Sunday Sevens #85 28.5.17

I can’t start Sunday Sevens without mentioning Manchester, I was born and brought up in Greater Manchester and like everyone was shocked and deeply saddened by what happened on Monday night. My thoughts are with all those affected.  I am so proud though, of the way Mancunians have reacted to this atrocity. 

Gibraltar stood in solidarity with those who were affected with a minute’s silence on Friday and flags have been flying at half mast all week.

Now, onto the rest of this week’s Sunday Sevens…

Breakfast al fresco 

On Monday morning I got the chance to do something I haven’t done for a very long time; a breakfast date with Mr Postcard. It was a beautifully sunny morning and we sat outside to enjoy our eggs – it was delicious! 

Back to the drawing board


Now my dress has been completed at my dressmaking class, it means pattern drawing time again. It doesn’t look much like a blouse yet, but who knows where I’ll end up! 

How many boats?

I spied this out in the Bay this week. That’s a heck of a lot of boats having a piggy back on a big boat!

Seashells 

The summery weather we’ve been enjoying this week inspired us to paint some seashells at watercolour class. I really enjoyed painting these. Sometimes you try really hard and make a mess and other times you relax, go with the flow and it just works. 

Summer’s here

The sunny weather meant a trip to the park  one evening. The Little Postcards were full of energy so we went to play an early evening game of football before bed. It was grass stains galore but they had fun. The sun can only mean one thing; it’s almost time to unleash my pasty white knees on the unsuspecting public. Apologies in advance…

I’ve voted!


My postal ballot paper for the U.K. General Election made it over to Gibraltar this week. I was so happy to be able to mark my X in the box of my choice. If you want to have a say in the result, please vote! Women died so that I could have the chance to vote.

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

A stroll around Gibraltar No 14 : The beaches

As we are already more than halfway through July, I figured it was high time to take you a walk along the seashore. If you’re ready to take off your shoes and dip your toes into the surf, come and see the beaches we are privileged to enjoy on our doorstep.

Being an isthmus, Gibraltar is surrounded on three sides by water. The Mediterranean to the East, the Strait of Gibraltar to the south and the Bay of Gibraltar to the West.

If you arrive in Gibraltar by plane, no matter which way you come in to land you will be able to see a beach (assuming you are sitting by the window on the left hand side of the plane). There’s a beach on each side of the runway; Eastern beach (funnily enough on the Eastern side) and Western beach (guess where….).

I’ll start at the top and work round clockwise beginning with the biggest beach in Gibraltar.

Eastern beach

Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and (on a clear day) along the Spanish coast towards the Costa del Sol, Eastern Beach reaches almost up to the edge of the runway of Gibraltar airport. Apologies for the photos of the beach – they were, believe it or not taken last night (19th July). You would normally expect to see the beach still packed with families enjoying the last few rays of sun before sunset at this time in the summer but we are experiencing rather strange overcast weather at the moment – hence the empty evening beach.

A new community of beachside dwellers have arrived at Eastern Beach in the last twelve months with the opening of several large apartment blocks adjacent to the beach. Prior to this, the area nearby was rather industrial and just offered a small chiringuito (beach café) where we enjoyed a fantastic evening wedding reception a couple of years ago. The recent investment in the area can only be good for the beach and its surroundings.

Believe it or not the next photo was taken in January on Eastern Beach – that blue sky is more like it! Because of it’s proximity to the airport, aviation fans can get a really good view of the planes coming and going!

Catalan Bay

Catalan Bay has to be my favourite beach destination here in Gibraltar, we have enjoyed many happy hours here. The beach seems to be one of the few places where sibling cooperation thrives and arguments are kept to a minimum, until that is, someone knocks someone’s sandcastle down or breaks a deeply excavated tunnel in the wet sand!

As you can see from this picture, Catalan Bay is more than just a beach. There is a real community here with housing, restaurants and a few shops. It’s a year round destination for the Postcard family, we like to visit out of season when we can have the beach to ourselves and scavenge for shells and sea glass along the shoreline. In summertime, it’s a much more densely populated location!

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It’s a really great spot to while away a few hours, either on the beach or eating tapas in one of the cafés or restaurants. Just watch out for the seagulls in case they grab your bread roll!

Year round the community of fishermen who live here head out into the Med to catch their fish. Their routines continue regardless of whether the place is full of sun seekers or not. At the southern end of Catalan Bay beach lies the Caleta Hotel. Catalan Bay is such an interesting part of Gibraltar it calls out for a future post dedicated to it alone…


Sandy Bay

Sandy Bay these days is a manmade beach. When we first arrived in Gibraltar seven years ago, there was very little beach here to speak of as storms had washed the beach away into the sea. However in recent years there has been a lot of investment here with the building of a large groyne to shelter the bay from the worst of the pounding waves. Many truckloads of sand were imported to create the beach we can enjoy today. The large stone sea walls not only protect the beach, but also the bathers, meaning that when it is unsafe to swim at neighbouring Catalan Bay due to rough seas, it is much calmer at Sandy Bay.


We have spent several great days at Sandy Bay since it was reopened in its improved state – yesterday being one of them. It is so safe for the Little Postcards to mess about in the sea here. Just on the other side of the southern part of the groyne is a very interesting spot for military historians and rock pool appreciators. The cliff face here is littered with military look out spots from years gone by and the stones and rocks down by the sea edge have loads of nooks and crannies worth checking out too.

Little Bay

As you can see from this picture, Little Bay suits its name – it’s really quite small. The beach is more stony than the three sandy beaches on the Mediterranean side of the Rock. Little Bay, along with it’s larger cousin, Camp Bay which lies nearby, are on the western side. Little Bay is the most southerly of Gibraltar’s Beaches lying a short drive from Europa Point.


Behind the beach and in the shadow of the waterfall, lies a larger leisure area, with tables and seating, a toddler paddling pool, a park and basketball court and a small kiosk offering refreshments.

Camp Bay


Lying beneath the imposing Parsons Lodge bastion at Rosia is Camp Bay. Once the site of a quarry it is now one of the largest leisure areas on the Rock offering a café and kiosk, swimming and paddling pools, play areas, seating and access to the sea it is a hugely popular spot for families.

Similar to Little Bay, the beach here is somewhat rocky underfoot, but the lack of sand does make it appealing for those who have an aversion to tramping sand back home!

Western Beach 

Western beach brings us to the end of this tour of Gibraltar’s beaches. It is the most northerly one here as it is accessed by crossing over the runway. It is very close to the frontier with Spain, the blue apartment block in this picture is across the border in La Linea.

Sadly, the photos for this beach were (like Eastern beach) taken last night when the weather was rather cloudy and there had been a bit of a seaweed invasion! You will just have to imagine how nice it is on a clear summer’s day.

This beach also affords you a great view of the planes coming and going from the Rock’s airport as the runway lies just next door. There is a chiringuito here as well, the Little Postcards have attended several birthday parties here over the years and it’s a lovely spot in the evening to watch the sun set over the hills across the bay.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this whistle-stop tour of Gibraltar’s beaches, thanks for stopping by! 🙂

 

 

Convent Garden Party 2016

 

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Entrance to the Convent

A couple of Saturdays ago, on 25th June, the Governor of Gibraltar opened the doors to his official residence for the annual Convent Garden Party. The event, which has been running for several years now, gives mere mortals like ourselves the chance to enjoy a wander around the beautiful Convent Gardens.
Before heading out into the gardens this year, we took a walk upstairs to have a mooch around the state rooms. This stunning dining room is adorned with shields and crests which (according to Wikipedia) form the most extensive collection of heraldry in the Commonwealth of Nations.

State dining room

In the ballroom there has been an art show in previous years but this time there was an exhibition of weapons by the Gibraltar Museum. I have to admit that weapons aren’t really my thing, either old fashioned ones or modern machine guns.

The one weapon of note which caught my eye was number 42, which is a relic from the Battle of Trafalgar.

Heading back downstairs we cut across the tranquil courtyard with it’s charity stalls.

Cloistered courtyard
Out in the garden we were entertained by jazz musicians playing by the fountain. There were bouncy castles for the children as well as a rope walk between the trees put on by the Scouts. (The Governor is the Chief Scout of Gibraltar and allows scouts to camp in his back garden occasionally).

The ladies of the Convent Charity Committee had a lovely stall with home-made cakes and other refreshments. The people you can see in the gazebo were sitting in the shade enjoying the tasty treats. The Convent staff also had their regular stall selling plants which have been propagated and grown in the garden itself.


The main attraction for me though, as always, is the plants. I’ll let them speak for themselves.

At the far end of the gardens this year there was a display of birds of prey – I don’t remember seeing this on our previous visits.

I really love coming to have a look around this garden – we have been going for about six  years now. Last year I wrote one of my first blog posts on the event A stroll up the garden path….

It’s a great fundraiser for the local community and it’s so nice to have the chance to have a look around. When I’m feeling homesick for the British Isles it reminds me a little of a National Trust garden (if you ignore the heat and the Mediterranean planting), in times of uncertainty (as we were feeling two weekends ago immediately after the EU Referendum result) it’s a constant which doesn’t really change. Whatever way you look at it, it’s a really beautiful colourful oasis in a very busy and hectic place.

Sunday Sevens #38 3.7.16

Well it’s certainly summer here in Gibraltar, someone has turned the thermostat up on the heating and we’re cooking nicely. We have reached that delightful stage of the season where, in our non air conditioned apartment you stick to the chair if you stay in it for too long! Sorry for that image 😛 . Here’s a little look back at what I’ve been up to this week. It’s very floral; flowers and gardens seem to have been a theme this week.

Watercolour class

I got back to my watercolour class this week after a 4 week break and it looks like my time off has had an effect. Not too happy with this offering, it either needs more work or a bin! We were working from a painting which my art teacher found on a greetings card. The original was really lovely – you’ll have to use your imagination I’m afraid.

Frangipani

I love seeing these frangipani blooms when they open. As far as I am aware there is just one spot in Gibraltar where they grow. It’s on Queensway just next to Commonwealth Park. Sometimes I park my car in the carpark next door to Commonwealth Park and I get to walk past these beauties coming and going from the car. They really are stunning at the moment – so tropical looking. 

There are some gorgeous pink ones growing there too but the flowers are quite high up. I have stood on my tiptoes trying to get a decent photo but so far have failed, I’ll keep trying and will share it if I’m successful. If you see soon loony stretching to take a photo which is complete out of my reach – please resist the temptation to push me over 😉

Dressmaking class

I’m really making headway with my final skirt at my dressmaking class. As you can see from the photo the waistband is going on. Unfortunately, when I tried it on the front pleat sat right on top of my stomach, drawing rather a lot of attention to it (not a good look), so I have had to unpick the front to adjust the pleat. Hopefully I’ll get the skirt finished next week as it’s our last lesson of the academic year.

Oleander trees

We have had a few school friends round to play in the afternoons this week as all the government schools in Gibraltar are on half days (finishing at lunchtime). I have to admit that I’m struggling with it a bit this year. There is always a ratcheting up of stress levels as the school year comes to a climax with sports days, beach days, pyjama days, parties and concerts and all the associated outfits and rehearsals which go with that. Put that on top of the usual jobs you have to do but with only 3 hours each week day child free in order to do it, I have to admit I’m shattered. How parents who work for a living manage I have no idea.

This week was week 3 of 4 half day weeks so I’m almost on the home straight. Each little Postcard had a friend over this week to help make the afternoons run a little smoother (read sibling tension here). One day we went to the park for a while before heading home for lunch and I found myself gazing up into the beautiful pink blossom of the oleander trees above. Aren’t they just beautiful? They have frilly double blooms and remind me of the dresses the ballroom dancers used to wear on Come Dancing when I was little. It was such a delight to see them, a real moment of stopping and taking a deep breath in amongst the chaos of our current weekly routine.

Operation patio tidy

Summer time generally means spending more time outdoors and our poor patio has been neglected of late. There is major construction work going on in the building directly behind ours so there is noise and dust from about 7:30am until at least 6pm on week days. That and having an audience of builders in hard hats looking down on you kind of puts you off having a cup of tea in the yard during a quiet moment.

I took a bit of time while the builders had downed tools to have a potter this week. I painted a wall – it looks lovely and bright in the sunshine now – especially against the bougainvillea. We have had mixed results with our trees this year. Our lemon and orange trees have blossomed twice and had baby fruits on them but they shrivelled up and fell off. Our new almond tree looks dead too so that’s not so good either, but Mr Postcard pointed out that we have baby figs growing on our little fig tree so we’re happy about that. The stephanotis is looking good too with it’s white blossom, the leaves are a tad dirty in this photo due to the thunder storm we had this week which brought loads of Saharan dust with it.

And relax…..

On Friday evening I took the little Postcards to Queensway Quay to meet Mr Postcard for an after work drink and dinner. That pint of San Miguel really hit the spot after such a busy week!

Reliving my childhood

We made our usual Saturday trip into town yesterday, we had a few bits we needed to buy for the week ahead. On the way back to the car we all had Slush Puppies and went to sit in Commonwealth Park. The park was almost empty (as you can see) I reckon most of Gibraltar had gone to the beach. We sat in the sun slurping happily and watched the little Postcards doing roly-polies down the hill.

That’s all from me this week, I hope your week has been good for you. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series featuring seven photos from the last seven days. The series was the brainchild of Natalie at Threads & Bobbins, if you fancy joining in check out Natalie’s blog for more details.

Sunday Sevens #35 12.6.16

Wow, it’s been quite a week for me, it started off quietly but built to a crescendo after I posted a photo I took on a walk up the Rock. More on that later…

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I’m sure I’m not the only Mum to be swamped with Panini football stickers at the moment. In a family of five I’m the only one without an album. Somehow that doesn’t excuse me from the delights of having to try to peel the backs off the awkward ones! 

A sunset walk

When I escaped one evening this week for a walk after the little Postcards were in bed, I saw this gorgeous sunset. The tower in the photo is the Royal Naval dockyard here in Gibraltar, it looked so pretty lit from behind. 

New skirt


Work has commenced on my final skirt for my dressmaking course. I took a drive across the border to La Linea last week and bought some rather bright floral fabric (think pink and orange orchids). I’ll save the delights of the fabric choice until next week, as I don’t think I’ll have too many other crafty things going on. 

Anyway, the design was drawn, the pattern made and now the fabric’s been cut and sewing the seams has begun – I do hope it turns out ok! 

Sports Day part 1


This week we have experienced the first of two school sports days we have on the calendar. Because there’s no such thing as large school playgrounds or school sports fields in Gibraltar, the teachers, pupils and parents all decamp to the Victoria Stadium for the event. There can’t be too many places in the world where school sports days take place in the national stadium can there?

That photo…

On Thursday morning I set off for a walk as soon as the little Postcards were safely deposited at school. As I set off I wasn’t necessarily intending on climbing up the Rock but my feet just took me there (force of habit perhaps). It appeared to be a perfect morning for the Med Steps, cool and foggy. If you’ve read my Mini stroll in the mist post you’ll know my reading of the weather conditions were way off the mark, as I climbed higher I climbed out of the fog and into the baking sunshine! 

One positive from that predicament was this view. I snapped it and then posted it as I got home. That’s when the crazy stuff happened… As I write it’s been seen by more than 12,000 people on Facebook and a good few more on Twitter. That sort of thing doesn’t happen to me everyday!!! 

Summer’s here


In between the foggy and misty days we have enjoyed some high temperatures and sunshine. The municipal areas like parks, traffic roundabouts and flower beds are looking glorious in town. Perhaps at their best, as they are not yet wilting under the intense heat of the mid-summer sun. This plant (it’s name is a mystery to me) grows close to a car park I frequent regularly and it’s blooms are looking glorious at the minute. It looks rather tropical don’t you think?

International Yarnbombing Day 2016


In case you missed my post yesterday on my little Yarnbomb, well I did one. It was my homage to one of the most beautiful places in Gibraltar, the Alameda Botanical Gardens, which is celebrating its 200th birthday this year. 

I have had a truly amazing week in the world of blogging. All of a sudden my tiny corner of the Internet came to the attention of many people who’d never heard of Postcard from Gibraltar before. It’s been incredibly flattering and I’m very grateful for all the lovely comments I’ve read over the last few days. 

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series devised by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog and features seven photos from the last seven days.