Week 59 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 26th April 2009

In the afternoon we spice up our lives by going to Morrisons where, amongst a vast load of groceries, my girlfriend buys an orange object which looks like an AIDS Virus but feels like something Jordan could well be hiding under her shirt.

Monday 27th April 2009

As if Morrisons were not enough excitement, today we go to IKEA in Malaga. If the worst comes to the worst, head for the airport and look for a huge blue building. You won't find it and that will save you a lot of time, money and frustration.

The bill comes to 628.59 euros and the sort of van thing that we have hired costs 300 euros. Like many a bad idea, this started life as a good idea. When we arrived from the UK in Malaga late at night the alternative ways to Gibraltar all cost about £100 (taxis or private hire) so hiring a van-that-looks-like-a-car for 130 euros seemed like a good idea because that way we could keep it for a few days and buy furniture etc. Then the price went up. Then they added 60 euros for fuel. And 30 euros drop off in La Linea. And 3 euros per day insurance. Bastards.

Anyway, we arrive at Gibraltar customs with our van-that-looks-like-a-car bulging with 628.59 euros worth of furniture and after much complex mathematics, they charge us 12% of £400, namely £48. How they reached this number I have not got the faintest idea.

Then, in broken English, they try to tell us at enormous length how, by filling in forms and going from building to building we could have recovered money from somebody called Eva. Later I realise that they meant we could have recovered the VAT charged by IKEA as the goods are being permanently exported to Gibraltar. This tax is known in Spain as IVA (Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido).

Tuesday 28th April 2009

We are up at the crack of dawn to start assembling the five items of furniture we have bought. This is because we know from years of experience that one of them will have a problem that means we will have to return it to IKEA which is 80 miles away. It turns out to be Alve. He has been sent with two left sides. Or possibly two right sides.

Needless to say, Alve is the heaviest and longest item. So long that he stretches from the back of the Peugeot Partner almost to the windscreen. My girlfriend and I converse like the two lovers in Romeo and Juliet - unable to see each other.

We set of and this time I drive really hard. The Peugeot Partner is a very exciting car to drive because you need to move the steering wheel several minutes before you reach the corner in order to give the jelly and blancmange in the suspension time to brace itself. Get it wrong and the car will turn over.

We arrive intact and actually manage to do a changeover fairly efficiently. We then unpack Alve who appears to be all there. We then pack him up and drive him home to Gibraltar.

Wednesday 29th April 2009

The assembly of Alve goes without a hitch and we leave him parked against the wall and go off in pursuit of the huge television that we have decided will be a cinema substitute. We race to PC City in Los Barrios and get there just before they close for lunch from 2.00pm to 4.30pm (yes, really). The biggest TV they have is 42" so we then drive to Carrefour in La Linea where they have a 47" TV on display for 999 euros. We talk to several Carrefour employees who basically ignore us. Eventually, a very helpful man explains that not only do they have none in stock, they cannot even order one as there are none in Spain.

In Main Street Gibraltar there are only three shops selling TVs and only one seems to be serious about selling a 47" TV. After a lot of haggling and showing photos of the 999 euros TV in Carrefour (which, of course, is unobtainable) we manage to get the ruinously high price down a bit.

As if all this frantic activity were not enough we also collect a new multi drawer Bisley Cabinet from Beacon Press.

We drop the hired car off in La Linea just before the deadline of 6.00pm and then get a bus back home just in time for the new TV to arrive. Meanwhile, my girlfriend's hand has swollen up where she had a drip attached in hospital last week so we head off for the big new hospital opposite Morrisons. As we wait, the swelling is clearly getting less and the nurse says that it looks like bruising which quite often happens. So we go home.

The new TV is truly gigantic and we watch a DVD of Sin City which we have seen several times already, with amazement.

Thursday 30th April 2009

Yet again we drive to Malaga as I have a meeting set up with some people at the airport. On the way we spot a car which turns out to be a Wiesman. Me neither.

Friday 1st May 2009

It has not rained very much for several weeks and I guess sources of fresh water are limited ...

In the evening we go to Malaga for the fourth time this week. this time my girlfriend is going home to see her mum for a few days.

Saturday 2nd May 2009

Ships are supposed to keep to the right but I guess these two ferries know better - if you drive to North Africa none stop all day, every day I guess you get things worked out.

We have never actually been to North Africa, despite getting multiple injections. A combination of not wanting to get up early in the morning to fit in with an organised tour and not wanting to contend with beggars, hawkers and starers. Maybe next year.

I spend all day programming - like many projects it is hard to get started but once I get into it I begin to feel the enthusiasm coming back.

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      End of Week 59 of Gibraltar Diary

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