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