Week 10 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 18th May 2008

I find a fabulous weather site that gives you satellite images of clouds moving over the last few hours. The image above (click on it) is not a giant chicken eating Iceland but a still shot of Europe. The site covers the whole world.

This is the Dragonfish in Gibraltar harbour. Not glamorous but no doubt doing something very useful (it is a "Products Tanker"). It is a big boat - the tyres hanging down the sides are really huge - probably from the giant dumper trucks that work in open cast mines.

Later we visit Morrison's at 6.30pm on the principle that since it closes at 7.00pm we should be able to get through the checkout fairly quickly. What actually happens is that at about 7.10pm they suddenly start closing down the checkouts with the result that there is an enormous queue. They have also run out of milk.

Monday 19th May 2008

The Stars & Stripes are flying in Gibraltar as the mysterious "79" calls in and parks up for a while. Eventually I find a List of US Warships from which I deduce that it is the destroyer USS Oscar Austin. Guys, why don't you just paint the name up somewhere?

Here is a site giving you more than you want to know about this ship. It also rescued some guys from Pirates! What happened to the Pirates I don't know but hopefully they were made to walk the plank.

Actually, if they got themselves a good lawyer (Cherie Blair has time on her hands) they would probably collect millions for Wrongful Arrest and Violation of their Human Rights. Perhaps somebody could do a painting of them collecting the cheque?

Tuesday 20th May 2008

The mystery of why the USS Oscar Austin can't afford to put its name up is solved - they spend all their money on illuminations. I must say it made a nice show - "make light not war".

After the early morning light show we go to bed. I get up bright and early because today is the day that the Caleta is due to sink. At least, it looks that way but I wait all day and nothing happens. The Caleta is a bunker tanker and she was born in 1979 but looks old for her age. I know this because I looked her up in the World Shipping Register which is a mine of information.

Full access for an individual costs €375 pa so I will have to think about that. Mind you, that's cheap compared with the Internet Ships Register which charges €1,040 pa.

Wednesday 21st May 2008

Later in the day we went to Tarifa yet again. It was a bit windy which was fine by the wind-surfers but a bit of a trial for sunbathers. Walking back to the car we met this cat, which didn't have a lot to say but obligingly posed for a few shots before leaving for an urgent appointment.

Thursday 22nd May 2008

Well, you know what its like - you wait for a policeman (actually Royal Navy but why let the facts stand in the way) to come along and then three of them turn up at the same time (yup, count 'em). Or was that busses? Anyway, they were certainly in a hurry this morning as they aqua-planed across Gibraltar harbour (aqua-plodded doesn't quite have the right ring to it)

A seagull pearches on our balcony and for once I manage to get a shot before it flies off.

Finally, this shot was taken for me by my girlfriend who, like me, admires elegance in motion. Not easy to shoot a moving target out of the window of a moving car but its got to be done.

Friday 23rd May 2008

A naval boat P285 pulls into harbour at a fair speed. I look it up on Wikipedia and find that it is HMS Sabre but the entry has no photograph. What could be easier, I think, than to send them my photo? Well, standing on your head drinking a cup of coffee would be easier for one thing. Here is how you do it:

1. Open a free account with Wikipedia
2. Wade through Double Dutch to upload a photo to Wikipedia Commons, whatever that may be
3. Just edit the page in the real Wikipedia Site itself where you want to add the image (click on "edit this page" at the top) and put in the name you gave your photo eg:

Before: Ship image=[[Image:No Current Image.png]]
After: Ship image=[[Image:HMS Sabre - P285.jpg|none|300px|HMS ''Sabre'']]

Obvious, isn't it? You don't need to worry about the path or size of your photo - they sort that automatically. Presumably, if you name your photograph with the same name as something already on their database, Wikipedia will tell you and make you change it.

The next thing that drove me crackers was trying to work out how to place an image in a category. They tell you everything in the known world about categories except how to do it. Rather than bore you to death I will show you. You put Category Entries in the Image Description. This is my Image Description:

== Summary ==
|Description= HMS Sabre P285 coming into Harbour in Gibraltar
|Date=23rd May 2008
|Author= [[User:MyUserName|MyUserName]]
|Permission=see below

== [[Commons:Copyright tags|Licensing]]: ==

[[Category:Patrol vessels]]
[[Category:Patrol boats]]
[[Category:Patrol vessels of the United Kingdom]]

That was easy wasn't it?

Saturday 24th May 2008

Since the weather is looking good, we set off on a grand tour.

We stop to see how our storks are getting on and then head for the small town of El Comenar in the Reserve Nacional de Cortes de la Frontera. From there we head up a narrow winding road through mile after mile of cork trees on our way to Ubrique. I deduce they are cork trees because the bark has been stripped off up to about ten feet. When I get back I add one of my photos to Wikipedia - Cork Oak

Ubrique is beautifully located but dire. Absolutely dire, in fact. Unless you like bars full of guys watching football, in which case Ubrique will be your idea of paradise, with at least twenty different bars to choose from. No food, of course, guys who watch football don't do food.

We sit on a wall eating crisps and soggy cakes then head for Zahara along a very fast road which does not appear on our map. Zahara is interesting. It is built on the top of a hill and overlooks a big lake. When we arrive they have closed the centre for some mysterious purpose involving chopped down willow trees. Later I find out that they use the branches to whip naked virgins at midnight by the light of the full moon ("que utilizan las ramas desnudas a látigo vírgenes a la medianoche por la luz de la luna llena") but by then we are long gone. Maybe next year.

From there we head back down towards Grazalema which is another nice mountain town. Our Tom Tom has a field day sending us down impossibly narrow streets intended for donkeys. Skinny donkeys. Outside there is a kids playground where my girlfriend has a long session on one of the swings. In a year or so that is all we will remember about Grazalema.

Inevitably we end up at Ronda where again the centre has been closed. A police lady diverts us down a narrow side street and the Tom Tom confidently directs us to drive over a very narrow bridge and drop down a vertical cliff to the left. The alternative is to drive through the front door of the church. We choose the latter and end up right in front of a big procession which is just starting.

This is evidently a Corpus Christi procession ("Corpus Christi", the Body of Christ is celebrated on Sunday 25th May). I am not sure who is playing the Virgin Mary standing on top of the float but whoever she is, she does a really good job - not so much as a blink. The baby Jesus does well, too - no tears or tantrums. Mind you, Spanish kids are very well behaved.

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