Week 11 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 25th May 2008

According to my girlfriend, the Queens Cinema in Gibraltar is showing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at 5.30pm. We duly turn up and unfortunately she is right. I sit through two hours of total drivel - it is even worse than Pirates of the Carribbean. Still, as PT Barnham said, "nobody ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the public". So, no doubt, it will be a smash hit - the Queens Cinema has never been so full. Usually, we are the only people there but tonight we had to queue for ten minutes to get in.

On the way out, to avoid the crowds, we walk up Prince Edward Road where there is plaque on the wall that records the sentiments of an old soldier. There appear to be various versions of this rhyme that probably went the rounds and were scratched on walls by bored soldiers on sentry duty. A rather upmarket variation of Kilroy was Here

Here is another version of the soldier's lament:

God and the soldier, all men adore
In time of danger and not before
When the danger is passed and all things righted
God is forgotten and the soldier slighted

The abuse poured on British soldiers in the UK is proof enough and God, of course, is losing market share at an alarming rate. But why would he be bothered?

There are 35,000 Religions in the World!
Do you belong to the right one?

Imagine you are a supreme being with unlimited power - an NCP car park attendant on steroids. You can create universes with billions of galaxies with each galaxy having billions of stars with probably millions of planets harbouring intelligent life - the kind of intelligence that could create the Indiana Jones series or count up to seven.

Would you really be bothered that such infestations don't seem to appreciate you? Would you run weeping to your therapist that you are not getting enough praise? For goodness sake, pull yourself together. God, if he exists, cannot have the slightest reason to seek our praise and worship. If I grow cabbages in my garden I don't expect them to go on about how wonderful I am - "Oh, Blogger, you are so wonderful! When I've been eaten I want to go to Cabbage Heaven to be with you". Do me a favour.

So why do people waste their time in religious emporiums? This is a mixture of greed and cynicism on behalf of the organisers "Give us your money and do as we say and you will go to Heaven". And pure selfishness on the part of the dupees (people who have been duped) "Yippee! I'm going to Heaven and you're not - yah boo sucks".

The naivety of it all is breathtaking. I would love to have seen Mother Teresa's face when she turned up at the Pearly Gates and God gave her the good news:

"Mother Teresa, you have dedicated your life to helping others. We have decided, therefore, that you will have the very special honour of emulating the deeds of My Son who went to earth to Save mankind by enduring torment. So, you will spend the rest of Eternity in Hell so that poor old Adolph Hitler can come to Heaven"

Somehow, I don't think that was what she had in mind but what a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how unselfish she was.

Monday 26th May 2008

Neither of us is feeling too good so we have a lazy day slumped on the sofa. My girlfriend is watching the TV with headphones on and I am vaguely reading the paper but mostly comatose.

Later we decide to go up to the top floor as the air is very clear so the view should be good. North Africa is twenty miles away and through the spotter scope we can clearly see buildings but all attempts at photography are very disappointing. The most interesting thing in sight is the roof of McDonalds - the architects clearly have a sense of humour as it features a giant cooker and four huge plastic cups with lids. One of the lids has fallen off but they all have holes for the straws to go in. But where are the straws? Ah, the straws are propping up the sides.

Tuesday 27th May 2008

Time to get the anorak out again. This appears to be a shot of the Aegean Daisy refueling the LPG Carrrier (Liquified Petroleum Gas) Stella Kosan while the tug Sealyham stays along side. They are being passed by the Loiuse B which just happened to be in the area.

Neither the Stella Kosan or the Louise B can be found in the World Shipping Register, which is disappointing.

Wednesday 28th May 2008

We set off for what we imagine is the town of Castellar because it is marked on our map as being interesting. The Tom Tom refuses to acknowledge its existence but insists on sending us to Castellar de la Frontera, which is very near but clearly the wrong place.

Eventually, we work out that the correct name of the place we want is Castillo de Castellar but it is marked on the map as just Castellar - like Hull and Kingston-upon-Hull, I guess.

When we do get there it is absolutely beautiful but totally deserted, as remarked by another account I read. This is because everybody is looking for it in Castellar de la Frontera and it ain't there. Actually, it is a castle with lots of ordinary houses within, so it is half town and half castle. This is logical because castles were just heavily fortified places to live and I guess this must have been a frontier town at one time, hence the term "de la Frontera" in the name of several local towns.

Google does not even hint at its existence. Buy a decent Spanish (as used by Spaniards) map.

Thursday 29th May 2008

A beautiful schooner rigged yacht, with-no-name, comes across the bay. It is rigged to take an enormous amount of sale with a long bowsprit and a boom on the aft mast that protrudes well over the stern. Sadly, it is not under sale. It is just so much easier to start the engine - a metaphor for life, I guess.

Friday 30th May 2008

You will recollect the well known joke "There is a hole in the road and police are looking into it". We have a similar situation. A large hole has appeared down by the sea which is evidently going to become our new swimming pool. In the meantime, the digger has come across a number of old concrete pillars that were not in the script. My guess is that the following questions are being asked:

  1. What are they?
  2. Do they matter?
  3. Has anybody noticed yet?
  4. Do we need to consult Gibraltar Heritage?
  5. Do we need to consult Health & Safety?
  6. Do we need an Environmental Impact study?
  7. Do we need Building Regulation Approval to remove them?
  8. Do we need Planning Consent to remove them?
  9. Who will decide?
  10. When?
  11. How will they be removed?
  12. Who will pay?
  13. Why didn't you just knock the bastards over without saying anything - it would have only taken ten minutes, now we're held up for weeks?

Best of luck guys! Now you know why everything costs so much to do these days.

Saturday 31st June 2008

We head for the beach as it looks like it is going to be sunny after a long period of being cloudy and windy. On the way we drop into Getares where we are amazed to find no less than seven nice restaurants all lined up on the front. Between them they only have seven customers and it is 2.30pm on a Saturday.

We decide to boost their takings and pop into one called the Pollo Palace. Pollo is Spanish for chicken so really this is a KFC type cafe. The waitress arrives and we finally get her to understand that we want a Coke and a Diet Coke. That takes ten minutes. Then we point to a combination platter which costs about seven euros and that is where we run into a brick wall. She wants to know what colour plate we want it on. Or possibly, whether we want sauce with it. Or maybe, would we like an extra portion of chips. Who knows?

We do not know how to answer this question and she is not going until she gets an answer. We try every way we can think of to express the sentiments "We don't give a toss, just bring us something" but this girl needs an answer. Finally, we have to get up and leave.

On the way back we call into a nice bar on the beach somewhere opposite Gibraltar. To get there requires an endless series of left and right turns. The bar is quite busy which is hardly surprising because once you have arrived there, it is quite impossible to leave without a navigator. On the beach we watch the ferry Boughaz, drive into what looks like a car wash for ships. Actually, it drives past it but I'm sure it will be popping in next week to have the wheels done.

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