Some sweeties from Gib

We have a new Governor of Gibraltar. As is the customary tradition, he arrived by ship – HMS Bulwark – earlier this month and disembarked at the naval dockyard to a 17 gun salute.

No, I wasn’t there, I was on dog/puppy-sitting duty. He succeeds Sir Adrian Johns (vice-admiral, RN), who was governor for four years. Our new governor is Sir James Dutton. He is a former Royal Marines officer, (he was Commandant General of the Royal Marines)
retiring with the rank of Lieutenant General and has seen service in the Falklands, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Still on the maritime link, here is a pic of the new floating hotel due to be moored in Ocean Village.

Whatever floats your boat? - at Coaling Island
Whatever floats your boat? – at Coaling Island

The Sunborn Gibraltar is the world’s first five star luxury yacht hotel, with 182 rooms, of which 22 are suites, two restaurants, five bars, pool, spa, and salon. Due to open at the end of this year – hoping to get in for the lucrative Christmas New Year season no doubt – it now looks as if the doors won’t be opening until early 2014. Approx cost currently sitting – or lying – at £200 a night.

Accommodation in Gib is an interesting one. We have, starting at the economy end of the scale, a youth hostel – £20 a night last time I asked – The Queens, The Bristol, The Caleta Palace, The Eliott, and The Rock. Apart from The Caleta Palace, which is on the east side at Catalan Bay, the others are all in or near the town. Some friends came to see us a few years ago and I managed to get them a room for £80 a night at the Bristol with breakfast thrown in as a Christmas gesture of goodwill!

All of them look slightly run-down, although The Queens has had an external face-lift. The Rock is the one you would want to stay in, if only it was better kept up to. On our first and only visit three years ago for a drink for our silver wedding, the main lounge area was full of flaking and peeling paint due to damp and humidity. And as you had to walk through there to get to the bar it wasn’t a very good advertisement for the quality and standards of the hotel.

A down-at-heel relic from the past?
A down-at-heel relic from the past?

Cheapest prices at the moment look like around £70+ for The Queens going up to £100 for The Rock/Caleta Palace – for what is just average accommodation.

But if you use a hotel search gizmo for prices, they also show you hotels in Spain just a hop and a skip across the border. Far cheaper and looking much smarter.

On a GBC video on youtube about the Sunborn, one of the company head persons was wittering on about how many people flew into Gib and didn’t stay here. So they figured that by offering a £200 luxury experience it will improve the numbers of tourists staying in Gib. Possibly. Or possibly not.

One of the reasons people may not stay in Gib is that they can get better and cheaper accommodation in Spain. I’m not sure everyone wants to fork out £200 a night for a luxury experience unless it’s for a special occasion. Or maybe I’ve just lost touch with prices?

If anyone asks me for a recommend I usually say get an apartment in Ocean Heights, through Herald Travel, based there. I used them seven years ago when I was house-hunting and they were very helpful and flexible. It was only £40 for a studio apartment back then but I see it has gone up to £60 a night. If you like doing your own cooking some or all of the time though, it’s a good spec. Washing machines usually included too. The people in the block are pretty friendly.

Originally built as a hotel, it was made into apartments, many are lived in permanently, but some are rented out. It’s the cheaper end of the Gib property market, but it’s central and in summer there is a pool. It looks pretty soulless, with the usual late 60s/70s vile architecture/design, but I found it clean and convenient. One odd quirk for people buying there though is that as it was built as a hotel, there are no individual water or electricity meters so the annual service charges run into thousands. Evil.

Of course, if you are on hols, you can always pay £170 a night for an apartment at the Caleta.

But back to the luxury yacht, and the sting in the tail, or the sting in the stern perhaps – for Spain. It was originally planned to be moored in Barcelona. The deal was signed some seven years ago and the floating hotel would spend ten months of the year there. No idea where it would float for the other two.

However, the naughty Gibbos snuck in and somehow managed to talk Sunborn into bringing it down to Gib to be permanently moored here. Apparently Gib helped to repair the ship’s interiors. Repairs? When it hasn’t opened? Anyway, one story said it had undergone a £130M refit. Do hope my taxpayers’ money didn’t fund it.

My taxes are clearly funding this new park though. A new central park was proposed as part of the manifesto by the Gib Socialist Alliance. It’s being developed on the site of the former car park in Commonwealth Parade. The original proposal was to have an underground park on the site too, but that’s been dropped.

Looking north, some trees already in
Looking north, some trees already in

And looking south, not so much happening here
And looking south, not so much happening here

While I can’t say it would have been one of my priorities (a dog park would though) I suspect it will get some usage when it’s finished. Office and shop workers may go there for lunch, plus it’s near to prestigious blocks of flats on Queensway and the council estate at Mid Harbour. And if nothing else, it’s always job creation.

What about the usual two on-going stories? The fishing dispute and the border queues?

British MP Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton) said during a debate on fishing in the House of Commons that:

“Spain will hoover up fish not only off of our shores but off the shores of Africa, anywhere she can find it and she is a menace and I am quite happy to say that in this House.”

Quite right too. I reported last year that even some Spanish workmates of Partner were saying that. Maurice from Newfoundland added at the time that they were a pain in his part of the world too. It seems no continent is safe from Spain’s urge to deplete the waters of sustainable fish.

And on the border queues, a great story from GBC. A disgruntled Guardia Civil officer leaked a timetable of planned frontier checks which was promptly blasted across social media sites. The GC, of course, have denied the existence of any such incident and say that border checks are always sporadic. Really?

I’ll end with a not-so-festive news report. Being a multi-cultural, multi-religious sort of place, Gib celebrates Epiphany on 6 January. Or to be more accurate, like Spain, the evening before is when the Three Kings visit and bring presents. In Spain this was the traditional present-giving occasion rather than Christmas, but time and commercialism have made their mark and it seems Spanish kids now expect presents on both dates!

So the evening of the fifth is an occasion for a procession, known as the Cavalcade. In my village it is usually three kings on three horses and a load of hangers-on and everyone throws sweets which I end up picking out of the garden for weeks and months afterwards. In Gib it is rather more of a flash event, and I have posted photos before of some of the floats. Here and here. If you are a musicky person do scroll down the first link (2012) for the youtube vid link of Three Kings. Beautiful.

But no more sweeties will be thrown in Gib. This is a dangerous practice apparently. Sweets were being used as missiles (um, remember catapults anyone?), and kids were being hit by the sweets. Get out of the way kids. Easy. I actually thought the Gib ban was going to be on grounds of dental health/obesity which I could at least have understood. And some little monsters run up and around the moving trucks. The trucks move very slowly – although they are big – and spend more time stopped than moving as they progress up Main Street. Hey parents! How about you supervise your monsters and tell them not to run in the road and go near the trucks when they are moving?

Sweets thrown as missiles? Kids running all over? Where?
Sweets thrown as missiles? Kids running all over? Where?

No sweeties here either.  Although naughty adults chatting to mates. What a bad example tut tut.
No sweeties here either. Although naughty adults chatting to mates. What a bad example to set tut tut.

Why not just ban the trucks? Why not ban the parade? This links in well with a post over at Jenny’s where she has mentioned a proposal that all contact sports should be banned for children under the age of 14. As that includes hockey I don’t have a problem with that as I hated hockey, nasty vicious game. The sticks were hard and so were the balls. But shouldn’t it involve all ball games? Travelling at velocity makes them lethal weapons like sweets. Tennis rackets, squash rackets, cricket bats, you name it, sport is bad news for fragile kiddies.

Wrap them in cotton wool I say. Not for today’s kids to stand in the snow for up to an hour on a schoolday watching all the buses sail gaily past because they were full, until one finally arrived with a little standing capacity. Hmm, should kids be allowed to stand on buses? They might fall over. Best for old people, pregnant women, disabled people, roughseas with all her shopping bags, to stand up and offer their seats to these little glass-blown characters. Not for today’s kids to get up before dawn either and do their paper round before they walk to school (Partner, not me, I was never lucky enough to get a paper round – not allowed!). Wait, kids don’t walk or bus to school though do they? They are all chauffeur-driven as life is far too dangerous.

Accidents happen. Kids get whacked by vicious hockey sticks, or the vicious player wielding it. They may well get hit by a sweet. Perhaps they should learn to be alert and duck.

Like many people of my intolerant age I totally depair at this molly-coddling and paranoia that epitomises today’s society. While I might have loathed standing around in the freezing cold not playing hockey very well, I don’t think it did me any lasting damage, nor did netball, nor tennis, nor volleyball (have you ever been whacked by a volleyball, or horrors! twisted your thumb or fingers trying to return it?). Playing squash and trying to retrieve one of those nasty shots that fall against the wall, I fell and ripped a ligament in my ankle (that’s why I’m an expert on ankles). It was no-one’s fault and there was no hugely lasting damage apart from a large scar, but so what?

Throwing sweets is traditional at the Cavalcade. If they aren’t going to throw sweets, why not throw something else? Or find some soft sweets to throw instead of the nasty hard-boiled ones. Chocolate truffles anyone?

'Where are my chocolate truffles?' 'Get your hard hat on you little monkey. This is a building site.'
‘Where are my chocolate truffles?’
‘Get your hard hat on you little monkey. This is a building site.’

Last pic taken at lunchtime today just to remind you that we have monkeys here! They were playing on the scaffolding up the street.

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40 comments on “Some sweeties from Gib

  1. Oh, the celebration season has arrived there.
    I hope the floating hotel brings money to Gib. Tax payers here funded a park, surrounding buildings, and docks for a cruiseline port halfway between Galveston ( where the cruise ships have been docking for years) and Houston in the ship channel. It’s in an ugly industrial area – and ships must spend time heading down the channel among tanker traffic to the gulf before going to MX or Caribe. – but the city of Houston wanted to grab some of that cruise money….docks/port have been empty for years…I think they finally signed up an old ship to dock there next year. Some jobs, I suppose, but…(at least it kept it out of Spain who doesn’t need it)
    Sounds like quite a floating hotel, but having ability to cook and clean clothes if pretty important to me.
    No parade candy? Hope they don’t start tossing all those stupid plastic Mardi Gras type beads instead like they do here – more litter to dig out of everywhere. People have forgotten that the last Czar of Russia tried to wrap all the trees with mattresses and padding to protect his son..who died any way. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Seriously, lots of recent research showing that making playgrounds “safe”, limiting “rough play”, having adults run in and solve children’s conflicts instead of letting them work it out themselves is harming child development and interfering with development of logical reasoning and higher level thinking skills – like cause and effect.
    Pretty soon you’ll have to wear padding and helmets if going outside because something might happen…..no, let’s not even talk about the anxiety/insecurity issues that may result…there are drugs for that?

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    • I think people are starting to wind up – or in the case of work, wind down – for Christmas, But fortunately it’s not too much of a pain here.

      Well I hope it brings money too. And not just to the company but to Gib. We’ll wait and see.

      There are only so many cruise ships in the world – so building more docks and ports is just going to spread around the money more thinly I would think.

      I suppose if you can afford lots of money for a night or more at sea without moving from the marina you can probably afford expensive meals and get your laundry done too. Actually there is a laundrette at the marina, one at the other one too near our end of town.

      Doubt they will be tossing anything by the sound of it. They would probably ban cotton wool on the grounds that someone could hide a rogue missile inside.

      That was the haemophiliac one wasn’t it? Remember seeing about him in the film of Rasputin (which I thoroughly enjoyed – very Svengali).

      I would agree with the theories/research about child development. Not that I know anything about it but it seems a matter of common sense. a) all these silly measures are not doing any good per se and b) they are actually causing damage not just intellectually but also physically if kids aren’t allowed to play at anything more exciting than Snap! which I did like but was quite determined to win. I could probably have made it into a contact sport.

      Best not to go outside. Just live out our lives on the internet.

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  2. That is a very fancy floating hotel. The park is going to be a very nice feature and I bet many will enjoy it. I think I would really enjoy living where monkeys are. When I hear of some things that have been banned around my area now days I have to laugh. I think back to all that we did as kids and other things and funny we all survived and had tons of fun. In my opinion they should just leave some things alone and ban the things that really should be. Sometimes it seems like a lot of things are upside down, backward or opposite of how it should be. Interesting post and I enjoyed reading it. Hugs

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    • Too fancy for me! I think the park will be nice. We do have the botanical gardens about five or ten minutes walk from our flat – but they are too far from the town centre for people to go and have a break from work or whatever else.
      I do like the monkeys, but the scaffolding came down today so they got their play in just in time :D

      Our generation was a lucky one in terms of being young before all these crazy laws came in. And paranoia feeds on paranoia sadly. Glad you found it an interesting read, thank you.

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  3. For the love of… sweets! Why don’t they throw Turkish delight – the only damage that could do is ruin a few clothes due to resilient stickiness. I know they banned the playing of conkers in some UK schools in case the little darlings came to harm. There is no fun left for children at all, it’s so sad – because fun means taking a few risks. God help the next generation when they have to go out to work (if there are any jobs left by then, of course) they won’t have a clue how to handle problems or cope with stress because they are not being allowed to work things out for themselves. If you jump off a roof, you might hurt yourself. So – you’ll think twice before doing it again.
    Re the floating hotel – just how much damage can be done on a journey between Barcelona and Gib? Perhaps they were transporting a hoard of unsupervised children who ran riot. ;)

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    • I liked Fry’s Turkish delight with the chocolate coating but not the real stuff with sugar. Yuk! I remember the conkers story, that came to mind when I was reading your post and writing mine. I have a fine set of marbles. No doubt those would be banned. Imagine if you took a fit in your head to throw one at someone. I would have thought musical instruments would be next on the hit list too. Quick inadvertent whack on the head with a drumstick or clash of the cymbals between the soft parts of the anatomy.

      I’m sure there will always be the workhouse which I am awaiting the return of – didn’t Osborne say that kids will have to work until they are 70? (most of us are anticipating that anyway, sadly). The only flaw in his Dickens like edict is that the government might want to ensure there are a few jobs. As if.

      I think my brother-in-law jumped/fell off a roof and broke something, he’s still kicking on as far as I know. He was also rather good at chip pan fires, three to his names. Oh! Ban chip pans! In fact ban chips! Especially those made from potatoes because you will have to use that dangerous implement called – A Knife. Farcical isn’t it?

      I don’t know if the yacht had actually been used in Barcelona and needed tarting up after naughty spanish kids had been on the rampage (not so many restrictions in Spain on kids) or whether it never went into service. Speaking of Spanish kids, we went to the beach one day with a group of Spanish friends, and our mate pulled down the trunks of his girlfriend’s son, and tapped (not smacked) his bottom. We looked horrified, and said you can’t do that sort of thing! All the Spaniards turned round, looked puzzled, and said ‘Why not?’

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  4. I do like floats, but the throwing sweets, maybe a soft chocolate fudge…I like the music by the way,, The idea of a park must be a good thing. Assuming it is done and then maintained well afterwards.. This country has gradually become a nanny state,, and so many choices being taken away from the people.. The latest is for young kids to play non contact rugby… great read as usual… ;)

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    • Fudge would be very nice – my favourite was always vanilla, followed by coffee, not that keen on the chocolate one. Used to call and get a quarter from Robinsons sweetshop on the way from school to the bus station. Delicious.

      I love three kings, partly because it isn’t just repetitive verse and chorus, the music changes throughout the carol.

      I think it will be done ok, they have obviously started getting the trees in, while it is cool so that they can settle in, and the public gardens and flower beds in Gib are well maintained – tourism I guess.

      How can you play non-contact rugby? Eh? I mean, I ask you. My partner was playing rugby (in south Wales) when he went to secondary school and started full contact karate at 12 and a half. I think he broke his nose a few times at karate but he also went on to teach and do displays at Crystal Palace. Plus he got jobs as a bouncer at nightclubs.

      Thanks Gerry, glad you enjoyed.

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      • Really weird thought, when i was young and in the village in the forest, we had a small shop around the corner from us and we use to go there and get our ration of sweets,, I loved and still do, ‘Dolly mixtures’ Bakers it was called,, a beautiful old lady and her husband ran it until they died… lovely memory .. thanks..

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        • I so did not like Dolly mixtures. They were vile. Too sweet and tasteless. I did like cherry lips and parma violets though. And sherbet lemons. But I preferred the fudge. Sometimes I would go to Thorntons if I was wandering around town after school and buy praline slice. Yum.

          But back to Robbos, amazing looking back that shops could survive by selling sweets and boxes of chocolates and nothing else. Robbos sold classy Lindt and Suchard ones too, so I would often buy those as presents for my mum at Christmas.

          I was wandering around town years after I had left school and Robbos had gone. Not even a sweet shop any more. Not surprising it had gone, they were pretty old when I was in my teens and like your shop, it was a husband and wife couple.

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  5. Unbelievable!! I notice an increase in the paranoia and mollycoddling here as well! That floating hotel sounds fancy. Would be interesting to track occupancy rates at those prices. Lovely post Roughseas.

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    • I’m glad people agree that some of these measures are downright stupid. Or perhaps it is down to our general age. Still, after reading your post about Le Marais, India has made a seriously retrograde move regarding homosexuality. That knocks spots off kiddy coddling. :(

      I suspect we’ll only here about the occupancy rates if they are good. If we don’t hear, or it doesn’t last long we can draw our own conclusions. Would also be interesting to hear what their break even occupany rate would be and what they would be aiming at for decent profits. In the interview the representative said they had received £5M worth of enquiries – but enquiries aren’t bookings or cash.

      Thank you Madhu.

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  6. Years ago The New Statesman ran one of its back page competitions…the survival of the fittest. One entry was an essay on the provision of danger parks for children.
    Low hanging high voltage wires, elephant traps…I forget the rest…but the idea was to eliminate the terminally stupid from society.

    Society being what it was then…pre PC….the entrant was not put in the pillory and attacked by Mumsnet members with prefilled disposable nappies.

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    • Sounds a bit like the selection procedure for Op Raleigh (not sure if that has been watered down now or if it even exists). Pillory would be too dangerous anyway.

      What I haven’t worked out is which came first, ie chicken and egg scenario. Nanny state with ridiculous rules and regulations aimed at ‘protecting’ moronic idiots from themselves, or the general decline in intelligence that necessitates such dictatorship. For example, instructions on food (even bags of veg) telling them to remove plastic packaging before cooking. Or even telling people to put carrots in boiling water for xx minutes. And then everything is pictorial. Does no-one know how to read anymore?

      I was reflecting on that this morning at 6am (as you do) when I had taken Little Snowy out. I looked at the parking bay and it said M/C. I could imagine someone asking what that stood for, and it being replaced by a pic of a motorbike/moped. One of each naturally so it didn’t cause confusion.

      I would tear my hair out if I wasn’t so vain.

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        • Don’t start me on America. I’m sure they have contributed something good to the world, but I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. They bastardise our language, export their so-called culture, think they run the world and can’t even sort out their own country etc etc etc

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          • That gave me such a laugh when I woke up earlier this morning. Thanks. One of my previous bosses was somewhat obsessed with self-awareness, which sounded awfully like managerial talk to me ‘She’s very self-aware’ he would say of X. I would therefore, suggest, that America is not remotely self-aware. There is frightening dissonance between how America views itself and how the rest of the world views America. This may well explain the odd few problems, eg terrorism, that sadly endemically are passed around those of us who resist being the 52nd state.

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  7. A floating hotel might be more palatable for someone like me for whom even the thought of taking a cruise is horrific. I managed a weekend sailing once but it’s not something I’m keen to repeat. Not even dinner cruises. As Gib attracts so many visitors, if there is demand for accommodation, it makes a lot of sense.
    The state of the new central park reminds me of the current state of our local Sydney Park. At the moment it’s not worth walking in but when it’s completed, like Gib’s I’m sure it will be nice.
    So the parade no longer involves sweet throwing, surely that the sweets became missiles is down to the thrower not the recipient. I guess a few dollars are also saved but it would be nice for the kids to get something.
    I’m glad I was a kid in the bad old days. Walking to school was safe. Swimming in the river wasn’t allowed but we did anyway. We ate stuff and didn’t always wash it (eg fruit) or our hands. We swam less than an hour after eating. We had so much freedom. I see young kids’ schedules now – for me unheard of for until the last couple of years of highschool – and their commitments even if they are educational, social, sporting or otherwise beneficial seem onerous. And the giant backpacks some of them carry. I fear for their spines.

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    • While I like the sea, I have never fancied a cruise but that’s due to not wanting to be stuck with a load of people that you can’t escape from. There is a demand for cheap decent quality accommodation. Whether or not there is a demand for expensive luxury accommodation I have no idea.

      I can keep an eye on the park development as it is enroute to the supermarket. It was a total building site for weeks but it does look to be moving along a little – until the Christmas break of course.

      I assume someone’s squawking kid got hit and they are kicking up a fuss. I have no idea, I just think it is vastly over-protective and symptomatic of knee-jerk reactions all over the place.

      I’m glad I was too. I’ve always disregarded the don’t swim for ah hour rule. I wouldn’t swim after a five course dinner and a bottle or two of wine but I think I’d be more likely to be on my way to bed so it wouldn’t apply.

      I’ve heard about kids who don’t seem to have free time. Even in Spain, one of our neighbours (she was a teacher) had plotted out these onerous activities when the kids had finished school. One of which was meant to be me teaching them English but I knocked that one on the head.

      The backpacks are a bit like the UK story years ago when the weekend papers got bigger and bigger and newspaper girls/boys weren’t allowed to carry them in the traditional sack. Perhaps schoolchildren will end up taking grandma/pa shopping trolleys to school in future. Mind you, my satchel got pretty heavy some days. And as for carrying the hockey bag, or the domestic science cookery basket, or the tennis/squash rackets – negotiating that lot on the bus was so embarrassing!

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  8. I don’t care for the floating hotel but your new park looks nice. You missed out ping-pong balls from your list of missiles! I am willing to bet that the Spanish border police do have just such a plan in place – it will be rather like the security people at UK airports who think up new ludicrous and demeaning passenger checks and use them to irritate people on a rota basis.

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    • The floating hotel is hardly me either, neither to my taste or price bracket – but I’m the camping youth-hostelling cheap hotel type of holidaymaker. I could spend at least a week travelling around Spain for one night on that yacht.

      I’ll post some pix of the park when it moves on a bit more. I assume there’s going to be some grass, but maybe not, might just be flower beds and paths with seats.

      Virtually anything could be made into a missile if people wanted. When I went to watch Leeds and Newcastle at Elland Road, the amount of objects that rained onto the pitch was fascinating. The match was stopped, it was dead exciting!

      I think the passenger checks sound horrific. Another reason why I’ve little interest in flying these days. GC have been getting pedestrians crossing the border to turn out their pockets apparently. I used to walk through the customs building offer to open my bag and half the time they weren’t even looking at me, let alone being interested in what I had in (very little actually).

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    • Thank you SaR. It’s a very biased view don’t forget! One of my neighbours is a fanatical runner, I think he’s 61 now, and runs every day, often either around the Rock or up and down it. He sometimes goes to the UK to run in Vet races too – so if you come you had better ask him for some good routes!

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  9. in a small village north of the Swiss-German border they always have a parade for Fasnet (their equivalent of carnival, i am thinking). those in the parade shout, “Narri” (Narr means fool) and those on the street watching shout back, “Narro” and are rained upon with sweets. It has been going on forever and so far nobody has ever been injured, or at least not severely enough to warrant the banning of candy-throwing. very funny ruling that, but sad too. i should post about that parade one day, by the way.
     
    hotel accommodations seem quite expensive in your corner, not unlike here. but we don’t have a fancy cruise ship in the harbour.
     
    i do enjoy those monkeys of yours. that is something we definitely do not have roaming on the streets. pigeons and crows more likely. or raccoons and occasionally coyotes. and apparently one time a black bear had managed to cross the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge from North Vancouver into town, poor thing.

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    • I saw Fasnet and thought of Fastnet which is a small rocky outcrop off the south of Ireland that always featured in the BBC shipping forecasts. But I see it is FastNacht and Shrove Tuesday, so yes carnival. We have parades for that too in both Gib and Spain, not very big though.

      I think the ruling is silly. But I’ve said that above.

      Some things are expensive in Gib, and like all small places that includes accommodation whether bought, rented, or holiday.

      I like the monkeys too, so I can’t resist taking a few pix of them. Trouble was I had Snowy so couldn’t get the shots I really wanted. Not helped by walking out of the door and seeing a huge alpha male on top of the rubbish bin – and then Little Snowy barked at him! Not good for small puppy to take on big monkey. I rushed him up the street to where the smaller ones were playing on the climbing frame :D

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  10. 200 quid a night does seem a bit steep for me. If I visit I may be asking for help finding a cheaper hotel outside the area. I didn’t know about the fishing situation. Loved that he said they’ll hoover up all the fish. I’m trying to picture that in my head. had no idea there were monkeys. I love it

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    • It’s a lot steep for me, and for other tourists too. If you do visit, there are plenty of places in La Linea, but I’m not an expert on the place – I avoid it as much as possible! I actually recommend that people do stay in Gib, it gives people a better feel for the place, you can wander round safely at any time in the night, clubs seem to be open all hours – I was walking Snowy the other morning at 6am and someone was coming home in fancy dress from a party! It has a lovely atmosphere at night.

      I made the classic journalistic mistake there with the fishing dispute. As a trainee reporter I was always told ‘never assume that people have read the previous newspaper’ – so you always had to included a summary of the original story if you did a follow-up. The trouble with this blog is that I have a core of extremely regular readers who have been reading about the fishing dispute for over a year now, so I guess I am writing with them in mind – but in essence, it’s politics as ever, the previous government relaxed the fishing laws and allowed the Spanish to fish in Gib waters ad hoc more or less. Current government reversed the policy, hence the dispute. Plus, Spain claims Gib/UK three mile territorial waters.

      Gib’s monkeys are one of the main reasons people come to The Rock – apart from cheap fuel, chocolates, perfume, and spirits. The saying goes that ‘if the apes ever leave the Rock it will cease to be British’. Technically they are not apes, although they are tailless – they are Barbary Macaques (monkeys). Although their homes (the Apes’ Den) are up the rock, they venture down the town to forage. A lot of Gibbos are frightened of them, and the big ones can be quite nasty. More than you want to know about them on one of my other blogs here: http://wp.me/p2c8OG-i2

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        • Ours are only here and in Africa. Even our friends from South Africa were amazed at how close they came. I’ve got a pic somewhere of Bridget with a monkey on her shoulder :D I’ll try and find the link.

          Chocolates aren’t any better than you can get in London. I used to like Charbonnel and Walker but I think others have taken the status prize since then. Probably about the best you can get here is Thorntons, so not worth coming for. But the monkeys and the cheap booze are :D

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  11. I was surprised at the prices. They certainly seem steep by any standard. I wonder, then if the patrons are there on business and thus, not too worried about the cost? I can’t see tourists knowingly paying a premium when cheaper digs can be had across the border.
    Oh right. Just recalled the posts from a few months back when you described the fun that ensued at typical crossings :-)
    I found myself chuckling when you mentioned that hockey was nasty. It is, but have you seen Canadian ice hockey? It’s ten times worse. I have a theory about why we Canadians get the reputation for being so courteous: it’s because we’ve gotten our fighting instincts over with through beating the living shit our of one another on hockey rinks. For men only you ask? Not so! Womens’ hockey is only slightly less rough…but catching up fast.
    As for the new bosses, I am reminded of what my old friend and office-partner said so many years ago on the eve of one of our provincial elections: it doesn’t matter who you vote for, the government always gets in :-)

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    • I think they are really going for the corporate market and functions. Plus they will be moored next to the casino so the odd few high rollers may be attracted. I think what is really needed is some basic good quality no-frills accom at a reasonable price. But it isn’t going to happen, so people will still go across the border for cheaper. Even with the crossing fuss.

      Ice hockey is terrible. We had a couple of friends who loved it, even travelling to North America to watch it. Even watching it is enough to make you feel faint.

      I loved that last comment. Gave me a good laugh, sad but so true.

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  12. £200!!!!!, bloody hell I’d want a week for that not a night, or is that just my Tyke blood? LOL
    Health and safety has gone mad in this country, no more battered knuckles for the kids playing conkers in the school playground these days.
    I walked past a local infant school the other day, they have a small area in the school grounds made into a nature trail, I had to smile at all the kids, a nice dry sunny day and wrapped up head to toe in waterproof overalls and high vis vests.
    Boiled sweets? Ha! Marshmallows would be too hard for today’s kids ;-)

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    • Ridiculous isn’t it? Not for mere mortals. But once I met A and he introduced me to the delights of camping (cheap) my days of luxury holidays in youth hostels were over.

      I think someone else mentioned conkers. I never played them but it did come to mind.

      Couldn’t believe kids kitted out in waterproofs and high vis!!!! What a sad life :(

      The kids probably don’t give too hoots – it’s the idiotic parents who are to blame for demanding this so-called safety for their precious little brats.

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