Hello everyone, apologies for not making an appearance yesterday, it was a bit of a ‘week’. There was a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes which resulted in not much to take nice photos of and not much time either.
One of the Little Postcards was sent home from school to self-isolate for a fortnight after someone in their school bubble tested positive for Covid-19. That led to a steep learning curve getting our heads round a new remote learning system which was completely different from the one used at his last school in Gibraltar. (I’m pleased to report he is perfectly fine at home and have no news at all about the person who’s infected).
There were also several issues with our temporary rented home which took a lot of time to sort out too, so there was very little postcard-worthy stuff happening.
Apart from a lovely socially distanced Monday morning walk across some fields nearby with a very good friend after the school run…
And despite it being officially autumn now, I began making progress on assembling my summer project – the A Trip to the Seaside wreath from Little Box of Crochet. This has proved some very welcome light relief within all the chaos.
I’ve got everything crossed that this week will be a much more positive one! Until next time, thanks for stopping by!
Hello and happy Sunday to you, I hope the sun’s shining with you today. Here’s this week’s Sunday Postcard:
Last Sunday, much like today, we were enjoying some glorious sunshine here in the North West of England. We decided to make the most of what may well be our last few days of summer, packed a picnic and jumped into the car to head for Worden Park nearly Chorley in Lancashire.
We visited the park for the first time last summer after it was recommended by a family friend. It took about 45 mins to drive there from our home in Manchester along nice quiet motorways and we were rewarded with wide open spaces and beautiful trees. Long time readers of this blog will know I am a tree lover. You really need a bit of Vitamin Tree in your life every so often wouldn’t you agree?
Worden Park is basically the estate of a formerly grand house. The house is no longer standing but some of the outbuildings remain which are now artisan workshops and a lovely little tea room and some of the formal gardens have been retained too, including a rather stately yew tree which was planted by Queen Victoria (sadly I didn’t photograph that).
As we are in the market these days for outdoor walks where we won’t see too much of other people, Worden was perfect. Although many, many other people had been drawn out to enjoy the wide open spaces and fresh air, in the most part we were all well distanced away from them. It was a bit of a bottleneck in the formal garden (see above) although we quickly negotiated our way through there.
Although it felt warm enough to be a summer’s day, the first signs of autumn were in evidence as some of the leaves had started to turn. There will be an amazing show of colour here in the weeks to come I imagine.
I can never make up my mind how I feel about autumn. When I was away in Gibraltar for the past 11 years, where the seasons don’t have the same impact (mainly because the weather doesn’t change as dramatically and many trees there are evergreen), I really missed autumn. I had a real fondness for misty mornings, dew drops on cobwebs and crunching through fallen leaves.
Now that we are about to experience our first autumn back in England since our move, I’m looking forward to the colours which lie ahead (although sadly not the smells as my sense of smell is still to recover fully from Covid), but I’m also feeling a little sad that it marks the end of summer. I’m sure I’m not alone in that…
Perhaps the sense of uncertainty and unknown about the winter that we are heading into adds to that slight sense of unease about autumn too. Never mind, we will all go through it together, and all being well will be fine.
Sunny Monday morning
How about that for a sky? This is what I gazed up to after walking Littlest to school on Monday morning. What a belter. I can handle more of this kind of September weather thank you very much!
We had apple & bramble crumble for pudding one evening this week. It was very nice!
On the mend
Midweek I began to feel very tired, and then I succumbed to a rather nasty cold. The Little Postcards had it too in varying degrees but it hit me hardest. There was nothing for it other than to go to bed for a couple of days (well as much as you can do with young people to look after). I’m pleased to say I am now well and truly on the mend and even felt up to a bit of crochet . I really had better get a move on with this summery Little Box of Crochet wreath before winter!!
There was a Little Postcard birthday this week, there are now 2 teenagers in the house – wish me luck!!
Because of our current state of half unpacked/half packed-ness after our move from Gibraltar and our impending move to our ‘forever’ home, I have no idea where my cake tins are. So it was a shop bought birthday cake this time!
Making Stitches Podcast is back, my goodness I’ve missed making these episodes over the summer! This time I’ve decided to release an episode once a fortnight as weekly would be too much for me to manage at the moment bearing in mind we have another house move coming up in the next few months. This week I decided to revisit some of my guests from last series and get up to date with them.
You can find the podcast by searching for Making Stitches in your favourite podcast app or by clicking onto this link.
And that brings this week’s Sunday Postcard to an end. I hope this coming week is a good one for you!
Hello! Did you know it was International Crochet Day yesterday? It almost passed me by. I managed a tiny bit of work on my Trip to the Seaside wreath from Little Box of Crochet, so I just about fitted some hooky in!
I hope it’s been a good week for you, for part of this week I had all 3 Little Postcards in school for the first time in 6 months. My word, what a difference it made!
Here’s this week’s Sunday Postcard…
Rain rain go away
So last Sunday was a bit wet (thankfully it cleared up later on though). It meant we had the perfect excuse to stay at home and just hang around. Two Little Postcards had begun their new schools the week before and youngest was due to begin his new school on Monday. A quiet day at home listening to the rain was rather pleasant and called for.
During a much anticipated morning alone with all 3 in school I set about on the hunt for the elusive name tapes to sew into new uniforms. As we only found out what schools 2 of them were going to last week – it was all a bit last minute.
I failed to find the name tapes but I unearthed some crafty treasures. Embroidery patterns given to me by my Gran as a child (above). I had no idea they were in a bag with some yarn scraps and long forgotten WIPs. I will have to have a go at some of them! Plus…..
… what must’ve been my first attempts at granny squares, no doubt taught by my Gran! Not the neatest attempts granted, and those colours have a touch of of 1980s about them don’t you think?!
Our bunny, Diamond is doing very well and seems to have adjusted to life in his hutch in England well. He’s a happy chappy and seems to like stretching out listening to the birds in the garden and watching the neighbour’s cat as it parades past!
I got a lovely parcel through the post this week, all the way from Gibraltar….
When we were over in Gib to collect Eldest’s GCSE results in August, I bought myself a lovely artisan silver and garnet ring.
I thought it looked a bit lonely on its own and decided to contact Frances, the lady who made it and asked if she would make me another, this time with a blue stone.
It arrived this week, along with a cute little stacking ring to sit in between the blue & red stones. I am so happy with them and will always have a bit of Gib with me now!
You can find Frances’ work on Instagram @silver_quirk and her Etsy shop can be found here.
The recorder is out, and that can only mean one thing… work has started on Series 2 of Making Stitches Podcast. I have a couple of interviews in the bag and I’m hoping the first episode will be with you very soon! Watch this space…
International Crochet Day
As I said before, yesterday was International Crochet Day… who knew that was a thing?! I only had time for a little bit but enjoyed making some swishy swashy grass for my Little Box of Crochet wreath.
Gibraltar National Day 🇬🇮
On Thursday, it was 10th September- Gibraltar National Day. It was our first national day since leaving the Rock and the first one without any of the big community events which normally take place because of Covid. I did listen to the political rally on the radio though and enjoyed being with my Gibraltar friends in spirit.
And that brings this week’s Sunday Postcard to an end. I hope it’s been a good week for you. Until next time, thanks for popping by.
Today is 10th September which is Gibraltar National Day and I wanted to mark the occasion with a special blog post. As our family moved back to the UK this summer after over a decade in Gib, it will be a strange National Day for us. It will also be a ‘different’ one for the people of Gibraltar as this year, the traditional rallies and gatherings have been cancelled due to Covid-19.
This is my tribute to Gibraltar on National Day 2020, a post which I hope, will show my deep affection for the Rock and it’s people. It’s a place which will be forever in my heart, and I dearly hope I will be able to return to frequently in the years to come.
Way back in May, before we made our epic move back to the UK, I got the chance to do something I’d never done before…. walk the whole way round the Rock. It’s not something I’d done before because it takes quite a while and strictly speaking you aren’t allowed to walk through one of the road tunnels to complete the route.
However, during the waning weeks of lockdown while there was very little traffic on the roads many people were walking through and the authorities were turning a blind eye. Being someone who doesn’t like to bend the rules very often, I saw this new development as my opportunity and took it. (FYI it’s very busy on the roads again now, so I really wouldn’t recommend doing it now. PLEASE BE SENSIBLE AND DON’T WALK THROUGH).
I began my walk in South District not far from where we used to live on the (normally busy) Europa Road.
Past the beautiful blooms of bougainvillea and nasturtiums.
Rather than going the long way around via Queensway or Main Street, I walked above the Trafalgar Cemetery and popped through Prince Edward’s Gate and into Gibraltar’s old town that way.
And into town…
I walked along pavements I have walked countless times before over the years. It was strange to think that just a few weeks later, we would be saying goodbye to Gibraltar after 11 very happy years. During that time these streets, which once felt so alien and unlike where we had come from, became our home.
I passed below the beautiful and historic Garrison Library.
…and further on into town along the narrow Governor’s Street north towards Casemates Square.
As you can probably tell from the bright blue skies in the photos – it was a rather warm day!
In the north east corner of Casemates is a tunnel which leads to…
… Landport Tunnel which was, once upon a time, the only way to access Gibraltar by land. All the area beyond the city walls was once sea before a series of land reclamation projects were undertaken. At curfew each evening those big wooden doors would be closed and the drawbridge on the other side would be lifted sealing inhabitants of the Rock inside for the night.
The tunnel is steeped in history – walking through it you can imagine some of the people who must have come through here over the centuries. There is a bend in the middle for defence purposes I believe.
As you come out of Landport Tunnel Gibraltar’s military heritage is in evidence on your right and above your head lies the Northern Defences – a place I would have loved to explore before we left.
Onwards and northwards I headed towards the airport and the sundial roundabout.
My path turned to the East at this point along Devil’s Tower Road.
This road (which is normally very busy but thanks to lockdown was extremely quiet) has a mix of older housing blocks, flashy new developments and industry. The Rock looms above it all.
At Eastern beach you pass the local vehicle licensing and MOT test centre, behind this military pill box.
As I passed by this spot I was rather taken by this little chap!
There are plenty of reminders on the East side of Gibraltar’s military past as well, apart from the spy holes in the Rock above your head is this cairn constructed in memory of the members of the Black Watch who worked here to create some of Gibraltar’s Defences. I wonder what they thought about the heat of the Med after traveling down from the Highlands of Scotland?!
The sun was rather intense at this spot beating down on my head (I’m glad I wore a hat!) and the crickets were chirping in the grass by my side.
All of a sudden after the industrial buildings the developments give way to a huge land reclamation project and on the other side – beautiful Catalan Bay. When we first arrived in Gib, this was our beach of choice in the summer. It’s small-ish and is less easy to lose children when you take your eyes off them for a millisecond! Plus there is ample parking if you arrive early enough in the day. Lately though, we moved to Sandy Bay which is a lot less densely populated and gives you much more space.
Beach protocol in Gib is something which you quickly learn as a newcomer to the Rock. Local families have their traditional pitches where they always set up camp on the beach and it can be quite easy to ruffle feathers if you plonk yourself down in a seemingly empty spot. At the height of summer beach umbrellas, deck chairs and tables appear on the beach at first light many hours before their owners appear to take up residence. It is quite a sight to behold.
Rather than dashing down to the beach to feel the sand and waves on my toes I kept on going along Sir Herbert Miles Road which hugs the back of Catalan Bay village (Sir Herbert Miles was Governor of Gibraltar from 1913-1918).
Catalan Bay was once solely populated by ex-pat Genoese fishermen and their families. Until about 100 years ago the village was cut off at high tide and the only access was via the beach when the tide was low. Genoese was the language spoken here and Caletaños (Catalan Bay villagers) are responsible for a lot of the Genoese words which have become a fixture in the Llanito dialect in Gibraltar.
Traditional wooden boat building is still a skill which is passed down through the generations in this village. The beautiful handcrafted rowing fishing boats are used daily by village fishermen to catch fish, they are also used for a traditional annual boat race in the Bay.
Along Sir Herbert Miles Road is the pretty and colourful development of Little Genoa (can you see what they did there?).
All the while the huge Rock is there above you!
After Catalan Bay is Black Strap Cove, a small stretch of undeveloped land between Catalan Bay and Sandy Bay. As with much of the Gibraltar coastline you can see now abandoned military installations amongst the rocky cliff side. It is a haven for wild flowers in spring and I’ve seen Barbary Partridges here at times too. A lovely spot.
Next stop Sandy Bay…
When we first arrived in Gibraltar 11 years ago, there was a tiny pebble beach here at Sandy Bay. The winter before we arrived brought tremendous storms and sea swells and washed the beach away (as well as running a huge tanker aground by Europa Point and causing damage elsewhere in Gibraltar). Maybe 5 years ago (my memory may be wrong here) the Government completed the project to build a couple of groynes to protect the beach and shipped in tones of sand to replace what had been lost in the storms.
Sandy Bay is now a large beautifully sandy stretch of beach and thanks to the rocky arms stretching out to hug the beach, the water here can be calm where the conditions are choppy elsewhere for swimming. The perfect spot to spend a day with the family! It’s now our beach of choice.
The housing development of Both Worlds which forms a barrier between the main road and the beach was built just over 50 years ago and opened just around the time the border between Gibraltar and Spain was closed by General Franco. Overnight Gibraltarians couldn’t cross over for holidays and trips into Spain, and Both Worlds became a holiday destination for many local people.
When it opened there were shops here, food delivery services (much like what many of us rely on these days) and even a mini buggy taxi service which would give residents a lift along the length of the resort. I happened upon a fabulous newspaper supplement advertising the new Both Worlds development in a 50 year old Gibraltar Chronicle at the National Archives a while ago. It made for fascinating reading!
It is now a residential block, half of which is for over 50s and the rest is sold on the open market. Some of the apartments can be rented as holiday lets.
A short way south of Sandy Bay is Dudley Ward Tunnel. This is the tunnel which isn’t supposed to be used by pedestrians but during lockdown became a regular pedestrian route around the Rock because of the greatly reduced traffic on the roads.
Goodbye sunshine… into the cool darkness. I had my fluorescent gear on so I could be seen clearly walking along the side of the road (fortunately just two cars passed me by). I didn’t hang about for long, it felt very naughty to be in there. I don’t mind telling you that was a bit relieved when I popped out into daylight at the other end!
The coastline here is different to the other end of the tunnel, the cliffs are steeper and go right down to the sea below.
You get a clear view of the clay pigeon shooting range which was built for the Island Games last year.
This section of the Rock is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the photo below you get a true sense of the magesty of the cliffs looking northwards. Down at just above sea-level is the Gorham’s Cave complex which is full of important archaeological research.
It truly is a beautiful spot.
When I could see the lighthouse at Europa Point, I felt like I was on the final leg of my journey. Not long now before I could have a cold drink and a sit down!
Out at sea, as I was walking, I spotted a bit of argy-bargy between a Guardia Civil boat and a Royal Navy rhib. That’s a common sight round these parts as there is an ongoing dispute about who the British Gibraltar Territorial Waters actually belong to. Sometimes skirmishes make the British news, one day I saw a flare being fired by the British after a Spanish vessel continued on a collision course towards a submarine. That was quite a sight I can tell you!
Onwards in the full heat of the sun heading south…
… there she is – Trinity Lighthouse. Doesn’t she look magestic?
The lay-by which offers this stunning view also has a touching memorial for a young soldier.
As you round the bend in the road, in front of you is the dramatic sight of the Mosque.
Between the mosque and the lighthouse, Europa Point is a rather iconic part of the Rock. It’s also home to a fabulous play park for young children, a heritage information centre, Gibraltar University, the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe and the recently built Europa Point stadium which is home to Gibraltar Rugby & Gibraltar Cricket and was used to house the Nightingale facility to cope with Covid-19 patients (although, so far, thankfully, it hasn’t needed to be used).
The road swings round to the north again after Europa Point offering great views of the Rock.
Looking westwards out to see you see both the Moroccan coast (on the left of the photo below) and the Spanish coast (on the right) the strip of water between them is the famous Strait of Gibraltar and the gateway to the Mediterranean.
Europa Road here gets quite narrow as it was once crossed by an archway and policed by an army sentry.
It was a defence point to stop invaders approaching from the south getting access to the town.
And finally I had reached my destination… almost home, I was back in South District!
Two hours on from when I’d set off, I had completed my circuit of the Rock. I am so pleased I managed to tick this walk off on my to-do list in Gibraltar. Despite living there for over a decade, there are still some things I didn’t manage to achieve, like visiting the Lower St Michaels Cave and exploring the Jungle and the Northern Defences. I hope one day I will be able to do those things.
In the meantime, when I’m in my new home in the UK I have some truly wonderful memories of our time in Gib, and feel truly blessed that we had our time there, and that the Little Postcards could enjoy some of their childhood there too.
Thank you Gibraltar and happy National Day 2020! 🇬🇮
Wow, what a week it has been for us. It’s been super busy but not much in the way of photos. But here goes with this week’s Sunday postcard…
Bank holiday trip to the seaside
In case you missed my post on Tuesday (A postcard from Another Place, Crosby), we went to the seaside on Monday. Just under and hour’s drive for our new home in Manchester is Crosby on the Lancashire coast (close to Liverpool). It’s stunning – and we had lovely weather too!
Queue the whirlwind of chaos
So, since Monday it’s been rather hectic round here. We have completed on the sale of our home in Gibraltar, Eldest began his new sixth form, there was a school appeal hearing and two offers of school places for the other two Little Postcards. All super fabulous news after a summer of uncertainty and waiting for news.
Cue the frantic mad panic of uniform buying in a matter of hours rather than the usual weeks/months. All the main uniform suppliers (ie department stores) looked like a plague of locusts had come through and cleared the shelves and racks of uniform in the size & colour required and the specialist uniform shops were buckling under the strain of last minute purchases and COVID restrictions.
I did get more than one pitying/smug look and comment from shop assistants reminding me that had I not left it to the last minute, I would have stood a better chance of getting what I wanted….. Thank goodness for the kindness of friends and school for lending and gifting us pieces of uniform to get us through until our own supplies arrive!
In a rare moment of calm, I took a chair out to the garden and had a few moments to myself (I haven’t been in the mood or had the time to pick up a crochet hook this week) and this little chap hopped out from beneath a conifer to say hello. It was so tame and came very close before turning round and hopping away again. Such a treat!
A special delivery
This week the postman brought this rather special book to Postcard Towers. It’s written by the lovely Nancy (@avocadofairy on Instagram) and illustrated by her daughter Freya.
Nancy is currently undergoing treatment for a brain tumour and during lockdown, isolation and chemo decided to put pen to paper and write this very special book. All the proceeds from the sale are going to the Brain Tumour Charity. Do pop over to Nancy’s Instagram feed if you are interested in getting your hands on a copy – it’s delightful. 🍄
And that, I’m afraid is all I have to offer this week … it’s been quite a week. Tomorrow, for the first time in six months all three Little Postcards will be in school… what will I do with myself?!
Until next time, thanks for stopping by. I hope you have had a good week yourself.
As yesterday was August Bank Holiday Monday and as we woke up to sunshine, we jumped into Bluebell (our car) and headed off to the seaside.
It took less than an hour to drive from our home in Manchester to Crosby on the Lancashire coast. A really good friend of mine who was brought up by the sea and subsequently moved to Manchester recommended it as a trip out if we were ever finding ourselves missing the seaside.
Eldest and I were in Gibraltar recently but the two youngest Postcards haven’t been near the sea since we moved here in July. As they have spent most of, if not all of their lives within sight of the sea, six weeks inland is the longest they have spent away from it for over a decade!
We parked up by the Crosby Marina and followed our noses towards the sand dunes, passed a busy adventure playground and some fairground attractions for small children. There were plenty of people out and about but it wasn’t overcrowded which was good news.
To the left of the footpath was a large boating lake and to the right, a smaller body of water teeming with birds. There were lots of swans looking rather elegant and aloof!
We crossed the sand dunes and spied…
… Sir Antony Gormley’s statues…
I have seen them before on tv and in photos, but I was glad to be able to see them for myself at last!
‘Another Place’ is the name of the installation of 100 life size figures which are set into the sand along the beach at various heights. The installations stretches 3km along the coast and up to 1km out to sea.
The cast iron figures were made from a cast of the sculptor’s own body, and left nothing to the imagination. The sight of his crown jewels caused much tittering (hence the tastefully positioned crown below).
All the statutes stand facing the sea and looking towards the horizon – they are meant to signify man’s relationship with nature and the ebb and flow of the tide.
Crosby beach is a non-bathing beach because of the tides and quick-sand, so visitors are asked not to attempt to reach those statues out in the water. This one (below) looked as though he was striding out towards the Snowdonian mountains in the distance.
I thought I would join him and paddle my toes. It was surprisingly warm to dip my toes in the Irish Sea compared to my swim in the Med just over a week ago. Not sure I would like to go the whole way in though!!
We walked a good distance along the beach…
… before tummies started rumbling and we succumbed to the ice cream van!
We headed back towards the car, this time walking amongst the dunes. The Little Postcards loved scrambling up them and sliding back down again!
What a beautiful place to visit, I’m so glad we had the recommendation to go. The perfect place to spend the last day of August!