Week 95 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 3rd January 2010

We get up late and don't do very much all day. In the evening we go to the Rock Hotel which has got an interesting porch roof structure - vaulted brick.

Monday 4th January 2010

Today we sit in the airport for hours while chaos breaks out - failed electricity, diverted planes - the usual stuff

Eventually we arrive in Manchester which has a light dusting of snow. In the evening we go to see Avatar which is a milestone in a new era, to mix metaphors. Rather like the first significant colour film, Avatar marks the transition from 2D to 3D. The story is silly but you don't go to the opera for the story or the acting - just for the wonderful aural experience. So with Avatar - it is visually stunning. You MUST see this film.

We emerge at midnight and it is snowing heavily. We decide to set off for Sunderland over the Penines.

Tuesday 5th January 2010

At 3.00am we check into a hotel on the A1 at Wetherby. At 11.00am we resume the journey and fly up the motorway to Sunderland - there is virtually no traffic or snow.

In the late afternoon we leave Sunderland just after a heavy fall of snow. As we are leaving, the City is grinding to a halt but we escape just in the nick of time.



We arrive at Betty's in Harrogate where I get a chance to read the papers. It seems that there is a culture of bullying in the Church of England and vicars are joining a trade union, UNITE. That hardly surprises me - what do you expect in a set-up based upon a delusion. All religions should be classified as criminal organisations for making wild, unproveable promises about the future ("eternal life" - not to mention "72 virgins") in return for money and slavish devotion right now. Especially money. Disgraceful.

At 5.30pm we set off home with full tummies via Leeds and again we fly along and get to Manchester in 90 minutes - there is no traffic. We have never got through Leeds so fast - short of a blue light on the roof it is hard to see how we could have gone faster.



We call in at the Trafford Centre but the wimps have closed it because of the snow. We spend a while doing handbrake turns in the car park and then head home.

Once home we start our Turin Shroud experiments which come along very nicely - results soon!

At about 11.00pm we set off for a ride round to see if we can get stuck in the snow but the Toyota Rav 4 is just brilliant and unstoppable. In 13 miles we only see four cars - maybe a neutron bomb has wiped out the human race - not having a TV, we don't know.

Wednesday 6th January 2010

Everybody knows that global warming is caused by patio heaters so it is nice to see one get its come-uppance. Actually, it's caused by cows not eating their lunch properly - methane is 35 times worse than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. But why spoil a good story? Oh, and by the way, did you know that 73.4% of statistics are made up on the spot?

In the evening we just collapse in front of the stove which is the only warm place in the house.

Thursday 7th January 2010

In the afternoon we set off for the Cat and Fiddle. We go via Brookhouse and drive up Bull Hill Lane which is very steep, very narrow and very icy. Quite what would have happened had we met anything coming down I dread to think but we didn't - fortune favours the bold.

The landscape is bleak and there are no customers in the Cat and Fiddle - partly caused by the low quality and high price of the soup and bread that they serve us while we huddle round the fire.



Another reason for the lack of customers is that when we reach the Buxton Road we find that the road we have just come down has a sign up saying "Road Closed" - naturally we turn round and go right back up it. In Macclesfield we also find signs saying "Road Closed". They probably didn't bother putting them up at Brookhouse on the basis that nobody would be silly enought to try to drive up Bull Hill Lane.

Friday 8th January 2010

England is a winter wonderland ...

... but in the afternoon we set off for the excitement of Crewe Station. They have set up a very posh lounge ("The Cheshire Lounge") but when we walk in at 2.55pm there are four railway employees engaged in a long and very loud conversation about nothing. Finally, thank God, three of them leave and we look forward to some peace and quiet. But it is not to be - the remaining employee (think fat and pregnant) starts an extremely loud telephone conversation about nothing that is still going strong when we are eventually driven out by this unbearable yakking, along with everybody else, some 20 minutes later. At this point we seek refuge in the waiting room on platform 5.

The train is late but gets to London in about two hours which is amazing. In the evening we go out in the bitter cold to get some ice cream in the Haagan Dazs in Leicester Square. "At least there won't be a queue" we think, but there is. Brrrrrr.

Saturday 9th January 2010

We set off for Heathrow Airport - passing the delights of the Heathrow Palace on the way - I can't wait to stay there. On second thoughts, maybe not.

When we arrive our flight has been cancelled. They are very polite and helpful but it is a dead flight, gone, deceased. Amazingly, they book us onto the same flight tomorrow so we live in hope.

Back in London, we decide to go and see Penelope Cruz in Nine which turns out to be the usual self-indulgent stuff about a load of luvvies making a film. Don't bother.

Then we go to our favourite Chinese restaurant where the cheapest meal on the menu is just what we want. Unfortunately, I manage to point to the wrong one which costs double and is not what we want. Grrrrrrr.


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