Summer hours

When we first arrived in Gibraltar, we were introduced to the phenomenon that is ‘half days’ or ‘summer hours’. This means that for the last 3 to 4 weeks of the school summer term and the first couple of weeks of the autumn term, school finishes between 11:45am and 12:45pm depending on the age of the child. Yes, that’s right 11:45am – the school day still starts at 9am, so for the very youngest students (Nursery & Reception) they have a school day lasting just 2 3/4 hours!

I completely get why this happens – it gets too darn hot in the summer time and despite the fact this is a nation well accustomed to the hot sunny weather, the school buildings are without air conditioning. You do get to a point when an open window and electric fan don’t quite cut the mustard in the midday heat. It’s not really conducive to a comfortable learning environment. 

On the flip side, if you are in a family where both parents work, or you are on your own and work, how on earth do you deal with childcare? It’s an annual headache for several of my friends who resort to flying grandparents in to take a few weeks hands-on child caring duty or face paying additional childcare costs to have their little darlings looked after while they finish their working day. In fact the half day situation, paired with an 8-week-long summer break from school, is the primary reason why many of us stay-at-home mums stay-at-home in the first place. There is only so much flexi time an employer is willing to flex in order to cater for such prolonged child caring time.

Fortunately for me and my family I don’t work (well, I don’t do paid work). This means that the 2 3/4 hours I have between 9am and school pick up time are incredibly precious. It serves as an annual reminder that this is my last chance to get jobs done unhindered and uninterrupted. It’s a last opportunity to fit in a trip to the hairdressers or get some jobs done in the house, to nip out to the gym in a last desperate attempt to get a body which won’t frighten young children on the beach or just to sit down and have a cuppa in peace.

For me, today that meant a flying trip to the supermarket and then my watercolour class. I’ve been learning to paint with watercolours since October last year. My teacher, Deborah M Lawson is a very talented and very patient lady. Myself and my fellow students agree that our Tuesday morning classes not only produce sometimes surprisingly good results but are also a form of therapy, giving us the chance to calm down and zone out of whatever is going on in the rest of our lives. At times, Deborah’s lounge (where she holds her classes) echoes to the sounds of our hoots of laughter and other times you could hear a pin drop as we try to get our heads round a new technique she’s encouraging us to experiment with. Today, we did a study on trees to varying degrees of success…

These are just first attempts I hasten to add! There’s quite a bit of work still to be done. Sadly I have just two watercolour lessons left before we break for the summer, I’ll miss by weekly dose of colour-filled therapy!

So after my art class a quick dash got me to school in time for the 11:45 pick up and an afternoon of fun lay ahead. I’m not 100% sure how we filled it, there were computer games, a piano lesson and a trip to the pool. It’s now after 11pm and I’ve just got back from my twice-weekly trip to the local recycling bins (the glamour!). I think it may be time to hit the hay before it’s time to start all over again!


Please excuse the grainy quality of this image but this is the view from our local recycling bins, I had to share it. It makes the trip worthwhile! 


A sunset walk

I think I may be on the cusp of a mid-life crisis… I have an over riding desire to get fit – something which has never really troubled me before! About six months ago I bought myself a step counter and found myself going the long way round where I would previously take a short cut, in order to boost my daily step count. Recently, however my step obsession has shifted up a gear. My husband bought me a present, a fancier gizmo which measures my heart rate, stairs I’ve climbed and distance I’ve walked/stumbled/run as well as how many steps I’ve taken during the day. 

Last week was a dismal one for the Postcard household, a very nasty bug took us all down one-by-one. I spent most of the last seven days either feeling unwell or caring for others who were feeling under the weather. As a consequence my step totals for the week have been equally dismal despite the many trips out to the back patio to hang out countless loads of washing and vigorous floor mopping as I fought valiantly to rid the place of germs.

This evening despite the fact we are now all back in rude health and I have left the house several times today, for some reason I only had 6,000 steps out of my target of 10,000 by 9pm. I took myself out for a bit of a walk this evening once the younger members of the family were safely tucked up in bed. Off I headed on a quest to get my daily step count up and have a mosey around the neighbourhood. 


It was lovely and peaceful and cool-ish (we’re in the grips of a bit of a heatwave in Gibraltar – or perhaps it’s just the summer!). I did hope to get a few nice photos but the light was fading fast. This bougainvillea was positively glowing in the soft evening light. Unfortunately my phone camera didn’t quite get that effect, but it’s still lovely.

Despite living in Gibraltar for several years and the fact it’s so small, there are still new places I’m discovering. Today I went up flights of steps and alley ways I’ve never noticed before and saw beautiful old buildings which I’d previously passed many times without taking the time to look up and study them. Any photos I took aren’t worth posting as the light was so bad, but I have promised myself I’ll retrace my steps in daylight and try to capture some of the lovely features I saw tonight. 

In just half an hour, the light had gone and it was time to head home. 

That’s it for today, time to retire safe in the knowledge I’ve hit my 10,000 step target! Night night. 

A stroll up the garden path…

Today we’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Convent Garden. The Convent is the official residence of the Governor of Gibraltar, Sir James Dutton and his wife Lady Liz. Normally, the Convent and it’s grounds are off-limits to the general public, however twice a year the doors are thrown open for the Convent Garden Open Day (June) and the Convent Christmas Fair (November). Both are fundraising events supporting local charities and are very much highlights of the Gibraltar Social Calendar.


The walled private gardens are an utter delight offering peace and much needed shade. It’s an oasis in such a densely populated place – you almost can forget you are still in Gibraltar. The building itself is a former convent (as the name suggests) dating back to the sixteenth century, it’s been home to Gibraltar’s Governors since 1728.

As well as the gardens, a number of formal rooms were open to the public as well. Indoors there was an art exhibition featuring a number of locally based artists and choral and musical performances.


The grand banqueting hall and lounge. 


  The busy courtyard featured craft stalls.
Enough of indoors … let’s get back outside to that gorgeous garden! 

Dotted around the garden are trees which have been planted by various dignitaries and members of the royal family including the Queen and most recently the Earl & Countess of Wessex. The colours of the blooms are beautiful and in spite of the number of other visitors, the place still felt like a sanctuary away from the bustle of Main Street, just metres away.

If you visit early enough in the day you can actually buy a little bit of the garden to take back home with you from the plant stall. For the younger visitors there was an elevated rope walk run by the Scout Association, a bouncy castle and face painting.  There were refreshments served on the lawn including home baked good and the most delicious homemade ice cream. 

I think this is our third visit to the a garden open day and I can’t recommend it highly enough if you ever have the chance to see it for yourself. I’ll leave you with a few more flower pictures, thanks for reading! 


Hello from Gibraltar…


After months of procrastinating I’ve finally done it – I’m dipping my toe into the sea of blogging! I’m a Mum of three and live with my family on the (usually) sunny rock of Gibraltar. In my spare time I love crafts, painting, gardening and the great outdoors. We moved here a few years ago and we are now lucky enough to have a small patio which I adore. We left a well-loved back garden behind in England when we came over and found the transition to apartment life challenging. After several years of having to content ourselves with a few pots on a baking hot balcony, we now have an equally hot patio. It’s not as green as England, but we’re working on it. Here’s a few photos I took earlier this week, it’s looking rather floriferous between the toys and washing! 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my first blog post. That’s all for now, hasta pronto!