Week 89 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 22nd November 2009


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We eat our usual meal in Marbella and then wander along the promenade.

Monday 23rd November 2009

I spend all day working while my girlfriend studies Spanish - I know that because every so often the printer starts up and is full of the Spanish equivalent of "the postillion has been struck by lightning" and "I have been here since ten minutes when do I become a sausage?". Or is that German?

In the late afternnon we have a snack in the Little Rock cafe in Casemates Square where most of the staff have changed but the ice cream portions are still amazingly small. And the prices have increased considerably. Cheers in Engineers Lane is now better value.

In the evening we watch a construction crew pouring several thousand cubic meters of concrete at night in 40~C (ie extremely hot) on the TV. It is for a new bridge over the Hoover Dam and I am sat on the edge of my chair it is so exciting! I can see that pouring concrete may not seem exciting to everybody but in my youth I had experience of such things and it is very scarey - will it set before you can move it?

The memory I have in mind dates back to a very hot summer in the UK. When the concrete arrived we had nowhere to put it so we shot 5 cubic meters straight through the kitchen window where it formed a huge mound in the middle of the kitchen floor. Phew!

Tuesday 24th November 2009

In the morning I have a meeting at 10.00am. This is so early that I wonder if it is worth even going to bed but do so anyway. I set the alarm for 8.45am and duly set off on foot. I arrive ten minutes early and sit down in the cafe at the bottom of Library Street. After a while I begin to realise that I have acquired magical powers - I am totally invisible. Even when I stand up and flap my arms and squawk like a demented chicken the waiter still cannot see me. Amazing but a lucky escape as they serve the worst coffee in Gibraltar.

At the meeting it soon becomes clear that for some months they have been looking for somebody who will stick his head out of the trench to test whether the enemy have run out of ammunition yet. Naturally, I immediately volunteer for this job - which is not only dangerous but unpaid.

Later my girlfriend wants to drag me into Peacocks but I decide to I sit outside on a bench. Immediately, two fat ladies block the entire street thereby forcing dozens of people to walk right over the top of my broken toe. After a while, a Securicor van arrives but unfortunately the driver slows down and gives them time to move out of the way.

Opposite the Governor's mansion they are polishing the big brass gun - just like in Gilbert & Sullivan. Or was that the handle on the big front door?

A new cafe has opened in what was the Barbary Ape but they don't have any Bacardi so we stand up and leave. How can they not have any Bacardi? It is like a zoo running out of lions.

In the evening we go to see The Invention of Lying which is a work of genius which would have been better entitled "The Invention of God". Ricky Gervais exists in a world where everybody tells the truth all the time - what an ugly baby, it looks just like a rat. Faced with the sight of his mother dying in terror, he suddenly tells her that when she dies she will be re-united with all her friends. She dies with a smile on her face.

The news that there is a blissful hereafter spreads like wild-fire and Ricky is forced to elaborate - he does so with the aid of Ten Revelations written on two giant pizza boxes. The crowd hang on his every word - cheering wildly when they discover that they will each have there own magnificent mansion. When a quibbler wants to know if his friends can come and live in his mansion and, if so, what will happen to their mansions, Ricky explains that "Their mansions will be ... er ... put back on the market".

So, Heaven is a market based economy rather than centrally planned. I thought as much.

Wednesday 25th November 2009

In the evening we walk to Aqa for a drink. It is actually a bit chilly and we walk briskly. In fact it is so cold that I suspect that the temperature is not much over 70^F. Brrrrr.

Thursday 26th November 2009

We are wandering around town when my girlfriend does a smart right turn into the Governor's Mansion, which is known as The Convent. Presumably it was bought or stolen from the Catholic Church. For 1.50 each they let us in to see the Christmas Fair which is a very friendly affair which conjures up village fetes in the UK.

I am about to buy a generous slice of cake for 50p when the lady serving it smartly cuts it in half! The businessman in me violently objects to this and I make my feelings plain and walk on (when we arrived we vowed to be nice to everybody in this village but sometimes it is difficult). The smaller the sum of money the easier it is to get worked up about it. When the Government reveals that, well, actually, we spent an extra 62billion propping up RBS everybody just yawns but an MP claiming 1,200 for a duck house gets everybody frothing at the mouth.

In fairness to MPs, it is quite clear that they were told a few years ago that they could not increase their pay but they could claim about 20,000 a year on expenses for just about anything. In other words it was a hidden pay increase. That has now spectacularly back-fired. Tough - it couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of people.

Friday 27th November 2009

In the afternoon we set off for Marbella but stop at Aldi to buy a bottle of wine. My girlfriend doesn't want to get a trolley but I know from years of experience that we will need one. By now we are actually inside Aldi and I refuse to go out through the exit as it is a long way round so I try to go out of the entrance. Meanwhile various Spaniards are offering helpful advice. Some minutes later I admit defeat and go round the long way. Duh.

After we have paid for a trolley full of stuff we resume our journey to Marbella where the Russian family are yet again in our favourite restaurant. It doesn't matter what day we go or at what time, they are always there. Maybe they think the same about us?



The sand sculptor is also still there and yet again I miss his pot with my euro - I hope he doesn't realise that I usually throw English 2p pieces.

We continue on to Fuengirola and wait in the Tropicana bar for a very pretty friend of ours. She turns up in a very skimpy dress and the three of us all cuddle up close for the benefit of the other patrons whose eyes are out on stalks.

Saturday 28th November 2009

On the way back home at 1.30am the police are stopping all the traffic and breath testing everybody without exception. I have only had two drinks but Spanish measures are huge and what I have drunk over the last eight hours would be equivalent to about 6 drinks in the UK. To my utter amazement the meter reads "0.0". Has it broken or do I have a super fast metabolism or what?

When I get up I realise that we have left all our chocolates and other snacks at our friend's flat. But then my girlfriend wakes up and finds a box of goodies! We wolf down the whole lot.



The evening finds us in Casemates Square watching the sun go down - or at least the clouds lit up by it. The actual sun is lurking down behind the bike sheds somewhere.


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