Week 32 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 19th October 2008

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The new day finds us in a cheap drinking establishment in La Linea. At about 2.30am we go back to a friend's house where, as usual, Barney the cat is the star of the show. At 4.00am I persuade my girlfriend it is time to go and we walk back through the centre of La Linea which is still swarming with party goers - nothing seems to get going in Spain until about midnight.

We get up very late and decide to do our bit for global warming by driving the car to Tarifa - very fast. The SEAT Leon really corners well - much better than far more expensive cars that I have driven. In Tarifa we find a castle we have not seen before. On the way back we call in at our favourite beach bar where we see that there has been major erosion of the sand. Note the exposed sewer manhole covers.

Also note the special micro climate over Gibraltar.

Monday 20th October 2008

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Late in the afternoon we wander down to see what lay behind the police "keep out tape". All along the inner harbour the banks have been badly washed away - not by idiots in power boats (although they doubtless contribute) but by the recent storm. This is doubly amazing since it is a harbour within a harbour and you would assume that it would remain relatively calm in the fiercest storm. But evidently not. Doubtless the insurance company will have been surprised too but no doubt have other things to worry about in the financial markets.

Tuesday 21st October 2008

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I'm afraid the new Canon EOS1000D is getting sadly neglected. It is attached to the TeleVue-85 telescope and only operates properly on the manual setting. Consequently, when I hear the roar of engines I reach for my trusty Panasonic FZ18, set it on "Automatic" and point and shoot. The whole photo opportunity rarely lasts more than about fifteen seconds and if you don't react in that time scale then you don't get the shot. Similarly if the battery is on charge or the camera is in somebody's handbag

Elaborate gear is fine if you are on a serious stakeout - waiting for that elusive bird to emerge from behind a tree or trip over the red carpet.

In the evening a group of us eat at the Cafe Rojo in Irish Town, which as usual is excellent.

Wednesday 22nd October 2008

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As we go out there are people looking down the lift shaft. On enquiring, we find that this is because we told the porter that this particular lift made very loud banging noises last time we used it. They are now in the process of correcting the fault (which may relate to the recent storm.). Did nobody else notice? Why is it always me that has to point out such things? Would they rather die than make a fuss? Probably.

Later, my girlfriend takes a shot of a roof in an arcade that we had not noticed before - the perspective is such that it is hard to distinguish from looking looking down. The human brain is the world's last unexplored mystery.

Thursday 23rd October 2008

This is our first winter in Gibraltar and I had not realised how dark it is at 9.00am in the morning. As the day goes on it gets a little brighter and less misty. In the late afternoon we can actually see the sheer blackness of the clouds. So that's all right then.

Friday 24th October 2008

In the evening we are due to watch some Batuka at the Bayside Sports Hall. That shouldn't be too hard to find should it? Wrong. We look in Google. There are dozens of references but none of them have an address or a phone number or the slightest hint at the location. We look on Google Maps - never heard of it. The latest Gibraltar Yellow Pages? Nothing under sports or recreation. The phone book? Nope. Our receptionist. No. A passer by? No idea.

We set off towards Bayside Road in a spirit of hope but knowing that this is probably wrong - after all, John Mackintosh Hall is nowhere near John Mackintosh Square (it is on Main Street near Ragged Staff Road). On the way we bump into the glamorous leader of the pack who, of course, is about to get on the back of a motorbike to go there. She directs us with a smile and an elegant arm movement.

In due course we arrive at what could well be a sports hall but there is no sign on the outside. Nothing. Not even a postcard. The doors are black glass. We decide it must be a branch of the CIA and prepare an alibi and an escape route but at that moment the doors open and we catch a glimpse of a sign telling us the sports hall is on the first floor. We laboriously climb the stairs but this is pure disinformation designed to confuse the lame and halt. I haul my crippled body down the stairs again and we pay out ten pounds to get in. We then climb more stairs.

So, the address of the Bayside Sports Hall is: Bayside Road, Gibraltar next to the big car park. There is no sign on it and the telephone number is highly classified information. In due course it will close down because nobody goes there.

Saturday 25th October 2008

In the evening we are with a group of people wandering from bar to bar in La Linea. This is not an activity that I would entertain in the UK but here it feels quite safe - there are no drunks or abusive people. None of the dozens of bars have doormen or admission charges and the drinks are reasonably priced. Very civilised considering.

We leave the Blue Bar, which is - well, very blue - because the music is so loud that you cannot here a word that anybody says.

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      End of Week 32 of Gibraltar Diary

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