Sunday Sevens #42 31.7.16

Hello there! Sunday Sevens this week is actually more like Sunday Elevens – I couldn’t decide which photos to choose! I put a few extra in, well it’s the summer holidays…

Operation : school uniform


Last Sunday morning saw us up and out early to get school uniform bought ready for September. I was determined to get the vast majority of it sorted early on in the holidays so I don’t need to think of it again until we’re back home and it’s time to sew all the name tags in. Off we headed to the Trafford Centre nice and early to beat the crowds, only to discover we were at least an hour early for some of the shops opening and nearly two hours early for others! I don’t think I’ve seen it so empty before…

Clothes tend to be a lot cheaper to buy in the UK because you either have to pay a lot for shipping on Internet purchases or the shops there charge a bit more because they’ve had to pay to ship the stuff out themselves. When I have to buy a lot of stuff in one go, like school shirts, jumpers & trousers it’s a lot cheaper to get the stuff in England. I just need to fit it all in the suitcases now!!

A trip to see friends


Monday morning meant a dash to the station to get the train down to Berkshire to visit some very good friends of ours. They used to live in Gibraltar but have relocated back to England because of work. It was so nice to be able to catch up with them and for the children of the two families to get back together again. They have remained great pals despite the distance and length of time between visits. We went out for an early evening stroll in a park near their home and we all enjoyed our first taste of an English woodland walk for this holiday.

A day trip


We had a fantastic spur of the moment trip to Legoland in Windsor on Tuesday. It was our first ever visit but our friends had been before and guided us around the place. It was brilliant, the models appealed to me more than the rides and the Star Wars section was just amazing. Big and little kids had a great day! 

I couldn’t decide which photos to choose for this part of Sunday Sevens this week, so I have included a few more Legoland photos…

Look at all the little Lego people enjoying the Queen’s 90th birthday party in the Mall!:

Having grown up in a household where both Lego and Star Wars featured prominently, this Lego Minellium Falcon (yes you read that right – that’s what my brother and I called it as children and a couple of the Little Postcards call it to this day) was fantastic – it even lifted off the ground!

I loved this tunnel with the X-wing fighters flying along the ceiling…

And finally – that’s the Mona Lisa made of Lego bricks… I’ll just leave that with you ๐Ÿ™‚



Blue skies over Manchester 


We got the train back up to Manchester on Wednesday and were greeted by this beautiful sky. We had left rain and cloudy skies down south. 

I seem to spend a lot of time defending Manchester’s weather to friends and family (who live elsewhere). I know it has a tendency to rain occasionally but it doesn’t rain ALL THE TIME, despite what some folk may say – here’s the proof!!

Parking…


I had a chuckle to myself when I saw this. Those of you who are familiar with Gibraltar will know that the sight of an empty motorcycle parking area is never ever seen! My Gibraltar friends with motorbikes can only dream of an empty parking space like this!!

Holiday games


The old scrabble set’s been dusted off this week and games have been played in the evening. I happened to pull these four letters out of the bag after putting down a particularly good few words (or so I thought). I came last…

Blue

On a walk out in the countryside of north Cheshire yesterday I spotted this stunningly blue hydrangea bush. Blue is my favourite colour and I thought this was just stunning!!!


Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at the Threads & Bobbins blog. It should feature seven photos from the last seven days – although that wasn’t the case for me this week! If you want more details about it, pop over to Natalie’s blog to find out more. 

Summer Craft Challenge 2016 Part 3

Day 15 : Saturday 23rd July 


A new project and a new location… Saturday was our first full day in Manchester and the first day of our ‘summer holiday’. As all loose ends had been darned in on my ongoing WIP before I left Gibraltar, it was time I cracked open a new ball of yarn and got cracking on my next project. This is another gift, but I have almost two weeks to complete it so no pressure ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 16 : Sunday 24th July


Sunday’s crafting session was a family affair. I continued with my crochet I started the day before and two of the Little Postcards began their summer sewing projects. One is of landmarks in London worked in cross stitch, the other is a football tapestry worked in long stitch.  

Day 17 : Monday 25th July


Flower making on a cross country train to visit special friends who used to live in Gibraltar ๐Ÿ™‚ …. Who now live in:

Spotted this gorgeous crochet sign in the restaurant we are dinner in – isn’t it gorgeous? ๐Ÿ™‚ It has pride of place at the top of a community notice board.

Day 18 : Tuesday 26th July

We had such a busy day out having fun with friends that the only crafting I managed was just before bedtime. I sewed these two little flowers together which I had crocheted on our train trip the day before. Not much to show I’m afraid but a brilliant day was had by all, Mums and children alike ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 19 : Wednesday 27th July


Another train journey – this one taking us back up north to Manchester meant time for leaves to go with all those flowers made on the southbound journey. Once the leaves were complete, this little pile of #woollyheartsforyarndale got their ends darned in and a few buttons attached. They’ll be winging their way to Skipton very soon ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 20 : Thursday 28th July


My wreath base is complete. I just need to add the flowers & leaves.

Day 21 : Friday 29th July


I cracked open my summer holiday cross stitch picture today. It’s a lovely summery beach scene, so the big question is – will I finish it be the end of the summer? Or more likely by the end of the decade? I’m a bit slow at cross stitch as a rule, time will tell… I have never stitched on coloured Aida before and I found stitching blue thread on blue material made my eyes a bit funny even in bright daylight. The jury’s out on whether it’ll be a success or not. 


Sunday Sevens #41 24.7.16

Garden DIY


Sunday last week was a bit of a washout. Two members of the Postcard family were struck down with a nasty bug. Our planned afternoon at the beach didn’t happen as a result. Determined that the day wouldn’t be a total waste of time, once people were well enough to be left for 20 minutes, I popped out to our patio and did a long awaited job. Our climbers were badly in need of something to climb up, so I got the drill out and successfully attached a trellis to the garden wall…. almost one week on, it’s still there!

An evening stroll


A walk at dusk on Tuesday evening was very welcome as the bug struck another Little Postcard and it had been a long, housebound day. We’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful place. It’s great to be able to just stop, look up and appreciate our surroundings.

Beach day


On Tuesday we had a lovely day at the beach as thankfully everyone was well enough to leave the house!  I’m ashamed to say it was our first visit this summer holiday. We have been quite busy with other things and I have to admit that although I enjoy it when I’m there, the prospect of loading up the car, unloading it all and carrying it down to the beach, then packing up at the end and taking half of the beach back home with us puts me off.

We met up with friends and it was great. I really need to make the effort more often. One of the Little Postcards looked like a prune by the end of the day after all the time he’d spent in the sea. I spent quite a while in the sea too with Littlest Postcard dodging the big waves. 

Evening shadows


I snuck into Westside park just as it was shutting for the evening. It was so quiet and peaceful, the complete opposite of what it’s like during the day. It was just what I needed after a busy day getting packed up ready for our trip to England to visit family. 

I was on a last minute dash to the supermarket but thought I’d take a moment before doing the shopping. I’m glad I did ๐Ÿ™‚

Bunny mugshot


I’ve not shared any photos of Bunny Postcard for a long time so thought I would this week. I think he’s been struggling a bit with the summer heat, it’s been so hot – even on overcast days. He’s got a fan blowing into his night time cage and a run in the cool shady hall but I do feel sorry for him under all that fluff. The Little Postcards and I will miss him while we are away on our summer holidays over the next few weeks.

I love the smell of ozone in the morning 

On Friday we woke to beautiful clear blue skies which was a change from the murky overcast Saharan dust filled skies of the previous few days. A fresh wind was blowing and as I opened the front door to take the laundry out I could actually smell the sea. It’s such a lovely smell!

Night flight


We arrived at the first stop of our summer holiday destination in the early hours of yesterday morning. I’ve brought the Little Postcards to visit my parents in Manchester. We left Mr Postcard at work with Bunny to keep him company.  It was hard work flying solo with three children, especially at night, as I had two sleepers to deal with by the time I reached baggage reclaim! Still, we survived and I can relax now with Grandma and Grandad’s help!  

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins. If you fancy joining in with your blog, check out Natalie’s for more details.

Summer Craft Challenge 2016 part 2

Day 8 : Saturday 16th July


I have a Dino tail ๐Ÿ’™! I can’t show you any more of this make until it has been gifted and has arrived in its new home I’m afraid. I love the 3D quality of crochet, it’s just magic how yarn and a hook can create structures like this! 

Day 9 : Sunday 17th July


I hooked up my contribution to #jennysblanketofhugs organised by Kate at Just Pootling. Crocheters around the world are making up to three squares each which will be joined together into three blankets. With a colour palette of pinks, red and orange, they are made into any of the three patterns detailed on Just Pootling: plain, stripes or bobbles.

Two of the blankets will be gifted to two ladies, a mother and daughter who are going through a tough time at the moment. The third will be raffled or auctioned off to raise money for charity. It’s a very worthy cause.

Day 10 : Monday 18th July


Having watched a video on how to crochet bobbles on Just Pootling’s Instagram I realised that yesterday’s attempts at bobbles fell far short of the required roundness. They were unraveled and redone. I think they are a far superior version and am glad I discovered my mistake. I think they could become a favourite stitch and will appear in a future project :-).

Day 11 : Tuesday 19th July


A day trip to the beach meant lots of playing in the sea and chatting to friends and not much crafting, but I did manage one solitary #woollyheartforYarndale ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 12 : Wednesday 20th July


I took a break from my crochet hook and had a bash at free-motion machine embroidery… and failed. I did a batik, quilted, fabric picture at school in sewing which used machine embroidery to embellish it (I was trying to impress with the number of different techniques – can’t you tell ๐Ÿ˜‰) and I’ve always fancied having a go again. 

I tried and failed to find an attachment online to adapt my 10 year old Harmony 2039 New Home by Janome but my mind was boggled by all the options. I told my dressmaking teacher about it and she gave me the plastic plate (above right) to cover the teeth below the presser foot.

I clipped it into place (kind of) and set off. It wasn’t very free with the motion- I had to tug the fabric through and was convinced I’d end up breaking a needle (I didn’t amazingly). I did however chew up the underside of the plastic plate and got the threads tangled into lots of knots.

I asked for help from any experienced machine embroiderers on Instagram on Wednesday and was given lots of great advice about new presser feet and lowering the feed dog so I will give it another try when I get the machine out again. Isn’t the online crafting community lovely? Thank you to everyone who offered me help and advice!  ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 13 : Thursday 21st July


I’m not sure whether this counts as ‘craft’ or not, but I finished an alteration for my Mum. She asked me to shorten her new trousers, normally a simple job, but these trousers had zips at the bottom. I had to remove the zips, trim the length and then reinsert the zips in their new position.

I have to admit I was guided by my dressmaking teacher – it wasn’t an entirely solo affair, but considering that I only inserted my first zip just over six months ago, I’m pretty  pleased with how they turned out.

NOTE TO FRIENDS: I am not taking in alterations ๐Ÿ˜‰ these trousers were good practice but I prefer frivolous crafting to the practical stuff! 

Day 14 : Friday 22nd July


I can’t show you what I made yesterday as it’s a surprise gift but I can show you my craft supplies all packed into my suitcase ready for our summer holidays. I flew to England last night to visit family along with the Little Postcards. Mr Postcard stayed behind to look after Bunny. He’ll join us later on when Bunny checks into his health farm retreat for his vacation.

I’ve got two crochet projects and a cross stitch picture to do while we’re away – do you think that’ll be enough?? ๐Ÿ˜‰



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 cafรฉ) 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 cafรฉs 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, areย 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 cafรฉ 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 Beachย 

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Sunday Sevens #40 17.7.16ย 

Hello, I do hope you’re having a good weekend. It’s Sunday Sevens time again. I’m afraid this week it’s a quick one as school holiday mode has kicked in and my brain has checked out! 

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Nat at Threads & Bobbins blog. It’s an opportunity for bloggers to link up and post seven photos from the last seven days, without the need for an in depth post. That suits me perfectly this week, and possibly for the next 7 until the Little Postcards return to school in September! Here goes… 

Sunday lunch with friends

Last weekend we had a special visitor over – an old University friend of ours. On Sunday we met up with some more mutual friends for a long lazy lunch. It was lovely, this ‘trifle’ dish was as tasty as it looks, although it did require me to fall off the diet wagon somewhat.

Another goodbye…

This week we waved goodbye to more friends who have left the Rock to return to live in the UK. It’s one negative about living here sadly. Of course the Internet is wonderful for keeping in touch, it’s so much easier to stay connected these days. Before they left, I was asked to paint a picture of Gibraltar for them to take with them. 

A birthday party

One of the Little Postcards will be celebrating his birthday during the long school summer holidays. As most of his friends will be away on holiday by then, we held an early birthday party to make sure it was more than just us in attendance. He’s currently fixated with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, although he’s never seen the film as it’s too old for him. This was my attempt at a Leonardo cake … Don’t look too closely though!

Our bridge adventure 

I’m afraid I need to share this photo again, on Wednesday I took the Little Postcards for our first visit to Windsor suspension bridge. It was stunning and a great outing for us all. If you missed my post on Wednesday all about it, the link is  here.

A night out!

After just six days of the holidays I was so in need of a little time out from my little darlings. On Thursday I had a lovely evening out and catch up with a good friend of mine. It was so good to be able to have a good chat – we hardly came up for air from start to finish! On the way home I took the scenic route and thought St Joseph’s church looked lovely lit up as I walked past.

Levanter

This week has seen the return of Gibraltar’s cloudy hat, the Levanter. It’s a common weather phenomenon here, especially during the summertime. It means that it’s not as sunny in town as it is in the north or the south of the Rock, but it can also mean very muggy, humid conditions. 

Summer Saturday


Yesterday mainly consisted of crochet, swimming and then a strawberry G&T to round the day off. It was a lovely chilled day (if you don’t include the sibling tension and fall-outs). ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a good week, and thank you for stopping by! 

Summer craft challenge 2016 part 1

In my Sunday Sevens #39 10.7.16ย post last weekend I mentioned that I’d set myself a craft challenge to do something crafty on every day of the school summer holidays. It’s for my benefit (to maintain a tiny bit of sanity restoring craft time) and for the benefit of those around me (hopefully I’ll be a slightly less grumpy Mum).

Last weekend we were staring down the barrel of 8 long weeks of school holiday. It’s my favourite time of year in that we no longer need to clock watch and get to so many activities. The flip side of the situation is that at times it can be like spinning plates trying to keep all 3 Little Postcards happy. All three have different ideas about how they would like to spend their holidays and the conflicting opinions can often lead to well, er conflict.

By promising myself a tiny window of crafting each day I have a little bit of sanctuary in among the warring factions and general chaos! Each day I have posted a daily #summercraftchallenge2016 photo on Instagram and I have even had fellow crafters saying they’ll join in too once their childrens’ schools break up for summer. If you are a crafter and fancy joining in please use the #summercraftchallenge2016 on your Instagram photos and we can all link together to share our creations.

Here’s my first seven days of the challenge:

Day 1 : Saturday 9th July

A visit from an old friend at the weekend gave us the perfect excuse to have a barbecue. Fruit punch and a new crochet project went hand in hand.

Day 2 : Sunday 10th Julyย 

A shady spot at the Alameda Gardens park was lovely and cool on a very hot day.

Day 3 : Monday 11th July

This micro-second of bliss was shattered as I became the target of 3 water pistols…

Day 4 : Tuesday 12th July


A picnic lunch gave me the chance to make a few Attic 24 May Roses.

Day 4 : Wednesday 13th July

The first summer craft challenge project completed! A dinky wreath for our bedroom wall using my May Roses. ย It measures just 13cm across.

Day 5 : Thursday 14th July


Al fresco crochet again, this time an amigurumi dinosaur which is for a soon-to-arrive little baby. Spot the deliberate mistake? A dropped stitch wasn’t noticed in the bright sun/sunglasses/camera combo. It was put right shortly before a water bomb hurled my way cut this crochet session short…

Day 7 : Friday 15th July


Learning from my previous poolside crochet mistakes I opted for an activity today which didn’t require too much concentration from me while I was supervising the Little Postcards in the pool. I hooked up quite a few little woolly hearts for this year’s Yarndale festival in Skipton recently and the ends needed darning in and buttons sewn on. These will be winging their way to my Instagram friend @bonnies_little_crafts who has set herself the challenge of creating and collecting 7000 wooly hearts to give to visitors to Yarndale this September. Check her out on Instagram and search the #woollyheartsforyarndale2016 tag if you fancy joining in, in a recent post she revealed that she has received more than 4,500 already!

So all in all, it’s not been a bad first seven days of the holiday. I wonder what next week holds in store… Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

A stroll around Gibraltar No. 13 : Windsor Suspension Bridgeย 

Hello there, the school summer holidays are well underway here in Gibraltar, so today I took the little Postcards for a trip to the Rock’s newest visitor attraction; the Windsor suspension bridge. Construction of the bridge took many months and those of us who live on the Rock were able to see this bridge appear up high above the town and we were guessing exactly what it was for.

At one stage, once the main frame of the bridge was in place but the section you actually walk on wasn’t complete, we wondered whether it would have a glass bottom so you could walk ‘in mid-air’! I have to say, if that had been the case, I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to attempt it. I’m not great up a ladder at the best of times…

Last month the completed bridge was officially opened by Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo and since then many local residents and tourists alike have benefitted from being able to walk across it and take in the view of the town below from a new angle. Having seen many of my friends’ Facebook photos of them and their loved ones taking a trip up there, I figured it was high time I had a go myself. As it’s school holiday time, that meant taking my three boys with me too.

We began our walk from the Pillars of Hercules statue and spotted a large Royal Caribbean cruise ship approaching Gibraltar. The little Postcards thought it would be fun to try and race it. Would it dock at the cruise terminal before we reached the bridge? It was moving quite fast…

We soon picked up our path when we saw this new sign post marking the way where a road had previously been closed. (Can you see the cruise ship closing in on us in the background?). After quite a steep climb for little legs, the downward stretch was very welcome.

It was at this point I noticed something I don’t think I’ve seen before in Gibraltar. You may remember from my post On a walk over Christmas, Gibraltar gave to meโ€ฆ I make mention of the rings which were used by the military to haul the cannons up to the top of the Rock. You see them embedded into walls and the Rock itself all over the Upper Rock. We found one right in the middle of the road!

Our first port of call on this walk was Rooke Battery. It’s named after Sir George Rooke who commanded the British Fleet when Gibraltar came under British rule. It was the site of a large gun and was later used as the base for one of the huge search lights used during World War II.

The view from Rooke Battery this morning was just beautiful looking across to Morocco over the Strait.

The path led us on downwards past a small picnic area. I’m afraid picnic areas in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve bemuse me slightly bearing in mind the local hairy residents aka Barbary Macaques can hear a picnic bag unzipping from miles away and descend to steal your lunch! Anyway, as I was saying, the path led us to the southern side of the magnificent new Windsor Suspension Bridge.

As you can see above, the bridge stretches over a 50m gorge and is suspended between two batteries. It’s 75 metres long and most exciting of all, it moves with the wind and movement of people on it. This was a particular highlight for the two smallest Postcards, who despite warnings not to, took great pleasure in trying to make it vibrate as they stomped across.

The view you get from the bridge is just stunning (I guess the glorious weather this morning probably helped a bit). Regular readers of this blog will know I am a frequent visitor to the Upper Rock and I always enjoy spying down on the town below from a great height. This ‘new’ section of old path which has only just reopened gives you a completely different perspective on the town below and I really enjoyed seeing it from a new angle.

Despite the fact the sun had just popped up over the top of the Rock when we were on the bridge, being on the western side at this time in the morning with the cool sea breezes blowing, it was a really cool place to be (in more ways than one). The little Postcards enjoyed seeing three navy ships in the Naval Dockyard below. After a game of Battleship earlier this week, they were thrilled to be able to see the ‘real thing’.

To put the 75metre length of the bridge into context a helpful sign nearby points out that this is equivalent to 7 1/2 double decker London buses parked end to end.

I’m no bridge expert, but it’s a beauty in my book!

Along side the new bridge and improved pathways are some disused military buildings nearby. I find these kinds of things fascinating. Having never known Gibraltar when there was a large military presence here, my mind plays overtime wondering what it was like back in the military’s heyday here. What were these rooms and pipes hidden within a deep gorge used for?

The bridge was such a hit with the smaller members of the family, we crossed it not once but three times before climbing up the steps on the other side and onto the pathway.

There was yet another picnic area, the perfect spot to risk opening the rucksack for a drink – which we managed without any of our ape friends joining us. The dappled shade from the olive trees above was very welcome.

The lush green vegetation of the Upper Rock which was evident back in spring when I was doing my Med Steps 5 training is now all crispy and brown. Such a shame that the lushness has been parched by the hot sun. The threat of fires in the area were very close to home yesterday as a large wildfire burned on the mountains above our neighbours in La Linea across the border and threatened homes and lives in the San Roque, Santa Margarita and Alcaidesa areas. Homes had to be evacuated and planes and helicopters were used to fight the fire. It must have been a very frightening experience for all those involved.

So did we make it to the bridge before the cruise shipped docked a the cruise terminal? The answer is yes (just)! Did you spot it in the background of this photo?

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed this trip up the Rock with us today ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunday Sevens #39 10.7.16

The chaos of the last week of term grew to a crescendo last week. I spent most of the week chasing my tail and despite copious lists of things which I needed to do I still managed to miss a meeting and missed a deadline for some forms to be handed in, which were sitting patiently waiting on the sideboard in plenty of time. 

You know that feeling when you are so full you can’t eat any more? My brain’s been a bit like that – there’s no room for anything else! Add to that three young voices all speaking to me at the same time and I’m afraid I’ve almost gone into involuntary shut down!!!

So against the backdrop of all this busyness  (some of which is my own doing, although most has been foisted upon me) I have decided to look for the few calm positive moments which have happened to me this week. By next week, we will be in full school holiday mode and clock watching will be a thing of the past, not to be thought about again until September – how wonderful is that? ๐Ÿ™‚

Teachers

What to do about teacher gifts? I really don’t remember giving teachers presents when I left school at the end of summer term. Maybe I’d produce a drawing on a spare piece of sugar paper from the scraps drawer, but we certainly didn’t go out and buy anything. It seems to be the done thing to buy gifts these days though. Last year I made book bags for the three form teachers in my boys lives, but this year, despite embarking on starting a similar project weeks ago, I failed to achieve finished gifts in time. I wimped out and bought sweets and had a go a making cards instead. 

Do you remember the frangipani flowers I featured in last week’s Sunday Sevens? I had a go at painting them and made it into a card for a special teacher who has taught not one but two little Postcards. Ms D is a very special lady who was my eldest’s first teacher when we arrived to live in Gibraltar and played a very important role in making both, our son’s and our job of settling in here, so much easier. This year she has been middle Postcard’s class teacher and has done a stirling job getting him ready for middle school. Thank you Ms D for all you have done xxx

More frangipanis 


Remember I mentioned the pink ones last week? Well they started blooming on a branch low enough to photograph this week. They’re gorgeous aren’t they? They’re so perfect looking that they almost don’t look real.

A lovely way to start the day

A few years ago, a group of mums from school used to regularly meet for coffee after the morning school run. It was such fun. We’d share news and help each other where we could. It was a great tonic at the end or the middle of a hectic school week. Slowly in the ensuing months and years, some of the mums got jobs, some moved away from Gibraltar and others saw their children move up to middle school so our coffee mornings became very occasional. 

I’ve missed my morning catch up with the girls (now when we do meet up it tends to be in the evening over a glass of wine – not an unattractive option granted). I’ve also missed my pan tumaca though too. I make it at home every now and then but it’s so much nicer eating it alongside a large cappuccino ;-). 

On Wednesday morning I had a little bit of time to kill in town before an appointment so took I myself out for breakfast. I sat and read Cider with Rosie on my own like Billy-no-mates and I didn’t care, it was delicious!

A last free morning for painting

On Thursday morning I had a whole hour to myself before an appointment to take littlest Postcard to look around his new school. I selfishly took that time to crack out my paints and have a go at a few little pictures which can be used to decorate the front of some more homemade cards. It was great fun and just what I needed.   ๐Ÿ™‚

The end of an era 


Friday was an emotional day for me as all three of the little postcards said goodbye to their lovely teachers and we said a final goodbye to the first school we have been attached to since our first arrival in Gibraltar. The two eldest are of an age to move onto their next schools and as we have since moved house from our original apartment and into a different catchment area, littlest Postcard moves this summer too. I underestimated how sad I would feel at the end of this chapter in our lives. We have enjoyed our time at the school so much.  

Summer holidays start here…


This weekend we have enjoyed the visit of an old friend of the family, a university friend of both Mr Postcard and myself. This is his fourth visit to Gibraltar to see us but until yesterday he’d never been out into the Bay to see the dolphins before. 

We all headed out on one of the dolphin trips which operate out of Marina Bay and had a great view of many dolphins. There was a huge pod of mothers and babies which came very close to the boat. Some of the babies were very small and just a few days old. It was a wonderful trip and the perfect way to start our long summer break.

If you would like to see more about the dolphins who visit the Bay and Straits of Gibraltar, you might like my post about our last dolphin trip.

Summer craft challenge


I have decided to set myself a challenge this summer holiday; to do something crafty every day. Often during the long 8-week-long summer break from school, my crafty pursuits are shelved in order to keep up with three children at home full time. That, I have learned from experience, has an impact on my mood and general ability to cope with the demands I face. For that reason I have decided to challenge myself to maintain my crafty endeavours throughout the summer, both for my benefit and the benefit of those around me.

Last night I started a new mini project while drinking fruit punch and waiting for Mr Postcard to cook a delicious barbecue for us all. I shall keep you posted on its progress. I will be posting daily photos on my Instagram account with the tag : #summercraftchallenge2016. Please tag me if you fancy joining in.

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog post created by Natalie from Threads & Bobbins. For more information, pop along to her blog. (Did you notice that this week it was Sunday eights? I couldn’t resist putting in two photos from our dolphin trip)

Until next Sunday, I hope you have a great week, thank you for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

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 pathโ€ฆ.

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.