Sunday Sevens #27 17.4.16

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at the Threads & Bobbins blog. It gives you a chance to reflect some of the things you’ve been doing in your week through a series of seven photographs. To find out more, or to join in, pop over to her blog for more information.

I hope you’ve had a good week, it’s been a busy one here and I can’t believe Sunday’s come around so quickly again!


Med Steps training

A certain seriousness has come into our training for the Med Steps challenge this week with the realisation that we have just a month left to build up our stamina to manage 5 times up the steep climb to the top of the Rock in one day. The charity event, which raises money for the Cancer Relief Centre here in Gibraltar, is open to individuals and teams (some of whom actually run up!?). You can enter a team of 5 and each individual can do  it once or like us (in our little team of 3) you can all do it 5 times. We won’t be breaking any records and the event is open from 9 until 5 on the day so there’s a very good chance we’ll take a long time to complete it. 

One morning we all got together for a team training session – our first collective one for weeks, and did twice round. It’s starting to get really rather hot and this photo was taken on our second circuit (not too far from the top) when I stopped for a breather and some water. We are praying for overcast weather on the big day so we don’t all keel over from exhaustion and sun stroke – I fear some unflattering head gear may be de-rigeur. I’ll keep you posted on our progress, we are stepping up our training this week….

Postcard family bake-off 

We have a Postcard family birthday coming up soon and one of the little Postcards thought we should have a baking competition to decide on the birthday cake of choice ahead of the event. Sadly it was not in the luscious English countryside and neither Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry nor Mel or Sue were in attendance (probably for the best). 

Now, I do enjoy eating cakes but am not the world’s best baker by any means. In the interest of family harmony, I ‘threw’ the competition (shh – don’t tell anyone) by making millionaire’s shortbread ably assisted by the smallest Postcard while another young Postcard made a chocolate fudge cake with a garnish of sweets! The chocolate fudge cake won as it was a ‘cake’ and did taste rather good. The millionaire’s shortbread was incredibly sickly although it did improve on chilling. Now I have to make another cake in time for the birthday celebrations!! Just as well I’m doing the steps a lot in order to burn all of this off!

Final home furnishings class

This week, we had the last of our 12 home furnishings classes and we made curtain tie-backs. You may notice they are the same fabric as the cushion I made last time for the transport fan in my life – I hope he likes them!  The Transport for London inspired material came into my possession after reading  Nana Cathy’s blog post about The Remnant House (a great fabric shop in York). I had a look at their website and bought myself some great fabric to make things for my boys. So thank you Nana Cathy for telling me about this fab shop. I hope one day to visit it for real, although I fear I’ll end up adding considerably to my stash and to-do list when that time comes! 

If you are in Gibraltar or nearby, and fancy having a go at learning to make curtains, cushions and tie-backs, I was taught by Dorcas Hammond of Dorcas Hammond Designs. She’s very experienced and a great teacher. Pop into her shop on Governor’s Street or find her on Facebook to get more info on her classes.

Dressmaking class

Sewing has begun in ernest on my first ever lined skirt in my dressmaking class. I had to unpick and re-sew my invisible zip but apart from that it was a good lesson this week and I’m pleased with the progress I made. Fingers crossed the rest of the skirt will go well 🙂

Watercolour class

  
In watercolour class this week, we focused on skies and the different techniques you can use to paint them. One of the most interesting finds was that by painting a thin wash of raw sienna first even under blue you can get a really nice glow. I’ve got work to do on my cloud formation as they are a little sausuge shaped for now but it was fun.

A nocturnal visitor

Spring must be here because for the first time this year I spotted one of these little chaps on the bathroom window. You can see the lizards or geckos even in the middle of winter here if it’s a sunny day. They crawl out from their hibernation place and bask in a sheltered sunny spot, but they disappear long before the sun goes down and the temperature drops. This week though, we have started to have a few warmer evenings and so this little chap was lying in wait for an unsuspecting moth to come fluttering next to our bathroom window and pounce! It’s quite spectacular when it happens – like a mini version of ‘Wildlife on One’ on your window!

Bunny update

Bunny’s doing well and his fringe is continuing to grow, however because of his long hair/fur he has a tendency to get dreadlocks and matted areas despite regular brushing so we are going to  have to take him to the vets soon to have a bit cut out near his tail. It’s a bit close to his tail for us to want to attempt to cut in case we hurt him. He also needs some injections so that he can have a hop about on our back patio too… poor bunny it’s as bad as having to hoodwink kids into going to the clinic for jabs 😦 not looking forward to that.

I hope you have a great week, goodbye for now!

The Med Steps: a sunny autumn walk

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It’s been a good few months since my trainers saw the light of day and my lax attitude to exercise has resulted in a few extra pounds being gained, so I decided that today was the day I’d set about doing something to rectify the situation. After a few grey and damp starts lately, we woke up to a beautiful day and there’s nothing like a bit of sunshine to lift the spirits and get you moving. This morning, once the rest of the family was ensconced in work and school I headed off on a walk up our lovely Rock of Gibraltar. There are a number of ways to travel to the top (most people opt for car, taxi, bus and cable car) but on two feet you can head up several different routes using paths, roads and steps. My favourite, and definitely the most scenic route I’ve tried, is the footpath known as the ‘Med Steps’. It’s a bit of a misleading name as it isn’t just made up of steps, although there are many, much of the route is over rough ground and rocky paths.

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The start of the route is close to Jews Gate at the entrance to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve where a rather unassuming shady wooded path leads upwards and south around the edge of the Rock. This (apart from the summit) is my favourite part of the walk as it feels so cool and secluded there and you could almost be on a woodland walk in the British Isles (I do still get homesick sometimes). As you continue, you come out of the trees and you’re greeted by this fab view –  the Straits of Gibraltar in all it’s glory with Morocco in the distance. See I told you it was a beautiful morning!

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The temperature rose dramatically once I reached the eastern side of the Rock, the sun was belting down and it’s light was reflected off the Mediterranean below. Perhaps I should have waited to clear the breakfast things and make the beds after the walk rather than before, I don’t think I’ll leave it so late in future to set off on such a trip!

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One of the slightly disheartening things about this route, is that a little way into the walk, once you have climbed to quite a height, you are faced with some downward steps. The thing is, you know that you need to climb to the very top of the Rock, so it seems such a shame to be heading downhill at this point knowing you’ll have to regain the height a little bit further along.

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Quick stop for a sip of water and to take in the view…

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There are plenty of things to see when you are on this walk, there are even caves to explore. Well they don’t got very far back, but a cave’s a cave isn’t it?

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Onwards and upwards, these steps look very steep from down here don’t they?

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One big highlight for me this late morning was this short tunnel, I was beginning to regret setting off just before 11am by this point and my water bottle was already nearly half empty, knowing I had a good bit further to walk, I took sanctuary for a few moments in the gorgeous, cool shade of this tunnel. Thank you, who ever built it, it was most welcome today!

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It’s the military who we have to thank for creating this lovely footpath. Much of it is cut out of the side of the Rock itself and dotted along the route are a few little plaques like this one reminding us of it’s history.

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Another reminder of days gone by and the Rock’s role as a fortress are the various military look out points built along the side of the path.

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Isn’t this a stunning view (below)? From this part of the walk, you are facing north and can see the beaches along Gibraltar’s eastern side (Sandy Bay in the forground, Catalan Bay and Eastern Beach), beyond these you can see Spain and the Costa del Sol stretching out into the distance.

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I saw a bit of wildlife on my walk, bugs, birds and a good few lizards making the most of the warm sunshine. All bar one were too fast for me to photograph, but I caught a snap of this little chap before he skittered away into the cover of the plants.

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More steps…

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Nearly there, I’ve just climbed up all of those!

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The final push.

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Made it!

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Now for the descent. With the road underfoot, it’s a lot less arduous on this side of the Rock which is just as well, as the views of the town below can sometimes be a bit of a distraction. No accidents allowed!

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On the descent, I passed through the tourist hotspot of St Michael’s Cave, there were literally dozens of taxis and tour buses parked there bringing tourists up the Rock to take in the view and of course pay a visit to Gibraltar’s most famous, hairy inhabitants.

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As you can see the apes obliged and came out in in large numbers to greet their visitors.

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It’s on mornings like today I feel very lucky to be living in such an interesting and beautiful place as Gibraltar. Less than an hour’s walk from my front door and I’m up the Rock and in amongst the wildlife. As you have seen, the views from the top and on the way up and down are amazing. Add to that the gorgeous weather we have had today – hotter than an English summer’s day I reckon, and it’s easy to get over the twinges of homesickness I get from time to time.

Thank you for stopping by, I do hope you have enjoyed this little walk with me from the comfort of your armchair or wherever in the world you may be!