Sunday Sevens #201 15.9.19

Ahh that feels better, back in the Sunday Sevens saddle! I hope you’re all well and have had a good week! This week for me has felt more like 2 to be honest with the Gibraltar Calling Music Festival last weekend and National Day on Tuesday. I have to admit that I’m rather looking forward to a ‘normal’ week with a ‘normal’ routine next week! Here goes…

Sunday at Gibraltar Calling

Last Sunday was day 2 of the Gibraltar Calling Music Festival. We got there early in time to see the day kicked off by King Calaway. Those of you away from Gibraltar may not have heard of them so I’ll explain who they are….

They’re a relatively new band based in the USA and are comprised of individuals from across the states as well as Europe, including the gentleman below. He’s called Simon Dumas and is from Gibraltar. Simon’s pretty well known here for being in a couple of local bands with his brothers Guy & Philip as well as being a radio presenter here whilst he was away studying music in Manchester.

Since he graduated he joined this band, King Calaway and they’re having quite a bit of success in the States. They are a bit ‘country’ and have performed with big stars like Garth Brooks and played at the Grand Ol’ Opry. This was their first performance in Gibraltar and it went down a storm!

They even performed one of the old Frontier’s songs (his last band before leaving here) along with his brothers.

I hope they don’t leave it too long to return!

Next up was Tom Walker …

Then I nipped over to the classic stage for a bit of David Essex’s set.

And then back in time for Rick Astley! Never gonna give you up….

The run away highlight of the day had to be Take That. Yes, that’s right – TAKE THAT!!!!!

Oh my word, they were terrific.

The fun didn’t stop there, Mel C from the Spice Girls came on to DJ. I’ve never heard a Spice Girls track (Who do you think you are) mixed with Nirvanas Smells like Teen Spirit before but I loved it!!

After that, a Queen tribute act came on but we headed home soon after they came on stage. Well it was after 1am and it was school the next day… 😳

National Day 2019

Two days later was Tuesday 10th September, Gibraltar National Day. The day when everyone wears red & white and has fun basically. We had aerobatic displays to watch…

Some people created the biggest tented city I’ve ever seen on Catalan Bay beach!

And in the evening we had a the obligatory National Day fireworks display.

Town centre Oasis

After all the excitement of the previous few days it was nice to take a moment to enjoy a bit of quiet in town while ferrying Little Postcards to after school activities!

Moody skies

Friday night saw moody skies brewing. Not far up the coast near Malaga there were terrible floods and some people lost their lives in the heavy downpours. We were extremely fortunate to escape that.

Gibraltar day still in evidence!

Even yesterday the place was still looking festive. Some shop keepers really go to town with their window displays – they look lovely.

And so here we are at the end of a rather long Sunday Sevens. I can pretty much guarantee that next week’s won’t be as exciting – but you never know what’s around the corner do you? Have a great week!

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

Sunday Sevens #154 16.9.18

Sunday has come round remarkably quickly this week, I’m not sure I’m ready! I hope you’ve had a good week…

Back up the steps

Last Sunday I took the bull by the horns and headed back up the Med Steps for the first time since the Med Steps 5 in May. It had been too warm to attempt it before then, but Sunday felt a bit cooler, so I thought I’d have a go.

I was amazed at the progress being made at the building works for the Island Games (above) since my last visit.

I took quite a few breaks en route (including a stop off in one of the caves: above). And on my way back down, I spied the visiting submarine HMS Talent down below me in the harbour.

National Day

Monday was 10th September and around these parts that means it’s Gibraltar National Day. You can see more pictures in my last post for the Friday Photo Challenge.

Are you looking at me?

Wednesday morning saw me heading back up the Med Steps. On my way up, I came across a group of about 8 Barbary Patridges. They were so tame and very close to me, this one was giving me the once over though!

Murky night

Wednesday evening saw a sea mist come into the Bay and envelope all the ships out on the water. It was funny how the beams from their lights spread through the mist.

Watercolour class

Term restarted for my watercolour class, and I had a go at some poppies to get back into the groove. They were meant to be covered with splatters which was handy as they covered the area where I dropped my brush on the paper!!

I’m really looking forward to my dressmaking classes restarting next week!

Out and about

I had a nice walk on Friday morning with a few friends, it was calm and sunny and lovely to have a catch up. Unfortunately my walk was cut short this time with a minor crisis at home (which was resolved without incident) hopefully next time, I’ll get to walk further!

Birthday boy

We have a birthday coming up in the household soon and on Saturday we had a bit of a celebration. Pokémon cakes were the order of the day. Thank goodness for the stick-on pictures, they distracted from the wonky icing and burnt bits!!! They tasted ok thankfully!

That’s it for this week’s Sunday Sevens, a big thank you for everyone who’s taken the time to read it! I have had a bit of a spike in activity on my blog during the last 24 hours with lots of views from the UK, so hello to any new readers, it’s lovely to have you along. As always, I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Friday photo challenge (week 37) Pride

I’ve gone for national pride for this week’s Friday photo challenge. On Monday, Gibraltar celebrated it’s National Day, and both the place and the people were decked out in the red and white of the Gibraltar flag.

Shop windows looked suitably festive.

And some people went to great lengths to look the part…

Central to the day (aside from eating and drinking with family & friends) is the political rally, in which local and UK politicians speak to the gathered crowd and via TV and radio to those at home.

We even had a pre recorded message from Prime Minister Theresa May in Downing Street. The place was awash with red and white.

There were ticker tape & streamer cannons and even smoke things going off!

We were even treated to a death defying aerobatics display…. I could hardly watch…

And the day was finished off with a fireworks display.

Review of 2017

Crumbs, it’s looking awfully like we are on the cusp of another New Year, it surely can’t be a whole year since the last one, it’s gone far too fast. I guess now’s as good a time as any to have a look back at some of my Postcard from Gibraltar highlights from the past 12 months….

January 2017

A new year meant a new challenge for me this year, a photo challenge. Last year I read Nana Cathy’s blog and was intrigued by her weekly photo challenge. When January came around I thought I’d join in myself. It’s been such fun and quite inspiring throughout the year to have weekly prompts to find pictures for. If you fancy joining in check out Wild Daffodil’s blog for more information.

Also in January I joined forces with my friend Kate of H and FlossieDoodle to start the Gibraltar Crochet Collective. We did meet weekly to crochet and chat over coffee although our meetings have got less and less frequent due to other commitments lately. Our mascots Gib and Rocksy went for a bit of an adventure.

Another new project for me this month was my podcast, you can find my blogposts and the related podcasts here.

February 2017

In February I ran my Creative Gibraltar series looking at some of the very talented craftspeople who live in Gibraltar. I began with my lovely watercolour teacher Deborah M Lawson and ended with local craftswoman and up-cycling guru Sue Orfila. February also brought us the 2017 installment of Gib Talks. I was also fortunate to be able to speak to Gib Talks organiser Julian Felice before the event for one of my podcasts.

March 2017

March was a month for Lenten crochet (far easier than giving up chocolate) which helped support the Sixty Million Trebles effort, a beautiful Suffolk family wedding and a sad goodbye to our rescue bunny Snowflake.

April 2017

April began for us in Southwold in Suffolk, one of our favourite places and involved a lot of Med Steps training, which was very handy for burning off those seaside fish and chips! I was also able to finish another Sixty Million Trebles blanket – this one from the Gibraltar Crochet Collective.

May 2017

May meant Med Steps 5 Challenge again this year and I even managed to beat my time from last year! You can hear my podcast about it here. We also flew back to the UK for our second family wedding of the year.

June 2017

June started for us in Wigan in Lancashire, the location of our latest wedding and the perfect setting for a lovely walk. It was also the Calentita! food festival in Gibraltar. (For some reason the same aerial photo of Gibraltar appeared in May and June’s collages – not sure why that was. It is a good photo though don’t you think?).

July 2017

In July our big summer of travel began with a trip up to the North West of England and a flying visit to North Wales. We also drove to Portugal.

August 2017

This has got to be my most cosmopolitan of all months, featuring travel in Portugal, Rome, France and of course good old Gibraltar. Which reminds me, I have loads of holiday photos on my phone and camera SD card which are crying out to become blog posts – watch this space in the New Year.

September 2017

September is a big month on the Rock, this year more than most as Gibraltarians celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum when they voted overwhelmingly to remain British. Gibraltar National Day on 10th September coincidentally happened to be the day of my 100th Sunday Sevens. We also had a fabulous music festival.

October 2017

October brought with it some interesting weather, beautiful sunshine, murky mists and exciting lightning storms.

November 2017

November was a good crochet month for me as I finally got around to making last year’s Little Box of Crochet autumn wreath. I also greatly enjoyed this year’s Gibraltar Literary Festival with talks by Nicholas Parsons, Patrick Gale and local photographers and naturalists Clive, Geraldine and Stewart Finlayson.

December 2017

December seems to have rushed by in a flurry of end of term carol concerts and panicked making of Christmas presents (some of which failed to get finished in time). There have been some opportunities for peace and quiet though, namely the last Saturday before Christmas when we avoided the shops and headed for the beach for peace and tranquility.

Summer craft challenge

For the second year running, during the long summer holiday we get in Gibraltar, I decided to set aside a little time each day to do something crafty and I documented this with my Summer Craft Challenge. Each day I featured a photo on Instagram and each week I wrote a blog post on my progress.

At the beginning of the challenge I made a little amigurumi unicorn which I got the kit for in an edition of Simply Crochet magazine. I christened her Europa and she became my Summer Craft Challenge mascot and came on our travels with us. There were several occasions when the Little Postcards thought Mummy had lost her marbles posing a crocheted unicorn in various European locations for photographs…

This year, I returned to work part-time after 13 years as a full-time, stay at home Mum. I have to admit that during the last few months I have found it hard to make time for Postcard from Gibraltar alongside my new commitments and at times I’ve wondered whether I can actually keep it up. I have had some really lovely comments and support from my online friends and that’s kept me going. Thank goodness I have Sunday Sevens and the weekly photo challenge to keep me ticking over during ‘dry’ spells.

I think I would really miss the community I have ‘met’ through Postcard from Gibraltar, and if I’m honest, it’s you and the support you’ve given me which gave me the confidence to apply for the job in the first place. Thank you very much to everyone who’s taken the time to read my posts over the past 2 and a half years, and for the virtual friendship you have given me too – it’s not taken for granted. Every comment and like is very much appreciated.

Here’s to 2018 and all the wonderful challenges it may bring!

Best wishes to you and yours for the New Year x

Sunday Sevens #51 2.10.16

Let the sewing begin!

Three weeks into our dressmaking course and we have finished with the pattern drawing and cutting and we are now in the process of constructing a sample top. Because it’s a sample, we are just using curtain lining material to make it, hence the rather boring photo. I’m eager to get this finished and move onto the next ‘real’ project.

Bunny bombshell

Bunny Postcard had a trip to the vets this week. We had been meaning to take him for months so that he could have some vaccinations to allow him to play out in our back patio. Now the weather is beginning to cool a little bit, we thought he might like to have a hop about outside. The first thing the vet said when she saw Bunny was ‘Oh what a lovely girl’. I thought nothing of it, thinking clearly she’s made a mistake…

Once the full medical was done, including checking his heart, ears, eyes and teeth, the vet cottoned onto the fact that we had never actually officially been told Bunny’s gender. Well the big news this week is that Bunny is officially a girl! It’s taken a bit of time for that news to sink in in certain quarters, but I’m thrilled to know that at last I am no longer the only female in the Postcard household!

Suspension 

When I flew back from Yarndale last weekend, not only did I bring with me a suitcase full of yarn and wonderful memories, I also brought my Mum and Dad with me too. They hadn’t been to see the Windsor suspension bridge yet so one afternoon this week, while the Little Postcards were still at school, we took a walk up the Rock and along the bridge. I have to say, since my last visit, a discernible creak has developed as you walk from one side of the gorge to the other which did put me slightly on edge. The view is still as stunning as ever from there though.

Not much painting going on…

Inspired by our summer holiday in Southwold back in August, I decided that my next paining project should include some of the beautiful beach huts you see along the seafront. Last week I spent the entire lesson trying to sketch out the huts freehand, and not using a ruler. Unfortunately due to the composition of the photo I’m using and it’s perspective, even when just one line was out of place, it made the whole thing look wonky and a bit rubbish.

This week after a quick refresher lesson on perspective, horizons and eyelines, my teacher very kindly gave me some tracing paper to get the skeleton of the picture down onto the paper so that at least next week I can start painting. Shhh, don’t tell anyone I cheated 😉

Interesting keyhole



I went exploring over the border in La Linea on Friday morning looking for yarn shops (not that I need to buy any more after Yarndale last weekend mind you). I had heard there were some and that they sold nice stuff. Thinking ahead to Christmas presents and such like I thought it was worth following it up.

Almost next door to a really lovely yarn shop, this most unusual keyhole caught my eye on the front door of an old building. There’s some really lovely architecture amongst all the late twentieth century and more modern apartments and shop fronts if you keep your eyes open. Next time, I need to take my camera with me….

Cake anyone? 

Yesterday, if you were in Gibraltar town centre there’s a good chance you were  ‘encouraged’ to part with your cash for raffle tickets and cakes for the Scouts. As two of the Little Postcards are in Scouts, there was a bit of baking going on this week for the annual cake stall fundraiser. My fairy cakes aren’t in this picture, they were hidden down at the other end of the stall… I photographed the pretty cakes instead 😉

Rainbow hope blanket completed


Begun on the last day of August (the very last day of the school summer holidays) and completed on the last day of September – it’s taken me a month to complete my contribution to the Sixty Million Trebles project. The blanket I made will join hundreds of others and be joined to make the worlds biggest ever blanket. It will be used to yarn bomb a site in London before being unpicked to make ‘normal-sized’ blankets which will go to charities in the UK and Syria.

The project is being run to raise awareness about the plight of the sixty million refugees who are displaced from their homes around the world at the moment. It will also raise funds for the cause too. It’s hoped that sixty million treble stitches will be crocheted to represent all the people who have been driven from their homes. Where ever my Rainbow Hope Blanket ends up, I hope it brings some hope to whoever receives it. This 36″ square blanket adds 10,656 trebles to the current count of almost five million.

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Nat at Threads & Bobbins. For more information about it, and if you would like to join in, why not  pop over to her blog.

 


Sunday Sevens #48 11.9.16

Crochet in the midday sun


On Monday we were given an extra bank holiday here in Gibraltar. We celebrated National Day yesterday, and as it fell on a Saturday we got an extra day off tagged on the end of the Gibraltar Music Festival weekend. Mr Postcard had to go to work for some of the day so I took the Little Postcards to Europa Point to take their bikes out for a spin.

As they cycled round trying to avoid taking out a few tourists on the way past, I carried on with my #sixtymilliontrebles project. It’s coming on so quickly it’s bigger than the lighthouse already ;-).

Sometimes it’s easy to forget just where we live. As I sat hooking up my trebles the voice of a tour guide was carried in my direction on the breeze ‘…the amazing thing about Europa Point is that from here you can see three countries, two continents, an ocean and a sea.’ Good point Mrs Tour Guide, and I’m just sitting on a bench hooking up granny squares oblivious to this amazing backdrop…

An evening out

We had a lovely night out child-free this week. We had no plans and went out for a walk not knowing where we would end up. Our final destination was Queensway Quay where we enjoyed a lovely meal. It was so pretty there at sunset.

And relax…


On Thursday morning I found myself with a whole hour of free time. It was the first time since all three children returned to school that I’d completed my to-do list with time to spare before heading out on the midday school run. Life will be so much easier once full-days return to school next week. (Schools here finish at lunchtime for the last few weeks of summer term and before National Day in September). 

I’d been to collect my latest issue of Simply Crochet magazine from the post office and all the shopping was put away. So I had a guilt free flick through 🙂

Aerobatics 


Friday saw the Rock gearing up for the National Day yesterday. A now regular feature of the celebrations is an aerobatic display. The pilots had a practice run late on Friday afternoon and it was quite a sight to behold across the Bay. I spied them out of the window and dashed to grab my phone for a quick photo. By the time I’d got out onto the balcony they’d gone from right in front of our building to down near the lighthouse at the tip of Gibraltar! 

They were amazing – although I couldn’t imagine ever having a ride in one!!

Gibraltar National Day 2016

It was a scorcher of a day here yesterday as Gibraltar celebrated it’s national pride in style. Some people choose to spend it on the beach, others in town. We had a quiet lunch with friends and a walk through the Alameda Gardens.


It wouldn’t be National Day without a great fireworks display. It was spectacular as usual (not so great for our four legged friends though).


So there you have it, the summer is officially over now. We had a long school summer break, the fair came to town, then the Gibraltar Music Festival last weekend and now National Day has passed us by. Schools go back on Monday for full days, so it’s packed lunches and after school clubs all the way to the end of October! 

Thank you for stopping by, this has been Sunday Sevens, part of a weekly blog series devised by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog

10 things I’ve learned about Gibraltar 

  
Today’s a special day here in Gibraltar, it’s the 10th September which means it’s National Day 2015. It’s a day when shops, schools and offices close and the population of the Rock heads outside attired in the national colours of red & white to celebrate their national pride. There are political rallies reaffirming the people’s right to self determination, concerts, firework displays and a not insignificant amount of alcohol imbibed. 

 
 
This was the scene in Casemates Square last National Day, it was hot, incredibly busy but really good natured. As you wander along Main Street during the day you see all sorts of sights with musicians, performers and fancy dress costumes. Oh, and there are usually a few bemused tourists made conspicuous by the fact they didn’t get the red and white memo!

 
 So on such an auspicious day I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned about Gibraltar since I arrived a few years back. Here we go:

1. It’s small but perfectly formed

Considering how much the people of Gibraltar achieve on the world stage, (being represented at the United Nations on the matter of relations with Spain, having a football team in UEFA, and being home to a Miss World winner – Kaiane Aldorino in 2009 to name but three) it’s comparatively tiny. If you were to walk or run around the Rock, you would cover a distance of approximately 10 kilometres.

2. It’s a long way up

The Rock of Gibraltar is 426 metres high, which makes it taller than the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building or the Shard.

3. You can enjoy four seasons in one day (well kind of) 

 

Due to the geography of Gibraltar, proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Iberian peninsular and it’s height, there are several micro climates around the Rock. It can humid on Main Street, blowing a gale at the airport, be misty in South District and sunny and hot at Catalan Bay all on the same day! Oh and I may sound like I have gone soft living in these southern climes, but it really does get cold, wet and windy in winter. Homes here don’t have central heating, we rely on electrical heating, which isn’t great – our lounge fell below 10 degrees Celsius last winter a few times brrrrr!

4. There’s great religious diversity here

  

The largest religious community in Gibraltar is Roman Catholic, but several other Christian denominations are represented, there’s the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity for Anglicans as well as the King’s Chapel, St Andrew’s Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church, and several smaller evangelical churches. There’s also a large Jewish community with four active Synagogues here. In addition, there are two Mosques including the beautiful Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque pictured above situated at Europa Point. Tucked away behind Main Street you can find a Hindu Temple. There is also a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses a short walk from the Cruise Terminal.

5. The entire civilian population was evacuated during World War 2

Even today Gibraltar is home to Army, Navy and RAF bases, back in World War 2 it was seen as a strategic military strong hold. Tunnels were dug deep into the Rock and some servicemen were even on standby to be bricked up into secret tunnels in the event that Gibraltar was captured, in order to spy on the invading force. During the war Gibraltar residents were forcibly moved from their homeland, put into ships and sent to destinations like Casablanca, blitz bombed London, Madeira and Jamaica. For some it would be ten years before they were able to return home. This year is the 75th Anniversary of the Evacuation and on Monday this week there was an extra bank holiday, known as Evacuation Memorial Day, to commemorate it.   

6.  If you turn up at the beach without the right kit, locals know you’re an amateur  

 

There’s a particular type of beach culture here, no matter how early you turn up in the morning, there will be clusters of deck chairs and sun parasols there already. There are clearly spots where families regularly set up camp, and they guard their turf by marking it out early. Also, if you tip up to the beach with just a bag, a book and a towel, you will stand out a mile – you need to know what to bring. Deck chairs are a must, as is a parasol. But woe betide you if you just stick it in the sand and leave it like that. You’ll soon learn that the local winds whipping round the Rock will have your umbrella blowing halfway down the beach and spearing an unsuspecting sunbather before your bottom’s been heaved out of your folding chair! A screw in mechanism on the pointy end of the post is desirable but a couple of lengths of washing line tied to the top and anchored into the beach with sandbags or tent pegs are de rigeur. Special hooks on the stem of the parasol are common place allowing beach-goers to hang valuables and clothing out of the sand. Picnic tables, cool boxes and umbrella awnings are also useful. 

7. Gibraltarians love to chat

Where ever you are in Gibraltar you will see people chatting, in clusters on Main Street, at the tills in Morrisons, even in the middle of the road. Scooter riders will drive in pairs chatting or alongside a car chatting through an open window to the driver at speed. Traffic will stop dead in the road while one driver stops to chat to a pedestrian or someone coming the other way. It’s quite something to behold, although at times rather frustrating, when you have to wait for the conversation to finish before you can complete your journey. You can choose the shortest queue in Morrisons and still be the last one out as the person in front strikes up a conversation with the cashier. I can only assume it’s because many people have spent most of their lives here and therefore know practically everyone! One overwhelmingly positive side effect of all this chatting means that on arrival here, you’ll never be lonely. If you are at the bus stop, in the aforementioned queue in Morrisons or sitting on a bench in the Alameda Gardens, there’s a very good chance someone will come and speak to you. This openness is part of what endeared the people of Gibraltar to me, meaning you soon get to know people.

8. Gibraltar’s a hotspot for twitchers 

  

Due to it’s position at the very south of Europe and it’s proximity to the continent of Africa, many migrating birds pass through the skies above Gibraltar on their migration routes north and south. Kites, eagles, kestrels and vultures can be seen passing overhead, and of course there’s also the locally resident Barbary Partridges too.

9. The apes don’t just stay at the top of the Rock

  

Most visitors to Gibraltar make the trip to the summit of the Rock in order to encounter our hairy neighbours, the Barbary Macaques. However, at times (especially when they spot a cruise ship coming into port) they make their way down into town. They also take unsuspecting visitors by surprise by coming in through open hotel windows at the Caleta and Rock Hotels. I was once mugged by an ape who assumed the plastic bag I was carrying contained food. It was grabbed out of my hand while I waited to cross the road and ripped open. The balls of wool inside were jettisoned in disgust once they’d been spotted to be inedible.

10. Although it’s stirling, you can’t spend Gibraltar cash in the UK

  

The currency here is stirling, there’s no exchange rate – it’s worth exactly the same as notes and coins minted by the Bank of England. British notes and coins are readily excepted in retail outlets here in addition to the locally produced money. However, if you try to spend Gibraltar cash in the UK you won’t get very far with your transaction. You can’t even use it on a flight leaving from Gibraltar airport rendering you thirsty, hungry and unable to purchase duty free! So, if you come to visit, you need to spend it all before you leave OR keep it safe until your return. 
I hope you’ve enjoyed this round up of facts about the place I call home. Have a great Gibraltar National Day wherever you are in the world!