Or rather – all grow – in the garden.
Firstly, the white jasmine, pink jasmine, winter jasmine or jasmine polyanthum in the header photo. Called winter jasmine because it flowers in winter, and the other two refer to the colour of the jasmine. Unlike yellow jasmine, which is not called yellow jasmine, but yes, winter jasmine.
The jasmine is especially for Andrew in Hong Kong for whom I have provided an internet gardening consultancy service. While I may not have solved his problems, or his jasmine’s problems, I provide photos of mine just to prove that mine is rampant and more. Luckily it thrives on neglect. Less is more when gardening, I think.
I doubt my broad beans/habas would thrive on neglect but luckily José has been watering them, and we’ve had some rain over the past few weeks, so I got a nice harvest of two or three kilos, of which naturally some went over the wall to next doors.
My spinach/espinacas or acelgas/beet spinach whichever it is, is also producing a decent harvest.
I use the small leaves for salad and the larger ones in casserole.
For the past few weeks I’ve also had a small plant that decided to seed itself on the garden path which is on the side of the street. Amazingly no-one has taken the leaves. I did though on this week’s trip, in case they tempted anyone in future.
Spinach is one of my favourite plants. Apart from the fact that it is so versatile as a veg, it also happily settles itself anywhere. Here it is nesting with the aloe vera which is just coming into bloom. Another useful plant, although we don’t drink the juice, I do use the gel for cuts, grazes, and as a general skin emollient. And, for cat bites of course.
Wandering around town early one morning, we noticed some work generation going on. Because there is so much unemployment around, the local council tends to generate additional work for unemployed people. When their two years dole has run out they get three months work, and then can go back to signing their benefits.
As well as construction labourers, the other work tends to be gardening and cleaning the beach from Easter onwards. Hard work that one. They get dropped off at one point and then just work their way down the beach picking up rubbish. Sounds ok, but it isn’t much fun in 30 odd degrees of blazing sun walking eight kilometres on sand/pebbles and wearing protective clothing while holidaymakers are idling around in beachwear doing nothing.
And here we have a van catering for the English-speaking market. Or attempting to.
Meanwhile before I left Gib for Spain, I noticed the Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, said he would never set foot in Gibraltar unless the Spanish flag was flying above the Rock.
It may have escaped García-Margallo’s notice, but I don’t think Gibraltarians have the slightest interest in whether or not he ever sets foot on the Rock. Quite frankly if he did, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was stoned. With rocks. From the Rock.
This beliigerent and aggressive ‘politician’ has rejected the previous Cordoba Agreement signed by the socialist government under Zapatero, and, stated before the United Nations that the only talks on sovereignty of Gibraltar will be between the UK and Spain. Thus pushing Gib’s nose right out of it. After all, what do the people who live here matter? That’s before we even get into the Treaty of Utrecht, which as you all know by now, was signed 300 years ago by Great Britain and Spain, and included Spain ceding Gib in perpetuity. Simple.
He has, of course, also bleated on about waters and air space and criticised the local mayor in La Linea, Gemma Araujo, (who happens to be socialist and not right-wing) of siding with Gibraltar. Well, it’s hardly surprising when the economy in La Linea is, like most of Spain, up shit creek. And without Gibraltar providing a paddle, or rather, jobs for Spaniards it would be a hell of a lot worse.
Note, García-Margallo wants to continue with co-operation between the UK and Spain, and Gibraltar and the Campo (ie the countryside area across the frontier in Spain). Well, he would, wouldn’t he? How to have your cake and eat it.
In fact, never mind García-Margallo, it would be helpful if a lot of other Spaniards stopped setting foot in Gibraltar every day to work here and take money out of Gib to spend in Spain while Gibraltarians are STILL unemployed. Maybe you should recommend that to them Señor? And provide jobs for them in Spain? Sí, Señor.
On a closely-related theme, the first news I looked for on returning to Gib was the result of the Falklands referendum. You know, those Malvinas that belong to Argentina.
It was hardly surprising that the Falkland Islanders wished to remain British. In fact, they even topped the Gibraltar referendum results with a massive 99.8% in favour of remaining British. The Gibraltar results were, in 1967 – 98.64, and in 2002, a slight decrease to 98.48%. Hardly a vote in favour of leaving the UK though, just like the Falklands result.
But what do we have next? Oh, yes, the new pope, Francis 1, pressing Argentina’s claim to the Falklands, well, that’s surprising isn’t it? seeing as the 76-year-old pensioner is Argentinian. Bet Kirchner was clapping her pretty little hands when he got in.
It strikes me as being excessively hypocritical that the major players on the world scene bleat on about self-determination and then totally ignore it. Both Spain and Argentina refer to the problem that needs solving and that there should be bi-lateral talks only, thereby negating the people concerned to less than nothing. There. Is. No. Problem. But does anyone do anything about their claims? Do they stuff. Not only are they allowed to whinge on about it, people, ie the UN and other countries (invariably with Spanish speaking and/or Catholic interests), actually give them credence. Why?
Fact Number One. These are British Overseas Territories.
Fact Number Two. The population of said overseas territories wish to remain British.
Fact Number Three. People do not wish to be either Spanish or Argentinian.
The only problem about Gibraltar and the Falklands is that Spain and Argentina want them and the people who live there don’t want to change.
I did wonder to myself, after reading about García-Margallo’s comment, why the Foreign Minister of Spain was dealing with Gibraltar. If Spain is so convinced it is theirs, surely it should be the portfolio of the Home Office? Or whatever the Spanish equivalent is. Perhaps the Spanish haven’t thought of that. Too busy allegedly accepting backhanders, quelling protest marches and refusing to pay people dole money.
Yes, that’s right. The word on the street today was (could be right, could be wrong) that a number of Brits who live in Spain, and have worked in Gib, and their contributions have been transferred to Spain, are not entitled to dole money because they are not Spanish and there isn’t enough money to pay everyone. Good one eh? Compare that with the good old UK where every immigrant under the sun seems to be able to get housing, benefit, and health care, although naturally I couldn’t because I have lived out of my own country for too long. In which I paid 40% tax rate.
Disclaimer: I have never claimed any benefits from Spain, nor has my partner. We have paid wealth tax, which was an illegal tax imposed on foreigners in Spain and has since been scrapped due to an EU ruling. It wasn’t much, a hundred euros a year, but still, I’ve not had it back.
The phrase ‘couldn’t run a piss-up in a brewery’ comes to mind. In the case of the Spanish politicians (I’m talking both local and national here), they would accept a load of back-handers to fund the piss-up, sack all the staff, drink the brewery dry, before the guests arrive, and then lay claims to a neighbouring brewery on grounds of territorial integrity and shortage of beer in their own brewery.
However, while Spanish politicians are the scum of the earth, our local neighbours are lovely people.
Walking around the beach one day, we did the usual Hóla, buenos días, to anyone and everyone and acquired a new walking friend. In her dressing gown, naturally.
I say we, but I mean he, because as usual, being a woman I was superfluous. I amused myself by taking a few photos, while the two of them chatted happily together.
‘You speak very good Spanish, and understand very well,’ she said adoringly to Partner. I groaned. Until she told us she was ‘viuda’ and I could see Partner didn’t understand. ‘Widow,’ I said. Smugly. That was my sole contribution to the conversation. She still loved him to bits anyway, hell, it was only one word he didn’t know.
She was 83, and she’d been a widow for 16 years. Her husband had been killed in a car accident. She liked to get out and walk every morning and every afternoon. Partner and her had the usual Spanish conversation about if you don’t use your legs, they won’t work. ‘Exacto,’ she said.
Got to admire a woman of that age, walking out in her dressing-gown, doing a couple of miles twice a day, and not being afraid to speak to a foreigner. One of the many good things about Spain.
And another one, that I have learned to admire, is their capacity to make something out of nothing. Beach furniture outside a bar/hut/mini-chiringuito, made out of pallets and scrap timber.
To end up, yet more jasmine. After all, it only lasts for a few weeks a year, so might as well make the most of it.