I can’t remember where the first flat I found was but it failed the Navy’s test and I was devastated; I’d already written to Carol and told her I’d found that place so now I had to write again to give her the bad news. For some reason best known to myself I thought that any reasonable flat I found would pass but it turns out I was quite naive. If I remember rightly the assessors took into account family dynamics and were aware we had an infant in the family so if a place was even remotely damp it would be failed.
(Alameda Botanical Gardens Gibraltar)
Mindful of my vulnerability towards alcohol I decided not to drown my sorrows; it wouldn’t solve anything or get my family over quicker even though the temptation to get ‘mortal’ was pervasive. Instead I decided to ‘get straight back on the horse’ and find another flat so that when I wrote home I could at least say to Carol (that although the first flat failed) “keep your spirits up because there’s another in the pipeline”. Meanwhile between my searches I’d walk around and spend time in Alameda Gardens and imaginine doing just that on Sunday mornings with my family when they arrived. There’s many places all over Gibraltar that are so peaceful and restful and where a mind in turmoil can be restored to calm; among those I’d include the Mediterranean Steps and Europa Point but right up there with them (for me) is Alameda.
(Door to flat above Angry Friar, Main Street Gibraltar)
The second flat I found was above the Angry Friar pub off Convent Place with an entrance on Main Street; the door is to the left of what is now the Imperial Newsagency. I thought the location of the flat would be good for Carol to feel in the middle of the community with lots of resources nearby such as Liptons and Marks and Spencer although she would still have to negotiate a pram up and down one flight of stairs. After the last failure I decided to not tell Carol when the inspection was because I didn’t want her getting her hopes up (again) only to be let down. When I knew the flat had passed its inspection I would treat us both to a phone call so that we could literally share the moment.
My daughter Samantha
Around the time I was waiting to hear news of the flat we had become really busy at work as there were a lot of ships passing through Gibraltar so I needed to apply myself to my work. I was also aware from her letters that everything wasn’t all rosy for Carol back in UK although it was evidently ‘nothing for me to worry about, concern myself with or that she wasn’t able to deal with’ although as Sam was a newborn it didn’t stop me worrying. After Carol arrived on the Rock I found none of that to be the case and that issues she was having to manage were very serious but that her main focus had been to not upset me or compromise my situation which may delay things. Later (in this chapter) when I became more aware of things in Newcastle I would make major decisions that would directly affect both my career and my families future life but for now I had to (nervously) accept what I’d been told.
When the flat above the Angry Friar failed the inspection I was on the floor, hurting.