O Lord won’t you buy me …

… A Mercedes Benz

Got to love a man who brings you a Mercedes Benz with a McLaren engine no less, first thing in the morning that he rescued from the street. OK, so maybe it’s a 1/60 scale model, but still, it’s the thought that counts.

Vrrrm vrmmm. Zim zim. Little roughseas loves toy cars and can see a few hours being wasted playing with the latest acquisition.

My new Mercedes, complete with McLaren engine.  And made in China?
My new Mercedes, complete with McLaren engine. And made in China?

After all, I have little else to do apart from read. This being due to the evil sprained ankle.

Rushing half way around Gib the other day getting lots of things done and being purposeful, I managed to rush too much and too fast and fell down on the road when my left foot managed to trip down a nasty pothole that has been here for the last six years. Or maybe longer.

I went headlong. Right arm out, left leg buckled but at least I didn’t smash my head in. A couple of people came to my help. Yes, thank you, I was fine.

I picked myself up and went to my destination before his office closed at 3pm for the infamous summer hours.

So much for that. He wasn’t there. I’d sprained my ankle for nothing.

I walked home and decided to change the library books. Two or three steps down the staircase and the pain hit. I wasn’t going to get across the road. Wasn’t going to get down the staircase. I shot inside the flat and lay down as the pain escalated and a golf ball appeared on my ankle.

Not good. I cried. I am a veteran of not just sprained but operated ankles, fractures, ripped ligaments – I’ve got a 17 stitch scar on my right one. I think it’s 17, not counted recently.

I’ve done the wrist thing too. Obviously my right wrist got damaged in the fall. The one that had a nasty encounter with the ground when Pippa went cat hunting a few years ago.

So that was me, totally out of action. Still am.

Photo 43

Our planned trip to Spain at the weekend didn’t happen.

Spain you ask? Where’s that? Just over the frontier. The frontier where you have to queue up for hours on end because Spain is making it difficult for people to leave/enter Gib.

Because this is what you all want to hear about isn’t it? Not my sprained ankle. You want to know what’s really happening on the ground. Or on the Rock to be more accurate.

The Gibraltar issue
On our last trip to Spain some three weeks ago, we cleared off at 6am. Partner was working on an office refurbishment over the weekend and on Sat morning, the Spanish cleaner told him she left Gib at 6pm Friday night and didn’t get home until 12.30am – and she only lives in La Linea across the border. She had to be in work again by 6am.

We’d thought about travelling Sat lunchtime when he finished work at 1pm. One look at the queue on the excellent Gib gov webcam and I said forget it. He said ‘Let’s wait and see’. Three or four hours later it was the same.


When you’ve done the queue sitting you know exactly how long it will take by looking at the webcam. My large old furry dog is not sitting in a hot vehicle for three hours.

But at 6am on the Sunday morning it was a breeze. Good journey up, back at the finca for 9am, gardening, chickens, filling up the water butt, a few Land Rover fiddles, and a crash out for a couple of hours.

N340 all to ourselves
N340 all to ourselves

Going back in wasn’t such a breeze. There are two ways to approach Gib. Either via San Roque/Campamento or via El Higueron/Santa Margarita. We use the latter route, often stopping at El Higueron to let Pippa out for a walk.

But the huge issue is the way the queue forms for Gib. Basically, it takes up one lane of a dual carriageway in La Linea. Part of the queue involves a detour around the La Linea marina. There is a roundabout at this point. Technically, if you approach from the east ie our direction, you have right of way at the roundabout. And avoid the queue tailback.

When there is no queue, there is no problem. When there is a queue, people go apeshit, and I mean that seriously. I thought the queue didn’t look big so I said oh, pull across the roundabout. A British driver let us across. People normally block the roundabout.

Once we were in the queue we realised how bad it was.

Looking forwards
queue 1

And behind us
q the other way

One of Partner’s work colleagues hailed us. ‘I’ve been here two hours,’ he said cheerfully. Then we met a Land Rover friend who had just returned from Billing (a big Land Rover show). He must have driven fast to get down to Gib by Sunday afternoon.

Sunday afternoon became Sunday evening. Some toerag drove around the outside of the queue and literally pushed in. Here he is :)

q jumper

What else to do apart from take photos?

so near and yet so far
so near and yet so far
No queue for birds
No queue for birds
Checking on Pippa
Checking on Pippa

Some three hours later we approached the frontier. Loopy Luca (the Spanish mate) had told us they were checking the documents for vehicles. I got them out and put them on my lap ready for inspection. The documents, not my lap.

‘Good evening,’ said Partner in Best Brit Voice. We got waved through.

I would have been Pick Me Stupid and asked ‘Quiere mirar mi papeles?’

Partner would never pass for a wog in a million years. He looks as British/Celtic as they come. I am taken for Spanish/Gibbo.

But the Spanish National Police clearly couldn’t be bothered with speaking to a non-Spanish speaking wog. Nice move Partner. You woke up thinking.

Once through, the Defend Gibraltar movement or whatever they are called immediately offered us bottles of water. I took them. Back on the other side the Spanish Civil Protection had also been offering bottles of water. To Spanish registered vehicles only.

Are you Spanish?  Here's some water.  If you aren't ...
Are you Spanish? Here’s some water. If you aren’t …

This is a ridiculous situation. It also happens every year in summer to cause maximum inconvenience to people when it is hot.

Apparently the queues on the way out are to look for smugglers. Really? Explain to me why the Guardia Civil think that all tobacco smugglers only traffic on Saturday and Sunday mornings? Oh and Friday afternoon too.

And why the sudden need to check everyone’s vehicle documentation on the way into Gib?

It’s not even as though it’s just hitting Gibbos. Spaniards are affected just as much, qv the cleaner from La Linea.

It is a cheap and tacky move by Spain, a country with one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe that has far bigger problems that they should be tackling.

Meanwhile, a bit more goss on the street was that a few Typhoons (look ’em up, can’t be bothered to add the link) were flying in to give a bit of a demo to annoy Spain get some flying time in.

But then it changed from no ‘planes to a few ships. Got to love the RN. I may possibly be biased given my father’s RN history but still, the RN has stood Britain in good stead and they do wear the best uniforms. [Trys to stop self drooling at the thought].

No idea what has happened since then, given that I am stuck in my flat with my ever fattening foot.

Although the government webcam now has an update on there from the Royal Gib Police telling people about the incoming queue. At the time of writing more than a three hour wait because of all documents being checked.

Arseholes. Seriously. Why don’t they just shut the frontier because no-one would give a shit anyway. Only the cross border workers. Those on the black and Spaniards/Brits/every other nationality under the sun who can’t get a job in Spain so are leeching off the back of Gibraltar.

I like Spaniards. I just don’t like their government and their farcical attitude towards Gibraltar.

Let’s have a few more anecdotes, because you can all read the news yourselves. This is a mix of actual news and disinformation. Because Gib is full of that.

This first one is actually a news story. A couple parked their £22K Land Rover Freelander in La Linea and it was burned out. Why anybody would want to park in La Linea is beyond me, but either way, it’s not exactly a friendly action.

There is some so-called justification by the GC that the reason for the delay is smuggling. It has allegedly increased. It would do wouldn’t it when there is no fucking work in Spain.

But it’s not just the unemployed who are smuggling. What about the people who are working and smuggling? A £60 box of loose tobacco is worth more than £250 in Spain, according to a Spaniard we know who happily took some in the other day.

According to Spanish mates, this is why some estancos (tobacconists) are going out of business. And the smuggling isn’t just to La Linea – it’s much further afield. And, even the GC buy the cheap fags.

Fishing dispute
Quick summary for anyone who doesn’t know – Spain claims all territorial waters surrounding Gib. Well, Spain claims Gib really. There is a three mile limit of Brit/Gib waters, which according to one Gib res, was originally 12 miles. But the Spanish want to fish it and deplete the waters. OK? With me?

And don’t forgot the territorial waters dispute went to the EU, and it was ruled in favour of Spain. With a Spanish judge making a decision. Leaving Gib without its own waters. Which Gib/UK is disputing.

Gib has now dropped artificial reefs in the water. These apparently have spikes in them, which won’t really do your Spanish fishing nets a lot of good.

More sulking from politicians in Madrid and fishers from Algeciras and La Linea.

La Linea and Algeciras fishers were planning to remove the blocks tomorrow. It’s now turned into a so-called peaceful demonstration. Apparently the 65 boat owners have had enough. So have we sweethearts, so have we.

We’ve already had someone sailing around the Rock claiming Gib is Spanish and They Want It Back.

Nothing new there. They wanted it back since they signed it away.

Or refuelling at sea. Spain doesn’t like this either. Although they do it too. But apparently Gib providing fuel to ships in the Straits of Gib is much more hazardous than Spain providing fuel to ships in the Bay of Algeciras. Because you know, they do it better. They do it so well that they have a dispute within their own country off the coast of Galicia.

Eastside project
Spain’s latest whinge (although they have moaned about this before) is about the Eastside project, a proposed luxury development on the waterfront which impinges on ‘Spains protected waters’ which are a Special Area of Conservation. Um, those waters happen to be right next to Gib within our three mile limit. They. Are. Not. Spanish. Even though the EU seems to think so. Tell me one other country that has no territorial waters. Well?

What do Gibraltarians think about all this?
Cachondeo ie a farce, a pisstake, a mess, having a laugh, whatever translation you choose.

Many are no longer going to Spain for shopping. Why do they go to Spain you ask? Well, basically it’s cheaper although they all claim the produce is fresher and there is more choice. Umm. It’s cheaper. But people are not taking their cars out of Gib. Queues? Burned out vehicles?

Gibraltarians have lived through the closed border before. Many of the people we speak to would be happy to see it again. They rarely leave Gib anyway. Wages would go up, goods would come in via Morooco, black labour and cross-border working would stop.

Disadvantages? If you want to go to Spain you go via Morocco.

I see that nice Mr Cameron has approached the EU president Jose Manuel Barroso to ask him to send a team to look at the border queues that really aren’t impeding free movement at all (says Spain) when people are sitting for six hours. At least he is Portuguese. Not really Spain’s biggest ally ever. Rajoy (Spanish fascist leader) is apparently going to chat to Barroso.

Today Partner was sitting on his break chatting with a Moroccan co-worker.

‘We’ll talk in English,’ said the Roccy, nodding his head towards the Spaniards on site. ‘So those wankers can’t understand.’

Don’t forget there is no love lost between Morocco and Spain.

1) Spain still has Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish enclaves in Morocco)

2) Gibraltar was Arabic for far longer than it was Spanish – Spain held Gibraltar for a mere 200 years or so

3) The Moors were in Andalucía for hundreds of years and left a fabulous heritage. The nasty Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella kicked them out. Under the Moors, Jews and Christians were treated with tolerance. And what did F&I introduce? The Spanish Inquisition. The Auto da Fé.

Al-Andalus – Andalucía – is allegedly on the list of territories that Islam wants to regain. Given that the medieval Caliphate of Córdoba was a seat of learning, wealthy, and powerful, I’m not really sure what the reconquest achieved.

From Wiki - and Spain wants Gib?
From Wiki – and Spain wants Gib?

Spain did stuff all for Gib and hasn’t really done much for itself. From Al-Andalus and a power base in Europe under Moorish rule, to a Spanish autonomous community full of peasants.

But as the Gibraltarians say, ‘We’ve been through this before. Whenever Spain has problems they pick on Gib.’

Spain has serious corruption allegations within its right-wing government, and its unemployment rate is one of the highest in Europe. It competes with Greece to see who can get the furthest over 27 per cent.

And in comparison, the UK, USA and Canada are slightly over 7% with Aus at slightly more than 5%.

Why try and solve those problems or admit to corruption when you can wind up the local population about Gibraltar?

Gbiraltar National Day is in less than a month. I reckon it will be a good turn-out.

We’ll be there.

News source: Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation (GBC)

65 comments on “O Lord won’t you buy me …

  1. A brilliant read!
    Gib has been on our national news quite a lot recently, so it’s nice to read about it ‘straight from the horses mouth’ Oops, not calling you a horse :oops:

    The queues look horrendous, totally the last place you want to be stuck in the heat, even more so with your furry family member.

    How petty to only provide water for the Spanish on their side of the border, it’s the sort of behaviour that goes on in children’s playgrounds, not amongst adults.

    Your ankle looks bad, very painful too I imagine, hope it starts to improve soon.


    • Thank you V. Even A insisted on reading it before I published it, probably because he was the source for a lot of the anecdotes.

      It was long, but it’s not a simple topic. It’s more than, there are queues at the border and Spain claims Gib. Or maybe it isn’t. What is actually happening now is bullying, or attempted bullyin. Gibbos won’t have it. The older ones have the old Brit resilience. I wonder if Brits still have it?

      Horses are nice. Certainly better than people so I can live with that ;)

      Three hours was bad enough. Can you imagine six? And if you are stuck going out it is virtually impossible to get out of the loop and go back home. Not the case goin in but if you want to go home, then you would stick it out.

      Isn’t it just so petty? And disrespectful. Human rights eh? let alone dog rights.

      I hope it does too :(


  2. Thanks for the inside story. Spotty coverage of the recurring Gib/Spain situation here. Nice that you can monitor the crossing situation from home. The history of the Iberian peninsula is fascinating. Thanks for the refresher. Have dislocated both patellas and knees so know what you have gone through and are going through presently. Not fun. Wishing you a speedy recovery.


    • I’m surprised you’ve got any coverage! I’m surprised USers are even interested about anything not related to US. Well that’s the impression that gets conveyed to non-USers. I assume the only interest is because of the Hispanic pop’n? Who knows.

      The webcam is a great introduction. But it’s really only good for going out. Now Spain has started targetting entry too, they need to mount a cam on high to look down the incoming queue.

      I spent a lot of time studying Iberian history, whether it was Romans here or the Moors or Ferdinand and Isabella. Visiting Sevilla, Córdoba, Granada was always on my list of places to visit and they didn’t disappoint.

      I’ve mostly stuck to damaging my ankles but I did do a nasty knee thing once. I can live with the pain (no Big Pharma drugs taken here) I’m just impatient to be mobile.

      Thank you.


      • I may have picked up the Gib news on the Beeb web site. For many here there is nothing outside their hood or urban centre, large or small. Am on local senior community wildlife (pest) committee. Charged with educating residents on exclusion tactics for raccoons, turkeys, feral cats, Canada geese and what have you. People move to a rural setting and are upset there is wildlife in their yards. And management will do nothing to exclude the animals humanely. Would rather trap and kill. No one worries about the environment outside their little self absorbed comfortable lives. We are seniors here so I would think we would be concerned about the environment our grandchildren and others will grow up in but… I am apparently so naive. Our committee is hoping to change a few people’s attitudes. Every little bit helps. As in other countries, there are people who understand the environmental crisis we presently live in but it is an uphill battle as you know. The powers to be continue to be fettered by the age old enemy politics.


        • Politics is one problem. Apathy is the other. Or ignorance. Or selfishness.

          Your wildlife committee sounds an uphill battle. A bit like telling people not to feed the macaques when the taxi drivers take people up the Rock and promptly feed them so people can take cute photos. :(

          NO, they shouldn’t be eating crisps FFS. They have lots of fruit and veg taken up daily and they come into town to eat figs and olives when they are ripe. STOP feeding them junk.

          Tourists might not know better and not be able to see the signs, but the taxi drivers do and just break the law.



  3. Great days-worse days. What a nightmare trying to get from one border to another. Never heard of such a mess. Must have patience. My patience would have worn thin and to the breaking point. I really like reading about your travel travails and all that is involved in politics in your area. I’m in disbelief re: handing out water to only the Spanish. What a cruel world.

    Please take care of your ankle. Looks to be in a mess. Lots of ice and no pressure on your foot. Hard to do that though but I am pretty sure that you are taking the best possible care of your ankle. I’ve been thereand done that several times in my younger days. Hope that does not happen to me again. :-)


    • Hi Y.

      Isn’t it always the same? The average person in the street gets caught up in politics. Our main worry in the queues is Pippa, hence opening the door, giving him water. At one point there was a slight move out, I was out back and just walked up behind the vehicle (he’s in a dog transporter so he was safe). While people can tolerate long queues n sun, it really racks me off that animals are having to suffer.

      The water issue was beyond belief. I was tempted to walk over and ask ‘Agua por favor,’ but I just couldn’t be bothered. We had some in the back anyway, again, for Pippa.

      No ice. Freezer broke a while ago and as we rarely use it and the fridge functions we manage without. I’ve used a cold compress instead. Mostly foot is up, apart from hobbling around for essentials. That’s why I’ve not been on here as it means foot hanging down.

      My previous ankle incidents were in my younger days too. I could really have done without it in my 50s. Not recommended. Thanks Yvonne.


  4. Just a little note on the queues… Searches for cig’s could maybe, perhaps, although not really- justify the delays coming out of Gibraltar—-BUT NOT GOING IN. Are they worried we’re buying expensive Spanish cigarettes and re-selling them for twice the price they’re sold for on your side of the border???


    • We all know who the smugglers are. Why don’t the GC put plain clothes on and hang around all the fag shops watching people buy boxes (not cartons) and stashing them in their cars/motorbikes? That would be far more effective.

      Don’t you know it’s suddenly become amazingly important for the first time in god knows how many years to check MOT, registration, and insurance – on leaving Spain? Uh? Zilch logic there either. You want to check we are legal to drive on leaving Spain? A five year old would struggle to come up with a more irrelevant justification for border queues.

      I see Cameron and Rajoy have had the same discussion as us re free movement and Schengen ;)

      The bastards (Spain) are corrupt, they bailed out the banks, lined their pockets, cut public services, have done nothing about the economy or the high unemployment rate and their only achievement is to whine about Gib and impose border queues. They don’t deserve to run Spain, let alone gib.


        • You taken up religion? You’ll make a good fascist catholic Spaniard yet :D

          But joking apart, that anyone gives Spain (or Kirchner vis á vis Falklands) any credibility about this is ridiculous. There are problems to solve in the world and Spain’s farcical claim to Gib is wasting everyone’s time. If I was in charge of the world, I would say ‘You legally signed it away 300 years ago, you failed to take it back on a number of wasted attempts, so shut up. And don’t forget to return Ceuta, Melilla, Al-Andalus, Luta/Perejil and every other bit of disputed territory including the ones with Portugal.’

          Don’t get me wrong. I like Spain, I like the people. I don’t like corrupt incompetent fascist governments. I’m just a basic anarchist really.


    • Not a bad vid. About the only inaccuracy is that Gib is a city not a town. Apart from the fact that it is the capital and only place in Gibraltar, we are also a cathedral city and the center of the archdiocese for Europe for the Church of England.The link with Catalunya was interesting, although a bit of a red herring. Catalunya is Spanish, Gib hasn’t been Spanish for more than 300 years. But it was still a good listen, thanks for that.


  5. So glad you posted, I’ve been waiting an age to find out what you thought (but I did kinda guess!!) – Bizarre, a European struggling economy that effectively locks out neighbouring tourists and consumers that are sat at its borders, doesn’t make any sense whatsoever and the whole teeny tiny artificial reef debacle has really puzzled me………..have all the Med’s Spanish fish flocked there in huge numbers and left previous fishing ground desolate?! We queue patiently to enter and depart the islands we visit in Moreton Bay, very civilised affair and no border control, there is only one here that is connected by road but of course, all are still part of the same country. Gibraltar is one of those places that I’ve had a life long fascination with, I must visit sometime, if they’ll let me in………there’s a family rumour that our Great Great Grandma was Spanish……..but I’d have to brush up on the lingo a bit to be a convincing queue jumper……and forge some papers, but I’m pretty good with Microsoft Office……:) (let me know if you need any supplies bringing in, like Deep Heat/Ibruprofen for your injury or just some grapes while you recuperate!!) Has anyone tried parachuting in yet??!!


    • I think I should have done a dedication for this post. ie ‘this post is for x, y, and z and countless others who have all asked what I think about the current situation.’ Suffice to say your name would have been in there.

      My view isn’t an emotional patriotic one, it’s basically a legal one. Spain signed Gib away 300 years ago. In perpetuity. Since then it has tried to invade it physically numerous times, closed the border, and made all manner of whingey complaints about everything Gib does is wrong. It is boring and pathetic. There have been two referendums about sovereignty – 99% vote in favour of remaining British both times.

      It is pure politics and so transparent it is asinine.

      Actually the previous Spanish fishing grounds are desolate, because, according to a Spanish mate, they have overfished them all. Hence wanting to deplete the Gib tiny grounds. Why do they want to fish in Gib waters anyway? There is a 20 mile limit off Spain.

      Flying in will be no prob. Off to Heathrow and then either sleazyjet to Gib or BA or Monarch.

      Thanks for the offer but I’m not into painkillers or deep heat. Beer and wine are heloing though.

      Parachuting? There was a query around that regarding a recent terrorist threat …..


  6. Ouch! Tumbles are definitely NOT recommended… We are hearing snippets about Spain in the news lately – I recently met a woman who had moved her kids to this area from Spain (originally Dutch, I believe) but didn’t get over to chat with her much. I would have loved to ask about her perspective of Spain just now, having heard some of the backstory from you.


  7. Borders are a riot our side two…been crossing a few lately. Left Eric is Swaziland to fly back to Saudi and the girls and I drove back into SA alone. The last official at the gate before entering my home territory couldn’t get his head around it. Where’s the man??? Paced around the vehicle numerous times pondering before he let us through. The only thing that differs is ‘place’ and depth of stupidity, although Gib / Spain may be leading this one at the moment from your account, but further insight into you ankle saga – also interesting! Hope it is healing fast.


    • I’ve heard about your borders from another SA mate, to Swazi and Mozambique. Bu they sound like normal queues for you! ie there are no easy crossings. This is just plain manipulation. It’s not even for bribes. Just to be a pain in the arse. Not the fault of the officials, they have to do their job and they are told what to do and when to cause problems.

      Hoping to be hobbling better next week, thanks for the good wishes.


  8. I have to admit, I was waiting to read all about it on here, but I will stop to commiserate first. You sound a proper mess :) At least the typing fingers are still working.
    Always astounded at how peacefully we coexist. If they shut the borders it will make visiting your finca a little tricky?


    • Thanks for the commiserations. The mess is the reason for not posting, although I’d drafted this, I was just sofa-ridden and couldn’t find my way to the lap top. (which is too big to be a lap top anyway). The last time I damaged my arm/wrist/fingers, I found starting to use the keyboard was a great way to start getting activity back. I’ve got bruising around my right wrist but I can type OK.

      I don’t see a problem with existing together. I’m surprised that people kick up about nothing for politics. OK I’m not surprised, just irritated.

      It would mean going via Morocco. Not impossible, just more of an adventure ;)


  9. I too have been following the fracas from afar. it does seem remarkably stupid but then most disputes of this nature are. Just look at Northern Ireland. 30 years of bloodshed for what? Tons of sympathy from over here both for the border crap and the ankle. I hope we don’t have similar problems going to and from Wales in October. At some point borders always cause friction. The HK / Shenzhen crossings are often in the news and we are part of one country (with a 2 systems facade overlaid). As for the people whose Freelander was torched or whatever, serves them right for buying a pathetic vehicle. I made the same mistake 10 years ago. After 14,000 miles the head gasket blew – just outside warranty. Ford (who then owned Land Rover – now Tata I believe) said it was within normal tolerances and wanted some crazy sum to fix it. I took it to my local garage, had it fixed on the cheap and sold it PDQ. Never buy a Ford again and certainly not a Freelander, whoever makes them. Rant mode off. BTW I think the EU should take Spain to court for the distress caused to dogs without water. They’re all barking anyway.


    • Thanks for the sympathy. NI is an interesting comparison. The same but different, at least – touch wood – no bloodshed here as yet. More than 30 years though if you go back to the Easter Rising – and even before that to the start of the problem in Tudor times (says the history grad).

      I doubt you will have probs with Wales, even A thinks they have been pretty wimpish at nationalism.

      As Gib rarely makes the news anywhere, likewise HK/Sh makes no news. Global but an insular world.

      Freelander would not be my Land Rover of choice, although it is reputedly a good offroader. Shape I think. I think there was a problem with some of the early ones with – er – head gaskets …..

      Many years ago in corporate London (80s), there was talk of Ford taking over Land Rover. A local Land Rover near my office had a on it’s tyre ‘GB not GM’. We were gutted when Ford finally got their sticky mitts on it, and when BMW asset stripped it. Tata is possibly the best foreign owner they have had although I still think it should be Brit owned but that is a whole ‘nother post.

      I think they should have a fast channel for anyone with a dog. A disagrees as he thinks it would lead to people buying dogs to queue jump and then ditching them :(

      But indeed, they are truly barking. Why waste time on solving big problems when you can pratt around bleating about nothing?


  10. Hi such a beautiful and educating post on Spain. Lovely. I also love ur lil’ merc..it’s the thoughts that matter. As for cops, I guess every country have their fare share of dumb morons.


    • Hi vishal

      People wanted to know about how it feels from here. So I finally got around to posting it. I like my toy car, it’s cute. I wouldn’t want a real live one, but the small one is nice.

      Police just follow orders. One reason not to join.


  11. Sorry to hear about your ankle, fortunately it seems to be getting a little bit better every day. My ankles are quite troublesome, tendency to swell up and hurt for no good reason. Good job over here that Tesco deliver so don’t have to starve whilst I rest it.

    I’ve seen quite a bit of the BBC coverage on Gib, thing that struck me was all the vehicles they showed in queues were Spanish registered ones. Last year the Argies were very vocal about the Falklands as it was the 30th anniversary of the invasion, this year its the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht, so lets hope they stop this nonsense come 2014.

    Cameron it seems is planning to take Spain to the EU court over the free movement of people, although as with everything in the EU that will take years to come to fruition. Don’t know about the Spanish but I believe the French have ignored a large number of court rulings against them. Spanish are taking the UK to the UN security council, now remind me, who is a permanent member with a veto, not the Spanish!!.

    Tata got a really good deal on Jaguar/Land Rover. Numerous models in late stage development such as the Evoque and the Jag saloons that really just needed bringing to market. I also see that they are now setting up manufacturing in China for the Asian market, fairly shrewd move commercially but they’ll still need to manufacture in the UK for Europe and the USA.


    • Thanks for the ankle sympathy. I’m torn between resting it and keeping it moving. If only Morries delivered, I reckon most of Gib would take that up!

      Yes we normally look to see how many vehicles are Gib and how many Spanish. Usually more Spanish. Cheap fuel, tobacco, etc. Plus apparently they like to shop in Morries.

      Spain will stop the nonsense when they don’t have a domestic crisis which won’t be any time soon.

      Never mind free movement, which is one of my arguments, it’s bordering on human rights issue, certainly dog rights issue. Their justification for queues is implausible.

      Some Spaniards are taking a legal case against the Gib government, can’t remember what for. It is all such a waste of time.

      Evoque does well here in Gib. Gibbos like status cars and the Evoque is one. AFAIK Tata has not been as bad as Ford/BMW but I would still prefer it was Brit owned, whatever that may mean these days. There will always be a market for LRs but it needs the right strategy to mix history and new models.


      • Is there a link to the border webcam, be nice to look at it from time to time.

        I see one of your MSPs is weighing into the debate:
        “JULIE Girling has urged Britons to ‘boycott’ Spain in response to mounting tensions.

        The Gibraltar and South-West England Euro MP posted a message on Twitter saying: “There has been enough talking, now there must be action. I urge constituents across the UK to consider taking their summer holidays elsewhere this year.

        Spain is not on our side, she states.”

        As with everything, even if 5% were to do that……..


        • Here’s the home page, there are three views, going out, Winston Churchill and split view ie both. You may need to refresh your browser or the page if the views don’t come up straightaway. The home page has the RGP twitter update on it too about length of queue time. Tends to be updated more often when the queues are long. I think I added it before on a different post, but I’ll add it on the next one too. Seemed ok yesterday.


          (frontier one not working for me at the mo, it does that sometimes – looks like there is a levanter down there, clear here though :D)

          I gather Julie Girling has had some grief on Twitter (or maybe FB?) from Spaniards bullying her. Good woman say I. I think asking people to ‘consider’ is pretty mild really. I’ve got a foot in both camps so to speak. If I didn’t it probably wouldn’t affect me. It’s very different here on the ground though. Feelings in Gib are pretty high. Flags are already going up for national day celebs. That’s both flags, union and gib.

          The Gib/Spain thing is symbiotic and works well. Apart from politics, many people in Gib have houses in Spain ie Gibbos not just us. Many live in Spain and not in Gib. gibbos shop in Spain, Spaniards shop in gib, cross border workers earn money here. On a day to day level it works so this political manoeuvring by a corrupt and despicable Spanish government is beyond belief, OK it isn’t, but it certainly isn’t fair play.

          I want to ask you a couple of questions about auctions, not yours, but just in general, shall I leave a comment on your blog?


          • I would imagine she would get grief, the last thing the Spanish economy needs is a dramatic reduction in UK tourism. That said co-operation in general is required to reduce the level of bullying on twitter, not that I can see the Spanish playing ball in this particular instance.

            Not sure how often I’d go to Spain. Had thought I might bus it to Malaga airport if I was travelling East, but maybe its going to be easier to route most things through London.

            Auctions, feel free to pop something on my blog although notifications on WordPress are now so bad I might not see it. Maybe just email.


  12. Good for Partner for getting you through the frontier quickly. Did he know that speaking would do that or was it just a happy coincidence? Hope Pippa enjoyed his trip — a mention but no pic? And that your ankle recovers soon. I’m a walker too so I can imagine how frustrating it must be for you.


    • Given that he spends ten hours a day speaking Spanish with spaniards and moroccan co-workers, comes home and recounts the odd English conversation with me that he has had in Spanish, I think he had three hours sitting in a queue to think about it. No mere coincidence.

      I don’t think I took a single Pippapic. Too busy jumping out, opening the door for fresh air and giving him water.

      Hope Ralph BD is well.

      Thanks for the good wishes. I am probably pushing it a bit but I am trying to hobble around and get it moving despite the pain rather than just lie around, which is serving no purpose.


        • I am so sorry to hear that. He is a beautiful dog, and I loved to read his stories. I had the best of intentions with Pippa’s but have failed miserably. When we were on blogger, he had a huge array of friends and got far more comments than I ever did, so I suppose there was more incentive back then. Now the tables are reversed. I don’t think I realised Ralph was so old. Give him a hug from me and hope he doesn’t fade too quickly.

          My friend Vicky’s big dog, Jasper recently went to the Bridge. http://wp.me/p2cyyS-Rl I’ll be writing a post about rescue dogs on roughseas at some point, mentoning mine, Vic’s, one of her friends, and any others I can think of!


  13. Nice little gift, the car…special! Hope you heal quickly. Stay safe Hugs! Give Pippa some hugs and nose kisses for us.


  14. I didn’t see it ’til I looked but your Gib news made our ABC news “…The latest row came after Gibraltar accused Spain of deliberately holding up cars entering the territory by searching every vehicle and creating delays of up to six hours….” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-05/gibraltar-likens-spain-toll-threat-to-n-korea-sabre-rattling/4866720. I think you summed it up nicely, they are behaving like wankers, offloading their problems. They can’t expect to be taken seriously.
    That traffic queue is inhumane and incanine. Poor you both, and poor Pippa. And what do you get? Water, when you got through, not while you were waiting.
    Your baby Merc is much more stylish than my toy car find, which is a pink polka dot VW and has its place on the altar of small found things… marbles, old coins, assorted whatnots.
    Your ankle – ouch. I stepped in a hole when wearing 4″ heels, same result. That was when I was younger & wore such things walking to work and around on city streets. It looks like it will take a while to come good. And must be even more annoying during your late summer weather to be quite immobile. Hopefully you have a pile of books.
    Entertaining post, and under the circumstances, generous of you to manage it :)


    • The ABC news is slightly inaccurate because the queues hadn’t stopped at the end of July as claimed.

      Quite honestly it is a waste of taxpayers’ money for all countries concerned, and that is UK, Spain, Gib and everyone in the EU. It’s about as farcical as the UK claiming back Australia, India, Canada, America and half of Africa. All those countries gained independence well after Gib became British. It pisses me off it is so stupid. It reminds me of the analogy between men who drive too fast in flash cars and the size of their **ck.

      I can live with sitting in the vehicle, A doesn’t like it, but Pippa is our priority. We always stop in summer and usually in winter too to give him (and us) a leg stretch on the normal 2.5/3hr journey. But that queue just doubled the journey time. Luckily we’d stopped before we’d joined it so he’d had chance for a walk round. Incanine is a wonderful word.

      We got two small bottles of water ie one each. I didn’t need to ask for one for Pippa although I’m sure I could have had one, but he had a 2litre bottle in the back. Anyway we did polish off the two bottles immediately though. I guess the Defend Gib people wouldn’t be too popular if they were dishing out water in Spain …

      I have a nice animal sanctuary of found animals too, must post a pic one day.

      Only one of my sprains was in heels. Black suede boots worn to a performance of Romeo and Juliet on a school trip one evening. They weren’t four inches though! More like two, three at the most.

      I’m still ploughing through the find of 70 books luckily, although there aren’t a lot left now. I suppose I can start all over again when I get to the end. There will be an awful lot of book reviews coming up :D I’m not reading the German ones. French or Spanish I could have managed but the only thing I can read in Deutsch is archeaology articles.

      Thanks. People have been asking both on here and elsewhere about the situation so I figured I really needed to make the effort. Trouble is at the computer I can’t put my foot up. With which I shall hobble off to collapse on the sofa ….


  15. It is a long post Roughseainthemed and your views look of great interest given that you live in both sides of the line. I don´t agree with some of your points. I don´t consider our president a fascist and I think that we came back to talk about Utrecht Treaty because of the Gibraltarians throwing some blocs of concrete into the sea.
    I think some other matters such as queues to enter or leave the Rock, good relationships between the Gibraltarians and Spanish people and agreements on conditions of a colony or an independent country must be solved out.
    The will of people in Gibraltar counts a lot, but do not forget those on the other side.
    Best regards!


    • The PP has consistently attempted to fight gay rights, women’s reproductive freedoms, media independence- in fact, since Rajoy came to power all his government has done is promote fascist ideology. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.


      • or a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

        or a fascist purporting to espouse democracy?

        I thought eugenio’s comment was helpful (and his subsequent one later) because it does show the Spanish point of view.

        I can repeat on my blog what my neighbours in Spain say about Gib, except it tends to be jocular rather than serious. I can repeat what the Spaniards and Moroccans say on the building site.

        But it’s not the same as someone Spanish commenting on here from their perspective. I don’t agree with it, but it explains a lot, which is why I included the comment in my subsequent post.

        ‘Ownership’ of Gib is one issue. Spanish politics are a separate but related one. I wasn’t Aznar’s biggest fan (OK I wasn’t a fan at all), but Rajoy??? I don’t know where you go when you have gone from bad to worse, but he is definitely going there.

        He’s caught the bad end of a world-wide recession but that’s no excuse for his policies that abuse human rights and disrespect Spanish people.


          • I don’t know. I tend to think of you as latin American/French/rich/gay/arty/opinionated/good-looking/has nice dogs/young/and a typical aristocrat with lefty views. Oh I forgot the one about not a feminist ally ;) But if you want me to substitute Spanish for latin american will do.

            always happy for people to define themselves rather than rely on my prejudices :)


  16. Hmmm–39 replies. Looks like I’m late to this party but the comments and replies were interesting too :-)
    Sorry to hear about the ankle. It’s very frustrating to be laid-up like that, especially when the weather’s good. Hope that it’s mends quickly. It’s only day three yet so I suppose you’re not much better yet. Nonetheless, take it easy–it does make a difference. I generally find hot and cold to be useful when I injure myself. A ‘magic bag’ and an icepack are great tools.
    Fascinating story about the situation with Spain. It’s even making the news over here. Frankly I wish that politicians and other government leaders would spend more time working through problems instead of just passing the blame around. What a total waste of everyone’s time and money! The real goal should be increased prosperity through better trade and commerce and, hopefully, slightly more appropriate social policies. Instead it looks like everyone is just playing some sort of twisted one-up with the concrete blocks, warships and lineups. That garbage solves nothing, increases the frustration level for everyone and, frankly, worsens everyone’s lives.


    • It was something of an overdue post that had been drafted earlier, needed updating, people were asking for my view and meanwhile I was prone on the sofa. It was actually twelve days ago too, but as I’ve said, I’m used to ankle thing, and my pain tolerance threshold isn’t bad.

      I did hot and cold as I used to do that, but others have told me to do ice packs. Not much use when my freezer is out of action so cold compress had to serve. Anyway, it’s currently strapped up in a crepe bandage for my hobbles.

      It is making the news around the world. Wall Street Journal, Australia, Canada? I don’t think it should be elevated to such significant news. But that’s the PR person in me speaking. You don’t elevate something out of all proportion when it doesn’t merit it and that’s what Spain is trying to do. Feelings here are high, not against Spanish people, but against the political attitude.

      Concrete blocks eh? We’ll just send the Spanish fishers over your way :) Clear out your waters like they have every other place they’ve fished (we’ve had this discussion before).

      Warships? I don’t think Gib should be walked on. And if takes warships to prevent that, fine by me.

      Did you read the comment above? ‘The will of the people of Gib counts but don’t forget the ones on the other side.’ Uh??????? Is there something I am missing here, ie why Spanish people should have a say in Gibraltarian politics, sovereignty, and really anything to do with Gib. Another post on the Treaty needs to cometh.

      My final point is that Spain is always the aggressor. I suppose I will have to write another post about latest issues but I do like to give people a respite from today’s gripe from Gib.


      • We’re all too familiar with what the Spanish fishers can do. They’ve been raiding our grand banks since… Forever. Our territorial boundaries are treated like them as mere suggestions. What’s more they gave a history of taking fish they should not be touching… And getting away with it.


        • Yes, we’ve had these discussions before and I did think about you when I was writing about the fishing. What is it with Spanish fishers that they think the oceans are their oyster, so to speak.

          Spaniards are big on respect. ‘No falta (de) respecto’ is one of their favourite phrases. Don’t disrespect me, but I will walk all over you ….

          Brits are notoriously easy-going, until they get annoyed. I think it’s time we got annoyed.


  17. So a British warship has arrived? Good.
    Read a news article today and wondered how you were seeing things.
    So to compensate the Spanish fishermen (who obviously have no where else to throw their nets) Spain now wishes to charge Gib travelers a fee which will be paid (immediately?) as compensation to the fishermen?
    They never give up?
    Hope your ankle is better. Glad you had some books around


    • Hopefully getting a pic today, courtesy of Partner who is working on a building overlooking the dockyard. I can’t believe this is making news all round the world. It shouldn’t.

      They introduced the toll idea a while ago and it was thrown out. As we go out so infrequently it’s not a big issue in terms of cost but in terms of principle it is disgusting.

      No they don’t. They haven’t done since 1704. Poor losers?

      It’s so so, but thanks. My next posts will all come with a book review at the end :D


      • Your response confirms that it’s no longer “news” but more magazine stories in media. As you can tell, not really current info – and story held until there’s room or an emotional frenzy ( a warship!) that can be stirred up.(along with the Egypt story…hey most US readers don’t know geography – look a battleship!)
        The clinging by Spain is bound to be annoying. Should be an interesting holiday coming up.
        Not much you can do about an ankle but rest it – which is boring to an normally active person.
        Can’t wait to see what you’re reading. Tailwag to Pippa from Molly who snatched up another large mouse yesterday – at least she’s decided to bring them to me rather than running around the yard with a long tail hanging out of her mouth…poor little things always have the look of total disbelief frozen on their faces. I guess she needs to be thanked , but yuck…at least the garbage truck hadn’t come yet


        • Well it is August after all. In the UK in the media it is the silly season. Parliament doesn’t sit so there is a dearth of hard news. Perhaps Gib is a silly story?

          Odd how some of my US readers think people in their own country don’t see further than their own back yard. In a way I am pleased that even though in a negative sense, this issue has at least brought Gibraltar, Gibraltar to the eye so that maybe people realise there is more than Gibraltar, Wisconsin.

          National Day is always very patriotic. While there are union flags displayed it is primarily a day for Gibraltarians, to assert their right to self-determination and not to be a pawn between UK and Spain.

          I rested it earlier. Half the day has suddenly gone when I fell asleep!! Reading books post will have to be the next but one because too much to write now on a Gib update. Each time I draft a post, there is yet more diplomatic spatting and I have to add more!

          Pippa says good one Molly. Do try and catch those nasty rats too. They are bigger and more vicious, rather like small cats, so much fun. Pippa sends a dismissive paw wave to RC and wonders if that stands for Rat Cat?


  18. Such an in depth essay ms, I learned much I had no knowledge, the history lesson is remarkable. You are quite good at this.
    I like living vicariously through your travel journal, but even the people watcher I am would soon find herself bored waiting to cross the border

    Another commonality. Sprained ankles. I have done my left ankle 4 times in the last 3 years. Each time taking its toll in weakening the joint,
    Takes some time to heal a sprained ankle. (voice of experience)
    Take care, and hoping that you’re able to feel the ankle is recovering by now.


    • I know it was long but it is a complex issue, especially if people haven’t been following the plot.

      One of my very early lessons in journalism was to always work from the principle that people may not have read a previous story that relates to an update, so you need to include a summary. And tbh even I forget what I have written before.

      I was an impatient traveller once. If the bus to school didn’t come within five minutes I was stamping my feet. I always left it until the last minute to go to the bus stop so I wasn’t hanging around. And then I went to India. Five minutes paled into insignificance compared with five hours – or more.

      There is a saying where I grew up:
      ‘Sometimes Ah just sits and thinks
      Sometimes Ah just sits.’

      It’s mostly been my right, well that’s the one that’s had the ops, so I’m prob lucky (?) it was the left this time. I know it takes time, just driving my partner up the wall that I am so useless! (driving me up the wall too).

      Thanks, I’m sure your good wishes will speed up the recovery. I’m off to meditate and send it some healing vibes.


      • I easily can relate to the useless feeling being grounded gives. I don’t suffer boredom to well as it is when I am in control. When I have no say in the matter I tend to take it quite personal and get rather quite grumpy.

        Of course still sending healing vibes your way ~


        • I tell myself it is a good excuse to lie around and read. Got to find the good points out of a bad situation. Bad karma to focus on the negative.

          And thank you. I need to take some time out to meditate and send my ankle some good vibes from me :)


  19. Well, Roughseainthemed, I don´t know who is right or wrong, I mean, the people in Gibraltar demanding independence, territorial waters and anything or the Spanish government demanding a change in the situation. I think that the tax, or toll as you named it, would be totally unfair. But it is my personal view and my knowledge of the Gibraltar matter is poor.

    People living there have got some feelings that the Spanish living far away from the Rock may not understand. Believe it or not, some Spaniards would be happy if a good relationship with the Gibraltarians goes on. Some people here assume well the fact that you have some rights in there. Consider, nevertheless, that some Spanish might dislike giving up to a part of the physical country in the Península.

    The current situation of Gibraltar is the result of history, of course, as it is the evolution of nations all around the world. Nowadays the USSR is not the same country that it used to be. Spain, Germany or the United Kingdom, to give some examples, have experienced lots of changes and it doesn´t seem fair to go back to the times of the Romans or Saxons to claim for the idea of nationality.

    I have read about the Utrecht Treaty and it is not clear enough, as far as I see, in the article X of the Treaty if the port includes territorial waters or not. Anyone who is in search of justice wants to find the truth to the Gibraltar issue and justice must be one and unique.
    Good luck with your ankle thing ;-)


  20. First, boo on the hurt ankle.. That is one painful looking spot. Rest, rest and more rest..
    as for the tolls and such, we have tolls all through the state of Florida and I purposely avoid those routes. I know you will not have that option so I say No tolls in Gib..
    I hope you bring lots of water and a good book or two for those traffic jams. I have zero patience in such things..


    • Thanks L. I am turning into a blue stocking as the bruising travels its merry way up my leg.

      There are tolls in Spain too. We used not to use the toll roads, but after a couple of journeys, the empty roads and ease of driving have converted us. Shouldn’t you be in NOLA now?

      This is just a political gesture. We always have water for the dog, although no primarily for us. As it was a one day there and back journey it was the sole occasion when I did not have a book :(


  21. Hello roughseas with quick mercedes to fly over borders! I’m very sorry about your foot and wrist. That’s depressing! And your ankle looks creepy on that photo. The Gibraltar issue is just to distract from te real issues Spain has to deal with. A bit of nationalism still works, how incredible is that. Too sad.
    Back in Granada, had a pretty large escape from the heath as well and I am now trying to catch up with everything. Un abrazo! And hope things are going better (I still have to read your latest posts). I’ll start drawing next week, I hope. :)


  22. thanks for sharing your take on things. been a long time since i’ve been here and am so sorry to hear about your ankle. trust it is well onto the road of recovery by now. and i love the new Mercedes :)
    do take care!


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