Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick and when it does you make a choice. The easiest one for me right now was to take a break, ease the pressure and go have a night on the lash; do the Hole in the Wall, Tivoli, Main Street, the Buccaneer. And why not, that’s how I roll?
But no that’s not how I roll. Not anymore. Especially not now as a family man with three people depending on me; and I never was one to take the easy option anyway. I hadn’t told Carol about the Angry Friar flat so at least I didn’t have any explaining to do. What I did do was give myself a good talking to, stopped being a wimp feeling sorry for myself and focused on being positive.
On Carol’s birthday I phoned her and although it was (always) difficult for us both hearing the other on the phone it was good to hear she was okay and that Graham and Kerrie were looking after her. Geordies are very good at looking after people although they did have a few bizarre customs I knew Carol would be exposed to; much later I had to smile when Carol told me about a ‘pickled egg eating competition’ she had with Graham on her birthday evening. Even though it was a very difficult separation for her I loved that she retained a few happy and funny memories.
(Trafalgar House Gibraltar – My photo 1976)
Not long after I had given myself that good talking to a game changer happened. Someone living in Edinburgh House had left Gibraltar and returned to UK which meant that his married quarter was now vacant. As a result another sailor who had been living in a Naval caravan could now move into that mans married quarter. Naturally a third sailor who had been living in a private flat up town was then able to move into the vacant caravan which meant ‘Bingo’ I could have his private let – and because it not long been passed by the Navy the inspection was swift and it passed again!!! Don’t you just love evolution? I immediately applied for 10, Trafalgar House, got it then sent Carol a telegram; it was 23 April 1976, two days after her 21st birthday BOOM!!!
(Telegram to Carol 23 April 1976)
Even after finding the flat, paying a hefty deposit and informing the Navy the protocol of having a FamPass signalled to the UK took another week and still didn’t give a clear date when my family would arrive (though they did estimate 10-13 May) but that was irrelevant and neither here nor there really because the reality was that my family would be with me within weeks. I didn’t know whether to scream with delight or bawl my eyes out. I treated myself to a walk.
(Telegram to Carol 30 April 1976)
As I sat in Alameda gardens admiring my new home-to-be I realised the view from the window looked straight out over …..Alameda gardens! Words fail me.