Week 67 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 21st June 2009

We decide to go up the Rock in the cable car - it is far too hot to walk. The price has increased and the no frills return is 8 per adult. We pay a bit more as we have plans. At the top we watch the usual gang of creatures gesticulating and leaping about and wonder what it is like to be totally unaware of the infinite complexity of existence and also totally lacking in awareness - that's why they drive taxis, I suppose.

We walk down from the top to Saint Michael's cave where we each have an ice cream. Because of the apes we stay right inside the cafe but suddenly there is an ape right on top of our table. My instinct is to hold on tight to my ice cream but my girlfriend throws her's across the table and the ape grabs it and is off. Our first macaque attack.

In due course we set off round the caves. This time we have a tripod and our posh camera and telephoto lens. All goes well but after a while the camera refuses to shoot. Later I discover it does this because it is on automatic focus and as it cannot see in the dark it just goes into a sulk rather than just admit that it does not know what to do. How hard would it be for it to say "please change to manual focus"?

We return via the Moorish Castle which we have been trying to see for over a year (they don't sell tickets at the door, you have to buy them as part of a package). It is amazingly cool inside. I assume that this is because of the thickness of the walls but when we reach the top I realise that it is because there is a very cold wind blowing for some reason - up to now we have been roasting.

By the time we get back down into the town we are absolutely sweating and totally exhausted. We catch a bus home and discover to our delight that it is air conditioned - amazing.

Monday 22nd June 2009

Today we fly to the UK where we find that the flowers are blooming and it is a real summer - with sun and blue skies.

At 6.30pm I have a dental appointment and afterwards we have the excitement of Stoke-on-Trent to look forward to. We get back to Knutsford at 10.30pm and find that all of the restaurants are closed except a Chinese place on King Street where we have a great snack with lots of flames and smoke.

Tuesday 23rd June 2009

In the afternoon we set off on another grand expedition to Telford but this time we get back in time to eat at the Loch Fyne restaurant in King Street, Knutsford. Always a good experience.

On the way back at about ten o'clock there is a dense mist covering the fields - very dramatic.

Wednesday 24th June 2009

My girlfriend goes out to Tescos and spots a Lotus Exige by the side of the road - a real performance car.

We set off on yet another mammoth hurtle covering Sheffield and Birmingham where we end up at a Frankie and Benny's where we ate a year ago.

Thursday 25th June 2009

Today we set off for Scotland via Wigan (helicopter spotting as we go) and Burnley. In Burnley we see yet more proof that there is a God and that he has a sense of humour. Two kids come hairing past on trials bikes. One of them commences to hurtle up and down past us doing wheelies. Then God pulls a masterstroke. The bike goes from under him (the kid, not God) and he hits the road on his bum at about 25mph giving him a nasty case of road rash and a very quiet bike. Ho, ho, ho.

Eventually we get to Glasgow and stay in the SAS Radisson in Argyle Street. When we arrive there is a group of dossers out the front smoking and staring at us. Unfortunately, God is not paying proper attention and if he sends any thunderbolts, they miss. The dossers turn out to be fellow guests. Later my girlfriend queries whether I meant to spell "dossers" with a "t". Actually, it's optional.

They charge us 3.50 for a tiny box of Pringles. Ouch.

Friday 26th June 2009

I am out all day doing a Scottish tour during which I spot HMS Dauntless D33 which has just been commissioned, judging by the party on deck.

My girlfriend, meanwhile, is carrying out retail research at Primark.

Later we get the Stena ferry from Stranraer to Belfast, arriving at 10.00pm. We get to Dublin at midnight.

Saturday 27th June 2009

We set of in brilliant sunshine to buy some new sandals after the last pair broke in half. Or, more precisely, when one of the half a pair broke in half. Fortunately, there is an outsize shoe shop (near the junction of Arran Quay and Church Street on the north side of the River Liffey), which is just up the road. The nicest sandals they only have in sizes 13 and 14 which is a bit big for me. I take size 11 which is actually just slightly north of normal.

As we walk down the river we hear music and head towards it - we then find ourselves admitted free of charge into a small outdoor arena. Quite what is happening is not clear at first but it soon becomes apparrent that the old saying "boys will be boys and girls will be girls" is not something you can necessarily rely on. It turns out that today is Dublin Pride. Quite what the Holy Father would make of it all I am not sure - not to mention the "mudder of God", the BVM (Beata Virgo Maria)

After a good wander around we return home - slightly sun burned, which after Gibraltar should be impossible. My new sandals also rub at the back.

At almost midnight we collect Eili as she finishes work near McConnell Street and head back to the flat.


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