Finally, the sun comes out and we set off for the seaside with our buckets and spades. Well, actually, we set off for
somewhere to eat with the Sunday Times but you get the idea. The new airport terminal is coming along - its main purpose of
course will be as a scooter park. In fact, I am surprised they have not flattened the Rock of Gibraltar for a scooter park
while they are at it. Every square inch of Gibraltar is infested with nasty buzzing scooters and nasty resting scooters
gathering their energy to be even more buzzy and annoying later on. Did I mention that I don't like scooters?
We walk along the front at Marbella which is heaving with people - I have never seen it busier but every restaurant we go to closes as we get there - are they trying to tell us something? Yes, what they are trying to tell us is that out of season they close from 4.00pm to 7.00pm - especially when it has been raining for days on end. Clearly, they have been wrong footed by the sunshine. Finally we end up at La Canada eating pizzas and ice cream as usual.
In the evening we watch The Holiday in which all the heroes and heroines are writers - it is the ultimate Hollywood self-indulgent cliche but quite fun for all that.
We walk down town and spot a monkey with a dilemma. He is sitting on top of a spiked fence and wants to jump up to the tree to be with the rest of his family - it being Christmas and all that. The problem is that the spikes are very high and there is a danger that his jump will have an adverse impact on his reproductive organs which he also doubtless treasures. He is also concerned that this is not his best angle photographically. Finally, he jumps and the crowd let out a collective sigh of relief - especially the men.
We are woken early by endless crashing noises - Spain has declared war on the UK over Gibraltar, maybe? In fact it is an
electrician who cannot be bothered to close a door after him while he repairs some air conditioning equipment.
Later I am in the Little Rock cafe when a dog starts barking so loudly that it literally hurts my ears. Finally, I point out to the owner of the dog that it is unreasonable for her to stay there with such a dog. She does not reply. After a while a man joins her who then starts yelling at me. Fortunately, this is not America and I do not have a gun with me or else at the very least the dog would have got a warning shot across its bows.
By now it is very sunny and warm and we set off for a walk along the front in La Linea. We come across a dead boat and my girlfriend explains that this is not the same dead boat that has been here for about a year. I reply that it is certainly amazing that one dead boat has disappeared and has then been replaced by a very similar dead boat.
Er ... we find the other dead boat (SSR 101062) where it has always been, a bit further up.
By now we are roasting in the sun and go into a hotel for a drink. Needless to say the bar is closed but there are a couple of drinks machines. One looks deceased but the other has glowing lights so we try that one. It refuses to deliver anything but suddenly it gets annoyed at being pestered and dumps no less than 5 drinks into the chute where they all get jammed up. We finally get a drink from the other machine which is not really deceased - just pretending.
We drive to Ronda as it is clear from
that the clouds are blowing away and it will soon be sunny (you don't need a supercomputer to predict the weather -
just look at the moving satellite pictures). And so it proves.
Ronda is so crowded that we end up parking in the underground car park next to the fountain in the middle. Despite the endless signs saying it costs 18e for 24 hours (which it does), you can park for 1.20e per hour. We visit our favourite cafe for coffee and cakes - it is just up the street, you can't miss it. This, of course, is code for "we can't remember the name of the street or the name of the cafe but we know where it is and you are an idiot if you cannot read our minds via telepathy". [Edit: It is called Daver - X marks the spot]
In the evening we watch a program about the great mystery of the Turin Shroud. There is actually no mystery - it is a medieval forgery and carbon dating has proved that. In due course I will produce a shroud of the actual telephone that the disciples used to call 999 when they found the body. Watch this space.
One of the toys we bought in Ronda is a spiral down which roll a sequence of oily droplets. This is so fascinatingly
biological, (think DNA and viruses), that we are a bit late wandering down town with the result that we are facing
imminent starvation. Eventually we discover that the cafe at the top of John Mackintosh Square is still open in the late
afternoon. Phew, Bear Grylls was never so worried.
At 11.30pm my girlfriend persuades me to go down to Casemates Square to watch the fireworks as the only party we have been invited to is in the UK. Prior to that I was quite happy to be a couch potato. Note: I am indebted to Dan Quayle for the spelling of that word. Pleasingly, the smart ass kid who did know how to spell potato is now "a 17-year-old high school dropout". He should get a job in a greengrocers - vegetable purveyors who can both spell and punctuate, (think "lettuce's"), are as rare as hen's teeth (oops - that should be "hens' teeth").
We get to Casemates Square with 5 minutes to spare. Happy New Year!
At mid-night the firework display starts and is truly spectacular. Gordon Brown has spent the entire British Gross Domestic
Product on propping up banks but in Gibraltar they spent the GDP on fireworks - a much better idea. Not to mention the
laser display. And even the moon put in an appearance, as did the rain.
I have a feeling that Gibraltar is best avoided in December, January and February - it is both windy and very wet - see Gibraltar Averages. November and March are often pretty warm and people are sunbathing. Bear in Mind that Spain is very close and is often a lot drier - Gibraltar has a micro climate because of all that Atlantic Ocean nearby. See Spanish Averages
In the late afternoon virtually the only cafe we find open in Gibraltar is the one on Bell Lane. Not bad but the tables are all outside on a steep slope and this makes eating a strange experience. The atmosphere is very English (beer and white bread) but they are friendly enough and you could see how you might become a regular if you like that kind of thing. Personally, I don't.
In the afternoon we go to Marbella in the bright sunshine and eat at a new cafe since our favourite place seems to be
closed for the winter. As are quite a few other places.
On the way back we call in at La Canada shopping centre for some ice cream but it is so packed we just cannot find
anywhere to park - very unusual. Even a few days before Christmas we always found a parking place without difficulty.
The sea front at La Linea is also choked with cars which is unheard of. What is going on?
Finally, we get home through a huge tailback at Customs and decide what to do about the ice cream situation. I suggest that we use up all the fresh cream by making some coffee ice cream. It cannot be that hard with a menu from the internet. And so it proves. For once, one of my bright ideas actually works as advertised - the bowl doesn't crack, the cream freezes and we don't drop it on the floor. Oh, and it also tastes very nice. Amazing.