Hello there, I hope this week’s been kind to you. It’s been a rather grey and soggy one here in Gibraltar, but that said, as I type the sun has broken through the clouds momentarily and is streaming through the window….. Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens:
A wet Sunday afternoon
It was rather grim last Sunday, proper monsoon style Gibraltar rain hit. Thankfully I was prepared and had pre bought cinema tickets to take the 2 Littlest Postcards to see The Grinch. It was a decent film, as far as animated kids films go, and we had long enough at the end of the film to play air hockey while we waited for our lift home!
A murky Monday morning.
The weather wasn’t too much better on Monday to be honest. There have been no Med Steps trips for a few weeks and I’m getting itchy feet to go back up again. Sadly my free time hasn’t coincided with any decent enough weather to head up there. Hopefully I’ll get back up there soon.
We had a treat on the school run on Tuesday morning – a rainbow! That’s a lovely way to start the day.
At Dressmaking class this week, I actually made progress on my jacket. All the interfacing has been ironed on, and I actually sewed the collar! Baby steps…
On Wednesday I had a meeting in town, it rained, again!
We did see some sunshine on Friday teatime, as the sunset peaked out from behind the clouds!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Later on Friday we popped into town (it was dry!) to see the big Christmas light switch on. Rather than rain, there were water fountains, paper snow, smoke and lasers!
And Gibraltar has some new Christmas lights this year. Some even feature the castle and key emblem from the Gibraltar flag.
And that just about brings Sunday Sevens to a close for this week. I hear that next week, the weather should improve…. I’ve got everything crossed for that!
Have a great week, and thank you for stopping by! As always I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.
My regular climb, apart from up the stairs to our apartment is the Med Steps. But another big climb which we made at Easter time this year, was to the top of St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Up and up we climbed to the very top. It felt rather odd peering down through the little window in the floor of the upper room to the huge cathedral below. It was a wonderful day out with some very dear friends.
This time last week, the sixth Gibunco Gibraltar Literary Festival was underway and there was a palpable buzz about town. This has got to be my favourite event in the Gibraltar social calendar, when local and international speakers come to the Rock to speak about their books, their lives and so much more. To have an event like this, just a short bus ride or walk from my home is a luxury I treasure and I do my best to attend every year – this one is my fifth. Here’s my experiences from this year’s festival….
First thing last Thursday morning I made my way to the John Mackintosh Hall for a talk by local biologist, Dr Alex Menez. He’s written a book called Almost Homo Calpicus about Gibraltar 1, the Neanderthal skull which was found in Forbes Quarry in Gibraltar the nineteenth century. In his talk he detailed what happened to the skull after it’s first presentation to the Gibraltar Scientific Society back in 1848. This very famous and important fossil, which was actually discovered before the ‘Neanderthal skull’ in Germany, was not recognised as being different from a human skull in the early days.
It was thanks to the work of amateur scientists and archaeologists in the British military that early excavation work was carried out in Gibraltar. It was a chance meeting of one of these achaeologists and a visiting physician (who was aware of the Neanderthal discovery) which lead to the skull being identified as being from a different species. When it was taken to London for further investigations it was seen by a whole host of prominent figures including Charles Darwin, who described it as “the wonderful Gibraltar skull”.
Dr Menez said that he believes this skull was of much more importance than the one found in the Neander Valley, because this one has a face. He went on to say that it’s still a valuable fossil and catalyst as it still captivates people all these years later. The Gibraltar skull can be seen at the Natural History Museum in London, a replica is on display at the Gibraltar National Museum.
My second talk on Thursday was by local poet Giordano Durante at the Gibraltar Garrison Library…
In a talk entitled “The poem I’ll never write” Giordano took us back to his childhood living in Upper Town and extolled the benefits of living alongside and going to school with families from all walks of life. He said he was educated with children who’s parents were accountants and doctors, and others who’s parents were tobacco smugglers. He said that unlike in the UK, where there’s an early segregation of children from different backgrounds, his upbringing in Upper Town granted him “entry into two worlds in a frictionless way”.
After leaving Gibraltar to study Philosphy in London, he returned to the Rock and found work as a prison officer for 3 years. Again, he said that he was able to mix with people from all echelons of society, something which has now been reflected in his poetry which focuses on “the harsh beauty” of characters living on the fringes of society. Now working as a journalist, Giordano pinpointed the moment he first felt compelled to write a poem; after catching the waft of bleach as he walked past Bishop Canilla House one day back in September 2016. The smell triggered something which led him to write the poem; Bishop Canilla House, which is the first in his collection of poems ‘West‘.
His collection is split into four sections focusing on Gibraltar, Spain, the UK and a miscellaneous section to end with – it draws from his own personal experiences and observations. Describing himself as a philosophical poet, he says he fights against clichés both in his journalism and writing saying “clichés are the enemy of original thinking and limit one’s view of the world”.
As for the poem he’ll never write? Well, it would be about Gibraltarian identity, “an epic Llanito poem” charting the rise from notoriety of a young Gibraltarian hoodlum or ‘vrada’ from his life of petty crime to a new found respectability as a lawyer who marries Miss Gibraltar. Giordano claims the process of writing the poem, committing the Llanito dialect to paper, would fall short of what he wants to convey. I for one, would love to read it if he ever finds the right words….
On Friday, I was transported to the Medieval world of Game of Thrones during a fascinating talk by Oxford University Fellow and Tutor of Medieval English Literature, Carolyne Larrington. Her book came about after a meeting with her publisher about another project. They found the conversation kept returning to her fascination with Game of Thrones, and her publisher suggested she should write a book about that as well. In fact, she described her binge reading of the George R.R. Martin stories as the “lost summer of 2012”.
Drawing parallels between the world of the Seven Kingdoms and actual historical fact, Carolyne explained where she believes Martin got the inspiration for the settings and events in his epic tale. The Hereford Cathedral Mappamundi (map of the world) is a possible inspiration for his map of the Seven Kingdoms, with the Mediterranean Sea a basis on which to model the Narrow Sea. Westeros, she believes has a very British feel with “European bits” (I always imagined Hadrian’s Wall when reading about the Wall) and that the Dothraki are very similar to the real life Mongols.
The social settings for the story are also, she says rooted in reality, with the northern way of doing things at Winterfell very similar to an Anglo Saxon English earldom and Kings Landing being more like a medieval court and city. It was fascinating to hear how many parallels there are between historical fact and this huge work of fiction. This was a hugely entertaining talk for anyone who has read Martin’s books or seen the HBO TV series.
And finally, my last Gibraltar Literary Festival experience this year was with TV actor, playwright and ‘cosy crime’ writer, Robert Daws. To date he has written four stories featuring police officers Detective Sergeant Tamara Sullivan and Chief Inspector Gus Broderick of the Royal Gibraltar Police. His first novella, The Rock was published back in 2012, and was followed by a full-length sequel; The Poisoned Rock in 2017. His third novel Killing Rock is due out early next year.
At his talk on Friday afternoon, he first of all treated his audience to a reading of a short story featuring DS Sullivan; Tunnel Vision, a ghostly tale set in the Dudley Ward tunnel – it was captivating. Robert went on to explain how he got into writing novels, after a screenplay he had written didn’t get made and he thought his plot would easily transfer location to Gibraltar. That screenplay evolved into his first novella, The Rock.
It was a family connection which first brought him to Gibraltar around 30 years ago, and he has been visiting every year since. It was his knowledge of the place, it’s streets and people which gave him the background to set his books here. Robert has been to the Gibraltar Literary Festival on several occasions before and this wasn’t his only talk, he gave another one on Saturday and also appeared in Just a Minute on Sunday.
Robert also spoke a little about his work as a screen and stage actor (on Poldark, The Royal and Outside Edge), recounting anecdotes about productions and colleagues with affable charm and wit. As the talk drew to a close, we were again treated to a reading, this time of an excerpt of his third, and soon to be published Sullivan and Broderick mystery; Killing Rock. I shall be looking out for that one when it hits the shops.
I was lucky enough to meet Robert before his talk (he has followed Postcard from Gibraltar for a while now – fancy that!) and he is a truly lovely man. (If you’re reading this Robert, thank you again for being so generous with your time).
So that is my experience of the Gibraltar Literary Festival 2018. It’s a brilliant event, with so many diverse speakers and topics to see – I just wish I’d had more time to see even more. I’m counting down the days until next year….
If you enjoyed reading this, you may like to read my previous blog posts about the Gibraltar Literary Festival:
This week didn’t quite start out as planned, I had a poorly Little Postcard off school with a nasty bug. Thankfully, so far my ninja-like skills at disinfecting every surface in the house has meant no one else has succumbed….yet. As a consequence, much of the start of the week was spent at home on nurse duty.
I’m pleased to report that he is fully recovered and the week improved greatly after that! Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens:
Last Sunday, of course was Armistice Day and Gibraltar paid tribute with what’s believed to be the world’s biggest ‘Tommy’ projection on to the North face of the Rock. The image of poppies was also projected into Moorish Castle after dark.
Like a mill pond…
I managed to escape the house of sickness briefly on Monday and ended up parking out by the small boat marina. The water was so still and reflected the Rock beautifully.
Not a day for the beach…
After a day indoors on Tuesday I had an errand to run on Wednesday morning by Eastern beach. It didn’t look too appealing! Winter’s here…
Gibraltar Literary Festival
By Thursday things returned to normal and just in time for a fab event in Gibraltar, the Gibraltar Literary Festival. It’s in its sixth year, and I went along to a few of the events. It’s by far my favourite annual Gibraltar event, there’s such a buzz in town and I just love it!
Coffee on the boat…
On Friday I got to do something quite exciting and out of the ordinary for me. I met one of the visiting writers who has been here for the Literary Festival for a project I’m working on. He has been following Postcard from Gibraltar for a while now and it was super to meet him in real life. I’m very grateful for him taking time out of his hectic schedule to have coffee and a chat with me on the Sunborn.
One of the things I love about living here is the people you meet and the opportunities which can arise.
All ready for the match!
Gibraltar was hosting Armenia in the UEFA Nations League on Friday, Moorish Castle was wearing its kit in anticipation. Unfortunately the result didn’t go Gibraltar’s way after the last two wins, but you can’t win them all.
We have a couple of Royal Navy ships in port at present. This, I think, was HMS Diamond as she came into port at the end of the week.
Here comes the rain!
It’s been a bit damp of late here in Gibraltar. So far, I’ve been lucky enough to miss the worst of it, but I did get a bit of a soaking yesterday. The bad weather has continued today….
That’s it for Sunday Sevens this week, thanks for stopping by! As always, I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.
This week’s photo challenge is ‘storm’. Many times I have tried and failed to get a decent storm photo. This one (above) was taken on Southwold Common in Suffolk last summer during an amazing thunderstorm. It was after 10 o’clock at night, and between the lightning flashes it was pitch black apart from the neon lights on the circus big top in the distance. It was so cloudy though that the whole sky lit up rather than seeing the forks of lightning I was hoping for.
Living where we do, in Gibraltar, we often witness some great storms – especially across the Bay of Gibraltar. One day I watched this belting rain cloud roll in from the Strait of Gibraltar. It turned an otherwise bright day to instant nighttime.
And at last, after many years of trying to catch a ‘proper’ lightning shot, I got one. This was looking straight ahead outside our front door one stormy evening.
Hello there, I hope you’ve had a good week. It’s been a busy one as usual – it rarely isn’t to be honest! But all is well I’m pleased to report.
Sunday Sevens is a bit depleted this week, I don’t know why, but I haven’t taken many snaps this week! Anyway here’s a slimmed down version…
Well it was a week of cutting this week…56 pieces to be exact. I’m starting my jacket for real, all my outer bits, pink lining and interfacing is cut ready to be sewn together… I’m looking forward to this! No zips!!
On Wednesday evening the grey clouds parted and these beautiful shafts of sunlight lit up the other side of the Bay. So pretty.
There was no painting for me this week just sketching. I’m starting work on a new project, a painting of the ceiling in Gibraltar’s Sacred Heart Church. It’s going to be challenging but nothing ventured…
A wartime love story
I don’t know if you saw my post on Friday about Remembrance, but it featured a few pictures from the Gibraltar National Archives’ World War I Exhibition. One of the stories featured was of a Gibraltarian soldier who ended up marrying his nurse after the war after being injured in battle. It was so lovely to see a happy ending to a wartime story.
We’ve had a few days of glorious sunshine lately. This was the view of Ocean Village yesterday. It makes you forget we’re into November!
That’s all for this week. Once again, I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.
As we prepare for Remembrance Sunday this weekend, Remembrance is a fitting theme for this week’s Friday photo challenge.
This year, our attention is drawn to World War One, as it’s 100 years ago this year that it came to an end on Armistice Day. To mark this, there’s a special exhibition on in Gibraltar at the moment to remember the Rock’s involvement in the conflict.
Since arriving in Gibraltar almost a decade ago, I’ve become aware of the role of the Rock in the Battle of Trafalgar, and of course, in the Second World War, but naively didn’t realise it’s involvement in WW1.
It was strategically important for fueling ships, treating injured servicemen and transporting supplies.
Hundreds of injured troops were transported from Gallipoli in Turkey to Gibraltar, to be treated in the military hospital.
Among the exhibition is the story of local Gibraltarian soldier Manuel Peralta, who fought, was injured and then fell in love with his nurse. They later went on to marry.
This wonderful exhibition by the Gibraltar National Archives gives a much deeper understanding of the effect of WW1 on Gibraltar as well as its role in supporting the wider war effort across Europe.
Out and about, Gibraltar has its own war memorials, this one (above) was built following WW1, but now serves as a memorial for the fallen in both World Wars.
The American Steps memorial (above) was built by the United States to remember its servicemen who were lost when the US Navy ship USS Chauncey was hit in the Strait of Gibraltar.
We’ve just had the midterm holidays and last week, we packed up the car and headed off to Portugal, Lagos to be precise. We’ve been to this part of the world a couple of times before but stayed closer to Portimão, this time we fancied a change of scenery and headed further west to Lagos.
We stayed in a lovely apartment on the western edge of Lagos. Sadly it was too nippy to make use of the outdoor pool (well for the softy grown-ups at least!). Can you see the Atlantic Ocean in the distance? It was a lovely spot.
Lagos has a rather pretty old town which is surrounded by city walls.
The archetypal Portuguese tiles are in abundance here.
Even the pavements are artistic…
And there are some gorgeous front doors too…
At the start of our visit to the city there was a craft fair going on in town. Housed in an old building which used to be a munitions store, it was the home for stalls selling needlework, jewelry, fused glass and cork items.
I was in my element and bought a few bits and bobs which will come in handy for Christmas presents.
Among the stalls was a marvelous collection of yarns and woven items.
The lady who runs this stall hand dyes all her yarns and weaves them into beautiful scarves and bags. She also sold balls of yarn…
She dyes the yarn using seeds, vegetables, bark (for the deep purple) and insects for the pink and red tones. I bought this gorgeous yarn which was coloured using tree roots.
If you would like to see more of her work, you can check out her Facebook page.
Another craft emporium had this fabulous window display;
It was run by a German couple who between them wrote books and poetry and whittled beautiful wooden jewelry. They had been living in Lagos for 20+ years and raised their children here. I bought some earrings made by the wife and a book of folk lore stories written and illustrated by the husband.
One morning we took a drive out to Lagos Zoo. I’m uncomfortable with the whole ‘zoo’ thing but at this one, the animals seemed well cared for.
It was a perfect small zoo for young children. In some areas there were no fences at all, and some of the creatures just wandered around at will.
These pelicans caused quite a stir as they just ambled along the path amongst the visitors. We even got to see them being fed a little while later…
There were plenty of primates, many of whom lived on this primate island. The noise of the calls and booming cries could be heard a good distance away in the car park!
This bird had a really funky hairdo…
I’m told that this Pygmy hippo bore a more than passing resemblance to me…
I loved the flying foxes, they were fascinating to see up close.
My absolute favorites had to be the rainbow coloured parrots (macaws to be precise) and this angora nanny goat!
At the western edge of Lagos seafront/riverfront stands an old fort-like building. Rectangular in shape, with lookout towers at each corner and with a drawbridge on the land side, it caught my eye the first time I saw it.
On our first trip into Lagos, we had tried to get in, but it was closed for lunch sadly. I made it my mission to be back in town one day while it was open to have a mosey inside.
Over the drawbridge and through the old wooden doors we went to buy our entrance tickets.
The Forte da Ponta da Bandeira is a restored 17th Century maritime fortress. On the ground floor are a series of small rooms which were being used as galleries displaying a photographic exhibition.
There was also a very small chapel, dedicated to Santa Barbara. It may be small, but there was such a calming, yet powerful atmosphere in there, and as you can see it was totally covered with traditional Portuguese tiles.
Up the ramp, to the upper floor…
… and the many wind sculptures…
They were so striking.
In each corner of the fort, as I mentioned, there is a little lookout turret, and we were able to go into three of them.
The narrow slit windows perfectly framed the views they looked out on…
…. both inland….
….and out to sea.
It was such a lovely spot.
Back downstairs, we found another small gallery featuring more work from the artist who had created the sculptures on the roof…
José Maria Silva Pereira is the artist who created these installations and the sculptures on the roof are called Caminhos do Vento (which I think translates of Paths of Wind). They were specially designed to be moved by the north wind which is common in Lagos during the summer months.
And that, is just about it for this postcard from the Algarve. We had a lovely few days, and mainly good weather, if you’re ever in this neck of the woods I’d definitely recommend a visit.
Well it’s been a lovely half term week, we escaped to Portugal for a few days, and it was fab. Here’s this week’s Portuguese Sunday Sevens (well actually it’s Sunday Eights this week):
We woke up on Sunday morning to bright blue skies in Lagos, in the eastern Algarve. It’s a lovely seaside town which we visited for the day on our Portuguese holiday in summer 2017 and fancied seeing a bit more. There are a few pictures here in Sunday Sevens but a longer post will be coming your way soon…
We did a few things while we were away, but it was overwhelmingly a holiday for doing nothing and it was delightful. I felt so relaxed and recharged, just what the doctor ordered!
We took the Little Postcards to Lagos Zoo and were very surprised to see this pair of pelicans waddling towards us down the footpath! Where possible, there were no railings or fences, and it was great to see the animals up close.
While Gibraltar was being drenched with very heavy rainstorms midweek, we had bad weather too, but thankfully not quite as much rain as Gib.
Our lovely time away came to an end and we hit the highway to head home. It’s always lovely to see the Rock come into view, so we know we’re nearly there.
Med steps and blue skies
It was gloriously beautiful day yesterday, I simply had to make the most of it and head up the Med Steps. It was like spring, and there were even narcissi out in bloom..
Instead of heading straight home as I usually do, I took a detour towards the Skywalk as it was such a beautiful day. I happened across a levitating ape!
That’s it for this week’s Sunday Sevens, back to normal from tomorrow as school restarts and we get back into a routine again. As always I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.