Here we are in May already. I’m not sure I’m ready for it! We’ve had a funny week this week with two bank holidays; Monday for workers’ Memorial Day and Wednesday for May Day, so our routine’s been a bit all over the place! Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens…
Bank holiday Monday
We started the week with a walk along the beach in Marbella. We made use of our time off on Monday to head across the border into Spain.
In Gibraltar May Day bank holiday happens on May 1st. There were a couple of events running. A Union rally in the Piazza and a pop concert in Casemates Square.
Upper Rock walk
I’ve not managed a trip up the Med Steps for a while, but I did manage a little jaunt to the Upper Rock this week. It’s so lovely to climb up out of the concrete jungle to nature again!
I have struggled to find time and inclination to pick up my crochet hook lately – there’s been too many other things to do. These extra bank holidays this week though afforded me some precious crochet time to crack on with the Changing Tides CAL from Eleonora at Coastal Crochet.
I found myself at the Victoria Stadium twice this week for sports events for the Little Postcards. It never ceases to amaze me that they get to play matches, have school sports days and other events at Gibraltar’s national stadium with that amazing backdrop!
Things were a bit grey when I headed round the Eastside yesterday. It was very humid though… not sure I’m ready for the hot sweaty weather yet.
And that, I’m afraid is that. Sunday Sevens done for another week. I hope it’s been a good one for you, and that we week ahead is too. As always I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of Sunday Sevens. The first of July… how on earth did we get to this point already? I feel full of excitement about what the summer might have in store for us.
Without further ado, here’s this week’s round up of what I’ve been up to…
Enforced tidy up!
It’s been needed for a long time, but at last, thanks to the arrival of tradesmen to sort out our rather old fashioned floor tiles, I was forced to sort out my sewing/ crafty broom cupboard. I can just fit a chair in when the door’s open to sew at my machine. Let’s see how long this new tidy arrangement lasts…
Sports day season
So as time marches on towards the end of term, sports day season is well underway. This week I had one to go to. It’s a rather warm affair as you sit on the stand at the Victoria Stadium in direct sunlight toasting nicely like a rotisserie chicken. At least the view is stunning, even if you can’t make out which one of those many children actually belong to you!! There can’t be too many places in the world with a more impressive setting for their school sports days…
Morning sun, again
I realise that this photo is rather a lot like the last one, in that it features the Rock and the morning sunshine. I was parking my car one morning and glanced up to see the sunshine casting long shadows formed by the chimneys across Casemates Square from where I was and thought it worthy of a photograph. I was en-route to my sewing class, unfortunately as I am working on something which is a surprise for someone who may see this, I can’t share it just yet. I will though, later on in the summer.
The bougainvillea is looking fab throughout Gibraltar at the moment and it looks at its best set off against a cloudless blue sky. This great swathe of red / pink blossom caught my eye as I was walking in South District this week, it looked lovely against Parsons Lodge.
Last watercolour lesson
It’s approaching the end of the academic year for children in Gibraltar and this week, I went to my last watercolour class until September. I spent the lesson working on an exercise by William Newton. It didn’t quite turn out like the picture in the book, but it was good fun. I’ll miss my lessons over the summer break, but am determined that I will find time to pick up my brushes at some point before September.
A new perspective
One evening this week, I visited a building I hadn’t been to before – one of the towers at Brympton. I find it amazing that despite Gibraltar being so small, it can be quite easy to find yourself face to face with a view of Gib that’s completely new to you. My trip coincided with a meteorological phenomenon which is rather unusual for this part of the world. The cotton wool ball effect strip of clouds are called Altocumulus Floccus, and looked rather fantastic.
Happy birthday Postcard from Gibraltar!
I didn’t actually realise it on the day, but this Tuesday Postcard from Gibraltar turned three! In some ways it feels like Postcard from Gib has been with me for a lot longer than that. It has opened doors for me, like giving me the opportunity to write for a couple of publications and websites but most important of all, it’s introduced me to a whole host of lovely people around the world, for which I am most grateful for.
Thanks so much for stopping by this weekend, I hope that wherever you are in the world, you are having a lovely weekend. I’m linking with Natalie from Threads & Bobbins for this weekly blog series.
Welcome to the 100th Postcard from Gibraltar Sunday Sevens! I can’t quite believe this little weekly Sunday post has reached such a big milestone, and it couldn’t have landed on a more appropriate day than Gibraltar National Day could it? What’s more, this isn’t any ordinary Gibraltar National Day, it’s the 50th Anniversary of the Referendum in 1967 in which almost 100% of the Gibraltarian population voted to remain British. (I didn’t plan this by the way, I’m not that clever, it’s just a happy coincidence).
This week’s Sunday Sevens is rather neatly bookended by two amazing musical events…
End of the party…
Bearing in mind this is such a milestone, you would have thought I would have packed it full of gorgeous photos wouldn’t you? Sadly, this week hasn’t been the most photogenic one for me! I begin this post with the last photo from my previous post taken in the early hours of Monday morning (thankfully it was a Bank Holiday here in Gibraltar!).
This year’s Gibraltar Music Festival (known as MTV Presents Gibraltar Calling) came to a climax in the early hours of Monday morning. I took this photo as we were leaving in the middle of Fat Boy Slim’s set (we were being sort of responsible and getting Eldest back home before he or we turned into a pumpkin). For more on the festival, you can find yesterday’s post all about it here.
Things got back to normal again on Tuesday, children went back to school, and a bit of a routine developed again. This long summer break has been lovely but it is nice to have some structure back in our lives again after so long without it! I spotted this cruise ship coming into Gibraltar on Tuesday morning as the Little Postcards were getting ready to head out to school. The tourists on board didn’t get the best of Gibraltar’s weather that day sadly.
Almost missed it!
We had a couple of nice sunsets midweek, I was sitting out on the balcony after dinner and found myself gazing off into the distance in a world of my own when I suddenly realised the sky was looking pretty. I hadn’t even noticed the sun was setting until the last moment. I grabbed my camera quickly before the sun slipped down behind the hills.
Oh I do love it when I get my monthly subscription from Little Box of Crochet. This lovely little box contained not just a crochet kit, but a cross stitch kit too curtesy of the Geeky Stitching Club! Oh dear, looks like my To-make List is getting longer and longer…
Talking of crochet, I’ve kind of lost my crochet mojo this week. After over 60 days of Crochet during my Summer Craft Challenge, I lost my momentum this week. I’ve only picked up my hook once. I’m hoping this little cactus kit from Simply Crochet Magazine will work its magic and get me back into my rhythm.
A hole with personality 😉
Please tell me I’m not going mad and this hole has a face… it caught my eye as I walked past and I had to go back and look at it again. From a different angle it looks nothing like a face but straight on it has a pair of shades, a nose and a mouth!!
It’s on a wall close to The Mount on Europa Road if you fancy having a look yourself. I reckon he has a look of Elvis don’t you?!
All set for National Day
Gibraltar is resplendent in red and white all ready for this weekend’s celebrations. On Friday I took a walk into town for the first time in ages and ages and got to see all the decorations up close rather than from a car window. Gibraltar really does go to town each September and this year more than most.
Last night I was lucky enough to return to Victoria Stadium, the scene of the first of this week’s photos for another musical concert. This one was by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It was amazing. Titled ‘A celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum’ it had the feel of Last Night at the Proms. There was a mix of well known classical pieces such as Pomp & Circumstance and Nimrod from the Enigma Variations and movie soundtracks including Star Wars and Harry Potter.
In addition to the orchestra, we were entertained by the Gibraltar Regimental Band and a local choir. The solo singers were amazing too – they performed a few opera pieces and rousing renditions of Rule Brittania, Jerusalem etc. The female soloist, Laura Wright is a regular at major sporting events singing anthems, the male soloist is perhaps one of the best known opera singers in Britain today; Wynne Evans of the Go Compare adverts. What an amazing night and wonderful atmosphere, and a world away from what we experienced a week before. At just £5 for a ticket it was a fab opportunity to hear some first class musicians.
And that brings this week’s Sunday Sevens to a close. (I know it should be seven photos from the past seven days and not nine, but it’s a special edition!)
I’m linking with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for this post, as Sunday Sevens was first created by her. Thanks Natalie for such a great idea – who would have thought I’d get to 100!
Last weekend Gibraltar welcomed MTV and a host of stars for the MTV Presents Gibraltar Calling music festival. Now in it’s 6th year, this is the first time the music festival has been organised by an external company. Back in 2012, Jesse J headlined a much smaller day-long event. Last year it was spread over 2 days and had four musical stages. This time beginning later in the day and over just two stages, we were interested to see what MTV would bring to what already seemed to be a rather eclectic but winning formula.
Day 1 : Saturday 2nd September
Our first band of the day (the festival was opened by local band Afterhours) was The Amazons from Reading. They were amazing, very reminiscent of the grungy Indy bands of the early/mid 90s a bit Madder Rose/ Buffalo Tom/ Afghan Whigs and right up my street.
Next up on the Main Stage was Spanish all-girl rock band Hinds, who did a fab job warming up a slightly reluctant crowd I thought. I hope the small numbers who went to see them were just because they were unfamiliar to the Gibraltar crowd and not because of where they come from. They were full of energy and put on a very enthusiastic show.
Hoards of folk streamed into the stadium in time for current pop artist Charli XCX.
At this point, it was my cue to head to the Classic Stage (I guess it comes to us all sooner or later) to see a couple of artists who formed part of the soundtrack to my late teens : Rozalla and Black Box. I had a great sing-along to Everybody’s Free and Ride on Time! (Just as well the rest of the family were enjoying Jonas Blue and couldn’t be embarrassed by my Mum dancing).
I caught the end of Jonas Blue and a bit of Years & Years before heading back to the Classic Stage for my headliners of the day.
Saturday’s Classic Stage headliners were The Village People. Never in my wildest dreams did I think one day I would see them perform live! After all those years growing up in the 70s and 80s with them as the soundtrack to my childhood on the radio and in my Dad’s car… They didn’t disappoint playing so many hits.
The Village People know how to please the home crowd – while performing ‘In the Navy’ they whipped out some Gibraltar flags to do their semaphore with. As you can imagine, that got a great reaction from the crowd.
Rounding off their set with, you guessed it, YMCA, they led the crowd in a dance lesson. Apparently we’ve all been doing it wrong all these years!
For me, Village People and The Amazons were the highlight of day one of the festival. We did stay to hear the start of Saturday’s headline act; Ricky Martin, but he’s not really our cup of tea. We heard ‘Shake your Bon Bon’, and ‘Livin’ la Vida Loca’ and headed home to miss the crowds.
Day 2 : Sunday 3rd September
At last year’s GMF I heard Layla Bugeja play for the first time, tucked away on a tiny stage behind the boathouse. The acoustic set she played with her Dad then blew me away. Since then, she has performed at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. This year, she played with her band on the Main Stage opening Sunday’s lineup.
With a decent crowd of family, friends and well-wishers she kicked Sunday’s day of music off in great fashion.
Next up was The Vaccines, who in true rock ‘n’ roll fashion joked that Gibraltar was in Spain. The crowd took it in far better humour than when Paloma Faith made similar comments a couple of years ago.
The Kaiser Chiefs were the next to grace the main stage, and for their second appearance here in Gibraltar. Back in 2015 they supported the headliners, Kings of Leon. Despite playing a long set the night before at the Bingley Festival in Yorkshire, they were brilliant. Front man, Ricky Wilson wowed the crowd with his energy, running back and forth across the stage, hitching a ride one the tv cameras and generally singing his heart out. I’m so glad they came back to see us again!
The soundtrack artists to countless M&S Food adverts, Clean Bandit took to the stage next, after pulling out of the 2014 GMF at the 11th hour. They put on a very good show and had the crowd singing along to their hits.
As the sun went down, Bastille took to the main stage and thoroughly entertained the crowd.
Their backing videos really added to their set, no prizes for guessing where their political tendencies lie…
Then it was time for some more Mum dancing with Bananarama. What fun it was. The duo, of Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin (who are about to be reunited with former member Siobhan Fahey) belted out hit after hit; Robert De Niro’s waiting, Love in the First Degree, Venus etc. They didn’t take themselves too seriously and appeared to be having as much fun as the fans even getting a bunch of them on stage to dance and sing along with them.
What can I say about Craig David? Well, he was brilliant. I didn’t know what to expect in the run up to the festival, so guided by Mr Postcard, I watched some YouTube videos of his most recent performances and was very impressed. Singing his oldest hits and then rapping and DJing during the TS5 section of his set he had the Gibraltar crowd hanging off his very word- what a performer!
Last of all, Fat Boy Slim….
We ducked out of staying super late on Saturday night as Steve Aoki came on after Ricky Martin, but we decided to try and catch the beginning of Fat Boy Slim. His music and stage show were mesmeric although incredibly loud (or perhaps I’m just getting old).
We wimped out after about half an hour and headed off to get the night bus home (yes we are definitely getting old!).
Our verdict on the new MTV takeover of the old Gibraltar Music Festival? There were definitely some improvements this year, the improved access to the classic stage and food court area and the large shaded areas provided much needed respite, and the standard of the artists was very high. Starting later in the day was positive for dodging the sun at its hottest but the knock on effect was that acts went on until well beyond midnight (not so good if you have any kids or young people in your party).
A couple of things we did miss though was the extra stages we had last year, that meant there was always something to see or listen to and this year we had periods when there was no one playing. Also, the sets seemed a bit short for some artists (30 mins) when you know they could go on a lot longer.
All in all it was a good weekend’s entertainment and good value for money. Thank you MTV!
Last weekend was the first weekend in September and that can only mean one thing here in Gibraltar- the Gibraltar Music Festival! After last year’s highlights of Duran Duran and the Kings of Leon, not to mention Madness, Little Mix and many more, expectations were rather high as to who would be gracing the stages beneath the Rock this year.
This year, we took advantage of buying the reduced price early bird tickets without knowing what the line-up would be. I have to admit that when I heard who was due to play I wasn’t over excited, but we’d already got our tickets so it would be silly not to go and give it a try.
After a relatively short time queueing in the hot early afternoon sun, we were in!
Before setting up camp with our picnic blanket and deckchairs, we decided to take a wander around the festival site and see some of the other attractions that were on offer apart from the main stages. First stop was the Gibtelecom stage (the second stage) which had local band Jet Stream performing their own material to a small but appreciative crowd.
Next stop was the Seaside Stage, which this year had a very welcome roof to keep the sun off. Each year when we arrive at this stage it never fails to amuse me that for the rest of the year, I come and watch my son train and play football matches on this pitch!
Anyway, back to Saturday and another local group, Soul Mates were on stage and just bringing their set to a close with some rock and roll numbers. They were real crowd pleasers with lots of dancing in the audience (perhaps due to it’s proximity to the cocktail bar).
Talking of which….Mojito anyone? Well, it would be rude not to don’t you think? 😉
Finally we made our way to the back of the boathouse, where a small but perfectly formed stage was set up for acoustic artists to perform. It was shielded from the louder music elsewhere on the site by the boathouse building which meant that you could clearly hear what was being played.
We arrived mid-way through Layla Bugeja’s set, another local musician who plays both covers and her own material. I heard her play recently at a concert and I was blown away by how good she is. Supported by her father on guitar, her performance here was excellent. I would recommend anyone to seek her out if you should find her performing again.
Along with the musical venues, there was also a comedy stage and circus stage at the festival. We found that there was so much going on that we didn’t even visit these parts of the event.
The time had come to mark our territory in front of the Main Stage. Armed with deckchairs, a picnic blanket, hats, ear defenders and iPads for Little Postcards with little interest in the music, we found some school friends and pitched up camp near them.
As I mentioned at the start, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to any act on the Saturday, I just wanted to soak up the atmosphere. With little ones to consider, it’s not that easy to wander around the festival site, so Mr Postcard and I took it in turns to have a look around. He went to see Paul Young, and I went to see Toploader while the other looked after the ‘creche’. The system worked well and meant we could see more than just the one stage.
One highlight for the non-music fans in the family was the amount of scoffing which went on. There was popcorn and candy floss… (well it was a special day after all).
We watched The Vamps from afar. They were a big hit, especially with the younger members in the audience. Then came All Saints.
Please excuse the quality of these photos – taken from afar on a phone! I really enjoyed All Saints. I wasn’t a huge fan the first time around, but their songs were very familiar and they clearly enjoyed their performance, as did the crowd.
Next, time for more food…
There was a lot more on offer than just burgers and chips, the more adventurous went for noodles and sushi, while fussy younger eaters enjoyed contraband ham sandwiches smuggled in by an unnamed person…
As evening fell, it was time for Travis. I admit I wasn’t that excited to see them, but they played a brilliant set and really stole the show for me.
Mr Postcard got right down to the front of the crowd and took this fab photo as Fran Healey took a ride on someone’s shoulders.
They were really brilliant and went down a storm.
Next up was Ne-Yo. By this point, the long day in the sunshine had taken it’s toll. We had one sleeper and another one not far off, so two songs in, we decided to beat the rush and head home.
Day 2 : Sunday 4th September
After the excitement of the day before I have to admit, I was a little ‘jaded’ and as the two littlest Postcards weren’t particularly interested in returning on the second day I sat out most of it at home with them. Mr Postcard took our eldest during the afternoon and they enjoyed a relaxed wander round without us. Zara Larsson was Eldest’s favourite act of the day.
In the evening I returned with Eldest in time to see most of Jess Glynne’s performance. She belted out lots of hits we know from the radio.
During Jess Glynne’s set we dashed quickly across to the Gibtelecom Stage just in time to witness an air guitarist’s favourite hit, The Final Countdown, by Europe. It was great fun and the crowd was bouncing along to the music.
After Europe were finished, it was Bryan Ferry’s turn. We went to see him perform a couple of songs, but it’s more my Dad’s cup of tea than mine. Credit to him though, he can still sing and had the attention of a large crowd. His band was excellent too.
The highlight of the whole weekend for me though, and the one band I had really been looking forward to was Stereophonics. They didn’t disappoint.
They played a great set with loads of their old hits, they were slick and the patter between tracks was funny. I even managed to get near to the front and see Mr Kelly Jones relatively close up… swoon.
The band were brilliant, the songs were rousing, the crowd all sang along. The perfect end to the weekend’s musical extravaganza for me.
So there you have it, that was my experience of the Gibraltar Music Festival 2016. I only scratched the surface really, having young children with us on the first day rather restricts your movement and there is a whole lot more you can experience than we did like the comedy and circus stages, plus later on there was a dance stage and dub-club with dance music into the wee small hours.
Despite my earlier reservations about how the weekend would pan out, I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t eclipse last year’s festival (you can read about it here: Rock stars & heart throbs GMF 2015 ), but then Duran Duran would be hard to beat in my book but it certainly didn’t disappoint. I wonder who next year’s festival will bring?
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…
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.
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?
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!!!
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.