Sunday, August 17, 2008

Evening walk - and parrot talk

A good Sunday evening.

Out of the city walls through Prince Edward's Gate and heading off towards the Alameda Gardens.

The gate dates from 1790, and notice the sentry box on the left-hand side of the gate.

Not got very far before stopped by some Spanish-speaking guy in a car wanting to know how to get to the top of the Rock.

Well, it isn't too difficult, but he happened to be heading the wrong way to the route I would have chosen. Helpfully redirected him to retrace his steps in impeccable Spanish. P'ya. (phonetically) Actually should be "pa alla." - I think. "A la izquierda."

Then typically he twirled round in the middle of the road to clear off back up the Rock to find the easy route. Hope he enjoyed it.

Off to the Alameda Gardens.

Although it was warm, there was a breeze and lots of shade. Here is the pond with some huge fish and a tiny turtle (on the rock just above the ©).

And a longer shot of the pond with lots of green.

Next up, a bromeliad, unless anyone can tell me any different.

Highlight of the trip, a parrot - loro - who was happily perched on sign and chattering away to me.

And what beautiful red feathers in his tail.

Onwards and upwards and a misty view of Morocco in the distance.

Back home and papas (patatas) bravas for tea. This is a typical Spanish tapa although made differently in different regions and catering for local taste.

Chop potatoes into cubes and shallow fry in olive oil with some salt.

In separate pan, fry garlic, chillies, dried chilli powder/pimiento/paprika, and/or any other spices of choice, say half a chopped onion, and when the onion is soft, put in around half a tin of chopped tomatoes. I use organic.

When the two are ready, combine.

Serve with picante (hot and spicy) olives and a bread of choice. Today's was ciabatta.

Washed down with an Italian Chardonnay if anyone is interested.

A good end to a nice evening.

ETA: More of the same trip on Clouds tomorrow.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Losing your knickers

Always an embarrassing thing to do.

I found this pair deposited on my washing line.

So discretely left them on the noticeboard.

They were quite nice actually.

If you like multi-coloured knickers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


The much-awaited reprieve from the strike at the border by the Police Nacionale has not happened.

The misinformation circulating around was that the police were going to take August off from their work-to-rule and this would ease the pressure at the frontier.

But cross-border workers are still facing delays of two or three hours to leave Gib every night, as the police check documentation and ID for everyone in a vehicle.

Apparently there have also been queues for pedestrians, as many workers are now leaving their cars at La Linea and walking across in the morning to avoid being late for work.

Luckily, touch wood, I haven't had to queue when I have crossed the border, but there again, I haven't been going at peak work-related times.

So at the weekend, I cruised merrily across without any delay.

Only to find the bus company was on strike. In Andalucía there is some odd rule about needing to provide a 25% service for strikes. So there was a bus the following morning at 7.15am, or there was one that night from Algeciras at 10pm which would have got me back too late to Málaga to get the last bus to my pueblo.

Wearily I turned round and trudged all the way back to the flat.

Partner said: "It wasn't destined to happen."

I had already gone back to the flat once after setting off because I had forgotten my keys. I'd arrived at the bus stop at exactly the same time as the bus and jumped on. Except I didn't have any sterling on me so had to pay in euros (which, for anyone who doesn't know about the rates in Gib, is dearer). Then I was sitting on the bus doing the double-check routine, passport, money (well euros anyway) and keys. No keys. I promptly jumped off the bus at the next stop, having paid a euro to travel a few yards. Damn. After that it was going to be quicker to walk to the frontier so I battled my way against all the tourists down Main Street. And on finding there were no buses, battled my way back against them.

Yesterday, I looked at the internet to see if there was any progress on the strike. Apparently there was going to be a meeting between the workers and management. I decided to wander over the border (needing a walk anyway), and see if there was any news at the bus station. No. Exactly the same. The really inconvenient 7.15am bus was still the only one of the day.

Did I need to buy a ticket in advance? I asked, thinking it might well be booked out.

No, said the ticket office man, there is no problem.

No, I thought, I'm hardly surprised. I hadn't even worked out what time I would have to get up, to wake myself up sufficiently to stagger down Main Street and across the border in time to get the bus.

Anyway, back to the bus strike. I see from a quick search today that the strike has now finished after more than six hours of intense negotiations, and a vote late last night to accept improved terms and conditions. The vote was 267 in favour of accepting the deal and 37 against.

According to Sur, the problems started when it was taken over by the British Company Doughty Hudson. Employees were unhappy with the terms and conditions and the health and safety practices.

The workers have accepted the offer of an extra 50 euros a month over the next two years, (30€ in 2009 and 20€ in 2010), a better deal for working Sundays and Bank Holidays, two days off a week, and a 1.5% cost of living rise.

The strike started last Wednesday (6 August) and has affected some 40,000 travellers a day. As well as me, of course.

The service should be back to normal between today and tomorrow.

Yahoo! Finanzas (in Spanish)
Sur (in Spanish)
Sur in English

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Dysfunctional .... and not another blog?

I have become dysfunctional.

This is as a result of leaving the embarrassing Gucci glasses behind at the finca in Spain.

The truth is that I do not feel as efficient in my (buy one) get one free pair. They are not bad, but they do not give me that forceful and efficient look.

I left the others behind because I decided to wear contact lenses for my trip back. So once I had put them in I promptly forgot to put my glasses in the travel bag.

Anyway, as I never intended this to be a blog about roadworks or glasses I have started a new blog because I don't have enough really.

It is fictional. Well, sort of fictional. It started off being based on someone, but my main character has morphed totally into a figment of my imagination.

So, if you are bored with glasses and roadworks (as dear reader, am I), check out Leonard's activities here. It's on the sidebar too. It is slightly off the wall, although maybe not to dog-bloggers. I have warned you.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Having written about Señor Abusive and Señor Clueless I thought it would be good to redress the balance and write about PC Considerate.

There are a lot of road works at the moment in Main Street. Right now they have reached the bottom of our street. There is fencing between the roadworks and the narrow pavement.

Normally there is only just room for two people to pass closely and intimately on the pavement. Anyone who is in a rush, or who can't be bothered to wait for the window-shoppers, tends to nip into the road.

The other day I wandered out of the block to go to the shops. I had timed it very badly. There was a QUEUE. There was a long queue to go through the barricaded crossing on my street.

I should have looked out of the window, but I was hardly expecting a queue.

Anyway I dutifully joined the end of the queue, this being Gibraltar, we do queue.

As I looked ahead to see what the delay was, I saw three people in wheelchairs. And ahead of them all was a police officer, making sure that everyone coming in the opposite direction stood aside, either in a shop doorway or next to the fencing so that the people in wheelchairs could move along the narrow pavement without impatient people barging into them or blocking their progress.

And when they had passed the roadworks, I saw one of the people in the wheelchairs shaking hands and thanking the police officer for his time.

So in these days of rush, rudeness and abusiveness it was nice to see such thoughtful behaviour.