Week 43 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 4th January 2009

As the new day starts we are watching the end of Still Crazy, starring a host of the usual suspects. An elderly rocker is approached aggressively by a woman back stage:

Elderly Rocker: "What do you want?"
Woman: "Quick, violent sex"
Elderly Rocker: "Oh, so you're not from the Inland Revenue then?"

In the afternoon we establish base camp at the Rock Hotel and, once we have acclimatised to the altitude, press on for the summit of the rock via all of the Mediterranean Steps. We arrive at the top at 3.45pm to find that the cafe has just closed. Not that it is actually ever open but you can normally sit in what looks like a cafe and imagine what it would be like to have something nice to eat.

On the way down we pass the inevitable monkey duo. At this time of the year the monkeys are somewhat aggressive as there are far fewer tourists so there is less food around (not that they normally eat tourists). They spot my girlfriend's half eaten apple and she hastily drops it as they close in looking very hungry. Their regular food which is government issued, is not very exciting and they have quickly realised the benefits of a little extortion with menaces.

Hopefully, in due course they will realise that you can do better in the long term by providing goods and services that people want rather than by stealing from others. But until the monkeys open a cafe and start selling postcards, watch your step.

In the evening we discover that the Cone snail has the most deadly venom in the world. There are lots of varieties and if you take two at random you will find that each one of them has more than a hundred toxins none of which overlap with other varieties of Cone. They do this by taking proteins which are essential to human life and tweaking them slightly. This is like killing a builder by sawing through his ladder when he is half way up it. Clever, but don't try this at home.

Monday 5th January 2009


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We walk into town to collect a package from the Post Office. One of the silly things in Gibraltar is that customs never check cars coming in - you could have a boot full of DVDs but any package from abroad is carefully intercepted and duty charged. Go figure.

After collecting our package, we discover a lot of activity in Casemates Square and discover from a policeman that "It's the
Three Kings' Cavalcade ... something ... nineteen thirty". Obviously commemorating something that happened in 1930, just as the Great Depression was taking hold. Maybe the three kings will be handing out survival rations? Bowls of soup perhaps? Has it already come to this?

We come back later and discover that at 7.30pm ("19.30") the three kings and their accolytes are actually handing out sweets - great showers of them. So many that when I hold out my hand to my girlfriend to make a point a sweet thrown by a young girl literally lands in my hand. Nice, thank you girls.

Tuesday 6th January 2009

At about 3.30pm we go for a snack at The Penny Farthing cafe in King Street, which is off Main Street, near Marks & Spencer. The proprietor rushes out into the street and thrusts a menu into our hands. He appears desperate for customers and recommends the "home made soup" with a "don't pay if you don't like it" guarantee.

The place is freezing cold as it has two sets of double doors, both open. He closes one set which is a start but it is still very cold. The soup is very average. The sausage and egg is fine but the roll it comes in is boring and white. The coffee is not to our taste.

When we pay, the proprietor is nowhere in sight and nor is the soup guarantee. Oh, dear.

Wednesday 7th January 2009

It is a lovely day so we decide to go up into the hills for the day. When we have gone about thirty miles we stop for an ice cream at a garage and discover an amazing view of Gibraltar and North Africa.

Thursday 8th January 2009

In the evening we watch an orgy of Poirot from 9.00pm until 1.00am. In the first one, I am convinced that George did it and that Agatha Christie got it wrong. In the second one I am baffled as usual - even though I have seen it before.

During this couch potato heaven I ask my girlfriend if we have anything that looks like a pudding "Only me" she replies.

Friday 9th January 2009

Suddenly, the weather is looking a lot more Mediterranean - the skies are blue and it feels like summer is coming. Until you step outside, that is, when it feels more like a ski resort in January - no snow but very cold.

After our daily trip to Morrisons to buy a paper and see if they have any kitchen roll yet (they haven't), we set off up the coast on an important mission to eat coffee flavoured ice cream at Ben & Jerry's in La Canada.

On the way we buy some oranges in accordance with Government guidelines - I don't actually eat these oranges as I am awaiting research that will reveal that a diet of bacon, eggs and ice cream will keep you very happy and being happy is half the battle to being healthy.

Saturday 10th January 2009


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In the early morning we have a sudden case of thermal runaway. Surprisingly, the fire alarm for the entire building does not go off for some 12 hours but better late than never.

In the afternoon we go for an exciting ride on a double deck bus and in the evening we go to see some nice people across the border.


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