Week 29 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 28th September 2008

We arrive at Livepool Airport in the early hours where we descend from the airplane steps and walk across the tarmac to the terminal. Quite what the signs on the floor require us to do I am not sure but clearly the subject is sensitive as when I stop to take a photograph the attendant tells me not to. Sorry about that.

Monday 29th September 2008

I am busy all day but in the evening we go to the Cafe Rouge at the Trafford Centre. There are three of us and we take advantage of a special offer but when the bill arrives it it is stratospheric. The waitress points out triumphantly (don't you want a tip?) that in the very small print it says out that the whole deal falls through if one of us dares to have a particular pudding.

There is a big row and the manager concedes that the whole thing is ludicrous and we pay the lower amount. Are these people mad?

Tuesday 30th September 2008

We have things to do all day but at 6.00pm we set off for our holiday on the Norfolk Broads which are/is 230 miles away. The Tom Tom tells us to stop at Frankie and Benny's at Kettering and it is excellent.

We are staying at the Ramada in Norwich which turns out to be unfindable. Not everybody knows that "R" means Ramada - it could mean Raddishes or Ratshit. To get in we have to get past about a dozen drunken smokers clustered round the front door.

Wednesday 1st October 2008

Next morning when we leave they are still there. I suggest you stay somewhere else as the whole experience of staying in the Ramada is poor.

We finally collect our boat which was at Potter Heigham rather than Wroxham, and we set off in the bitterly cold rain. We park up in Neatishead and head for Ye Olde Saddlery Restaurant. Yes, it really is called that and has decor to match. But, and this is a very big BUT, the food is excellent and is served by a very pretty proprietor.

Towards the end of the meal I ask my girlfriend if there is any wine left. She lifts her glass and drains it. "Not anymore" she replies.

Thursday 2nd October 2008

We make our way to Horning under a very low bridge and after moving the boat four times as people leave, we manage to get a power point. After an hour or so of intense study and research, I work out that it needs some kind of card to make it work. It turns out that cards are available in the Post Office which closes in one minute. I dash there and procure such a card and hey presto we have power (otherwise after a couple of hours you have to run the engine).

The reason we are in Horning is to eat at Taps Restaurant which has the ambience of a Blackpool Guest house in a wet February but serves absolutely exquisite food. Or it does usually. Or it did. Because today the proprietor has not bothered to open. We discover this when we turn up on the doorstep at 7.10pm and ring up to find out why it is closed "We've been very quiet lately so we didn't bother to open"

We eat at the excellent fish restaurant next door which in London would have a queue down the street but is empty. Fortunately some more people arrive including a man who is enormously fat. But why wear brilliant yellow? Why not have a painted sign that says "Yup, I'm enormously fat but I'm back for more"

Friday 3rd October 2008

It is still raining and very cold. We drop the boat off at Potter Heigham, where "Tacky" has been elevated to an art form and head for London.

Once we get sorted out we go to the Haagen Dazs in Leicester Square where we queue for thirty minutes to get in. The place has been "refurbished". This is a code word that means lower quality food and higher prices. It has taken almost thirty years but they have finally managed to remove every decent flavour and substitute rubbish. This will be my last visit.

Saturday 4th October 2008

Next day we park the car carefully where it can be picked up and taken back to Manchester by somebody who is in on the plot.

We then get a taxi to Victoria where it turns out that the Gatwick Express does not leave for 25 minutes. When we get to Gatwick it seems we have to get another train that leaves in 4 minutes. Then we pull luggage for miles and only just make it in time. Maybe we should have a private jet?

On the plane my girlfriend is reading a story entitled "Woman kept her babies in a shoe box". I comment on this and she replies "Well, you've got to keep them somewhere". Finally we arrive in Gibraltar at about 7.00pm and all is well. The temperature is about 75 degrees fahrenheit.

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