Week 142 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 28th November 2010

We are flying to the UK later in the evening so we go to Mama Mia's for a pizza first. The shop next door has improved out of recognition - clean, bright and totally untypical of a Gibraltar shop.

We arrive in Luton at about 11.00pm and then drive to Manchester in a hire car.

Monday 29th November 2010

In the afternoon we have to go to Liverpool over the magnificent Runcorn Bridge.

Tuesday 30th November 2010

I go on an epic journey round grim parts of the West Midlands and Preston and places well North.

Finally, I go to pick up my girlfriend who has gone to see a friend of hers who now lives in a mystery location. After standing in the general area for 20 minutes somebody finally answers their phone ...

Wednesday 1st December 2010

In the late afternoon we set off for Norwich and stop at the Hestom Blumenthal Little Chef where we have a wonderful meal - it is clear, however, that they are casting their pearls before swine. I am reminded of David Niven who, when in the army, bought his troops some Caviar at Christmas and was met with much grumbling "the rasberry jam tastes of bloody fish"

Thursday 2nd December 2010

In the afternoon we set off for the Eurotunnel. Fortunately, we do not check with the news or else we would have known it was closed and impossible to get to because of 20 foot snowdrifts. On the way we are diverted onto the M4 where a lot of cars seem to be doing strange things. A car in front of us does a graceful pirouette and ends up in the central barrier. Why would somebody do that?

The train is a bit delayed but we get to France at about 8.00pm and then cover about 125 miles and stay at a cheap but lovely hotel - the Mercure at Mons. Beautiful.

Friday 3rd December 2010

We are up bright and early and hammer through Belgium. How do you Bob somebody?

In Germany we stop at a cafe where it is impossible to find the entrance. Inside it is nice enough - nobody does efficiency and schlock quite like the Fatherland. The food scores about 6 out of 10.

The German attitude to sex is a great relief to somebody brought up on cringing English hypocrisy and prurience.

We stop again after a few hours and I am much impressed by the honesty box - but a bit less impressed when I see the CCTV above it. Still, far superior to the UK where the coins, plate, table and CCTV would all have gone within an hour. Make that 20 minutes in Liverpool.

Finally, we arrive at our hotel, The Mondschein Best Western which is nothing special but we have been promised a room which is fit for an emperor. The reality is a glorified cupboard for 180 euros. Bastards. Mondschein means "moonshine" and that should have been a warning. Perhaps they will change the name to the Hotel Bullshit just to make it clearer

Saturday 4th December 2010

The view from the Hotel Bullshit is quite pleasant, albeit a little industrial - note the concrete underpass

The nice people who own the hut have just left it wide open for us to walk in, which we do - a really nice start to our holiday. They turn up later and mention that the clucking noise we can hear is chickens! Will that cause us a problem? Caught unawares we say no but on reflection there is a serious problem - people have to look after the chickens. Like the chickens, this one could run.

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