Week 19 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 20st June 2008

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We walk down Henry Street towards O'Connell Street and find that the 400 feet (120 metres) high Spire of Dublin is being cleaned with the aid of a crane belonging to Messrs McNally. So, if you have something 400 feet high that needs a scrub give them a ring.

Apparently there used to be an Irish version of Nelson's Column on that spot until it was blown up by those architects of urban change, the IRA.

Monday 21st July 2008

We go to Wicklow for a late lunch and spot yet another crane - albeit on a more modest scale. It strikes me that if Eddie Stobart trucks can have a fan club then so should big cranes. Oops! I spoke too soon - a quick search on Google reveals that there is at least one forum for crane freaks called Lifting World.

We get back to Dublin just in time to see WALL-E with sub-titles, which is quite good and definitely different but hardly deserving of the adulatory reviews it has been getting - scoring a 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It has been influenced strongly by both of the greatest films ever made - namely 2001: A Space Odyssey and Shrek. So, not bad but hardly a work of genius.

Tuesday 22nd July 2008

Walking along the River Liffey we encounter a wonderful frieze on a building at the corner of Parliament Street and Essex Quay in the centre of Dublin. No doubt thousands of people walk past it every day but never notice it.

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Meanwhile a forest of cranes (this is crane week, as you may have gathered) tower over Dublin. It used to be said that if you can see more than three cranes at the same time then there is a property recession on the way - advice that would have been worth billions to todays bankers who were still sucking dummies at the time of the last serious recession (1974).

This oncoming recession will leave them puzzling over their Monte Carlo Simulations as they labour in their new careers ("would you like fries with that"). The problem is, guys, that the variables are not independant - they are deeply correlated. You should also bear in mind that the true role of financial markets is to take resources (normally money) from the passive or weak and place it in the hands of the smart or powerful. Markets are the mechanism (preferable to violence or insurrection) whereby this transfer takes place.

Wednesday 23rd July 2008

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It has to be said that compared with Gibraltar and Spain, Dublin is a little grey, even in the sunshine. Accordingly we go hunting for bright colours. We find a few.

In the late afternoon we go and see
Kung Fu Panda with Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan and Lucy Liu. This is a merry romp more suited to 10 year old kids than adults but the UGC Cinema on Parnell Street serves coffee flavoured ice cream from Messrs Ben & Jerry (all credit to Unilever, who now own it, for not wrecking it) so I am moderately content.

Afterwards we buy a huge punnett of strawberries from a woman standing by the side of the road and a carton of whipping cream to complete the pig-in.

Thursday 24th July 2008

We walk down by the river Liffey and come across a bird we have not seen before. Next day I post it on birdforum. No doubt the experts there will soon tell me that it is a pigeon (it turns out to be a Black headed Gull).

We also spot a big black bird which only surfaces for a few seconds before disappearing again under water.

On the way back home we spot some real photographers outside the Law Courts - no doubt waiting for a juicy murder case. I ask one of them what lens he has on his camera. It turns out to be a 400mm f/2.8 Canon. These cost about 5,000 each and weigh almost 12 pounds (about 5 kilos). Then you need to buy a decent camera.

Friday 25th July 2008

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In the morning my girlfriend glances out of the window and spots a commotion in the water below. I hunt for my camera, turn it on, zoom in and try to focus while she struggles to open the window. By this time the big black bird (a cormorant, I am told) has already half swallowed an enormous eel at least two feet long. A bit like a python swallowing a pig. No doubt he/she will go for a long siesta while thinking about Government guidelines on obesity. Not to mention those five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.

Saturday 26th July 2008

In the evening we go to a function in a pub near Tescos. As always, it is far too hot, noisy and expensive but great fun and we meet lots of lovely people.

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      End of Week 19 of Gibraltar Diary

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