Week 108 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 4th April 2010

We set off for Marbella along the wonderful coast road. At one point we are following close behind a motorbike through several very fast bends but when we come out and the road straightens he slows right down to about 75mph - and then does a wheelie for the next few hundred yards (see how far his feet are off the ground and the shadow from the front wheel has disappeared). Try as I might I just cannot get our front end to lift off - we are totally outclassed.

From there we go on to Fuengirola where, surprise surprise, we have difficulty finding anywhere to park.

Later we end up at our new favourite restaurant in Marbella (yes, we found somewhere to park) which is evidently called Garum. The decor is 1950s formica but the food is exquisite

Monday 5th April 2010

The semi-military RoRo Anvil Point came in the early morning and left just as the wind was getting up to gale force and beginning to come over the mole. The tug Capable is seen here pushing her round in a clockwise direction by reversing towards her.

The last time we saw a real storm in the harbour lots of ships put to sea to avoid being smashed against the mole and it looks like the Vanda also put to sea for this reason. Fortunately, the gale calmed down before any damage was done.

Tuesday 6th April 2010

Again it is windy and cold. We get to the Governor's Mansion just as the guard is being changed. I wonder what the old guard looked like?

At 6.00pm we end up at the Bastion Leisure Centre to see what is on. It turns out that Old Dogs, starring John Travolta and a bloke who looks like George Bush's dad is about to start. Well, we know the price of jet fuel is rising but Travolta wouldn't do a bad film would he? It turns out that he would. This film should come with a health warning.

WARNING: Contains Cute American Kids. Will cause nausea in anybody whose IQ exceeds their shoe size.

Towards the end they could have made the film a triumph of self irony. When they encounter the giant gorilla it should have been equipped with a huge catapult and fired every single member of the cast (and the crew for that matter) through space to land in interesting locations eg sharp railings, vats of molten steel, railway lines etc. Now that would have been funny.

What is the last thing to go through the mind of a Cute American Kid as it hits the front of a truck? It's arse. Well, yes, this is in extremely poor taste - funny though.

Wednesday 7th April 2010

The irresistable allure of Morrisons' supermarket tempts us back - it is hiding behind the huge block of flats in the foreground.

Thursday 8th April 2010

And today the highlight is a meal at the Pizzaghetti Factory in Irish Town. Good.

OK, so this is a pretty boring photo but in 100 years time people will look at this and say "could you really buy cream of leek and potato for 3.50? It costs ten million pounds now"

Not to mention the fact that there are 500,000 references to "leak and potato" and a million to "leek and potato" on Google. This must be really confusing for a Welshman who wants to pop out for a pea.

Friday 9th April 2010

A pretty friend of my girlfriend comes round for the evening while I read a book about the battle of Traflagar. Most people assume that Trafalgar is a square in London (it is) but it was named after the place where the battle took place, which is off the south west tip of Spain.

The ships all limped into Gibraltar a week later having been through a terrible storm - those who died ashore are buried in a special cemetery just below our flat. Gibraltar is really big on world history. It may be not much bigger than Leighton Buzzard but in historical terms it is right up there with countries a thousand times the size.

So why did we win? Leadership and all the things that spring from that - training, loyalty, tactics, strategy and seamanship. And huge cannons firing right up the arse end of the enemy ships. Ouch. The alliance between the French and Spanish was a problem too - the Spanish refused to let the French ships have any supplies. Many of the officers had not been paid for nine years (not days, weeks or months but years). And so on and so forth.

Meanwhile, back in our flat, the girls are on a diet and are really hungry - and accordingly need to go to the takeaway to buy enormous curries and huge bags of chips. I am not on a diet so I eat nothing. When they are replete, we set off across the border to Spain with four people crammed into a car designed for two.

Saturday 10th April 2010

Finally, at about 4.30am we get home from Bar 7 in La Linea. If I ever have a bar I will call it Bar None - and let nobody in. That will make it very exclusive and save a lot of trouble too.

In the afternoon, a gorgeous little Spanish girl and her friend ask us outside the Rock Hotel how to walk up the rock. This is our specialist subject so we draw them a map - I hope they made it. Basically, you have to go through the gardens of the Hotel, up a small set of steps and then walk up the road and squeeze through a hole in the fence when you come to the locked blue gate. Then keep walking up-hill. Easy. When you know how.

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