The vast majority of Gibraltar is closed on a Sunday and there are very few places to eat. Accordingly, we drive up to
(200 73000) through the cold and wet and manage to park right outside the front door. Normally the bar is full
of people eating but today it is eerily deserted (apart from the ten seconds it takes to take a photograph). The
barman says that all the planes have been diverted to Malaga, which happens sometimes.
In the evening we watch Affinity which is world class and should be released as a film. They could make a special version for America where instead of drowning herself in despair at being so cruelly manipulated and deceived, the heroine is rescued from the river by Tom Cruise. She then realises that she isn't really a Lesbian and marries him. They move to Hicksville, Tennessee where she is a pillar of the local church and has triplets. In her spare time she shoots moose.
In the afternoon we go for a really nice snack in the
Rock Bastion Restaurant
(200 52442) in the Kings Bastion Leisure Centre.
The outside section, near the bowling area, is full but the inside part is totally empty - probably because it looks like a separate, expensive restaurant. After ten minutes a woman comes in with a screaming brat and sits down less than a foot away from us - despite the fact that there are a dozen empty tables. What thought processes go through her head? Or does she have sawdust for brains?
Late in the evening, my girlfriend wants to watch a programme called The Pregnant Man, or something similar. This concerns a person who has a vagina, fallopian tubes, cervix, uterus and a few other body parts with Latin names. Following the insertion of semen into this person's vagina, a normal healthy baby is born nine months later. What is amazing about that? OK, so she looks like a man and is a bit hairy but so what? Women who look like the back of a bus give birth but you don't get TV programmes called "The Pregnant Routemaster".
Every country has it's advantages and disadvantages and Gibraltar is no exception. Specifically fresh milk. Which is only
available by either taking a special trip to the UK or by going to Morrisons.
Normally, we are pretty well organised and have milk in the freezer (it lasts for months) but recently we run low. For the last three days we have attempted to buy some without success. Today we use the last drop and serious measures are called for.
My girlfriend waits from 11.30am for the delivery to arrive at Morrisons and I join her at 12.30pm. Every 30 minutes the staff update the situation "it will be here in 10 minutes". "It will be here in 20 minutes". "It will be here in 40 minutes". Finally, at 1.30pm having waited for two hours, we give up and go walkabout.
At 2.30pm we are irresistably drawn back where, miracle of miracles, the milk has just arrived and we fight our way through a feeding frenzy and retire victorious to the checkout - no caveman having bagged a mammoth felt prouder.
In the evening we go to see Australia. The film, not the country, with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. This contains every cliche imaginable - the noble savage, the imperious aristocrat, the ruthless cattle baron, the drover with a heart of gold, the noble drunk, the magnificent scenery, the thundering hurd of catle and the innocent child who is the victim of intolerance. Oh, and let's not forget the big breasted native woman who sadly drowns before she can get her kit off - you missed a trick there guys. Actually, I expect her agent got greedy so they wrote her out of the script to show who was boss - or Mr Boss, to get into the spirit of the film.
Or maybe Nicole Kidman's agent insisted on a clause saying that nobody in the film was allowed to have bigger breasts and what we saw was a compromise? Given that agents argue for weeks about the size and font of the type face in the credits that nobody reads, no doubt these unseen breasts will have featured in hours of argument and endless meetings.
Strangely, there are no boomerangs. Perhaps they are making Crocodile Dundee 4 and have temporarily run out - "they'll be here in 40 minutes" - and couldn't be bothered to wait.
Having said all that, it is a great film - marred only by a pillock endlessly talking to his his girlfriend - why is it always me who has to lean over and politely tell him to shut the fuck up?
We go over to La Linea to look at the beach - the waves are amazing. It is easy to forget that the Mediterranean is a real
grown up sea, rather than just a big lake.
In the evening we go to Gauchos (200 59700) for a meal which is simply awesome. Even the presence of a woman with a voice like a crow does not spoil things but I do notice that every time she opens her mouth - which is often - the paint blisters and peels.
From there we go on to the fireworks display in Casemates Square which is brilliant - in all senses of the word. Even the torrential rain hardly affects the fun of the occasion. The woman with the paint stripping voice follows us there but we hold up a stick of garlic and our umbrella and she moves on.
At 1.30am the Little Rock Cafe opens it's doors to people who have bought tickets to revels which are scheduled to run
until 6.00am. As it happens we leave at about 2.30am and walk home past a gigantic puddle which is noticeably smaller once
a passing car transfers much of the contents to our clothes.
We arrive home soaked but happy and optimistic for the New Year - how can it get worse?
We go over to La Linea for a bite to eat and a general wander around and are astonished at the number of ships - there are
at least twenty easily visible whereas there are normally only two or three. The recession or the New Year?
In the evening we watch The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift which features a thirty five year old man who is so retarded he still goes to school. To avoid a prison sentence for dangerous driving (during a race he takes a short cut through a house) he is sent to live with his father in Tokyo. As soon as he arrives, people lend him high powered cars which he demolishes or at least inflicts considerable wear and tear. Typical dialogue:
Idiot Hero: More tyres!
Idiot Car Owner: No, these tyres cost money and that's the third set today.
While doing this he is also courting a 27 year old girl in the same class at school who is the property of a gangster.
The grand finale is a race in the wet at night on a road which very much reminds me of the road down to Tarifa - very twisty. The Japanese drive on the left (as in the UK) - not that you would know by watching.
This film makes Top Gun look like Shakespeare. To call it idiotic is to insult idiots. The driving is interesting but even to a car nut (like me) it is a little tedious. Once you have seen twenty close up shots of a brake pedal, you long for them all to be killed in one immense explosion. Sadly, they aren't and they live to fight another day in the sequel, which I suggest should be called The Boring and Monotonous: Drift off to Sleep
In the afternoon we drive to
which is disappointing but maybe we did not find the most interesting part. After all, you could drive to Manchester with
the same result. Come to think of it, you could live in Manchester for twenty years and not find the interesting
On the way we call in at Tarifa where we rescue a snail that is inviting disaster by attempting to cross the road without looking for a zebra crossing. Surprisingly, the Spanish are obsessive about stopping for pedestrians - if you walk down the street and stop to admire the view ten feet from a crossing the whole of Spain grinds to a halt.
On the way back we pass a very large solar farm which is heartening - solar energy will save the world in due course. To do so, however, we need oil prices at about $200 per barrel to really put some impetus behind development and bring down the price of panels. In due couse, this means that the world will be at the mercy of hot countries for energy ...
In the evening we go to see Brideshead Revisited with a friend. I had assumed it was the version that has always been around but evidently it was remade in 2008. Whatever. It is brilliant and a great relief from the garbage we have been watching recently.