Uninvited or unwelcome guests?

Well all guests are uninvited, so therefore unwelcome, as far as I am concerned.

Happily doing nothing, puppy asleep, me with a glass of wine, I watched the uninvited guest slither around the door post.

Ah, hello, or maybe buenos, Mr/Ms Snake. And what would you be wanting?

A nice cool shady place to lie out of that hot sun please. Your kitchen looks just right.

Um. I looked at Mr/Ms Snake/Culebra/Serpiente.

S/he did an about slither.

When I wandered out seconds later s/he was nowhere to be seen.

My maternal selfish instincts had kicked in. What about my bare legs? I mean my poor, not very defenceless puppy with his razor sharp teeth?

Snowy was not interested in Snake. Snake was not interested in us. No pic of Snake as s/he moved too fast.

But here is a gecko sunning him/herself on the wall shortly afterwards. Do they eat snakes?

Always welcome in my house, eat those nice cockroaches please
Always welcome in my house, eat those nice cockroaches please

There was one in our trastero once. Snake not gecko. Not sure if it was dead before or after Partner found it.

Not long after we moved in, there was a major encounter next door but one. Half the men of the village (OK slight exaggeration) turned up with spades and mattocks to kill one defenceless probably non-poisonous snake. Snakes in La Axarquía are usually harmless.

And if next doors but one had kept the grass cut on their small overgrown piece of land, Snake might not have been happily resting there. Snake’s final resting place no less.

I am no lover of uninvited guests: cockroaches, mice, rats, people and snakes. But at least snake had the decency to turn away. Just as well. I have no idea what I would have done had s/he slithered inside.

‘Phone call to Partner: ‘There’s a snake in my kitchen, what do I do?’

Except iPhoneless I couldn’t even do that.

Note to self. Add snake antidote to First Aid Kit.

So after that light relief, let’s move on to a related theme ie more unwelcome and uninvited guests/visitors.

Walking the puppy around the block the other evening, we bumped into (not literally) a Spaniard who was supervising his children at a play area. He started talking about the dog who was wary of him.

He was from La Linea and taught Spanish in Alcaidesa (posh expat ghetto up the coast but not as posh as Sotogrande).

He and his wife were planning to move to England, preferably Oxford or Cambridge to give their daughter a good secondary school education. They were looking at putting her into private schooling. I did say private education wasn’t cheap in the UK. ‘Oh, we’ll sell our flat in La Linea.’

I hope they have an extremely good penthouse flat in the best part of La Linea (is there a best part?), because they won’t have a lot of change after they have paid for seven years education at a good private school in Oxford. Even my school, in the industrial West Riding of Yorkshire, would currently set you back more than 70 grand for seven years at senior school.

But if they sell their flat, where are they going to live in the UK? And what happens when/if they want to return to Spain? Or if they want to buy in the UK? How do you get back into the property market if you get out and spend a large chunk of it on education? La Linea is not prime real estate.

We moved on to talk about the queues of course. My new acquaintance didn’t like them. I was sympathetic, although the only time it annoys me is when I travel back to the finca. I don’t like the politics around the issue but, for the most part it’s not a personal inconvenience. Nor do I have any sympathy with people who live in Spain and work in Gib. They can get work in Gib, and then trip over the border to spend their money in Spain where life is cheaper and flats are larger. Cake and eating it comes to mind.

He didn’t like our Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo. He ‘shouts,’ said my chatty mate. ‘He should conduct political discussions with diplomacy,’ or some such crap.

Well, I tell you mate, if I was Chief Minister and I had some PITA country over the border still bleating about having lost Gibraltar more than 300 years ago, imposing unreasonable queues, invading Brit/Gib waters and raiding our fishing stocks, I would be shouting too, because saying nothing gets nowhere. Sometimes you need to stand up for yourself.

‘I liked Caruana,’ he went on. Well, of course, you would, he wanted to negotiate joint sovereignty of Gib with Spain.

‘There are problems and we need to find solutions.’ What problems? Gibraltar doesn’t have any problems apart from the ones caused by Spain.

We have cheap fags and spirits – he forgot to mention petrol. This is a problem for Spain because people come shopping from Spain to Gib. ‘This needs to be resolved,’ he insisted, which I assume means we need to put up the taxes so that it stuffs our economy. I don’t think so. I wonder what he was doing on a Saturday evening in Gib anyway? Shopping?

People who live in Gib also go shopping in Spain (I don’t) where a lot of other items are cheaper. And, all the cross-border workers earn their nice pounds here and go and spend them in Spain. On living, on accommodation, on going out.

He didn’t mention either of those issues. There are two sides to every coin, and he was a classic example of someone who only listened to the position of the Spanish government. It didn’t seem worth the argument however, so I went off home with Little One to cook tea.

An extract from a government press release this week:

The Governments of the United Kingdom and of all UK Overseas Territories have declared that they will continue to support the people of Gibraltar and have urged the Spanish Government to de-escalate tensions with Gibraltar, including at the border and within British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.

Which brings me to invited but unwelcome guests. Chief Minister Picardo is currently giving talks in Spain in ‘intellectual and business fora, together with media interviews’. (Gib Gov website)

So, he was talking to the University of Cadiz Law Faculty at its premises in Algeciras.

An invited guest no less. Except right-wing extremists and fisherpeople protested outside the building and tried to block the entrances.

Picardo was smuggled into the building, but amidst security risks, the talk was cancelled and he was smuggled back out again and driven back to Gib. There are better ways to spend an evening.

Ironically the protesters had banners saying ‘Picardo Fascista’. Um, I thought Picardo was somewhat left of centre, ie he’s a member of the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party (GSLP). They chanted ‘Gibraltar Español’. That sounds rather more fascista to me. The fisherpeople claimed Picardo had ruined their livelihood. So the only fish left around Algeciras and La Linea are in the three miles of British Gibraltar waters?

All the Spanish left-wing parties in Algeciras criticised the protesters and the ruling town council (right wing, the Partido Popular, like the current Spanish government), which had opposed the talk saying it was ‘politically and academically inopportune at a time of clear hostility by the colony towards our fishermen and Spain’s law enforcement agencies’.

(Note, Gibraltar is not a colony, but Spain likes to keep calling it one).

One of the interesting comments came from the United Left Party which said the university had ‘the right and obligation’ to listen to different points of view.

Spain’s main opposition party, the left-wing PSOE, called it a ‘full-frontal attack on academic freedom’.

Now, we can all accept that any political party will make the most of an incident like this. And I am as biased as anyone. But for the Chief Minister (who is a lawyer), as an invited guest by the university law faculty, to be prevented from putting forward the constitutional position of Gibraltar to law undergraduates because of aggressive protesters doesn’t bode well for democracy.

Perhaps one of the best comments after the incident came from Julio Pons who chairs the Voice of Gibraltar Group (VOCG):

“Locally, people have heard and welcomed the words of support [from UK Govt]. However HMG needs to do more than send stern letters to the Spanish ambassador, as the recent actions of the Guardia Civil in tampering with diplomatic correspondence shows that Spain has lost all respect for the British government.

“Cameron may speak to Rajoy but his message is lost in translation.”

Mr Pons also said that with the arrival of a new governor his message to him is simple, it’s “Gibraltar needs to be defended by sea and by land. Properly.”

Story of protest from Gib Chron, links below.

Lecture cancelled due to protesters
Right wing Spanish youth groups

Govt press release regarding the meeting of UK Govt and Overseas Territories.

Support for Gib

34 comments on “Uninvited or unwelcome guests?

  1. This is another good piece of learning for me, when i lived in the forest with my mother etc we used to get a lot of intruders, mostly unwelcome. Snakes and numerous insects of different sizes. Even had a horse come in through the back door one summer…

    I dont know how it is with you guys in Gib, but here the government and that sell out person called Cameron is losing if not lost all respect from Brits, the Brit citizens are getting a feel of being let down.. even the other half of his government have started to turn slowly.. If one is foreign then every thing will be good, while the rest suffer. I only note from news programs and my general feel viewpoint for this government,,,


    • I don’t think I remember a snake wanting to come in the house before. It looked quite cute really, I just didn’t want it getting frightened and lashing out at me or the puppy. Now a horse would have been pretty straightforward :D

      Aaagh! I hate being called you guys. It sends me up the wall. You shd know me better by know! Plenty of non-gender specific terms to use – and don’t tell me it is acceptable blah blah. Anyway, I don’t know enough about Cameron. I tend to avoid British news as it is depressing and trite. I don’t understand the issues well enough regarding immigration to the UK. I can’t get any benefits, housing or care in Spain or Gib. I can’t get them in the UK now because I have been left for x years. When my partner works we are in the system in Gib, but otherwise we have to fend for ourselves. Really nice to know that my taxes have gone towards funding people from other countries at the expense of me being able to get anything from the UK, including my bloody pension in year 3087 the way it seems to be going. Ooops, you opened up the floodgates.


      • Sorry about the ‘you guys’ should have known better… point taken.. ;) I have opened the flood gates? me oh me, my oh my,,, Mr Cameron is just about to do that…


        • I’ve pointed out the you guys gripe before, so it would be most inconsistent of my to let it slide ;) but thank you for not taking offence (not that you ever do) unlike the other person who stormed off in a huff :D

          I thought the flood gates had been swept away with the amount of imports into the UK never to be exported. I’m all for multi-racial societies, I live in them, but I am still puzzled as to why the UK is the bludge capital of the world.
          No doubt there is a perfectly good legal reason why the UK is obliged to home, provide benefits, health care, goodness knows what else to immigrants, but not to me, should I choose to return to the UK. And equally there must be a very good reason why I can’t get the same in return wherever I live in the EU. so much for equal rights across frontiers. ‘Tis irrelevant really, just annoying.

          Are you referring to Cameron’s China mission? Hey China, buy up the UK, let’s go for more nuclear power because we all know how safe that is etc etc etc


  2. Snakes eat Geckos . Green house snakes slither around in our rafters hunting them. We have an abundance of both! You are a wise woman, knowing when to turn from a discussion / argument because it is just a waste of energy that could be spend on far better things…a lesson I am still trying to master..


    • Oh, hopefully that snake didn’t eat my dear gecko. We normally have a healthy population of geckos happily scuttling around the garden or taking the sun, as this one was. What else do small snakes eat? Looked like a small grass snake to me, what I saw of it.

      Not wise, just know my lack of patience can’t sustain a discussion with an idiot. But to be fair, if someone tried to tell me about something I disagreed with I wouldn’t be influenced either. So, no point. Make small talk, move on, go home to cook tea. And bore poor old Partner with a repeat of the discussion :D


  3. When I lived in Colorado I had a snake problem. One time I was in my bathroom washing my face, standing in front of my sink and a snake slithered over my feet. Well I did the only sensible thing I could think of. I started screaming and jumped on top of the toilet and waited for my partner to rescue me. I kept screaming since now I was terrified and had soap in my eyes. I’m not a fan of snakes. Luckily we had a really good friend who loves snakes and she would come over and remove them from our house all the time. Still makes me ill to think of it.


    • Ha ha! That is a good tale. You had me laughing there, mainly because I thought you were going to say the sensible thing was to stand still and wait for snake to slither off. The thought of you jumping and screaming on top of the toilet is too funny for words. Btw, it was probably a friendly vampire in an alternative disguise …


      • I think I would prefer a friendly vampire over a snake. Can’t stand snakes! So if the friendly vampire returns maybe he or she could come in a kitten form instead.


        • But don’t you think snakes and vamps have similarities? Cold. Fangs. Evil poisonous bite. Move quickly. Lurk in shady places. You should def become a snake lover :D Kittens – or puppies – and vamps just don’t cut it.


  4. So glad that the snake slithered on its way. I do not like snakes at all. The snake that I hate the most is the one in the grass. It seems that Spaniards will not get over Gib not belonging to Spain. It sure seems it would all get to be ho-hum about the on-going debate after awhile.

    Nice pics of the roach eater. Wonderful little creatures.


    • I don’t mind them so long as they leave me alone and s/he did. But I’m loving your comment about the ones in the grass. Very smart.

      Well, they haven’t got over it in the last 309 years, so no-one here’s expecting any change, just par for the course. But what happens in the upper echelons of politics bears no resemblance to real life down in the lower levels of normal people where we all try to get along perfectly well. Whether we come from the UK, India, Gibraltar, Morocco, Spain, Eastern Europe, Portugal or wherever.

      Thanks, my camera is crap at close ups, or rather I am, but I so love geckos, I can’t resist them. Look at those darling feeties glueing him/her to the wall. Just adorable. Another gecko pic over on http://wp.me/2c8OG. It’s a mobile photo so not very good, but terribly cute.


  5. Haha, love the way you start off with the reptilian type and end up with the political type.
    The only encounter I’ve had with the reptilian variety was years ago, Son was quite small and we were cycling on our common. Charging on ahead, he rode over what he thought was a stick which then hissed at him. Well, it would, wouldn’t it. He leapt off his bike and ran for cover while the most beautiful adder wound its way around his back spokes. We could only watch from a distance while the snake untangled itself and slithered off into the heather.
    Of the political kind, I did meet Geoffrey Howe once. I can’t for the life of me remember why.


    • My posts may seem to have unrelated topics but they do – to me – have some connection. And obviously to my readers to, up to people to read into my tales what they like.

      We did meet one when we were bushwalking in Aus in the Blue Mountains. I think Partner whacked it on the head :( not sure I had even seen it.

      I can’t claim to have met GH. But in terms of snakes and serpents, or even snakes and ladders, does Bernard Ingham count? :D I spent some time at No 10 press office. Bizarre. Surreal. Total off the wall set up. There were other ministers too but as they are all much of a muchness who cares? Some of our local politicians when I was a junior reporter were pretty good though.


  6. We have lots of snakes in UK – luckily they are all busy at the Palace of Westminster!
    My friend was once bitten by an adder in Southend on Sea and almost lost his foot.
    That cancelled speech because of the demonstration is a strange thing – I don’t think I would have accepted the invitation in the first place!
    Odd times at the moment, Gibraltar wants to remain part of the UK and Scotland wants out. This was a good bit of TV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvnhG6wY8Lw


    • I think one or two other commenters, me included, would agree with you regarding political snakes. Bit unfair on snakes really.

      Everyone has a snake tale (tail?). Amazing! You wouldn’t think they were that common and yet .. And Sarfend?!! Not really where you expect to find snakes. I do have a university friend from there, although not really snake like.

      I think Picardo is trying to redress the balance and speak to people who ostensibly have something between their ears to explain the Gibraltarian perspective regarding the legal position.

      Technical point, Gib is not part of the UK. It is part of the sovereign realm and a British Overseas Territory. I wonder if Scotland got independence what status it would have? I started watching the vid but the creepy man put me off. I’ll endure the rest later. I read somewhere, I think it was re the diplomatic bag incident at the frontier here, that Cameron and Rajoy were discussing Scotland and Catalunya, presumably how to deal with these rebellious upstarts.


      • I don’t really mind him (except for his expenses fiddling of course) but Nicola Sturgeon is scary – she hates the English even more than William Wallace did! I am watching this with interest because it is such an interesting debate.
        I haven’t been to Scotland for a very long time but I was in Catalunya this year and everyone I asked, regardless of their personal views, said that they expected a no vote in any referendum.
        Apologies for getting that Gib status thing wrong again!


        • Doesn’t everyone fiddle their exes? :D Just not good to get caught doing it, especially when a politician.

          I don’t know enough about Sturgeon to comment. Ghastly surname. Bit like being called cod or haddock.

          We spent a lot of time in Scotland when we lived in Newcastle and didn’t come across any racism, whether or not having a non-English partner helped I don’t know. it’s funny Catalunya (Pais Basco et al) go heavy on the non-Madrid links, but at the end of the day, back off from severance. Personally I think Andalucía should be more interested in it, but we are too poor, no heavy industry. Just farmers.

          No worries about the Gib status. Most people think it is an island anyway.


  7. Our snake tale is one of snakes’ tails.

    A thoroughly nasty piece of work has been thwarted and, unable to contain his fury, bought rattlesnakes when up in the area inhabited by them and dropped one in the porch of each house whose owners were involved in the thwarting.

    They have now mated with the local species of poisonous nasties – the terciopelo – so that now, in theory, you can hear a terciopelo coming.
    As long as it is one of the hybrids.

    One can only feel that he is following in the footsteps of local naturalists who, worried that the terciopelo was dying out, decided to drop groups of them from a helicopter (no information as to parachutes), reassuring locals by having the venom sacks removed previously.
    You would think that naturalists might have considered that venom sack removal is not inscribed on the genome, would’t you…


  8. Ha ha, your guest must have been more scared of you! I am not too fond of geckos either.
    We lived in a cobra infested area for nearly a decade and had many close encounters. I remember screaming so loud one time, that the poor thing must have died of fright! Our fridge was always stocked with antidote, but we never had a snake bite reported in our complex in all our years there!


    • I think it was mutual surprise more than anything. All I could think was – what do I do if it slithers into the kitchen? how do I get it out? would I dare go to sleep? (answer no) – I could imagine it slithering over me while I was in bed like one of the James Bond movies, or was that a spider? You get the idea.

      My poor little snake can’t compete with your cobras or Helen’s rattlesnakes and terciopelos. I suppose I must have seen cobras because I remember the snake charmers in Bombay.


  9. On your list of uninvited guests, I wouldn’t have a problem with mice. I’ve never had a visit from cockroaches or snakes, but a family of rats decided my loft was a cosy place a few winters back. I could hear them scampering in the rafters, T said I was imagining it, until next door was confronted with one in their lounge.


    • Mice are a nuisance because they leave droppings everywhere. I know, believe me. I had a major clean up session in the finca when we got back one time. Suspect they are attracted to next doors because they have those stupids in cages that Spaniards adore, so obviously some of the food will fall out onto the terrace. Either that or they know that my place is the local pesticide-free sanctuary. In themeselves I don’t mind them, preferable to rats and cockroaches, and people of course. I just don’t really like cleaning up after their visits.


  10. This time of the year we get cicadas. They are music to my ears. Also time for the giant Bogong moths to start swarming towards the snowy mountains in Australia. They swarm in such numbers they darken the skies. How is Gibraltar this time of the year. Good vibes at Christmas time, any dancing in the streets?


    • I’m not sure if we get crickets or cicadas in Spaiin. Anyway, whichever they are I like them too. Probably cicadas given that we are warm, although not at the moment. I do agree though, lovely balmy nights and that melodic sound. So nice to lie in bed and listen to them.

      Well, we’ve got Christmas lights. Not much else happening fortunately, at least neither Gib nor Spain have the excessive commercialism of the UK, and presumably the US. We’ve been here on Christmas Eve before when people are leaving their work parties and there is a general festive air, but it’s pretty low key. Spain even more so, as it’s still seen as more of a family event. And like Spain, Gib is largely Catholic, so the religious aspect gets more priority. Suits me, as that means peace and tranquility. Morrisons is a bit hectic at the moment though :(

      I suppose I should really go and buy the half dozen cards that I feel obliged to send. You have just reminded me. I am very humbug about Christmas.


  11. Snakes have taken over your post. We have lots of various ones in the region. – good to know which ones are non poisonous and keep those as they eat mice and the poisonous snakes…all of them will eat bird’s eggs. I once saw a big black snake chasing a pair of copperheads which were frantically leaping like ribbons in the air 3 feet or so trying to get away. One did.
    It’s sad civil discourse doesn’t seem to exist any more. If a speaker was invited, he should be allowed to speak with an audience being polite – ok to question with reasoning and logic, but the name calling and shouting is so counter productive. But disruptions because one group doesn’t agree with the other seems to be getting worse.
    Spaniards tend to like drama? Our CEO from one company almost got arrested by homeland security after 911 in a mall – he was talking quite animatedly and gesturing wildly as he paced back and forth – not speaking English. (There was a problem with a publisher somewhere – probably Argentina) and it concerned some shoppers. We looked out the window of the restaurant where we were eating and he was surrounded. Got it straightened out, but it was a little funny. He was always like some character in a play – big personality…guess that comes from being the dahling of a wealthy family in Barcelona? Fun guy though..not much business sense, but knew how to enjoy life.
    We are backing down from Christmas – just too much noise.
    Give Pippa a hug and snowy a pet from us


    • Yes, the snakes have definitely come out from under the rock to bask in the sunshine. I’m amazed there are so many snake tails slithering around.

      Given that it was a lawyer speaking to law students, I would have thought had the talk gone ahead it would have been interesting with some thoughtful and perceptive questioning. But the vociferous rabble won the day.

      Perhaps it’s the Latin temperament? Getting excited unnecessarily. Doesn’t really fit with the British stiff upper lip and tendency to underplay everything.

      Christmas not too bad here. But that maybe because we avoid all festivities.

      Pippa says thank you for the hug, but Snowy wants to know why he can’t have one too, or at least a little cuddle so that he can find something to bite or chew.


      • Snakes. Bound to be something in human subconscious that we are so obsessed with them? Fall is when Mr No-shoulders ( as people would say to scare kids to go to sleep) is most active as they know winter and hibernation is coming and must bulk up to survive.
        Molly is very anxious to have Snowy come to visit – she likes to jump from furniture to furniture like a mountain goat, too…the German is too dignified for that ( spoilsport – and she’s gone anyway)…and Molly is quickly run outside much to early each morning for a walk – so they have so much in common! RC, sniffs at least Snowy has the sense to be the preferable size….and shall be awarded a visa. She’s so generous with long distant acquaintances…it’s a cat thing.
        Latin temperament for sure – extremely excitable – in one direction or the other – and frequently reversing? Great fun to watch?


        • I think people go to extremes with snakes, terrified one minute or sticking a boa constrictor around their neck. I really don’t think they should be kept in baths though, not exactly a natural environment. Me, if they leave me alone, I’ll leave them alone. Perhaps it is the imagery of the cold blooded reptile? or the way they slither and move so quickly? But you have a lot more in your part of the world so maybe they feature more over your way.

          Yes I think Pippa and the German would be the dignified older couple, while Molly and Snowy could happily destroy everything in their path. I think he plans on geocaching as he picked up the GPS the other day, would Molly like to go too?

          Snowy thanks RC for the visa. We saw a cat the other day and he wasn’t very interested, he looked at it a bit like he looked at his first monkey last week.

          Latin temperament? Going round in circles perhaps?


  12. I’m no fan of unwanted visitors either. I’m very good at yelling, “Kill it!!” My knight in shining armour knows exactly what to do, and is a murderer of note. He’s never had to deal with a snake though. :)


    • If it’s a cockie I don’t even articulate, I just scream. Partner did kill a snake when we were camping in the Blue Mountains. He also disposed of the vicious snarling rat we caought in a very large rat trap at the finca.


  13. Quite an interpid snake visitor you had. I can now calmly cope with the odd snake, if black or green, in our outside environs but inside would be a very different story. Fortunately your snake had the good grace to leave after realising it was in the wrong place.
    Spain had been prominent in our media, for some reason the ‘huge ghost airport” is newsworthy – http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-news/huge-ghost-airport-put-up-for-sale-at-bargain-price-20131210-2z3gm.html.
    Sometimes there are neighbourly have-have not differences. Looks like Gibs are the haves in your case. From state to state here the ACT had fireworks, NSW didn’t. Queensland had cheap smokes & fuel. NSW didn’t. NSW had poker machines. Queensland didn’t. But now they have the same. I’m not sure who won or lost there.


  14. The trouble was it moved so quickly – I had visions of it getting lost inside, or rather me not knowing where it was. I also wander around with bare feet quite a lot. Not good to tread on Mr/Ms Snake.
    I think I’ve read about that airport before. At least it’s keeping painters in work redoing the yellow Xs all the time :) People are really silly thinking that economic booms will continue for ever. I guess people with money don’t have their nose/ear to the ground (why would they?), but it was obvious well before 2008 that the economy was on the downturn. So many unfinished buildings now, and land bought up by development companies that – luckily – is just staying green and pleasant as there is no money in construction speculation.
    Gibs are the haves, you’re right. And, Algeciras and La Linea are not the most desirable parts of Andalucía. They’d be even worse if Gib became Spanish or if Gib wasn’t here. Ah the pokies. I remember them well, although never played them, doesn’t interest me. When did QLD get them? Probably didn’t have them under Joh Bjelke.


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