Week 84 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 18th October 2009

We set off to climb what we have always thought were the Mediterranean Steps but turn out to be Charles' Wall Steps. It seems that the Mediterranean Steps are at the Southern end of the peninsula - watch this space.

When we reach the first flight of steps there are a lot of Macaques sitting on them. One lets me pass but the one above it puckers her mouth into a circle as though she wants to kiss me. While I am explaining that I would just prefer to be friends, her partner takes a swipe at my leg. I tell her that I have to go now but will definitely be in touch. We retreat and walk up the road instead.

The view is as always - very amazing.

When we reach the top of the steps there is a small rear poking out of the litter bin but as I watch a head emerges. Thank you for the photo opportunity.

At the top we watch a Chinook land on the runway. It had never occurred to me that they would land on the actual runway but it seems they do - life is full of surprises.

It feels like a very hot english summer but the berries are out so I guess they consider it to be autumn.

Monday 19th October 2009

My girlfriend wants to go roller blading so we set off for La Linea. To watch her glide along is somewhat frustrating as I was one of the first people to roller blade in Hyde Park. I would come back each time and wonder at the fact that nobody else was skating there. Then suddenly, you could not move for roller bladers and they banned it shortly afterwards.

After that we head for San Roque which we have driven past many times but never visited. It has a nice square in the middle and is like a poor man's Ronda but without many cafes unfortunately. We walk around until our chosen cafe has stopped serving hot food and then sit down. It seems that the kitchen closes from 3.00pm to 7.00pm. But they serve us a selection of tappas, some of which we eat and the rest we give to a little black kitten who is our new best friend until there are no tappas left and then he limps off to try his luck elsewhere.

We are sitting in a marquee with open sides and a pigeon flies in and cannot find its way out. It sits up above for twenty minutes doing some serious thinking and then flies straight out into the warm sunshine.

On the way back we call in at Lidl and buy some wine at 52c per bottle and a few other essentials.

Tuesday 20th October 2009

In the evening we watch "FBI Case Files" or some such. This is supposed to demonstrate the brilliance of the FBI. What is alarming is that they seem to only catch really stupid criminals - a man shoots his best friend (no, not his dog) and four months later the FBI find the gun and the spent cartridge in his garage. Can you believe that? No, neither can I. Did they frame him by providing the "evidence"? Maybe - there was no body as the man had put it through a wood shredder after chopping it up with a chain saw (as you do). But they had the bullet so it would be a bit tricky to frame him. The temptation to do so must have been enormous though ...

In another case - a man's wife is kidnapped and his best friend, the treasurer of the local church, does some very strange things. I am yelling "he's embezzled all the Church's money". And of course, he has. And he has a criminal record as long as your arm. So why did it take almost a year for them to check him out and find the body in his back yard? He's buried it in lime - thinking that will make it decompose quickly. The FBI are amazed to find it actually
preserves bodies. Do they know nothing?

Then there is the extremely violent bank robber. It is instantly clear that he is an ex-policeman (everything in the bank video tells you that - not to mention his police radio and detailed knowledge of police procedures). Even the FBI realise that fairly quickly. So do they investigate policemen in the area who have left under a cloud. They do not.

He always steals a getaway car from somebody who works at a shopping centre somewhere a few days before the crime. I am yelling "the next time a car is stolen like that try and find it". It takes the FBI no less than eight robberies before they think of that. They catch him and needless to say he is a local man who resigned from the police before he was fired. It seems he liked shooting but hated paperwork.

Then during the trial, in a lift full of criminals and just one policeman, he seizes a gun and kills two cops before he is killed. It would make you laugh if it were not so sad.

And these are the cases the FBI is most proud of. Very depressing but good news if you are an intelligent criminal.

Actually, if you are an intelligent criminal there is no need to rob banks - just put an advertisement in the FT saying "I will pay you 5% per month on your money" and you will be killed in the rush. You may have to dress it up a bit but not a lot.

Wednesday 21st October 2009

When we get up there is a minor war going on - HMS Sutherland (F81) is under fire from a shore battery of four guns but manages to escape. Maybe they think she is Spanish?

Thursday 22nd October 2009

Disappointingly, it turns out that it was not a minor war but a 17 gun salute for the departing Governor.

In the evening we go to see
Broken Embraces with Penelope Cruz. It is well worth seeing but films about film makers making films are generally very irritating. Films about wicked business-men are also very irritating.

There are wicked people in all walks of life but in my experience the truly evil people are in the arts (because there are no clear standards of achievement so it all boils down to back stabbing and sucking up) and religion (something founded on illusion is bound to be full of manipulative charlatans).

The nicest people are in business because it is all very straight forward. We are all trying to make money by buying and selling - who wants to buy or sell to somebody unpleasant or cruel and manipulative? Nobody. So, evolution eliminates the incompetent, unpleasant and evil - they just lose all their customers if they ever had any and go bust.

Late at night we watch the FBI catch a bank robber who hires the getaway car with his own bank card. And keeps the stolen money in his shoe. Clever old FBI - how did they catch him? Seriously, they should open up law enforcement to private enterprise (OK, so this would be tricky). Entrenched bureaucracy is always inefficient and complacent. They also need criminals so have no real interest in catching them - otherwise they would all be out of a job.

Friday 23rd October 2009

In the afternoon I send my girlfriend an email and a few minutes later I hear a shreak which I assume is the result of the email but it is not - it is the result of a fighter plane of some sort hurtling around the bay being chased by a bird - the bird lost.

More shreaking and I emerge to see a Chinook circling around.

Meanwhile Costa Magica is converging on HMS SUtherland (F81). All of this happens within a few minutes. And then we resume normal service - not much happening.

Saturday 24th October 2009

As we leave Gibraltar we are held up by "men doing things with their hands", to quote my favourite Warburtons Bread advert. What the bread is like I have no idea - good advert though.

We head for San Roque where we went last Monday but when we get there, our new favourite cafe is full of young Spaniards with worldofidiots.com on the back of their shirts who are all yelling their heads off. The waiter ignores us and there is no sign of our cat so we resort to Plan B and head for a beach on the way to Tarifa where we walk along collecting sea shells in the blazing sun.

After a while, we set off for Tarifa itself, where we amazingly get a parking space right outside a nice hotel where I have bacon and eggs followed by pancakes. My girlfriend has a mound of something and a couple of drinks. The bill is 35e and we suddenly realise why there are so few people there - this is a posh hotel. Nice though.

After that we drive down the front towards the fort and then I look at the geology which I have seen many times but never really looked at. Interesting.

Then we gaze at North Africa from the nearest point in Europe - it is probably about ten miles away.

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