Week 63 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 24th May 2009

This is the Maestro Universe leaving Gibraltar - maybe they got fed up with it being cloudy and overcast.

Did you know that the World Computer Chess Championship has just been won for the third year running by Rybka which has an ELO Rating of 3238 - compared with Gary Kasparov who rated 2850 when he was the world champion! This has just crept up on us. The best chess player in the world is now a machine - or more accurately a computer program and database. It seems that Rybka thrashes the world's best players even when it gives them pawn advantages. Wow!

Monday 25th May 2009

This is a mum and one of her chicks. They live right next door to us on a very steep part of the hillside which would be a bit tricky for the local monkeys (macaques, to be precise) to get to. When the macaques do get near, the gulls swoop at them - they can be quite intimidating.

In the evening we watch French planes swoop down to bomb Gibraltar in 1940 - they just miss our flat. The background to this is Churchill sinking the French fleet at the port of Mers-el-Kebir right outside Oran in Algeria to prevent it falling into the hands of the Germans. Churchill felt that the French should have just upped sticks and sailed to the UK once the French surrendered - quite why they did not is inexpliccable but probably has a lot to do with French pride and stubbornness.

Gibraltar has played a part in world history totally disproportionate to it's size. Mind you so has Hitler - for a man 5'9" tall and weighing just over 12 stone he did a lot of damage.

Tuesday 26th May 2009

If you are thinking of buying a camera you could do a lot worse than the Panasonic DMC FZ28. Here is a shot just casually taken while walking through Gibraltar, of a couple of bird type things - it has not been messed with (ie no "photoshopping" or other enhancements - often the photos you see published have been subjected to hours, if not days, of messing with to make them look better)

Wednesday 27th May 2009

This is Oceana emerging from the mists. You normally only see photos of the Mediterranean in brilliant blue sunshine but even at this time of year the three thousand miles of cold wet water in the Atlantic Ocean make their presence felt. But overall, it is about nine degrees centigrade warmer here than the UK, all the year round. And usually, the sun burns the mists away within a few hours.

As my girlfriend put it "you wouldn't think being a few hundred miles closer to the sun out of 90,000,000 miles would make that much difference but it does". Right.

Incidentally, if you are interested in cruising, then the Berltz site gives individual ratings for most cruise ships.

Thursday 28th May 2009

I am ashamed to admit that despite the fact that we live right opposite the Alameda Gardens in Gibraltar, we have not been in there for some weeks. So this evening we go for a walk round - what a lovely place.

Later we walk down into Gibraltar but when we reach Casemates Square the wind is really howling through and we make our escape before chairs and tables start flying through the air.

Friday 29th May 2009

In the morning we watch the endless succession of ferries going to North Africa.

Later, we take the day off and go to Ronda where we take some really good photos of birds - then we drop down to La Canada shopping centre for a pizza. Sadly, when we leave the cafe we forget the camera and when we return a few minutes later it has gone. The waiters deny having seen it.

Later in the evening we go to the Little Rock cafe and then on to the adjoining Lord Nelson. Live band - not bad.

Saturday 30th May 2009

The early hours find us in the Lord Nelson with a cheerful crowd of people. Eventually, I manage to get my girlfriend into a taxi, out of the taxi, into the lift, through the front door and into bed - all major undertakings.

In the evening, we are suddenly surprised by what at first looks like a boat generating a gigantic bow-wave - it must be doing at least a hundred miles per hour. Later, it turns out to be an anti-seagull patrol. Or something.

All right, all right - so it was a fire-boat testing it's pumps.


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