Sunday Sevens #92 16.7.17

This week’s Sunday Sevens sees our summer break beginning in earnest…

So long Gibraltar 

Last Sunday, myself and the three Little Postcards boarded a plane bound for Manchester. The summer holidays got off to a flying start in every sense of the word. As we left, we got this great view of the Rock and the Spanish Mediterranean coast before taking an unusual flight path along the Strait of Gibraltar hugging the Moroccan coastline before heading north. I have never flown that way before and it was interesting to see the Moroccan mountains complete with lakes and winding roads so closely.

Looking for colour on a grey day


I am a great lover of Manchester, having been born and brought up there. Marrying a southerner, I had to put up with years of abuse about it raining constantly in Manchester (it doesn’t by the way). Anyway, just to prove me wrong we have had a bit of iffy weather at the start and end of the week. To divert my attention away from the grey skies, I found tons of beautiful colour in the front gardens close to my parents’ house.

Cinema time


Another sketchy weather day on Tuesday saw us head to the cinema in the Trafford Centre to see Despicable Me 3. We try to go to the multiplex most summers when we visit. Being used to just 2 small screens at the cinema in Gibraltar, it’s a rather grand affair here in comparison. 

A trip to the country


Wednesday, and we took a trip to a very familiar place for me, Dunham Massey. This National Trust property featured heavily on my childhood Sunday afternoons. It’s beautiful deer are always a treat to see.

Harvest time

Back in June, I made a quick trip home to visit my parents and we stopped for a pub lunch on the outskirts of Warrington. At the time, I posted a photo of the beautiful field next door in my Sunday Sevens. We revisited the pub with the Little Postcards on Thursday as it was a warm and dry day and the pub had a great kids play area and football nets too. As we ate our lunch, we spotted some activity in the next door field – it was harvest time. That’s something we don’t get to see in Gibraltar!



Old and new

On Friday I took the Little Postcards into town to visit the fantastic Museum of Science and  Industry. We have been before, but not for a few years and felt it was due at return visit. The boys loved all the hands-on experiments. After the museum, we took a walk into the centre of Manchester. It has changed so much in recent years, but amongst all the new modern developments there are still some reach architectural jewels.

An astronomical trip


Yesterday we took a drive out to the Cheshire Plain to see the Jodrell Bank radio telescope and visitor centre. The venue for stargazing tv extravaganzas with the likes of Dr Brian Cox and Dara O’Brien, it’s certainly undergone a bit of a transformation since our last visit around 8 years ago. It was another hit with the Little Postcards for the hands-on exhibits. 


Thanks for joining me for this week’s Sunday Sevens. Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog.

Sunday Sevens #89 25.6.17

Hello there, I hope this week’s Sunday Sevens finds you well and happy. If you saw my last post, you will know that Postcard from Gibraltar is now the ripe old age of two years old! In some ways it feels like I have been writing these posts for ever, but in many other ways it feels like only recently I plucked up the confidence to start typing out my first blog post. Thank you to all of you for the positivity you have showed me over this last two years.

Now you see it… Now you don’t 


Well, Gib didn’t quite totally disappear, but you get the drift! Last Sunday we had talked about taking a trip into Spain, but we ended up staying a lot closer to home and heading down to Europa Point. We had visitors this week in the form of Mr Postcard’s parents and we went for a walk at Europa Point, the Little Postcards had a play at the park and I took my father-in-law for a walk down to the Europa Foreshore. 

While we sat chatting at the park I was watching the Levanter cloud coming and going over the peak of the Rock of Gibraltar. I kept taking pictures in the hope I would catch it completely obscured but this is as close as I got.

Dressmaking class 

In this week’s dressmaking class i actually managed to get some sewing done! I have lots track of the number of weeks I have spent drawing my new pattern. I am currently working on a blouse and boy, oh boy, it’s been a long drawn out affair. Well, the pattern is finished and this week I got the chance to actually sew. I made a sample collar ahead of the real thing. It was a relatively painless process, let’s see how the real thing turns out….

Chocolate cake and watercolours

We had a real treat at our watercolour class this week when one of my fellow students arrived bearing cake. She was weighed down with homemade flapjack and chocolate birthday cake from her daughter’s birthday party the day before. I was ‘forced’ to have a tiny sliver of flapjack and then was presented with this gorgeous piece of cake. It only slightly distracted me from finishing off my mussel shell…

Sports Day

I know I have featured a photo just like this one before in Sunday Sevens, but it never fails to amaze me when I take a seat at the Victoria Stadium for one of the Little Postcards’ Sports Days and see them running their races at the National Stadium with the Rock of Gibraltar as a back drop. It’s such a far cry from the school field behind a row of terraced houses that I competed on when I was trying to balance a clay egg on a table spoon!

Season of sea mists

We have had some belting sea mists this week. I know it is the season for it, and perhaps with the very hot weather we have been ‘enjoying’ of late, it has added to the phenomenon. Some days it has come all of a sudden and taken me by surprise, other days I have been able to watch it slowly creep up the Bay from the Strait and towards land. I love listening to the huge tankers almost singing to each other with their fog horns.

Dolphins!

As we had our special visitors this week, we decided to go out on a dolphin boat trip one afternoon when the Little Postcards had finished their half day at school. We were not disappointed as you can see. We saw literally hundreds of them. I took lots of photos on our trip and I will share some more of them in the next few weeks.

Against all odds…

You wouldn’t think that a pavement at the side of the beach would be the most fertile place for a flowering plant to thrive would you? One evening this week we took a trip to Catalan Bay to have dinner on a balmy summer evening and as we walked to the restaurant I spotted this plant growing up in a crack between the paving blocks. I am not completely sure what it is, but it does look a bit like the Hawaiian Busy Lizzies my Mum used to grow on her her kitchen windowsill and a woodier version of the Busy Lizzies I used to have in a hanging basket by my front door back in England  (I may be way off the mark with this). Anyway, whatever it is, it made me smile.

 

I hope that this has been a good week for you, whatever you have been up to. Thank you for stopping by, and thank you to everyone who has taken the time to post comments on my blog and who have responded to my Tweets this week too, that has made me smile as well.

 

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins.

2 years of Postcard from Gibraltar 


This month, Postcard from Gibraltar celebrates it’s second birthday. I had no idea where it would lead me when I wrote my first post and if I had a crystal ball and could see my life in June 2017 I would have been very pleasantly surprised to see that it is still going!


It’s opened all sorts of doors for me and achieved just what I hoped it would – getting my brain working again after spending over a decade at home with my children. It has led to me being asked to contribute to an online publication and given me the to confidence to apply for a small part-time job which I actually got!


It has given me an excuse to keep taking loads of photos as I wander about, and allowed me to waffle on about all my crafty hobbies!


This past 12 months has seen the launch of another Postcard from Gibraltar series “Creative Gibraltar” to add to my “Stroll around Gibraltar” series and most excitingly I was able to launch the Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast which you can find through the blog as well as on PodOmatic and, wait for it, iTunes! How cool is that?


Blogging has not only helped me build my confidence, I have also met so many lovely people through it both virtually and in real life. Last September I met my crochet heroine Lucy, from Attic 24 at the Yarndale Festival in Skipton, North Yorkshire and through Instagram I met the very talented Marisa, a Gibraltar born crocheter who lives in London and who has now launched her own blog Mariwish.

Lucy from Attic24 at Yarndale with Llanita the Yarndale Sheep

If you are thinking about taking the plunge and having a go at blogging yourself I can highly recommend it! Do have a go, you never know where it will lead…. 


As Postcard from Gibraltar enters it’s third year, I would like to say a sincere thank you for coming along on my adventure with me!

 

Sunday Sevens #86 4.6.17

Wowzers that’s been quite a week. A trip back home to England for my brother’s wedding and lots of other stuff too since we returned. In some ways it feels like longer than seven days…. (oh and there’s more than seven photos again this week!)

Flying back to Manchester

So on Sunday last week, we all boarded a plane to England. As we sat on the runway waiting to take off I had a clear view out of the plane window towards the Rock of Gibraltar. While we prepared to depart, I thought ‘I wonder if I could record the takeoff ok my phone?’ So I did. 

A couple of days later, I thought, ‘I wonder if I should upload this to Facebook?’ So I did.

It kind of went a bit crazy after that and so far the video has been watched over 8 and a half thousand times…. wow! 

Here’s a screen shot of our bird’s eye view of Gibraltar taken from the film. If you would like to see it yourself, you can find it on my Facebook page (just search Postcard from Gibraltar) and it’s also on Instagram (search Postcard from Gibraltar).

Manchester 

Manchester was still deeply affected by the terrible events of the week before when we arrived. On Sunday as we drove from the airport to my parents’ house I spotted a long queue snaking out of a shop. It was a tattoo parlour. The penny dropped after a moment or two. These were people queuing up to get tattoos of bees in memory of the people who died in the bombing and in return for a donation to the fund to support the survivors. 

I took this photo at the same shop 24 hours later, on bank holiday Monday- they were still coming. 

(Tragically as I publish this, we are seeing news pictures coming from London, where another terrorist incident has taken place. So sad. My thoughts are with all those affected and the wonderful emergency services who put their lives on the line for our benefit.)

We also went shopping to the Trafford Centre, which was unusually quiet and with several high profile armed police patrolling the place.

Nuptials 

On Tuesday there was a very special wedding. My lovely brother wed his long term girlfriend and all round superwoman in front of family and close friends. It was such a lovely day and a happy time which we will reminisce about for decades I’m sure.

(For those of you who have been reading Sunday Sevens for a while – I’m afraid I didn’t finish my skirt to wear for the wedding, my head was turned by a fabulous dress in a shop window so I wore that instead).

Homeward bound

All too quickly our time in England was over, it was mid term in England but not for us in Gibraltar and the Little Postcards had to miss a day or two of school to attend the wedding, so we headed home on Wednesday. The Cheshire countryside was like a luscious green patchwork quilt below us as we rose into the sky from Manchester.

As we flew along the southern Spanish coast, Gibraltar with its cloudy Levanter hat appeared into view…

We landed in the same direction as we had taken off and got a great view on our way in.

Lunch with a friend
On Thursday, once the Little Postcards were ensconced back in school I met up with a crafty friend. She’s a very talented lady who can turn her hand to crochet, watercolour and felting amongst other things. She showed me this, her lovely crochet blanket made up of oddments of leftover yarn. Isn’t it gorgeous?

This lovely lady has promised to teach me how to felt myself … I’ll keep you posted on that!

Out of the blue 


On Friday, out of the blue, I got a phone call as I was dashing out of the front door. Normally I would just leave it so I wasn’t late, but I felt compelled to pick it up. I’m glad I did. It was one of my neighbours from about 15 years ago when we lived in West Yorkshire, and she was in Gibraltar!

She and her husband had gone to the Costa del Sol on holiday on a bus (from Yorkshire), stopping 3 times on the way, and then took a day trip to Gibraltar. When she arrived on the Rock, she looked for a phone book to find my number and had just caught me in!

I dashed down to meet them as I had just an hour spare before needed to collect the children from school, and took them for a whistle stop tour of Gibraltar in our car. They did the full loop of the Rock, seeing our home, the boys’ schools and ending up at Europa Point. 

They had wanted to see Africa, but sadly, the sea mist didn’t play ball and they couldn’t see it at all. They did see the lighthouse resplendent in scaffolding, having a bit of a spruce up though! 

We then travelled along the eastern side of the Rock and saw the beaches before  dropping them back in town. It was such an  unexpected treat to see them, and made me so glad I still send real cards and letters at Christmas time or they wouldn’t have known my address.

Pomp and ceremony 


Yesterday I popped into town for a quick spot of shopping and found myself in the midst of a Ceremonial Guard Mount at the Convent. The Governor was there (on the left in white presenting the bunch of keys to the Royal Gibraltar Regiment) along with the mayor, representatives of the Gibraltar Government, along with other dignitaries. 

It was quite a sight to see and the tourists were lapping it up. It just goes to show that there’s never a dull moment here in Gibraltar! 

Thank you so much if you have made it all the way to the bitter end, it’s been a very lengthy edition of Sunday Sevens this week!  However you have spent this week I hope it has been a good one for you, and if you are one of my new followers on Facebook, thank you for joining me!

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins.

Sunday Sevens #77 2.4.17

I’ve just about managed to publish this in time to still count as Sunday Sevens, after 9 and a half hours traveling back home to Gibraltar today from beautifully sunny and springlike Suffolk.

So, this time last week it was Mother’s Day… feels like a very long time ago now!

Wisteria


I do love wisteria, such a gorgeous flower! I spotted a bumble bee climbing into this bloom as I walked past last Sunday morning. Despite weather forecasts suggesting dodgy weather for the weekend we were blessed with sunshine and, at times, clear blue skies – how lovely! Just perfect for Mother’s Day.

Scummy Mummies


I treated myself to a Mother’s Day gift this year and it arrived just in time. I listen to the Scummy Mummies podcast when I’m out walking, and can often be spotted howling with laughter like a mad woman as they regale tales of hilarious parenting fails and make their Scummy Mummy confessions of when things go awry… The book didn’t disappoint, I giggled away to myself as we flew out to England later in the week.

Ready for the off!


So Tuesday saw us swerving the school run and heading to the airport instead. The Little Postcards’ only cousin was due to get married this week and we couldn’t miss that! We left the cloudless skies of Gibraltar for the slightly cloudier skies of….

Southwold!

It was so lovely to be back in Southwold on the Suffolk coast again so soon after we our lovely holiday there last summer. If you missed my posts all about the beautiful seaside town and pier, you can find them here for Southwold and here for the pier.

Love is in the air…

We were blessed with the most beautiful weather and venue for the special family wedding we attended. I will share a few more photos of the day in a future post. It was perfect in every way, and the happy couple enjoyed themselves immensely, as did we.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside 


Oh I do love it in Southwold. It feels like coming home to be able to walk along the prom here. We have been visiting since long before the Little Postcards were born and it is just so familiar, like putting an old jumper on! It hasn’t changed that much in the years we’ve been visiting and it’s reassuring to repeat our ritual walks here again and again (they usually involve, chips, ice cream and a visit to the pier!).

Spring has sprung!

It seems appropriate to book end this post with pretty flowers, Gibraltar wisteria at the beginning and some Suffolk blossom at the end. Spring has certainly sprung in the corner of England that we visited, the hedgerows were greening up, there were daffodils by the roadsides and blossom trees galore. I don’t usually visit the U.K. at this time of year and I feel privileged to have been able to witness Spring in all it’s glory on our trip.

And now we’re into April already, the year is just whizzing by so fast! Here are a few pictures from last month, which included a trip to Spain, last week’s to Suffolk and the sad loss of our rescue bunny Snowflake.

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins.

The Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast! (Episode 001: Christmas & New Year Festivities)


A New Year means a new podcast, in fact this is the first in a whole new series of podcasts. The plan is to release a new episode every fortnight and see how it goes. I hope to be able to bring you some of the sounds of Gibraltar and introduce you to some of the fascinating people who make the community I live in a thriving, interesting place to be.

Catalan Bay Polar Bear Swim

In this episode you can join me dipping my toes into the Med on Boxing Day, climbing to the top of the Rock on New Year’s Eve and soaking up the atmosphere at the Three King’s Cavalcade.

View from the Med Steps

 

CLICK HERE TO HEAR THE LATEST EPISODE
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Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to listen in!

Credits:

Theme music: Happy Me by Twisterium

Incidental music : We wish you a merry Christmas, played badly by me.

One of this year’s Cavalcade floats

Sunday Sevens #52 9.10.16

 

Despite the fact we are well into October now, it’s been very warm again here in Gibraltar. As I sit at the dining table writing this, I have steam coming out of my collar!!

This week has been a rather busy one for me, there’s been nothing in particular, just lots of different stuff going on, so there was no midweek post from me this week. I hope you’ve had a good week, whatever you’ve been up to. Without further ado, here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens:

Across the Strait

This photo kind of sums up the weather we’ve been having for about half of this last week. I took the photo on Sunday afternoon when we took the Little Postcards to Europa Point park to let off a bit of steam on their scooters. You know when they are bouncing off the walls that you need to get out and exercise them like dogs!! The sky was crystal clear overhead but in the distance across at Morrocco there was a hazy mist which looked like someone had taken an eraser to the bit where the mountains touch the sea!

So for most of this week, in the afternoons  it has been clear, bright and hot (especially when standing outside the school gates waiting for the bell to go!) but the mornings have been misty and town was sitting under a heavy Levanter cloud with gusty winds whipping up the dust.

Dressmaking class


Sewing continued on the sample top I’m working on in my dressmaking class. The photo doesn’t show it to advantage as the back is still unfinished and open. Part of the exercise for this sample is to make up the front, then remodel the arm holes and neckline. This is before the remodelling takes place.

In addition to working on my sample top, I have also been making a skirt for my Mum who has been over visiting at the moment. A straight skirt with a small slit at the back and in a colour to compliment her new winter coat is underway. After several fittings and alterations, I am now about to machine stitch the side seams and hand sew the hem. Hopefully it will be ready for her when she returns before Christmas.

Watercolour class

After two weeks of pencil sketches, I finally got around to mixing some paint colours and worked my current project at my watercolour class this week. I just love the brightly coloured beach huts at Southwold, and wanted to work on a painting to reflect that. I’m working from a photograph taken by Mr Postcard of a stretch of predominantly blue and white ones, but have used a little artistic licence and injected more colour based on photos I took on our visit in the summer. I’m really enjoying painting this one. 🙂

Sea mist


We had everything crossed on Friday evening. After dropping my parents off at the airport to fly home, we returned to find our home had been engulfed by a real pea-souper of a sea mist. Just as their plane was due to land it got thicker and thicker.

Miraculously the plane landed. The two photos above were taken 30 minutes apart. The first one is of a tree about 100 metres from our apartment – there was no point taking one of the sea, it would have just been grey!

I’m very pleased to say that Mum and Dad made it back home safely and we look forward to seeing them again just before Christmas.

Autumn leaves


It’s October, and of course that means autumn. I do love autumn in the UK in a kind of bitter sweet way. It’s such a beautiful season with the colours of the leaves on woodland walks but it also spells the end of summer and all the fun which that season promises. Back when we lived in England, I kind of dreaded winter with the grey damp urgh kind of weather it could spell for weeks between the odd beautiful crispy frosty day.

One benefit of living here in Gibraltar is that although we do have seasons, they aren’t quite as noticeable as in England. Summer is undboubtedly hot and sunny and winter is often damp and grey but not quite as cold and depressing as I remember English winter days to be. That does mean though that spring and autumn aren’t quite as obvious as what’s experienced in the UK.

I remember feeling a bit homesick that first autumn after we moved to Gibraltar and I just couldn’t put my finger on what the problem was. Suddenly it hit me, the vast majority of the trees here on the Rock are evergreen and that meant there are very few leaves to crunch through and collect with little people. Autumn always used to mean Sunday afternoons spent at one of our nearest National Trust sites or parks collecting sticks, conkers and brown, red and golden leaves of all shapes and sizes to bring home. That just isn’t an option here.

In recent years though, a few new trees have been planted here and some of the ones in Commonwealth Park (which was built a couple of years ago) are deciduous. It was so nice to sit under the browning leaves on a bench for a while yesterday as the Little Postcards played football. We were all in T-shirts and shorts so it’s not really like autumn, but it was nice to pretend.

A new crochet project


After finishing my sixty million trebles blanket last week, I was free to crack open some of the lovely new yarn I bought at Yarndale a fortnight ago with a clear conscience. The gorgeous mohair and bamboo Louisa Harding Yarn I bought from Esgair Fibres had been calling me from my stash and really needed to be worked on as soon as possible! I’m using it to make a shawl/scarf for when the weather here turns a little bit fresher. It’s so lovely to use, the constantly changing colours which change even within just one treble stitch are gorgeous and it feels so nice between my fingers as I hook up another row.

 
PS : just one more thing…

A couple of people asked to see the finished picture that I posted two weeks ago from my watercolour class, here it is, mounted and ready to go to its new home in England.

 

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie from Threads & Bobbins blog.

(Natalie, if you’re reading this I hope you’re ok! You’ve been very quiet lately.)