Postcard from Gibraltar Review of 2018

Well here we are at the end of another year, it’s been a year of crafty and photo challenges, and on the whole a good one for the Postcard clan. It’s only now I’ve taken a look back at what we’ve done that I realised that we’ve packed a lot in! Here are some of my highlights from 2018…

January

I started the year off with a lovely walk up the Rock, those paperwhite narcissi were photographed on New Year’s Day. After enjoying participating in a photo challenge in 2017 under the stewardship of Sandra at Wild Daffodil, I decided to have a go at running one in 2018, so #postcardfromgibfridayphoto was born on Instagram and in Blogland. I also embarked on the Seaside Stash Busting Blanket CAL in January too. Little did I know what fun it would become.

February

February saw plenty more crochet and a fair bit of watercolour painting, along with the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth to Gibraltar. The huge Royal Naval aircraft carrier was quite a sight to behold.

March

March, very fortunately for us was a month for travel, first to attempt skiing for the very first time in the Italian Dolomites – it was amazing, and second to take the Little Postcards on an Easter trip to the South of England.

April

We began April on Easter Sunday on the Jurassic Coast in Devon, then headed to London for a few days before heading home. It was a fun trip.

May

May meant Med Steps 5 Challenge, Gibraltar’s Comic Con and some lovely spring weather.

June

June brought with it the Calentita! food festival and my very first printed article in the Calentita! magazine. We celebrated World Environment Day and I had a go at Yarnbombing the Alameda Gardens!

July

Summer holidays we the order of the day in July (along with my now traditional annual Summer Craft Challenge). We headed off to Suffolk to help celebrate a big birthday for a member of the Postcard family. We traveled by plane, old trains and kayak! Which reminds me, we went to a fabulous country fair at Worstead, I really should get a post written about that…

August

August was spent in Suffolk, Gibraltar and visiting my family in Manchester. We watched acrobats and magicians in Gib and followed the Bee trail around Manchester.

September

Back to Gibraltar in time for school starting and the end of the Gibraltar Fair. We had National Day celebrations and the MTV Presents Gibraltar Calling Music Festival.

October

At midterm in October we headed off for a short break in Portugal. We’re so lucky to be able to drive to so many lovely places from where we live. This was also the month that I finished my Sandy Bay blanket.

November

November began for us in Portugal and ended with the Christmas light switch on with the fabulous Gibraltar Literary Festival in between. It’s a truly wonderful festival which happens right on our doorstep.

December

December saw the end of the Friday photo challenge I curated as well as a rather pleasant pre Christmas trip up the Med Steps

Thank you to everyone who has followed and read my posts this year, it’s been lovely to know that there’s someone out there actually reading them! I hope that 2018 has been a good year for you and that 2019 is too!

Sunday Sevens #169 30.12.18

Blimey, I guess that’s Christmas over with. It feels odd really, when I was younger and living in England, the post Christmas lull was filled with turkey sandwiches, flasks of coffee with a nip of whiskey to stave off the cold and muddy walks along canal tow-paths and to National Trust properties. I do miss that rather a lot.

We have spent our post Christmas lull over the border in Spain, where we didn’t have turkey sandwiches, flasks of coffee or muddy walks, but here’s what we got up to:

And so it begins…

This curry signified the beginning of Christmas for me. Work was done, school had finished, presents were bought (at least I think they all were) and it was time to relax and enjoy the fun.

Giant Poinsettia

A pre-Christmas stroll through the Alameda Gardens and I stumbled upon this mahoosive poinsettia. Makes my small one (which will no doubt have lost its leaves in a couple of weeks) look rather inferior!

Turkey time!

My favourite meal of the year. It was delicious…

Boxing Day getaway

We ran away for a few days and rented a lovely house up the coast. It had a garden for the Little Postcards to play chase and football, it was a house so we didn’t need to worry about stomping on the floor and disturbing neighbours downstairs (or next door for that matter). It had a lovely outdoor area with this pergola draped with vines above it, we’re not sure but think it may be wisteria…

Castellar Zoo

We have long talked about visiting Castellar Zoo. It’s a very small place which seems to be focused on conservation and rescuing animals which have been illegally traded, much like the small wildlife park in Gibraltar’s Alamada Botanical Gardens. At this place though, you can actually get to hold/feed some of the animals. This little Fennec Fox seemed very happy to cuddled.

Hola Puerto Banus

I do enjoy it when we pop over to Spain for a change of scenery. We visited the rather posh town of Puerto Banus and did a bit of people watching, looked at the big boats and posh cars, and then mooched into H&M! No Dolce and Gabbana or Versace for us!

Can you see the Rock?

A lunchtime visit to Sotogrande port afforded us a view of home. There she is behind the masts in the distance!

And so that’s it, Christmas done with for another year, I’m writing this sitting in the sunshine (and not wearing a coat – very unseasonal!) and contemplating whether to make New Years resolutions or not…. onwards and upwards and into New Year.

However you have spent the Christmas period, I hope it has been a happy one for you and your loved ones. Until next time, thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a lovely New Year.

As always I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Friday photo challenge (week 52) Winter plus the Autumn / Winter roundup

In these parts we don’t have a winter like in the UK, we don’t get frosts or snow, and in many cases the trees keep their leaves. However there are some unmistakable signs of winter, like the naked vines with their pendulous seed pods and bountiful crops of citrus fruits.

This is the last entry for this 2018 photo challenge. This year I embarked on a photo challenge adventure after following other people’s challenges in previous years. It was done on a whim and amazingly some lovely people joined in. It has been fun to share this year of photo challenges with you all, thank you to everyone who took part along the way!

I’m taking a step back from organising the photo challenge in 2019 but my blogging pal Alison in Andalucia is running one next year if you fancy tagging along.

This year, we had participants on Instagram and on blogs too, and here is a little round up of the highlights from the last few months:

Autumn / Winter round up:

Week 41 Nocturnal

Let’s start with a bang… how about this for drama?

Bats were a crafty project for Hook Stitch Sew:

Week 42 Curve

And another globe-trotting shot from Susan (bluejake235):

Alison shared an iconic Andalusian image this week:

Week 43 City Life

Alison in Andalucia showed a rather damp Granada for this challenge:

Meanwhile in a much drier Gibraltar, Sandra showed one of the downsides of living in a city which is always developing…

…there’s always a construction site nearby.

Week 44 Tunnel

My well traveled photo challenge friend Susan went through a tunnel to drive across this amazing and fictionally infamous bridge…

Crafty Creek used tunnels created by avenues of trees to great effect this week.

I love this now closed tunnel – it looks so inviting.

Week 45 Remembrance

Susan at bluejake235 is the proud owner of one of these beautiful ceramic poppies….

Sandra at Wild Daffodil wrote about a lovely act of remembrance from World War I in the shape of the Sawdust Heart Project:

https://daffodilwild.wordpress.com/2018/11/10/1568-sawdust-hearts/

Week 46 Storm

Stormy seas featured this week…

Along with snow in Crafty Creek’s blog post and Randall Peck’s Instagram entry…

Week 47 Climb

What about a climb to the top of the Vatican?

Crafty Creek has created the most beautiful patchwork of the Catbells, they look rather similar to the Rock we live nearby!

And visiting this picturesque castle has got to be worth the climb!

And this is a climb I’m yet to make, up to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar curtesy of Sandra!

Week 48 Wild

Randall Peck used wild grass as his inspiration:

Crafty Creek went wild this week with some fantastic photos of the Yorkshire Dales! It includes the most amazing shot of a never ending dry stone wall!

And Sandra, who also lives in Gibraltar has shared this great pic of some of our wilder residents!

Week 49 Sunset

What about a desert sunset?

Or perhaps one where the sky’s on fire?!

Week 50 Decoration

How about this for a Christmas tree? It’s in Brussels and comes curtesy of Susan at bluejake235:

This, my friends, is carved out of ice!!!

Crafty Creek shared some beautiful photos of her home decked out ready for Christmas.

And Sandra captured this great ‘decoration’ in La Linea just across the border from Gibraltar…

Week 51 Star

Here’s next year’s photo challenge custodian’, Alison’s entry for star…

Crafty Creek has a beautiful selection of Christmas creations on show for this challenge too.

And finally, how about this for a light?!

Thank you once again to everyone who has joined in along the way, it’s been great to make new ‘friends’ and hook up with long-standing ones too. Alison, I now officially pass the baton over to you! Have fun and every good wish for 2019 and all the fun it may bring your way!

A stroll around Gibraltar: No. 24 Med Steps & Upper Rock at Christmas

It’s been a few weeks since I last took a trip up the Med Steps, fancy joining me? Look, there’s even new signs!

Last week, just before the schools in Gibraltar broke up for Christmas, I made the most of some child-free time and enjoyed the tranquility of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. Just the tonic needed to recharge the batteries ahead of the final push of chaos towards Christmas…

As it had been a while since my last walk, I allowed myself to take it easy, stop and take lots of photos and just enjoy the moment rather than attempting to rush up there as usual.

I did something I’ve not done before… I went into both of the Goats Hair twin caves…

I’m so glad I did! What a view, perfectly framed by the cave opening…

I just love this ‘official’ graffiti.

What a gorgeous place we have on our doorstep, here in Gibraltar.

Everything was looking rather floral too…

Narcissi galore! They even colonized this disused military lookout post…

How’s that for a green roof?

Aah, those views….

The morning light was special that day, it even made the concrete lookout post look almost romantic…

The hills in Morocco were clearly visible across the Strait.

Everything was looking so fresh and verdant, such a difference to the parched brown scrub of a few months ago.

Clematis and other climbers were scrambling over the rocky walls which line the steps.

I just had to give the lavender a gentle rub on the way past, the perfume was divine!

One brief rest stop en route to the top, but not for long as I could hear voices coming up just below me, can’t have people thinking I’m a lightweight ;-).

Almost there…

And finally, at the top!

You can see how long I took, when I was at the caves, the sun was in the East and by the time I reached the top it was to the South!

As I began my descent towards town, I fancied lingering up there a little bit longer…

So instead of heading downwards, I walked along the road which leads northwards towards the cable car top station.

Looking down on Sandy Bay, reminded me of my biggest make this year; my Sandy Bay blanket.

There were plenty of apes about, waiting to see if they could get any rich pickings from the visiting tourists.

Still not quite ready to go home, I took a detour to the Windsor Suspension Bridge.

There wasn’t a soul about, I had the place to myself.

I really enjoyed my tranquil wander up the Rock, just what I needed to escape the to-do lists, tidying and shopping! I hope you did too…

Sunday Sevens #168 23.12.18

Christmas is so close you can almost touch it, schools broke up here on Friday, and Christmas begins properly now. Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens:

Farewell

Some friends of ours left Gibraltar this week to move back to England. We went to a little party in Queensway Quay last Sunday to wish them well and say goodbye. It’s a shame when people leave, but that’s very much the nature of this place within the expat community, it can be transient at times especially when people are brought here by work.

Med Steps

I had a lovely trip up the Med Steps on Monday morning. I could see the way the week was panning out (ie extremely busy) so I thought I’d better make the most of the window of opportunity and the good weather and get up there while I could. It was stunning up there and as I’d not been up there for a while I thought I should pace myself and walk up slowly, I took loads of pictures and was hoping to write a blog post all about it, but as I mentioned before – it was a bit busy this week so that didn’t happen. All being well, a Med Steps Post should materialise this week.

Bunny

Bunny Postcard aka Diamond hasn’t featured in Sunday Sevens for a while, so here he is chillaxing on the rug after one of his crazy evening run arounds. He’s a lovely little chap.

Sunset

On Wednesday we had a terrific sunset, we’d had a lovely day and it was rounded off with this amazing light show. The sky was on fire.

And twinkly lights…

And after the sun had disappeared on Wednesday evening, we had a crystal clear night. It was so clear you could make out the coloured lights at the entrance and exit to Ceuta port in Morocco as well as the red twinkly lights on the top of the wind turbines on the hills above Tangier.

Crafty frustrations

I haven’t done any crochet for ages and was feeling a bit frustrated this week, so managed a quick wonky crochet star in time for the Friday photo challenge. I have a backlog of WIPs and future projects to do… I’m hoping the Christmas break will mean I can get cracking with those.

Full moon

There was another clear night last night with a huge full moon. This photo doesn’t really do it justice but the moonlight on the sea was lovely.

And that, my friends, is the last Sunday Sevens before Christmas. However you spend yours, I hope you have a very happy one with your loved ones. Until next week, goodbye for now.

As always I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Friday photo challenge (week 51) Star

I put myself in a pickle with this challenge last week. I should have saved the photo of Sacred Heart Church as its ceiling is covered in hundreds of golden stars. However here are a trio of stars I’ve seen today… the first at the top of our tree.

The second on my special Christmas table cloth…

And a wonky crochet star I made tonight.

Next week is the last of my weekly photo challenges for this year, and the prompt is ‘winter’.

Sunday Sevens #167 16.12.18

The sixteenth of December already?! Just 9 days to go to the big day – crumbs. Christmas has been looming but at last it’s just around the corner. We have had yet another busy week with end of term excitement, I’m hoping things start to calm down soon!

Visitors arriving

Last Sunday, my Mum and Dad arrived on the Rock for a couple of weeks. As I went to pick them up from the airport, the traffic came to a standstill to allow a plane to take off. It may be a bit of a pain at times but I still find it rather dramatic….

Birthday celebrations

My Dad arrived just in time to celebrate his birthday. Any excuse for a thickly laden chocolate cake! Crazy end of term madness meant no time for a home-baked cake, but this one was rather tasty.

Last dressmaking class of 2018

The jacket I’ve been working on has progressed as far as it can for this year. It’s hanging up now waiting patiently for sleeves…

That’ll be why it was busy in town…

Town has been swarming with people this week, Christmas shoppers, visitors from across the border and one day, two rather large cruise ships paid us a visit too. The one on the left was gigantic!

Double rainbow

We have been blessed with lovely weather this week, Sod’s Law meant that Thursday morning brought rain and strong winds just in time for my long-booked hair appointment! Still at least we had a gorgeous rainbow (and faint double rainbow) in the Bay. That’s always got to lift your spirits. A pair of bunkering ships were the pot of gold at the end.

Bye bye HMS Astute

On Friday the visiting nuclear submarine HMS Astute left Gibraltar. You may have seen it feature in last weekend’s Sunday Sevens as it arrived. I missed seeing it moving away from its moorings but caught a glimpse of it out in the Bay. Never a dull moment in Gibraltar – there’s always something going on!

And relax…

Yesterday evening I found myself on the Eastside of the Rock. It was so peaceful and the sky was changing colour as the sun went down behind me. That’s another week done, just one week left of school term craziness before we can all relax and enjoy our festive celebrations. Things have been at fever pitch in our house just lately with all the extracurricular goings on in the lead up to the big day – I’m ready to stop the ride and get off!

I do hope that you have had a good week and that this week is a good one for you too.

As always I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Before I go though, I have to recommend a YouTube video. Gibraltar vlogger Ninja Monkey has just posted a fab video showing him climbing the Med Steps. It gives a great idea of what it’s like for anyone who hasn’t walked up them themselves and if you are thinking about tackling them yourself, you’ll see what you’re in for. Do give it a watch – you won’t be disappointed. The link for it is here.

Friday photo challenge (Week 50) Decoration

Sacred Heart Church needs little additional decoration, it’s beautiful to start with, but it’s currently sporting some Christmas wreathes.

We are a bit slow off the mark in our house and haven’t yet put up our decorations… that’s job for this weekend I think. But Gibraltar has all its decorations up and looking splendid!

Next week is the penultimate week for this photo challenge, and the theme will be ‘star’.

Sunday Sevens #166 9.12.18

Hello! Here’s Sunday Sevens again, a great week for us and full of sunshine. Here goes….

High pressure parking maneuvers

As we headed out on Sunday morning, I spied a submarine heading into port. HMS Astute to be precise. On our travels we went down to the waterside to see the sub up close.

If you’ve ever driven in Gibraltar you’ll know that parking can be a bit tricky at times, on hills, against rocky walls and just inches from the passing traffic. That said, I don’t fancy trying to park one of these… even with the help of a couple of tugs!

Dressmaking booboo

Arghh! As I started sewing this week a spied a terrible thing – a hole in one of my back panels which had already been attached to my collar! The hole must’ve been in the fabric when I bought it but as it was cut double I didn’t see it until too late. It had to be unpicked, then another panel cut and reattached. So glad I did it though, no one wants a jacket with a hole in!

Wanderers return

Last weekend we were a bit depleted in the Postcard household. Two members of the family were overseas on school/work trips. I’m pleased to say both came home safe and well.

Watercolour class

I’m making slow progress with my painting of the ceiling at Sacred Heart Church. That said I don’t want to rush at it a make a hash of it… baby steps!

Winter sun

We’ve had a belting week weatherwise. Mornings have been misty but by lunchtime we’ve had beautiful blue skies and sunshine – we’ve been so lucky!

#Elfy

So, we have an elf… up until this point we’d dodged this current fascination but this week, the pester power was too much and #Elfy arrived.

The tree’s up!

Not our personal one of course πŸ˜‰ We walked past this huge one in Casemates Square last night and saw it lit up for the first time. It looked lovely.

So that’s it for this week’s Sunday Sevens, I hope it’s been a good week for you. Until next week, bye for now.

As always I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Friday photo challenge (week 49) Sunset

We are incredibly fortunate to have a beautiful west-facing view from our home. We look out on the Bay of Gibraltar and the hills behind Algeciras in the distance. Each clear evening we get to see the sun plop down behind the hills and often, the sunsets are spectacular (the top one was taken on Sunday).

Sometimes we just get a quick glimpse as the sun comes out from cloud cover before disappearing!

We’ve been lucky enough to see some lovely sunsets while on holiday too. The one above was taken on a bridge across the River Garonne in Toulouse in Southern France, and the one below on the beach at Marbella on the Costa del Sol (Costa del Sunset on this occasion).

But my favourite sunset photo has to be this one….

…taken at a hotel a short drive along the Spanish coast from where we live in Gibraltar. I love how the dark silhouettes of the trees and bridge are reflected in the pool.

Next week’s Friday photo challenge is: ‘Decoration’.