Gibraltar is embarking on the famous summer hours.
This is where everyone does even less work than normal – if that is possible – and clears off to the beach at lunchtime for the rest of the day. Or whatever they choose to do after they have put in an excessive four or five hours of graft.
I joke not. I went to one shop last week and the opening hours were 10-2.30pm. Given that they rarely open on time anyway, that makes it more like 10.30-2.30pm. Amazing. Just amazing.
More about Gib summer hours on a previous post.
In keeping with the inconsistency of Gib summer hours – each shop/office/business changes to summer hours on a different day and keeps different summer hours – I shall also be blogging inconsistently.
Apart from anything else my PSA for summer hours comes at the start of birthweek. Birthweek (or birthweekend depending on how it falls) is when my partner and I have birthdays on consecutive days. Most convenient, except that his comes first so there have been occasions when I have been somewhat under the weather due to celebrating his, and feeling too much the worse for wear to celebrate mine.
However with more than 50 years of age comes a little wisdom. And hopefully tomorrow will see me able to embark on some celebratory cleaning of the flat and paperwork, given that Birthday Partner has already been to the shops and washed up. Oh! Such an exciting life!
‘Would you like to go out to eat?’ I asked. Knowing the answer.
‘**** off.’ After 28 years together people do become predictable. Just as well though. If I thought he might have said yes, I wouldn’t have asked.
Perhaps I shall do some leek delicacy for him. After all he is Welsh so that would be appropriate.
While most of Gibraltar is winding down and tanning up (not me, sunbathing is not my thing, and if it is yours, I suggest you think again) the government and the political parties are going hell for tanned leather.
Due to the death of a government minister, Charles Bruzon, we have a by-election. Apparently this is a first in Gib. As I’m not sure whether we will be here or not, I thought I would go for postal voting. At the last election, there were hellish queues outside our polling station. And, it’s no good being in the queue before closing time, you need to be inside when they shut the doors or you don’t get to vote. Very strict, and at the last election, very well organised.
Off I went to Parliament House with my duly completed application forms. Only I could pick a day when there was a police officer outside refusing admittance because there was a government meeting.
‘Come back in ten minutes time, or fifteen, or at 3pm.’ Or whenever?
I went to the post office to look at the electoral register and fill in our numbers which seemed to be the only essential item on the form. I would have thought name and address for a postal vote would be quite important too. But who am I to say?
Then I visited the shop that only opens between 10-2.30pm in that narrow window of opportunidad when they grace customers with their presence.
After that I wandered slowly back to Parliament House. No copper outside. Buzzed the intercom. Got allowed inside. Wandered up the sumptuously carpeted staircase. I love decent carpets and rugs and this is luxurious staircase carpeting.
Once inside the office it was hectic. Half the world seemed to be applying for a postal vote. Or half of Gibraltar.
I handed in my forms. The ‘phone kept ringing. The intercom kept buzzing. I sat there patiently waiting for her to check my form. The big thing was our numbers, she was amazed I’d even filled them in, and promptly got out the register to check they were correct.
While I was sitting there patiently, a few other people came in. I was in no rush, and let them hand in their papers, moan, query, whatever.
One person said there should be an elevator, or maybe he said ascensorvater, nicely mixing his Spanish and English.
‘Oh,’ said the office person. ‘I don’t think so, we need to do some work in here.’
And she pointed to the walls I’d never noticed. Me, a decorator’s wife, and I’d never noticed the paintwork hanging off the top of the walls. I bit my tongue and didn’t ask if they were going to use a legitimate Gibraltar business with skilled qualified people. Not her job.
She asked when we would be leaving Gib and wrote it on the form. The postal ballot has to be in by the date of the election, 4 July. We received the forms a couple of days later. How efficient was that? We’ve already posted them back.
There are four candidates. Obviously a government one (Gib Socialist/Lib alliance), the main opposition – Gib Social Democrats, the PDP which is an offshoot of the GSD, and an independent candidate.
I looked up the manifestos as no-one has had the courtesy to send anything around. The GSLP/Lib candidate said he would continue with govt policies. Or something like that. The other three slagged off the government but didn’t say what they would do to improve things. We can all criticise, and I’m not hugely impressed with the current government, but I’m not sure they are totally to blame for the global economic problems. So who to vote for? Because the irony is, it will make no difference to the balance of power.
There are 17 members of Parliament. At the last election all ten candidates for the GSLP/Lib alliance won seats, with the other seven going to the GSD. So that’s a balance of power of 10:7. If the GSLP/Libs don’t get the seat, that makes it 9:8 to whatever opposition. Still a majority.
Last week I heard about a couple of Spaniards who had been disallowed a contract in Gib to work as labourers. The reason being that they don’t live in Gib, and there are Gibraltarians out of work who could do that work. So, if the government is even enforcing a tiny bit of their employment promise, that’s good enough for me.
On the other hand, time to crack down on the black market. We priced a job the other day for £190. That’s for painting two rooms, two coats of paint, different colours to ceilings and walls, plus two extra ceilings, and swapping some light fittings. It would have been a three day job at the minimum. Apparently not cheap enough.
Would you like me to divide three into 190 for you? Or possibly even four into 190? And yet we know people coming over the border, working illegally who charge £80 and £100 a day for cash.
Our neighbour deplores the use of illegal frontier workers, but promptly uses them on his own flat.
Gibraltar will probably never change. But it’s time the government, opposition ministers, and anyone in public life, started pulling their fingers out and putting their money where their mouth is. And use locally-based firms and Gibraltarian residents for work, whether on their own homes or government buildings. Rather than employing scab labour from across the frontier that only takes money out of Gib anyway.
Oddly enough, we got a letter from the GSLP/Libs this week saying how much they loved us and sadly they didn’t have our ‘phone number to contact us for meetings. Could we please update our details? Such nice timing eh?
After that rant, let’s finish with some foody piccies. (I could get freshly pressed yet?)
One, the verdad ensalada de Axarquía.
Two, a greedy person stealing the salad that I had made beforehand for our snack at the service station.
Three, some Indian patty things, courgettes, onions, flour and spices. Yum.
And if anyone with access to UK TV is watching the Gib six part series on Channel Five on Tuesdays at 8pm I’d be interested to know what you think.