Every year, some poor unfortunate in the newsroom got dropped with the round-up of the year.
The good thing was that you were left alone to plod on with ploughing through a year’s worth of newspapers.
Not so bad on a weekly, where you only had 52 editions, and usually just went for the front page headlines.
The bad news was on a daily, when there were more than 300 newspapers to go through.
Either way, I can’t resist an annual summary – it’s so easy to forget what has happened all year, and this is a neat reminder.
As I did a thematic review last year, I will stick to a monthly one this year:
January started off well in a somewhat strange festive mood for us as we went to the local Spanish Living Belen production, because our neighbour and two sons were in it, and she also wanted someone to walk her father up there.
Equally spectacular was the Three Kings Parade back in Gib on the evening of Jan 5th. Nothing ever happens on Jan 6th, they always do everything the night before over here.
Having been bitten by next door’s cat, I wrote an amazingly helpful post about cat bites – aloe vera is the key, I tell you.
January was a lonely blogging month as I’d just made the switch from blogger to WP.
However it was busy on the job hunting front. We both had interviews. He got his job (immediately), I didn’t get mine. Nothing new there. In fact he was offered another one a week later but they were too slow off the mark as he’d already started work.
Onto February, where nothing much happened, he worked and I blogged. WordPress visitors and commenters were slow but consistent. Thanks to those of you who were regular commenters (and some still are) in those early months. Then I wrote about walking to the shops – OK so it’s a nice walk – and the comments more than doubled! I mean a walk to the shops?
Followed by a post on our local historical city wall gates, whereupon the comments and visits dropped right down again.
On 29 Feb, I wrote about baked beans and had my busiest post yet. No wonder there are so many food blogs. Shopping and baked beans were my most popular posts. It doesn’t matter that people tell me they want to read about Gib history and see photos of the place, what they comment about is food and shopping!
About the only thing to say for March is that I got my first ‘First to Find’ geocache in Gibraltar. That means I was the first person to find a new cache. It was a multi-cache, which means you have to go from one spot to another (and another, and another) before you finally get to the eventual location. I ended up walking from one end of Gibraltar to the other so it was a good thing no other toe-rag had beaten me to it.
April and May saw the usual flurry of bank holidays and rain. It rained in Gib and it rained in Spain. Not only did we have an Easter break but the Gib Govt introduced a new Workers’ Memorial Day holiday to make a long weekend with the early May bank holiday.
May was a rather more lively month – certainly on the international scene with the start of the ongoing incursions into Gibraltar and British territorial waters by Spanish fishermen and Guardia Civil boats, and the defence of our waters by Gibraltar Police, Defence Police, and Royal Naval forces.
And in retaliation, the border queues lengthened as Guardia Civil officers delayed the passage through the frontier of all vehicles. We spent more than an hour in the queue at the end of May, turning a less than three hour journey to the finca into a four and a half one.
On a lighter note, at the beginning of the month, we arrived in time to watch the local Romería in our pueblo, and back in Gib we made our first visit to the cinema in more than ten years to watch Contraband with Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale. An appropriate film to show in Gib given the amount of smuggling, but we had the cinema virtually to ourselves. An excellent cinema at King’s Bastion, my only gripe was that the sound was too loud.
June was another month with yet more holidays and events. Namely at the beginning of the month, the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, which Gib enjoyed in glorious summer weather – unlike the UK ones which I gather were somewhat damp. As with National Day, we – and many others – wandered around wearing patriotic colours.
Although we didn’t get invited to the Royal Garden Party unlike this handsome pair.
Later in the month we met up with some internet contacts from Seattle, USA. Sofia, and her parents Jan and Amy, were over here for the summer holidays. We enjoyed their company and we met them again later a couple more times for Sunday morning walks and a coffee afterwards.
And June always ends with our birthdays on consecutive days. Luckily his was on a Sunday this year, so he didn’t have to take a day off work, and we had a lovely lazy sunny day en famille.
On a sadder note, June marked the first bush fire I have ever seen in Spain around the golf course at Duquesa. And the following month we would see the devastation repeated around Sotogrande.
In fact July was pretty much a repeat of the previous two months, with more incursions into Gib/British territorial waters, the Sotogrande bush fire which was bad enough for the Guardia Civil to turn traffic around and divert it via the toll road, and two good walks with our friends from Seattle.
Along with the threatening and bellicose attitude of Spain regarding Gibraltar’s status, the other major news event of the year happened in August. This was the arrest of a suspected Al-Quaeda Turk, who just happened to have worked as contracts manager for three years on the same construction firm as partner. Brrr – shivers down spine stuff.
As far as blogging goes, I went onto summer hours in August, which didn’t seem to deter people from visiting so thank you very much for that. Partner was made redundant due to lack of work at the end of the month. At least they paid up square which was more than the previous firms did – although I did manage to extricate the owing money from the second one after some five months.
September was marked by even more summer hours on the blogs on my part, the always wonderful National Day celebrations on September 10 – and the second visit to the cinema. Twice in one year. This was to see The Bourne Legacy. No Matt Damon as Jason Bourne but Aaron Cross as Jeremy Renner. He was good and we enjoyed our evening out.
The following month Skyfall (James Bond) was due to be released so I made sure to check the programme for King’s Bastion every week. In fact, we never did go, even though it was extended for one week, and then brought back for another week. I figured if it was that popular I wouldn’t get the cinema to myself.
Back in July I’d taken on chair of the block management committee. Having chaired meetings, written board papers, acted as company secretary, and also managed rented properties in previous lives, it wasn’t exactly new territory.
In October, a nice man from Environmental Health knocked on our door and asked us to unblock the sewage or he would serve a notice on us, ie me as chair of the management committee. Have useful Partner, avoid shit happening. Although he didn’t exactly avoid the shit.
And the following month, ie November, we woke up one Sunday morning to the sound of running water. A pipe had burst underneath the hallway and was gushing gallons of fresh water down the street. We called AquaGib to cut it off, and set about getting quotes the following day. Because water pipes always go on a Sunday, yes?
It was a nightmare getting quotes. Someone came out and didn’t give us a price. Others wouldn’t quote unless they could charge emergency fees. One came out, quoted, went to price materials and nearly doubled the price (and no – the materials did not cost that much). In the end I gave up and called a Spanish general tradesman we knew and asked him to do the work. He’s good, reliable, and I knew he wouldn’t double the price at the end.
Meanwhile, some of the block residents kept asking when the water would be back on. ‘When it’s fixed,’ was the obvious answer. And I put regular updates on the noticeboard. It wasn’t as though we were without water. AquaGib had provided us with a bowser right outside the door full of fresh drinking water. But maybe I’m the only one in the block who doesn’t mind skipping outside to get a bucket of cold water and boil any hot water in the kettle. So it didn’t come through a tap. So what?
I really wonder how precious people are sometimes.
Of course, needless to state after that, the salt water pipes decide they wanted some attention too. Call back Spanish mate and fix salt water pipes. Not so much of a disruption to the block as salt water is only used for flushing toilets.
As for December …
And as things all come in threes, not only our neighbour’s water heater decided to pack up but so did ours. Hey ho. Talk about a baptism of
My sheers (aka nets) did not survive the wash :( and we ventured on a social engagement with local geocachers which was good fun. Even better we went to find a couple of caches just before Christmas and I found them both. Clever me.
And, as you will have recently read, the Christmas holidays were devoted to laziness and cleaning and decorating. Not a bad combination as they were all productive.
Speaking of productive, here is today’s brunch. Served sometime after ten o’clock as we had been up for around four hours.
Toasted burger sandwiches, salad and oven ready chips. Readers may be surprised to see that I eat oven ready chips. Simple really. Buy potatoes, peel, slice in chip form, and then they are ready for the oven. Cook in fan-assisted oven on 180ish and crisp on higher heat for last ten or so. Or you could cook them on a higher heat to start with, but I was waiting for the burgers to defrost somewhat. (And writing this blog post).
But no I didn’t make the burgers. Morrison’s
veggie meat free burgers, basically textured soya and wheat protein. I suppose you wouldn’t want to call them veggie burgers, even if that’s what they are, as meat free is so much more acceptable and healthy than veggie .. semantics semantics.
To finish on a serious note. Here in Gib we have a Christmas speech by the Governor of Gibraltar, Sir Adrian Johns, Vice Admiral etc etc etc, presumably as the Queen’s representative in our overseas territory.
Earlier this year, he spoke about the Spanish invasions into Gib/Brit waters and said this was no time for gunboats and it should all be solved by diplomacy. At the end of the Christmas speech, he’s changed his tune a bit. Presumably he can’t say what he thinks at all, only what the FCO says. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office for non Brits).
In fact, his speech isn’t a lot different to mine. Nice Jubilee year, Gib is a great place to live, and perhaps Spain could possibly leave Gib alone as it is a sovereign part of the UK and the Queen of Gibraltar is Elizabeth II. If you can’t be bothered with the soft words at the front, the last bit of his speech is worth a listen.
For 2013 I too hope that Spain addresses its own problems, there are more than enough, – for example, in La Linea across the border, the local town council has only just paid employes their MAY wages – instead of trying to distract attention by carping on about Gibraltar.
Vain hopes I suspect. Since 1703 when the Anglo Dutch forces took Gibraltar, the Spanish have been trying to claim it back ever since, regardless of signing the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.
I think we need a few commemorations next year. Tricentennial anniversary of Spain ceding Gib to the British.
My new year message then? Spain, I love you to bits, you are a gorgeous country with lovely people, but politicians, sort out your economy, your corruption, and please fuck off with your asinine claims to Gibraltar.
As for everyone else on the internet who I have come to know – happiness, health and prosperity, inasmuch as you can have prosperity in a global recession. Perhaps in these days, sufficiency would be a better aspiration.
Either way, thanks for participating not just in roughseas, but all my other blogs, and looking forward to seeing everyone next year. So to old friends and new ones, enjoy your New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (as it’s already New Year’s Eve in Auckland and approaching in eastern Aus).
PS 1 – I added links for the early posts, but after a couple of months, many of you had started reading. If you missed any of the posts I have mentioned, and you want to read them, they are in the archive for the relevant month. A woman can only add so many links.
PS 2 – Thought I would add this …
And as for the most popular posts, or rather the ones with the most comments as I am dubious about page hits/views, they were:
In first place, gold medal – Me! – people want to know about me.
Followed by two of the top news stories I identified – Spanish invasions of Gib/Brit waters and the suspected terrorist working in Gib.
Then, the next popular couple of posts were a shopping post (!), and a food post (!).
From the serious to the frivolous in one easy click of the mouse.
Then next were: my post about Earth Day in Gib, Juan Carlos (king of Spain) shooting elephants on a private safari while Spain is suffering financial cuts right left and centre, and questions about Gib. (All had the same number of comments there – 64).
As for most hits – food of course – olive paté.