National Day – 10 September – came and went.

No we didn’t dress up and parade/limp up and down Main Street. In fact I don’t think I went out at all. I’ve pulled my knee again which doesn’t lead to successful walking on dodgy pins amongst the hordes. Especially if they’ve been drinking.

There isn’t much to celebrate in Gib with the dire job situation. Despite the government proclaiming only one per cent of people are unemployed, we seem to know a fair amount of that one per cent. Perhaps oh government, people see no point in registering for work when your helpful staff tell people to find a job on the street?

And those who have got jobs are on temporary contracts, renewed every three months, or working 12 or 14 hours a day for security firms, with compulsory overtime. The minimum wage has gone up a whopping three pence from £6.25 to £6.28. But we still know people being paid less than £6.25. Some people working – compulsory – overtime don’t even get paid overtime rates. How about the firm that lays off loads of their direct labour employees only to take on agency staff at half the rate?

So much for the EU Working Hours Directive. You work the hours the boss wants – ‘voluntarily’ – or you get the sack.

No, not much to celebrate at all.

But on the bright side, Partner had finished a job for a UK client who had flown in on business so wanted to come and check the flat. All good, chequebook out, asked for some extra work to be done, and added that to the original total. Off they went for coffee. ‘You don’t want to pay for expensive coffee do you?’ asked Partner. ‘No point paying £1.50 when you can get the same coffee for £1. It’s Saccarello’s, [local coffee company] like most bars serve.’ So the Splendid Bar it was and to chat about Gibraltar. Now why can’t all customers be as reasonable? Splendid in fact.

This door was blocked up with a crazy panel, it also meant there was no fire exit route from the kitchen. Freed it up and added handles.
This door was blocked up with a crazy panel, it also meant there was no fire exit route from the kitchen. Freed it up and added handles. No, he didn’t slop paint on the floor, previous sloppy painter did, before you ask.

And true to form, the weather changed after National Day, and we got our first rain only two days later on Monday afternoon/evening. The temps have dropped slightly to mid twenties rather than high twenties.

In other good news, assuming rain and lower temps are good news, although possibly not if you live in flooded parts of the UK, I see other police forces are considering following Nottingham’s example of including misogyny as a hate crime.

Police forces across England and Wales are considering expanding their definition of hate crime to include misogyny after an experiment in one city that saw more than 20 investigations launched in two months.

The initial success of Nottingham’s crackdown against sexist abuse has drawn national interest after the city’s police revealed that they investigated a case of misogyny every three days during July and August, the first months to see specially trained officers targeting behaviour ranging from street harassment to unwanted physical approaches.


Melanie Jeffs, the manager of Nottingham Women’s Centre, said: “Women are groped, or groups of lads shout abuse or very sexualised comments at them. We have incidents of sexual touching, women being grabbed and men trying to get women into a car with them.”

What a surprise. Who would have thought men abuse women in the streets, or treat them as sex objects? Not something I’ve been saying for the last zillion years, oh no. But finally, in a few tiny pockets of England it seems women may receive parity with religious extremists and people who aren’t white British. That’s nice.

Nottingham police force defines misogyny hate crime as “incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman”.

Full article from The Guardian

And an earlier one about Notts police force introducing misogyny as a hate crime and some good background info and quotes.

I’m sure the fact that Nottinghamshire’s chief constable is a woman has nothing to do with this somewhat radical progress of treating women as citizens who deserve not to be harassed and abused.

But back to the rain. Or lack of. Here is my lemon tree that withered terribly over summer, so I pruned him/her back and was rewarded with lots of lovely new shoots. Maybe one day I’ll get lemons too.

My lemon tree. Maybe one day lemons?
My lemon tree. Maybe one day lemons?

Speaking of lemons, and misogyny, I read Lemon Girl by Jyoti Arora recently. It’s a story about relationships, rape, and, who is to blame for the rape? Is it the rapist or was the woman at fault? No prizes for guessing my point of view but it was an interesting and thoughtful read with good character development. Some errors but a strong and powerful story.

Lemon Girl
Lemon Girl

I’m a big fan of Indian authors, probably because I enjoyed my time in India, so I may be biased, but Arora captures the newer India, focused on Playstation games, money, shopping, yet traditional morals and values take priority. An amazing mix of the superficial, the traditional, and … reality.


76 comments on “Bittersweet

  1. We’d with some rain in this city too.
    That’s progressive police district. It’s a shame that half the species have to be forcefully taught to treat the other half gently. Real shame!
    I like a good paying client any day of the week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah rain. We need more. Can’t get enough in this southern part of Europe.
      It’s 2016 FFS. Why has it taken so long?
      Most clients do pay on completion. Luckily the crap ones don’t even accept the estimates because ‘too expensive’ despite owning mega houses (one or more) and new cars (always more than one).


    • Generous stuff. I’ve now increased my knowledge of Gibraltar ten fold. I currently live in Mexico and I can tell you that the void between reality and governmental observations is legion here. At the same time I believe that gulf is ever widening throughout the world. There seems to be no shortage of discontent even in and perhaps, particularly in, the most advanced economies. The workings of the Central banks and specifically their responses to the ‘Credit Crisis’ are the underpinnings to our current state of affairs. My father would say, “it’s always something” so perhaps we were headed in this direction regardless. Gracias.


      • Gib’s the sort of place you know little about without living here. A most odd spot.

        I agree about the gulf – everywhere, whether in so-called developed (ie normally greedy rich western countries) or traditionally poor countries. I would say we have been taken in this direction …

        De nada.


  2. All our lemon trees – we have six – five in the garden and one in a pot, were grown from pip and the ones planted out produced fruit after about seven years. We now get an excellent crop every year.
    However, the one in a pot was the last to be grown about four years ago.

    Considering the price of a single lemon these days … damn! I am glad we took the time to grow our own. An investment that has paid off big time.
    I’m hoping we eventually reap the same rewards with the chillis!


    • Actually I did get tiny lemons after not very long, but our intermittent presence clearly doesn’t suit Señor/a Limón, so what with cutting off withered branches, cleaning it of some nasty bug, and trying to prune generally for good growth, we’ve not had flowers for a year or two.

      Always optimistic. If nothing else it looks nice :)


      • They do need a fair amount of water and the one we have in a pot by the pond reacts almost immediately when I forget to water by curling its leaves .
        Our trees get some sort of white muck under the leaves, that varies in severity. I’ve tried spraying with detergent and wiped the leaves by hand – a mission I abandoned very quickly.
        But the fruit seems to remain unscathed so I accept Mother Nature and let her get on with it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, curly leaves, tell me.
          I used to use our eco wash-up liquid but ineffective. I use alcohol now – orig bought for medical kit – and it works well on lemon and olives. Cheap too.
          But yes, if I was getting fruit, I would leave well alone, as I normally do. No point making work.


  3. Oh roughseas,this problem of misogyny is so deep it is subconscious and pops out all over the place. Laws are a good first cut and must be in place however we are in for the long haul on this one. For instance take a look at this article in Science Alert that deals with GitHub, a huge open source code repository with 10 million members

    I’ll give you a synopsis in case you are too busy to read it. This organization asks for programmers to submit code to the repository to be used in open source. Many will submit and only one will be chosen to address each problem. Someone there started to see patterns of gender implications so they did a blind test. Of the 10 million users only 1.4 million include their gender in their bio. So, they erased the gender designation temporarily and after many competitions of submissions, found that women coders were consistently better in their coding than men and won more competitions. They then ran another blind test in which every submitter had to include gender. They found that fewer female submissions won the competitions – i.e. male coding was determined to be better only when gender was included.

    How we deal with that I have no clue but it clearly shows a male gender bias that is subconscious. I wish it weren’t but it is. Keeping in mind that the bias was from well educated professionals who did not see themselves as biased.

    I read another article that was damning as well. (I can’t find it right now). A major HR firm did an extensive study in which it compared a company’s self-rating on prejudice against women with their actual actions culled from interviews with women employees both current and past and compared to their company policies on gender bias. The results were eye-opening. Companies who rated themselves proactive and gender bias free, actually had the greatest incidence of inequality in the treatment of women. Those companies who admitted to gender bias and had instituted written programs to reduce it, rated least likely to exhibit gender bias. Which basically points out that we are lousy at self rating when it comes to gender bias – we literally do not realize when we do it. That said, rules and laws are the next level of defense, along with training, awareness, culture.

    WRT jobs. we are in exactly the same position here -more and more contract and part=time and agency positions and fewer and fewer full time, well-paying positions with benefits. Our government brags about job creation but they are not full time and most are in the service industry – notoriously poor paying – and not adding value like manufacturing, etc. It is heading for a disaster when retirement of this generation rolls around – fewer and fewer have any retirement savings. This whole shebang is a direct result of the way a democratic capitalist system works. It transfers wealth from the poor to the wealthy – and you can see this clearly as year over year, more and more wealth is controlled by fewer and fewer people. This is the way it works, and even Socrates pointed this out in Plato’s Republic. He also said that as more wealth accumulated in fewer hands , that the wealthy would have laws made that sacrificed freedom for security. This would eventually lead to a dictatorship as the wealthy appointed a ruler who would protect their wealth.

    All the bad stuff that comes out of this can be stopped or reversed by putting limitations on capitalism and democracies. But that would require the buy-on of the wealthy and they will not see that their actions will be their downfall in the future. The reason is that when enough wealth has transferred such that the poor can no longer feed their families, there will be a revolution. i suspect we have decades if not centuries before this happens but you can already see the cracks.

    With that happy thought, I’ll sign off . Great post roughseas. Oh,I am not posting this week as I had to spend sometime in hospital – all good – and was unable to make the deadline. I’ll be back next week -my apologies. :D

    Liked by 2 people

    • Firstly Paul. Thanks for commenting, I did wonder where you were but there is a fine line between asking about someone and being intrusive. So, you have at least set my mind at rest. Always hoping you haven’t been resurrected again, that is.
      I did read the link as I scrolled down the comment, although not the full report. There have bern similar studies/reports, the one I remember specifically was musical/orchestral, blind auditions for sound, the women outperformed the men. But otherwise … well, you know the ending.
      I think laws are a start – but only that. What needs to change is the culture, which is about as likely as capitalists giving up their position of power.
      Yes, agreed on that too. The situation deteriorates all the time for the workers. Marx, communism, socialism, health and safety, workers’ rights, trade unions? All out of fashion. Because they don’t suit greedy capitalist bosses. I often quote Robert Tressell’s Ragged Trousered Philanthropists but it is sadly truly apposite for our times.
      An equally gloomy comment, apart from being glad to hear you are OK. Stay safe, well, and alive Paul.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Mayhap this constant doing-in of parts of your walking apparatus is based on subconscious exercise avoidance? :)
    Thinking lecherous thoughts is part of masculine makeup. Revealing them in unwanted comments, approaches and contacts is part of the bad manners inherent in society these days. Things that ‘aren’t done’ ARE done. It is also part of the bullying syndrome. If women were able to respond by delivering a swift black eye, it would stop pretty promptly.
    Musically, women still don’t get the recognition they deserve. Brilliant composers like Cecile Chaminade are insufficiently acknowledged. I mean, isn’t this just great?

    But it has only some 19000 views against hundreds of thousands for most by Saint Saens.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fear of falling and breaking bones again more like.
      Men are what/who they are without even realising it. Some do. I’m not sure violence is the answer though. A prosecution for assault at every sexist comment? I think not.
      Not finished listening to Chamenade yet. Will do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is valid!
        I am sure proclivities towards violence can be checked somewhat by having a bit of it offered
        I should have introduced you more gently to Cecile if you haven’t come across her music before. This is a shorter piece which I have always found is a joy to play – not that I do it as well as she does, of course!

        Liked by 1 person

        • The tone, not the tempo, is slightly reminiscent of Satie.
          As for violence, I’m not up on it. My partner though, was bullied as a kid and … took up martial arts. No more bullying. Never got his black belt because he wouldn’t turn the other cheek. He had an altercation once (in Sydney, not long after we’d got married) and it took two people to take him down. His opponent was a six foot something Moroccan and Partner was most annoyed that he hadn’t been floored with his first kick! The Moroccan had a lucky escape and left the party (barbecue) somewhat early. I’ve since tried to discourage him from kicking people. (He did full contact karate.)

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, at least the future of lemons look bright. I’ll marinate some zucchinis and eggplant with pieces of preserved salted and deep fried lemon. Do you have an Aldi in the Gib?
    I often seek relief or respite from life’s’ foibles by loitering at Aldi’s in the hope of some social intercourse. I feign interest in the lettuces or trussed tomatoes or scan the discounted goods spread out on the tables. I often end up talking to somebody. It helps.


  6. Gee, you must take care of your knee, please. It will be the pits if you should muck it up to the point of needing surgery. I hurt mine 6 years ago and it took almost four years for the pain to go totally away. Love your lemon tree. I wish that I had one but would need to provide winter protection for it and I’m not up to that at this point in my life.


        • Do you have cold winters though? Ours are mild, main growing season.
          It was hot in Australia, hotter still in Andalucía, but Texas, Arizona and New Mex sound seriously hot. Mind you, we are on the coast in Spain (and Gib), inland is hotter. Even the local county town is always a few degrees hotter than us. The big cities of Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba are well into the 40s in summer and usually end up with a few deaths from the heat :(


  7. Sorry about your knee. We had a bit of wet weather here yesterday but I don’t know whether it was more than 2mm, hope there is more to come. A little tlc for your lemon tree and maybe you can make some marmalade soon😊


  8. I watched a discussion yesterday where even the con side came out in favour of the change in the law. I wasn’t sure there had been a change at all, but merely the existing law had at last started to be enforced. About bloody time. The only thing I couldn’t quite bring myself to agree with was that a wolf whistle should be treated under these laws.Surely if a woman doesn’t want to accept the implied compliment they can either ignore it altogether or come back with a suitably acid comment. Other than that, go for it girls, complain away t any unwanted sexual harassment.
    I’m sorry to hear about your knee. I hate to think of you in the wars again. Get better soon.
    Congratulations to the Welshman. Obviously his reputation for quality work precedes him.
    xxx Sending Massive Hugs xxx


    • The law has been seriously changed. When I was a wee journalist, ok, not very wee, at 5′ 8/9″, we had racism laws and blasphemy. It was actually quite simple. Now it’s all changed. All under one umbrella, but up to local police forces to define hate crimes? Uh?
      Too difficult to define misogyny? I can think of a number of women bloggers who could rattle it off, but I’ll start:
      Being assaulted in public
      Being groped on the tube
      Being verbally abused in the street
      Being asked how much you charge
      These are just a few of the ones I’ve experienced.
      Wold whistling? Yeah. Not a compliment at all. It’s insulting. Grossly so. It buys into the biggest stereotypical idea ever. Women, should feel happy, that men find them attractive? No.
      Cheap. People want cheap these days. So that’s how it goes.
      Hugs back. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Three HURRAAAAHS for reasonably-priced coffee. The bar right next to my house does a fabulous breakfast deal, which includes coffee and a generous sliver of cake (bizcocho), all for an incredible €1. The bizcocho (variety depends on the day) is home-made, none of this crap that tastes of factory ingredients. Toledo still doesn’t have a Starbucks ;-)


    • The same bar does a good (in Gib terms) deal on coffee and anis. No bizcocho but then again Partner no eat cakey :D
      I think coffee in our village is a euro or so. Bottle of San Miguel (33) is 1.20. Which pays for my internet when I want.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Kudos to partner on a job well done. The book sounds interesting. I’d hate to be a young woman in India these days. Good for the Nottingham Chief of Police! Misogyny is absolutely unacceptable and the cause of so many crimes against women. I wonder whether misandry is as prevalent? Great to see your lemon tree thriving. We aren’t allowed to grow fruit trees or veggies here because they attract a variety of unwanted animals. Sad but true. I even fear for my orchids, as the Iggys seem to enjoy snacking on them. :( Take extra good care of your knee. You (k)need it. :)


  11. Both our lemon trees are doing fabulously this year with all the rain in previous months ( we did have to water in Aug). We finally put the one in the pot in the ground as it looked so weak compared to the one we grounded a couple of years ago. There’s some yucky white stuff on top of leaves sometime here, too, but after all sorts of organic/soapy treatments, we’ve found ladybugs and butterflies do the best job solving that ( you can actually buy lady bugs in the spring at one local nursery- if you get there quickly after the shipment arrive – people buy them up fast. And dad was right, watch the tree and pick off and take out of the garden any suspected leaves as soon as spotted…and prune the tree to keep it where you can reach it all. Fine until it gets so hot no one wants to go out. We have had winters where we get ice and snow, but these trees seem to manage it.
    The book sounds interesting. I read fiction from earlier eras in India, but this is an intriguing mix. We work with a good number of Indian engineers. They way they talk about “the daughters” in their families…many of their wives do not drive for various reasons…
    I really dislike singling out this crime or that as a “hate crime”. Assalt is assalt. One incident not a lesser crime because of the individuals involved. Murder is murder. Dead is dead. It’s bad enough. No need to hyperbole. Just enforce the darn laws equally. Quickly. (that would be a nice change here)
    My daughter is a black belt. We insisted she learn martial arts before dating – or going to high school here. She did have to put an annoying “touchy” bully down in the halls – quickly and went on to class. Never had to do it again. Rep made. Don’t mess withe the tiny blond.(But she’s smart enough to know in the big world, she’s a small person and best to be wary and stay out of risky situations if possible).
    Hope your mobility problems are resolving. It never fails – get an injury on one side and the other tries to compensate, then that knee/hip starts hurting. And rough grounds that never slowed us before now give pause as careful footing is located. We found that out last mountain trip. Another reason I say we should get outside now while we can.
    Gib’s economy sounds grim. Right here we are doing OK – lots of building going on. But for how long who knows…another reason we squirrel away when things are good.
    Well cluttered up your blog long enough. Started feeling like I’d been writing dribble too much so plugged in that post about censorship – no dount the hate mail and spam will start back up again.
    Drowsy paw waves (Great pix – really shows the difference in their coats) Hoping for healing, cooler weather, and better times


    • Laugh. Thanks for the shared thoughts. Alcohol cures most things. At least lemon tree problems! But yes, dodgy leaves, nasty white stuff, same with the olive trees. Quick dab with neat alc from the pharmacy, and done.

      Partner never made black belt in karate. Couldn’t turn the other cheek apparently. Did professional displays in London and taught. Still moves hellish fast!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Door looks much better… Think I remember seeing boards or something. Shame about the job situation… Of course the gov’s going to play it down, it’s what they do best. Luv doggy pic. I’m waiting a while before reading Lemon again. You got a lemon tree… so not fair! 😲 😜


  13. Just read this again, so much easier on a PC screen than on a tablet, I remember that I had a question. Who are the biggest employers in Gibraltar and who manipulates the unemployment statistics? Is it like Greece and homelessness where the Government claim zero homelessness simply on the basis that they do not measure it as a KPI?


    • Same as UK. Gib govt, health service. Then mostly construction and gambling. I’m saying no more as this is a public blog. Except, suddenly before the last election, a lot of people were given temporary contracts …


      • What an interesting round up. But I know that first I want to say I’m sorry you injured your knee. Ah, that’s tough. And I’m sorry about the lack of jobs in Gib. People need to work, to feed their family and pay the bills, but also because humans weren’t meant to be idle — no, not even rich people. Then you give us some rays of light — like the overdue idea of treating misogyny as a hate crime.
        Kudos to partner. I admire people who have such skills!


        • I feel like a newsreader :D Knee has improved thanks. :) everyone needs work. Bad news that our friends and neighbours don’t have it. Us too. Big factor in Brexit.
          If I was rich, I’m sure I’d be idle, just differently idle!
          I was quite pleased about the hate crime news. Only taken how many tears? I mean years, or maybe my misspell was right. But, at local discretion? Come on, surely that should be nationwide? No. Women. Do. Not. Matter.
          We thought we had the ideal mix, his skills and my officey things. Trouble is, if he dies first, Ms Clever Two Degrees will be well stuffed. Unlike him.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s so interesting/sad that we need laws to convince people to treat others with respect, as human beings with feelings and not things. *Sigh* Thanks for the book recommendation though a discussion on who is responsible for a rape, victim or perpetrator, gets my hackles up just thinking about it. :-)


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