… 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :)
What else to do apart from take photos?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)