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

A Postcard from Wigan

Last week, we found ourselves in Wigan for a very special family wedding. We had a lovely time and made some very happy memories. We spent the night of the wedding in a hotel in Standish, near Wigan and awoke to enjoy a gloriously sunny morning ahead of our flight back home to Gibraltar. The hotel was set in beautiful landscaped grounds so we headed out for a wander after breakfast.

Regular readers to this blog will know I have a bit of a thing for trees, especially the mature deciduous varieties and there were plenty for me to enjoy (and a rather fetching evergreen too).

At the very edge of the grounds was a footpath leading to Worthington Lakes, a series of lakes maintained by North West Water. Do you fancy joining us for a walk by the water?

How luscious and green… Those moss covered rocks are so inviting to touch, just like green velvet.

At the end of the path, we caught our first glimpse of the water through the trees.

The rhododendrons were looking stunning in the late spring sunshine.

I’m not a huge fan of rhododendrons to be honest, but their blooms were very pretty in the dappled morning sunlight.

The woodland path lead us along the edge of the lake. I think the Little Postcards enjoyed it as much as I did, going on a woodland adventure – it’s not something we get to do unless we are over visiting family in England. We really should seek out some woodland and countryside near to us in Spain.

The path brought us to a raised bank which divided the body of water into two. To the right there were yellow iris growing in the marshy banks.

To the left, there were fishermen enjoying the peace and quiet.

Oh, and there were some ducks too…

Across the grassy divide and we were back in amongst the trees again.


Did I mention, that I like trees? 😉

These hawthorn blossoms are a lovely shade of coral pink aren’t they?

The lake we were walking around appeared to be the central one of three. We could hear a waterfall not too far away through the trees, but we didn’t want to venture too far off the beaten track though as we had a plane to catch and I didn’t want to be having to change muddy clothes at the last minute!

The lake at the other end was completely different and had a bountiful show of water lily pads. You may just be able to make out the yellow buds of the lily flowers almost ready to burst open. I bet this will look glorious in a week or two.

There was much excitement when a heron was spotted sitting in a tree surveying the water.

We passed this water course with little brick bridges over it – do you know what they’re for? I have no idea.

We were then back on the bank of the central lake which would bring us back to the hotel.

We spotted a few trees with horseshoes nailed to them – perhaps this is a bridle path…

A highlight for my little botanist was the sighting of this grey squirrel in the branches overhead.

This rather fat fish was basking in the sunny shallows at the opposite side of the lake from the fishermen!

Just look at that blue sky!

And we were back at our hotel and it was time to head off to the airport… Goodbye Wigan, and thank you – it’s been lovely! 

A postcard from Formby Point

Back in August, when we were in the north of England visiting my family, we took a day trip to the Lancashire coast and visited Formby Point National Trust site. It’s a place I’d visited many years ago as a child, but couldn’t remember very much about. It is also home to on of Middle Postcard’s favourite animals – squirrels!!

Formby Point is a really interesting site. It’s right on the coast and includes beautiful dunes and a long stretch of beach but also encompasses a large pine forest which has winding paths through it and plenty of spots for a quiet picnic and adventures for little people. It’s home to a colony of red squirrels and if you are very lucky, you may be able to see one or two bouncing about on the branches overhead.


Our trip began with a rendezvous with my brother and ‘Funcle’ to the Little Postcards. He lives not too far away in Lancashire and was keen to join us on our squirrel hunt. He’s a very keen and talented photographer so relished the opportunity to take some snaps while we were on our walk. We met up with him the carpark just behind the dunes and climbed over them to see the beach.


As we reached the summit, the wind hit us. It was so gusty, you could feel the sand stinging the back of your legs through your trousers!!! We took a quick look along the beach but I was so scared of getting the flying sand into my camera that I just took a couple of quick snaps on my phone before heading to the shelter of the pine forest.

 

There were a few brave souls out on the beach, some even in short sleeves and shorts (we all had our hoods up and were zipped right up as far as it would go to reduce the pain of the stinging sand!!! We hung about long enough to be able to just make out The BIG One and Blackpool Tower in the distance before running for cover.

It’s hard to believe that these photos were taken on the same day – just moments apart. Once under the cover of the trees, the sun broke through the clouds above and we walked along the bouncy pine needle strewn path through gentle dappled shade. It’s such a tranquil place, the only sound being the wind blowing through the branches above and the dulcet sounds of Little Postcards bickering in the background. 😉

Being a National Trust venue, there were plenty of volunteer guides on site to help with any questions and dish out maps of the area. With just one aim in mind for the day (apart from having fun and enjoying a picnic lunch) we set off on our quest to find some red squirrels – it can’t be that hard can it?

Formby isn’t just famous for it’s red furry residents, it is also home to the local delicacy of Formby Asparagus. It can be enjoyed during a very short season from early May until the 21st June – sadly we had missed it. For generations, local farmers levelled the local dunes to create perfect growing conditions for the crop. In it’s heyday more 200 acres were cultivated but these days just 10 acres of Formby Asparagus are grown here. This stunning tree carving was created to celebrate the local speciality.

After much wandering through the beautiful pine forest and green fields, our search for red squirels was proving fruitless. Little Postcards and the grown ups were becoming hungry and a picnic spot needed to be found.

At the entrance to a large grassy area – perfect for a picnic, we found this lovely sculpture carved from a tree trunk.


After the sandwiches had been scoffed and the flask of coffee drunk, the grown ups settled down for a doze in the sunshine while the Little Postcards wandered into the woods close by. It was so nice for them to have a bit of freedom to wander knowing that they couldn’t go far. We could hear them – but couldn’t see them. They enjoyed the independence that gave them and for Littlest, it was a great adventure to climb trees and have a woodland adventure with his big brothers.
While on their adventure, they were constantly on the look out for the squirrels – although the noise they were making as they wandered the meandering woodland paths probably sent the squirrels scarpering! A few very jazzy striped caterpillars were satisfactory discoveries though.


After an hour or so at our lovely picnic spot, we decided to head back to the cars so that we could get back home without hitting the rush hour traffic on the motorways back to Manchester. Our walk back through the pine forest was bound to yield a squirrel sighting wasn’t it?

As we got deeper into the forest, we spied a group of people eagerly pointing up into the tree canopy and craning to see movement with their binoculars. Squirrels were in the area! Well they were until just before we arrived. An elderly couple had been sitting on a bench patiently waiting to see some squirrels for quite some time.

Just as a couple of the illusive residents had put in an appearance, a family with young children had come along at just the right moment to see them too. All this had happened just seconds before we arrived, but sadly by then, Squirrel Nutkin and his mate were nowhere to be seen!

So did we achieve success in our quest to see some of the famous Formby Point red squirrels? We only saw this one…

…..he came home with us.

 

…..Oh and there was this one too on the side of an ice cream van!

Never mind – there’s always next time!

 

For more information about Formby Point, have a look at the National Trust Formby website.

 

Sunday Sevens #43 7.8.16

It may be our summer holidays at the moment but we’ve packed a lot in this week: three train journeys, two big cities, two woodland walks and two trips to the coast (one on the Irish Sea, the other on the North Sea).

All aboard!

The Abbotsfield Park Miniature Railway is a must-do destination on our stays in Manchester. Myself and my brother were regular visitors to the Sunday-only train track and it’s grown in size over the years. 

Manned by enthusiastic volunteers who charge just 30p each for a ride around the circuit of track. It’s great value for money and really good fun. I may have to borrow some children when mine are too old to be interested in it any more so I can still go for a ride 😉

Sale Water Park

I’ve not visited Sale Water Park in years so we made the most of a dry sunny afternoon and headed there for a waterside woodland walk. 

Another train trip…


Monday morning meant another train trip for us, this time it was a short hop over to Liverpool to visit some friends (another family who once lived in Gibraltar and  have moved back to England with work). We had a fantastic day out visiting museums and seeing the sights. The trip deserves a whole post of its own so there will be one on its way soon.

Dandelions


I’ve not blown a dandelion clock for years. It was 12 o’clock apparently. The Postcard family did their bit for dandelion propagation at the local park.

A trip to the beach…

It’s August, we’re on our holidays – let’s go to the beach! We drove to Formby Point National Trust on the Lancashire coast to see the sand dunes and red squirrels. It was rather windy and we got well and truly sandblasted. My face was tingling hours later! We had a lovely walk though through the pine forest and it stayed dry so I’m not complaining.

A long journey 


On Friday morning we were up with the larks and off on the next leg of our trip. Mr Postcard checked Bunny into his health farm and flew to join us the night before. 8am saw us in central Manchester catching the train south & east. By late afternoon we’d finally arrived in beautiful Southwold our home for the rest of our holiday. 

RNLI Lifeboat week

The RNLI celebrated lifeboat week off the beach at Southwold yesterday. The local lifeboat crew was joined by the one from nearby Lowestoft and rescued surfers, swimmers and fishermen from peril in the dramatic display. The great weather brought crowds to the beach and the promenade above to watch the spectacle. What an amazing job these hero volunteers do. 

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog. It gives bloggers the chance to link up and feature seven photos from the last seven days. To find out more about it, pop over to Threads & Bobbins for more info. 

Until next time, thanks for stopping by 

🙂