me. We had lost our garden (which we rarely used because of the inclement British weather) but we had the most gorgeous park a short stroll from our new home.

We visited the Gardens again at the weekend as a family, it had been a few months since we’d been and we had such a great time, I thought I’d share this beautiful part of Gibraltar with you.

The Botanical Gardens were first established in 1816 and were funded in the beginning with a series of charitable donations. They fell into disrepair towards the end of the last century but for the past 20 years or so, they have been maintained by a team of horticulturalists and a band of volunteers.

It is such a beautiful, calm place to be. Full of mature trees and plants and brimming with history.

The main entrance to the Alameda Gardens is watched over by this bust of General George Eliott a former Governor of Gibraltar during the Great Siege of 1779 – 1782.

The beautiful surroundings are more than just a nice place to be, they offer a valuable educational resource to some of the school children of Gibraltar too. The Alameda Gardening Club gives kids, many of whom would otherwise grow up with no experience of gardening (because they live in apartments), the chance to get their hands dirty and have a go at growing things. How cute is the Bee Hotel and the flowery scarecrow?!

I think this little section of the gardens is the cheeriest place of all, as clearly the children have had a great time tending their little patch.

A stone’s throw away from the children’s garden is the beautiful Dell, the lush green sunken garden is the venue for many Gibraltar based wedding ceremonies and photo shoots.

The luscious planting is so well maintained and is picture perfect.

This beautiful section of the gardens isn’t open to the public but can be enjoyed from above from this stunning footbridge:

Are you beginning to understand why I loved this place so much when we first arrived in Gib? It’s stunning. We have had so many happy hours here, teaching small people to ride bikes on this pathway below, having picnics on a bench when apartment life became too stifling and collecting fallen leaves and bug hunting with my little botanist.

Every part of this place is just lovely, from the formal promenades to the meadow style sections. It’s just so green – which is so needed by a garden and plant lover like myself.

The Alameda Gardens even have a literary connection, this statue is of Molly Bloom, a character in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, who spent her youth in Gibraltar. The novel makes mention of the Alameda Gardens and for that reason, the statue was placed here.

As you would expect from a botanical garden, there are a wide variety of plants on display with various flower beds and areas dedicated to plants from specific parts of the world or particular climates. A big favourite with the younger members of the Postcard family is this tropical section with the wooden walkway through the palms and banana leaves. Partly because it feels like you are walking through the jungle and partly because it’s right next door to the park!


Speaking of which – check it out! How cool is this park?? When we first arrived in Gibraltar seven years ago, it didn’t look like this. It had the feeling of a slightly neglected play park from the 1970s. I was right back to my childhood with the metal see-saw, roundabout and squeaking swings! However a few years back the park was shut down for several months and this great adventure playground sprung up in it’s place. It’s set out over 3 levels with activities for the smaller children at the bottom (shown here) and more adventurous things further up including a fab see-saw which several children can fit on at once, a great spinning tee-pee shaped climbing frame and a climbing wall.

Perhaps the best thing of all is that it’s set within the gardens and that means it benefits from the shade of the mature trees all around it so even in the heat of mid-summer you can use it and benefit from a bit of shady respite. It’s such a great park and one which my boys love. We’ve had such fun times here with friends over the years.

Oh Alameda – how we love you so! We really should visit more often!

I do hope that you have enjoyed this stroll round Gibraltar’s Botanic Gardens, I have called this Part 1 because I have only just scraped the surface of what this great place has to offer and I’m sure I’ll be back again soon to share a bit more of this gem with you.

 

This is by no means a comprehensive view of the gardens, just a collection of photos and ramblings. If you would like to find out more about this beautiful green oasis, please check out the official website.

Until the next time, thanks for stopping by and bye for now!

Sister Sledge, treasure hunts & a praying mantis: August Bank Holiday fun

 
Wow, wow, wow! I had a fantastic night on Saturday entertained on the Sunborn yacht hotel by the amazing Sister Sledge. I was well and truly star struck (my first ever single was Frankie back in 1985). They were great and put on a fantastic show.  

 
They sang loads of their old hits, except Frankie (what a disappointment) but apart from that it was a great night. Everyone was up dancing and there was a real party atmosphere. It was a fun musical prelude ahead of the great Gibraltar Music Festival which happens next weekend. For such a small community, we really are lucky with the amount of entertainment we get to experience here. 

Sunday, by comparison, was a rather quieter affair in the Postcard household, it was a dull humid day again which didn’t inspire us to venture far from home until evening. There was a bit of pottering on the patio in the afternoon, tidying up and cutting back some of the summer growth in the garden. While attending to an Oleander bush, my husband spotted this little fellow:

  
The praying mantis caused much excitement for the boys, especially our young bug enthusiast. Field notes were taken and research done.

   

Many of our patio plants are past their best now unfortunately but this sunflower, which has multiple flowers and buds up its stem just keeps going! I do love sunflowers, they are so cheery.
  
After dinner we decided to pay the Gibraltar Fair one last visit. It ran for nine days and Sunday was its last night. Could we entice one of our boys to have a go on one of the rides this time? (See this post for more on our previous trip to Gibraltar Fair)

  
The answer is ‘Yes we could!’ The youngest of the family not only had a trip round on a carousel, he also had a great time on a bouncy castle. Perhaps we are a family of doers rather than watchers after all? Watch this space!

I reckon the weather here in Gibraltar got the memo that it was a British bank holiday here too, because it was yet another grey and gloomy day on Bank Holiday Monday. I had rather hoped we could fit in a final trip to the beach before school starts next week but I wasn’t inspired by the clouds. What could we do to tire out three boys who need to start going to bed early again ahead of the fast approaching start of term? A treasure hunt! A friend of mine had mentioned geocaching to me once a while ago and I’d downloaded the app to my phone but didn’t do anything with it, until today. 

If you haven’t heard of geocaching before I’ll explain; (if you have heard of it, apologies for this bit!) the aim of the exercise is to try and find a cache. A cache can be just a piece of paper in a box or other container which is well hidden from view in sometimes quite obvious places. You use the app to find them, it tells you which direction to walk in and roughly how far you are from your destination using GPS and offers clues for where to look. When you find the cache, to mark your discovery you update the app to say you’ve found it and sign and date the piece of paper before hiding it back in it’s original hiding place. These caches are hidden all over the world by folks who presumably enjoy purting their puzzle and problem solving skills to the test.

There are quite a few of these caches dotted around Gibraltar so I decided to try the area around the Botanic Gardens as there are three nearby and if we failed in our mission, at least we could have a trip to the small zoo there.  

 
The gardens really are lovely, although the grey sky and murkiness in this photo don’t  show it off to it’s best advantage! We ambled through the gardens and paid a visit to the Alameda Wildlife Park or ‘zoo’ as we like to call it. It’s tucked away in a small corner of the gardens and offers a home to a small and eclectic collection of animals, many of which have been rescued from smugglers.

  
The pot-bellied pigs are big favourites for us, as are the tortoises.

   
Of course there a few of Gibraltar’s most famous residents, the Barbary Macaques.


Check out this little guinea pig – it’s got such a lot of hair! (Or perhaps that should be fur)

  
Back down through the gardens we headed over this gorgeous bridge over the sunken garden.

  

The garden is beautiful and a real green oasis in a rather built up environment- I do enjoy spending time here.

 
We were, of course, on a mission to find treasure or at the very least a bit of paper in a plastic box so we set off on our first mission. It was unsuccessful. Hunting around looking for something I had never seen before in grotty holes reminded me of the frustration I’m faced with daily as a mother of young boys who constantly lose toys (or bits of toys). I was not really enjoying this geocaching lark, so we gave up and went to the nearby shop and ate ice cream.

Reinvigorated and energized after a sugary treat we decided to push on and try to find a different cache. This was a short walk away and hidden in a wall. There are a lot of walls in Gibraltar and this particular one is over 100 metres long. After much rooting about in undergrowth and worried looks from passers-by I sat on a bench for a sip of water feeling defeated. That wasn’t the case for the rest of the team and the cache was discovered. There was much high-giving and congratulations. Feeling rather pleased with ourselves  we carried on and found a second one a short walk further along the road. 

I have to admit I’m intrigued by this geocaching business and would like to have another go soon. It’s interesting to see the names of the other people who have found them before you and signed the logs and also see where they have come from.  Have you had any experience of it? If so I’d love to hear from you. I haven’t included any pictures of the caches or where we found them as you may want to have a go at finding them yourself one day. That’s all for now, happy September to you all!