2017 Weekly photo challenge (week 3) Awkward

I say this with deep affection, but there are a few things about Gibraltar which are ‘awkward’:

Narrow steep roads with suspect parking to negotiate…

Just imagine that dreaded moment you have been trying to avoid when you realise there is no alternative but to drive your new (to you) car around Upper Town  – eek. Will you survive the experience intact or will you get home with new scratches and perhaps one less wing mirror.

How do you furnish such an ‘awkward’ shaped house? (See above)

Did I mention that we live on a great big Rock?? 

Awkward is carrying heavy bags up copious steps… for many residents there is no vehicular access to their homes. Imagine lugging the weekly shop up all these in the baking summer sun.

It may be awkward at times but I think that adds to the charm of the place. There are no call centres or online price comparison websites here so when you need to renew your insurance you actually have to visit the individual insurance companies or go to a broker in order to get quotes. Awkward and annoying.

However, the silver lining to this cloud is that you get no junk mail or annoying phone calls at dinner time trying to sell you mis-sold PPI compensation, double glazing, new roofing etc etc. So yes, for all it’s awkwardness Gibraltar really is a special place.

Remember that suspect parking I mentioned? I reckon it’ll be a bit ‘awkward’ getting out of these parking spaces don’t you? 

Driving in Gibraltar means you need to be good at hill starts, parallel parking and know how to move any motorbikes which have been deposited in your maneuvering space (a skill I’m yet to acquire).

I’m linking with Nana Cathy for this photo challenge. If you would like to join in, pop over to her blog for more information.

Review of the year : 2016

As the clock ticks inexorably towards midnight on 31st December and we close the door on 2016, I thought it was time to take a look back at the year we have just had. Most of the newspaper reviews I’ve read so far have focussed on the negative aspects, celebrity deaths, the seismic political changes afoot both in Europe, America and the rest of the world, and general doom and gloom.

I am very fortunate in that for us, in our little corner of the world, apart from the uncertainties of Brexit and what that could mean for us in the years to come, we’ve had a pretty good year. Looking back at all the interesting things we’ve done makes me think about how fortunate we are. If your 2016 has been a difficult one, I sincerely hope that 2017 will be better for you and your loved ones.

January 2016

The New Year saw us spending a few days up the coast from Gibraltar on the Costa del Sol, but we were back on the Rock in plenty of time to see the Three Kings Cavalcade. It was also back in January when I went for the first of my strolls around Gibraltar the first one was an homage to the many beautiful balconies, the second one paid tribute to the many steps we ‘enjoy’ here!

February 2016

February brought us some misty and stormy weather, but there was plenty of indoors activities to keep us busy here in Gibraltar. The second annual Gib Talks event saw speakers from all walks of life take to the stage for short talks on a huge range of subjects. Later in the month, the extraordinary Gibraltar Womens Association celebrated their 50th Anniversary, I found  their story fascinating.

March 2016

In March, we were blessed with some beautiful sunny days with bright blue skies. Along with completing a tin man outfit for World Book Day, I finally managed to finish my Attic 24 Cosy Stripe Blanket after a year of hooking! We made the most of the lovely spring weather and took a dolphin trip out into the Bay of Gibraltar. There was also a beautiful exhibition in Gib celebrating  women’s creativity.

April 2016

During April we made another short trip up the coast and headed inland to Ronda a beautiful Andalucian town. I was very productive at my dressmaking and home furnishing courses inserting my first invisible zip and producing curtain tie-backs for the public transport fan in my life. A tall ship called into port at Gibraltar and members of the public had the chance to go on board and have a snoop around.

May 2016

May meant Med Steps for me big time as I completed my final training sessions for, and then finished, the Med Steps 5 Challenge with my two stepping buddies. It was a rather intense day but we were so proud of ourselves for climbing to the top of the Rock five times in quick succession. We also managed to raise a fair amount of sponsorship money for the brilliant Cancer Relief Gibraltar. Some of my sponsors are readers of this blog and I am so touched that you took the time and effort to support our fundraising efforts – thank you.

As I spent so long prattling on about the Med Steps during my training, I figured I should tell you all about it:  The Med Steps: a few facts & figures . May also meant saying goodbye to a good friend to me and my blogging adventures. One of the sad things about living an expat life is that many of the friends you make are in the same boat as you and therefore may not be around for long Saying goodbye…

June 2016

June was a very eventful month not only for me but for Gibraltar and the rest of the UK as a whole as BREXIT loomed large (this post was my most read of all time and by a very long way). Six months on, we are still no further forward knowing what it all means.

Another unexpected thing to happen to me in June, was when I chose to go back up the Med Steps one foggy morning. I thought that the mist would make the climb cool as the summer heat had begun to build. I was wrong. As I climbed up the Rock, I climbed out of the mist and fog. I was nearly roasted alive, but I did manage to take a rather good photo of the Rock emerging out of the mist below (see second left image on the bottom row above). I got loads of likes and shares and retweets with that picture taken on  A mini stroll in the mist!

11th June 2016 marked International Yarnbombing Day 2016 and I had a little go myself with my first guerrilla crochet project as I attempted to Yarnbomb the Alameda Gardens to celebrate the park’s 200th anniversary.

July 2016

July equals the beginning of the very long school summer holiday in Gibraltar. As I stared down the barrel of 8 weeks of no school and the prospect of entertaining the three Little Postcards I felt a little overwhelmed. In an effort to find some way of surviving (with my marbles intact) I decided on day one that I would set myself the challenge of doing something crafty every single day of the holidays…. and the Summer Craft Challenge was born. One of our summer holiday outings took us up into the Upper Rock Nature Reserve to visit one of Gibraltar’s newest attractions, the  Windsor Suspension Bridge .

August 2016

August, for us, was mainly spent in England. I travelled back with the Little Postcards to spend two weeks based in the North West with my parents (with a lovely trip down to Berkshire to visit friends) and then two weeks with Mr Postcard visiting his family in East Anglia. We were blessed with the best of English summer weather. When the sun shines – there really is no better place to be. Our East Anglia holiday base was Southwold in Suffolk, it gave us the perfect opportunity for multiple visits to a special place for us Southwold Pier .

The end of the month brought the school summer holidays to an end. After eight weeks of full-time kiddiwinks and eight weeks of the summer craft challenge, I was very proud to still be in full possession of my marbles (I think) and I also managed to do something crafty on every day except for one (the day we travelled back to Gibraltar). The final instalment of my challenge is here.

September 2016

September is always a very busy month in Gibtraltar. Just after the children return to school, we all have a day off for Gibraltar National Day on 10th September. Around this time we now have the Gibraltar Music Festival to enjoy too. This year saw the Stereophonics headline and Europe played the air guitarist’s dream of The Final Countdown live on the Rock.

Towards the end of the month, I was able to fulfil an ambition of mine to visit the Yarn Festival of Yarndale. It was everything I had expected and more, with bells on. My absolute highlight was meeting my crochet hero Lucy from Attic 24 and being able to give her one of my Llanitas (Llanita, the Gibraltar Yarndale sheep that is). The sheep were made to raise funds to support a children’s hospice in North Yorkshire, I made two and they have both gone to live in Yorkshire!  My Yarndale 2016 (featuring Llanita’s Yorkshire adventures)

October 2016

In October I was still determined to keep up some of the crochet momentum I had achieved during the summertime and finished off my contribution to the Sixty Million Trebles project. I made a rainbow granny square blanket which will go towards the World Record breaking attempt to create a huge crochet blanket made up of sixty million treble stitches. Each treble stitch represents a displaced person or refugee. After the world record attempt the giant blanket will be made into smaller blankets and handed out to charities in the UK and those helping Syrian refugees. The organisers also hope to raise a considerable amount of funds too to help Syrian refugees.

A big event locally was the fourth annual Gibraltar Literary Festival 2016 I was lucky enough to be able to attend several events this year and really loved it.

November 2016

At the beginning of November we had just one Bunny in the Postcard household, then one Sunday afternoon during a walk through the Alameda Gardens, we found some abandoned rabbits. One of them, Blizzard, came home with us (Blizzard turned out to be a girl and she is now known as Snowflake). It was back in November when I had my first attempt at Podcasting I had such fun making it, and hope to be able to share another one with you soon.

December

In December we sadly said goodbye to Bunny Postcard. She had only been with us for 11 months but she’d quickly become a much loved member of the family.

This month I also headed out for my most recent stroll, to see some of the Christmas lights  we have on the Rock – amazingly it was the 16th stroll post I’ve written this year. I also took the plunge (literally) and joined with the annual Boxing Day Polar Bear Swim at Catalan Bay – I’m still feeling proud of myself for doing it!

 

Thank you so much for joining me this year, I have loved having your company and enjoy reading all the lovely comments. Here’s to next year, who knows what it will have in store for us all, here’s hoping it will be a good one.

Not much strolling getting done this week

  Illness has struck the Postcard household this week so therefore there won’t be a Stroll around Gibraltar until next week. I have been housebound with two small patients who’ve been rather under the weather. I have gone a bit stir crazy at times but it’s not been all bad, I managed a bit of crochet in the sunshine between Calpol administration and cuddles. 
At the weekend, I read an intriguing review of the book Castles in the Air by Alison Ripley Cubitt on the  Rough Seas in the Med blog. As I was stuck on the sofa trapped under fever-stricken children I decided to give it a go and downloaded it to my device. It was an excellent read, I managed to finish it in 24 hours which those in my book group will know is pretty rare for me these days. If you’re interested in reading an account of expat family life (far more glamorous and exciting than mine I hasten to add) I would highly recommend it.   

  I escaped the apartment this evening for a short walk (my sanity depended on it), I walked along to Rosia Bay where Nelson’s ship HMS Victory was brought after the Battle of Trafalgar. There were no big sailing ships there tonight but a few big tankers were bunkering in the bay (the floodlights belong to one of them). The lights in the distance are the Spanish port of Algeciras. Oh, and I found some more steps…. 

 

A stroll around Gibraltar: No. 2 Steps, steps, steps…

  You may have noticed that recently steps have featured heavily in my posts, mainly because of my intention to compete in the Med Steps challenge coming up this spring. Well that got me thinking and do you know there are an awful lot of steps around Gibraltar? It might have something to do with the fact we live on a flipping great big rock and there is a lot of gradient going on! 

 Another reason for steps is that they take up a lot less space than roads and for many people they are the only way to access their homes, particularly in the pedestrian reliant narrow lanes and passages of town and upper town. 

 The steps here can be a real challenge, especially in the rain (which can make some of them very slippy) and in the hot summer when slow and steady is the order of the day. 

  If you are a visitor to Gibraltar, you don’t need to venture far from the main consumer attractions of Main Street to be faced with steps a plenty. 

 You might think, so what? What’s the big deal? A flight of steps is just that. But no, they come in so many shapes and sizes.

There are big ones… 

 

Small ones… 

 

Shallow ones… 

 

Steep ones… 

 

Unloved ones… 

 

Named ones… 

   

Anonymous ones… 

 

Ones with ramps to help us parents with prams… 

 

Floral ones… 

     

And colourful ones… 

 Yep there are definitely a lot of steps here, it’s a wonder folk round here join gyms to be honest! Right I’m off for a lie down after all that climbing ;-)!