Week 52 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 8th March 2009

We finally get to bed at 4.00am but we are up bright and early a few hours later. My left arm feels a little dead - pins and needles - and I wonder if I have had a minor stroke but decide that if I am going to die then it is better to do it in bright sunshine than in a hospital bed. So, we climb the Mediterranean Steps again in yet another record breaking time (for us) of 13min 5secs. When we get to the cafe at the top it is still closed and there are bits of machinery everywhere - they are replacing the cables on the cable car system.

It is a beautiful day with birds and butterflies flying all around us. We try to keep in the shade as we plod down the hill to the Rock Hotel.

Monday 9th March 2009

In the afternoon we take an urgent letter to the Post Office. This fails on two counts. Firstly, it turns out to be Commonwealth Day which is a public holiday in Gibraltar and the Post Office is closed. Secondly, even if the Post Office were open the last collection is evidently at 2.30pm - maybe this is related to ships and planes, or something. Perversely, there are no collections on Saturday but there is a collection at 7.00am on Sunday.

Incidentally, local letters in Gibraltar cost 10p and light letters to the UK cost 42p but can take a couple of weeks to arrive sometimes.

Most of the cafes are closed but anything run mainly by Spaniards seems to be open - we have a couple of really good sandwiches in the Cheers Cafe at the top of Bell Lane. Sadly, the book shop in Bell Lane is permanently closed - it was pretty useless but still a pity to see it go.

There are no newspapers because the border is closed to commercial traffic or something. Morrisons is open and about ten percent of the other shops.

Tuesday 10th March 2009

Quite why the Daim chocolate and caramel bar is so addictive I don't know - you would never buy one if you did not know of its exquisite taste. Frankly, it looks tacky and I don't like milk chocolate but, in the words of the old song, there is nothing like a Daim.

After having eaten all the Daims in the refrigerator, we walk into town and manage to post my girlfriend's urgent letter.

Thursday 12th March 2009

We are moving flats shortly and will need to buy a kettle. So, we record for posterity the Bosch, Private Collection kettle that is in our current rented flat. Here in Gibraltar people fit out expensive flats for the rental market at the most incredible cost - everything is top of the range. Thank you, Mr Landlord, it is appreciated.

The flat we stay at in Dublin on the other hand, Ellis Quays, is a nice flat, nicely located and with nice people running the block. But, and it is a big but, they have fitted it out in the cheapest way possible - everything falls apart when you pick it up. Very irritating. Mind you, it does have incredibly quick (and free) internet which is a huge factor for casual visitors. Many hotels charge 12 per day which is very annoying. They also have excellent free parking in the basement.

Of course, nothing is really free but it is irritating to be constantly hit with extras.

Friday 13th March 2009

Late in the afternoon we go off to the bay next to the Caleta Hotel (200 76501) to collect driftwood as I have slight pretensions to become a driftwood artist and we cannot think of anything better to do. It is very windy on our side of the peninsula but here in the bay we are sheltered from the wind but the sea is very rough.

Later we have drinks on the terrace of the hotel overlooking the sea - very pleasant. This is something we should have done before.

When we get home we soak the driftwood in the bath with some bleach to remove the yuck factor.

Saturday 14th March 2009

In the morning the driftwood has been well soaked overnight - I turned it over before we went to bed and my girlfriend, it turns out, did the same five minutes later.

In the morning we go for a drive to Ronda along the coast road and then up the twenty miles of snaking bends. Usually there are no motorbikes but today there are dozens of them. Not the usual wimps but real hardcore racers leaning right over in the bends with their knees an inch from the ground. On the straight they lose us for dead but on the corners we put up a very credible performance - flat out in third we cannot go any faster as the car is already beginning to slide.

On the way down we round a sharp corner with the tyres screaming to find two policemen and a motorcyclist all staring at us. The blue light is flashing but we look so respectable in our boring grey hire car that they probably think they imagined the noise and we drive on laughing like drains.

In the evening we go to see Watchmen which is a work of genius - I have no idea what it is about but it is visually stunning - another Sin City. Go and see it.


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