Postcard from Gibraltar Review of 2018

Well here we are at the end of another year, it’s been a year of crafty and photo challenges, and on the whole a good one for the Postcard clan. It’s only now I’ve taken a look back at what we’ve done that I realised that we’ve packed a lot in! Here are some of my highlights from 2018…

January

I started the year off with a lovely walk up the Rock, those paperwhite narcissi were photographed on New Year’s Day. After enjoying participating in a photo challenge in 2017 under the stewardship of Sandra at Wild Daffodil, I decided to have a go at running one in 2018, so #postcardfromgibfridayphoto was born on Instagram and in Blogland. I also embarked on the Seaside Stash Busting Blanket CAL in January too. Little did I know what fun it would become.

February

February saw plenty more crochet and a fair bit of watercolour painting, along with the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth to Gibraltar. The huge Royal Naval aircraft carrier was quite a sight to behold.

March

March, very fortunately for us was a month for travel, first to attempt skiing for the very first time in the Italian Dolomites – it was amazing, and second to take the Little Postcards on an Easter trip to the South of England.

April

We began April on Easter Sunday on the Jurassic Coast in Devon, then headed to London for a few days before heading home. It was a fun trip.

May

May meant Med Steps 5 Challenge, Gibraltar’s Comic Con and some lovely spring weather.

June

June brought with it the Calentita! food festival and my very first printed article in the Calentita! magazine. We celebrated World Environment Day and I had a go at Yarnbombing the Alameda Gardens!

July

Summer holidays we the order of the day in July (along with my now traditional annual Summer Craft Challenge). We headed off to Suffolk to help celebrate a big birthday for a member of the Postcard family. We traveled by plane, old trains and kayak! Which reminds me, we went to a fabulous country fair at Worstead, I really should get a post written about that…

August

August was spent in Suffolk, Gibraltar and visiting my family in Manchester. We watched acrobats and magicians in Gib and followed the Bee trail around Manchester.

September

Back to Gibraltar in time for school starting and the end of the Gibraltar Fair. We had National Day celebrations and the MTV Presents Gibraltar Calling Music Festival.

October

At midterm in October we headed off for a short break in Portugal. We’re so lucky to be able to drive to so many lovely places from where we live. This was also the month that I finished my Sandy Bay blanket.

November

November began for us in Portugal and ended with the Christmas light switch on with the fabulous Gibraltar Literary Festival in between. It’s a truly wonderful festival which happens right on our doorstep.

December

December saw the end of the Friday photo challenge I curated as well as a rather pleasant pre Christmas trip up the Med Steps

Thank you to everyone who has followed and read my posts this year, it’s been lovely to know that there’s someone out there actually reading them! I hope that 2018 has been a good year for you and that 2019 is too!

Friday photo challenge (Week 46) Storm

This week’s photo challenge is ‘storm’. Many times I have tried and failed to get a decent storm photo. This one (above) was taken on Southwold Common in Suffolk last summer during an amazing thunderstorm. It was after 10 o’clock at night, and between the lightning flashes it was pitch black apart from the neon lights on the circus big top in the distance. It was so cloudy though that the whole sky lit up rather than seeing the forks of lightning I was hoping for.

Living where we do, in Gibraltar, we often witness some great storms – especially across the Bay of Gibraltar. One day I watched this belting rain cloud roll in from the Strait of Gibraltar. It turned an otherwise bright day to instant nighttime.

And at last, after many years of trying to catch a ‘proper’ lightning shot, I got one. This was looking straight ahead outside our front door one stormy evening.

Next week’s Friday photo challenge is ‘climb’.

Summer Craft Challenge (Week 4)

Things have been a little bit manic since we returned from our holiday, so a little bit later than expected, here’s week 4 of my Summer Craft Challenge, if you’re interested!

Day 22 (Saturday 28th July)

This My Picot pattern for the leaf scarf I’m working on at the minute can be a little trying at times – well only if I don’t concentrate. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have had to unravel a few rows to get the stitches right! Never mind, even if Saturday evening did end with me frogging crochet, at least I was able to pick up this lovely hand dyed yarn skein from Worstead Festival during the day! I can’t wait to make something with it, it feels lovely. (Hopefully a post all about our trip to Worstead will appear before too long).

Day 23 (Sunday 29th July )

Crochet wise, things worked a lot smoother on Sunday. I just love the colour changes in this Scheepjes Whirl. It makes me smile as each new colour variation appears on my hook as I make progress through it.

Day 24 (Monday 30th July)

We had a busy day planned a the shops on Monday buying school uniform to take home to Gibraltar, so I had to plan my crochet time a bit better. I got up before the rest of the family and sat happily with a mug of coffee as everyone else woke up and got busy.

Day 25 (Tuesday 31st July)

You can’t beat a crochet session with a lovely view! An evening pub meal on the Norfolk Broads with crochet for dessert as the sun went down – just the ticket!

Day 26 (Wednesday 1st August)

Yay! The first strand of yellow appeared in my work! It feels almost like I’m on the home straight!

Day 27 (Thursday 2nd August)

On our last full day on holiday, we made one last trip to Southwold Pier for a beer and an alfresco crochet session as the waves did their thing beneath our feet. Sadly the tranquil moment was cut short due to an invasion of wasps, but it was nice while it lasted!

Friday

So Friday was Day 28 of my Summer Craft Challenge and it was a day of traveling, about 11 hours door-to-door. Although I had my crochet in my bag with me on the plane, I wasn’t feeling it, so it stayed in my bag. Therefore no Craft was done at all. However, just before we left on our epic trip, I called into the pottery painting shop to collect our works of art. The Little Postcards painted Pokémon characters, I opted for rainbow dots. Here’s mine, all finished and it survived the trip back to Gibraltar.

That’s me officially half way through the long 8 week school holiday, and I have had my craft challenge to keep me going. I can’t believe we’re halfway through already!!

Sunday Sevens #148 5.8.18

Well, this week we spent most of our time with family in the UK before heading back home to Gibraltar. I have to say that although the temperature at times in England was warmer than on the Rock, the humidity since getting back home has totally wiped me out. On the positive side, we had a wonderful fortnight in leafy Suffolk and Norfolk and we all made it safely back home. Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens (or Sunday Nines, as they should be this week!):

Stormy weather

Last Sunday we were treated to some rather inclement (though warm) weather in Suffolk. To look at that photo, you would think it was taken in January, not July! Can you believe that someone was actually kite surfing in those rough waves?! We could barely stand upright in the wind and horizontal rain!!

A shopping trip to Norwich

We made the most of the shops on Monday and hid in shopping centres from the monsoon rain we were experiencing. Thankfully by lunchtime the weather cleared up and we were free to wander at will in the sunshine. I just love the art nouveau architecture of the Royal Arcade. Everything about it is delightful right down to it’s resident hare!

Europa’s trip to the races

Do you remember Europa the Unicorn, who came with us on our summer adventures last year? Well she came with us on holiday again. This time though, she only made it to one day out… the horse racing at Great Yarmouth. We had a great day at the races, and she was my lucky charm, I won £46 from a £4 stake on the race going past her in this photo.

The winning horse was Final Rock, who’s father is Rock of Gibraltar, which is owned by Sir Alex Ferguson. I know nothing about racing, I just go off the name, and this one stood out to me with the Gibraltar connection, and it paid off! (I won’t mention the races I lost money on… let’s just say I broke even on the day after buying ice creams and juice!).

Burgh Castle

While we were in Norfolk one day, we took a trip to Burgh Castle. The ruins there were once a Roman castle and stand proud overlooking the Broads close to Great Yarmouth. We have visited many times over the years and this walk across the fields to see the ruins brought back many memories. After the walk, we met some family for a lovely dinner at a nearby pub as the sun went down…

An evening stroll on the dunes

On Wednesday evening we took a walk across town to have a lovely meal at another pub, this time, on the southern side of Southwold. The meal was lovely, and was followed by a fun walk back to our accommodation across the dunes. The Little Postcards scrambled about and played catch as we made our way back home following the light from the Southwold lighthouse.

Whenever I walk through dunes and marram grass I’m reminded of a story book I had as a child called Hannibal the Hamster, about a hamster who escaped from his home to run free in the marram grass! It’s funny how some small things can bring back such vivid memories of childhood…

Under the pier

So on Thursday we said our last goodbyes to Southwold, it was a marvelous host for us for two weeks as we travelled about the place visiting our relatives in this part of the world. So long Southwold, until next time…

Homeward bound

I usually try to take a photo out of the plane window as I head back to Gibraltar. Normally it’s of a patchwork of green fields, this time, though, I looked a tad more golden than green. This was just after take off from Stansted Airport, in normally green Essex. You can clearly see the toll the long spell of dry and hot weather has taken on the countryside.

So there you have it, Sunday Sevens done for another week, I doubt next week’s will be as varied as this one, sadly! Until next time, bye for now, and thanks for stopping by!

I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Sunday Sevens #147 28.7.18

Oh it’s been difficult to choose what to put into Sunday Sevens this week! We’ve had a rather busy time of it on our holiday, although it’s been busy in a very good way. Here’s a photo from each of the last seven days, there will be more posts to come though in the coming weeks with more pictures….

Hollyhocks galore

The flower of the moment in this part of the world (Suffolk/Norfolk) seems to be the hollyhock. They are everywhere and are truly beautiful – the epitome of an English country garden.

A woodland walk

Monday was a special day for one member of the Postcard family, celebrating a milestone birthday of 70 years. We went out as a big family group to visit Fairhaven water gardens on the Norfolk Broads before a big family dinner. It was such a beautiful, green, heavenly place and as the sun was rather hot, the dappled shade offered by all the trees was very welcome.

Aldeburgh

We took a drive along the Suffolk Coast on Tuesday, visiting Orford and Aldeburgh (above). The coastline is so beautiful here.

Messing about in canoes

Wednesday saw us repeating something we did on a visit six years ago. Back then, Littlest was too small to join in, so I stayed on dry land with him. This time, we all went canoeing on the Broads. My only previous experience was on a canal in Cheshire when I was a Venture Scout, that didn’t go too well (think hitting the canal bank with such force the sharp front end got embedded in the mud).

This time, though, it was wonderful – so peaceful and slow. There were literally hundred of beautiful dragonflies buzzing about, and I even got pecked by a swan!

A lovely day for a train ride

Thursday saw us heading north to the north Norfolk coastal town of Sheringham. Central to the town is the beautifully restored train station and the start of the North Norfolk Railway (also known as the Poppy Line). We had hoped for a trip on a steam train, but the sustained dry and hot weather made the steam engines a fire risk, and we had to make do with a Diesel engine. It was still a nice trip though…

Summer Storm

Whilst visiting Aldeburgh earlier this week, we were told that this part of the world hasn’t had any rain at all since May 4th. On Thursday night, that changed. A thunderstorm came in off the sea, and before the rain came, I went for a walk onto Southwold Common to watch the lightning. Seconds before this photo was taken, the sky was pretty dark. The sheet lightning lit up all the clouds with a pinky glow.

Wrestling at a summer fete!

Yesterday, we visited not one, but two summer fairs. The first one, in Worstead, will get a bigger mention in a future post, the second one, was at Gorleston in Norfolk. The Gorleston Clifftop Gala is an annual event, with fair rides, stalls by community groups (backwoodsmanship & a local rugby team’s stalls were enjoyed by the Little Postcards) and live music. We attended specifically to see a member of the family perform on stage with his band. Our attention was drawn to something I’ve never seen before in real life…. wrestling! It was quite a sight!

So that’s this week’s Sunday Sevens, I hope you have had a great week.

I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

2018 Friday photo challenge (week 30) Seaside

Hmmm Seaside… looks like I planned this week’s Friday photo rather well… this week we’ve been to Aldeburgh’s pebble beach.

Sunny Southwold:

And sandy Sheringham beach…

The home of naughty seagulls who try to steal your chips! The postcard which came with my latest crochet project from Little Box of Crochet is very appropriate:

Sunday Sevens #146 22.7.18

Greetings from sunny Suffolk, here’s this week’s edition of Sunday Sevens:

Bird family update

A few weeks ago I told you about the couple of collared doves who appeared to be making a nest in the eves above our apartment. Well it looks like they didn’t fancy the location and have gone elsewhere. They have popped back a few times though to say hi, and some sparrows moved in and took their nest making material away to build their own elsewhere.

BBC camera crew

Early this week at sunrise and sunset, a film crew from the BBC who are responsible for making amazing nature documentaries like Blue Planet did some filming from a helicopter of the Bay and Rock of Gibraltar. Can you spot the tiny speck above the tree? That was the helicopter…

Scorchio

I was passing through Sandy Bay on Wednesday morning and by Jove it was hot! It was so hot by 9:45, that I have no idea how people coped on the beach later on!!

Sea mist at sunset

On Wednesday we had a rather unusual sunset as the wispy sea mist rolled into the Bay. It was the last evening of filming for the BBC crew, so it will be interesting to see whether the mistiness makes it into the programme.

First lizard this summer

Lizards (or geckos) are a common sight on our kitchen windows on hot summer nights. They lurk about waiting for moths to fly up to the window and pounce. It’s quite interesting to watch. On Thursday night, I saw my first gecko of the summer.

Holiday time

On Friday we flew to England to visit one half of the Postcard family, and ended up in one of our favourite places, Southwold. Look, they even put the bunting up ready for our arrival! How thoughtful of them!

An evening stroll across the marshes

After spending a bit of time with the family, we headed back to Southwold in time for an early evening walk across the marshes. I love it here, it’s so beautiful and quiet.

Thanks for stopping by! I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Friday photo challenge (week 23) Line

Hmmm line…. what was I thinking when I came up with that theme for the weekly photo challenge? Apologies to everyone who’s been taking part!

This was a tough one. First I thought about the old lines of defence around Gibraltar. The above road sign gives a nod to what once was.

Then I thought about the lines on the Gibraltar airport runway (but they are more arrows than lines).

And then I thought about the line of brightly painted beach huts at our favourite English seaside town, Southwold in Suffolk, and thought that might do the job.

That was until I took a walk through Catalan Bay yesterday and snapped this…

Lines on the boardwalk and lines in the shadows. That’ll do it!

Hopefully, next week’s photo challenge will be a little easier, the theme next week is ‘Tiny’.

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 #115 24.12.17

Hello there and happy Christmas! We’ve finally reached Christmas Eve and whether you’re ready or not there’s no escaping the fact that the big day day’s tomorrow. I think I may finally be ready, but there’s always something I forget to do…. what will it be this year?!

Here’s this week’s edition of Sunday Sevens:

It’s Christmas!!!!

img_0473-1.jpg

Gibraltar is looking as festive as ever, the town centre looks lovely all lit up. I haven’t taken too many photos of the lights this year, but you can see last year’s light show here.

If in doubt stick a sunset picture in!

We had a lot of cloudy evenings of late and although we have had a few glimpses of the sun going down between the clouds, a proper sunset as it were has been pretty rare lately. This lovely one was last Sunday night.

Favourite church ceiling

Oh how I love the interior of Sacred Hearth Church here in Gibraltar. It has got to be one of the prettiest church ceilings around. I was lucky enough to be able to attend a service here this week and had loads of time to admire the stars and stained glass windows as beautiful Christmas carols were sung.

Wintery watercolour

At my last watercolour lesson of 2017, we painted some suitably wintery pictures. I love how the snow just ‘appeared’ after sprinkling some salt onto the wet painting – just magic!

Southwold comes to Gibraltar

As I walked along Main Street this week with Eldest, he spotted something I’d walked past several times without noticing (in fact it could have been there for months). Our favourite place for holidays (Southwold, in Suffolk) is featured on the side of Marks and Spencer in Gibraltar! The pictures in the photo shoot must have been taken on Southwold Pier and on the beach near by. You can read all about Southwold Pier here.

Star Wars

We had a trip to the cinema this week as schools closed for Christmas, to see the new Star Wars film. I really enjoyed it, not as much as Force Awakens, but it was still really good in my opinion and a great start to our Christmas holiday as a family.

Beautiful day at Catalan Bay

Yesterday, the last Saturday before Christmas, we decided to avoid the shops at all costs. We figured that if we didn’t have all we need by now, it was probably too late anyway (time will tell if I did forget anything after all). We headed round to the eastern side of the Rock and had a wander about in Catalan Bay. It was beautiful there – not a queue or harassed shopper in sight.

I have decide to include a couple of extra Catalan Bay pictures as it was just so beautiful there and there may be some people reading this who are in need of a dose of blue sky…

That’s all from me for Sunday Sevens this week. Where ever you are reading this, I hope you have a lovely Christmas with plenty to eat and surrounded by your loved ones. To those of you who find this time of year difficult, I hope you find peace and know that you are in my thoughts.

Happy Christmas! x

img_3333-1

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