The days since my birthday had flown by and although I had done a lot of preparation there still seemed to be loads to do. Day by day I’d been buying things I felt we would need like cutlery, plates, bedding and stuff but I was pretty certain there was still other stuff I just couldn’t think what. The problem was that in married quarters you are supplied with everything and so I didn’t want to buy things if I didn’t absolutely have to. Writing that I sound quite mercenary or tight but I’m not really, we just didn’t have spare cash. In the end I decided that as long as we had the basics to get by we could shop again when Carol arrived because I’d got several days leave booked.

What I did realise (going backward and forwards to the flat) was the downside – our flat was several floors up, almost at the top of the building, and if a fit serviceman like me found that challenging then it was going to be a nightmare for Carol with a pram and a toddler. Hopefully (I thought) it wouldn’t be long before there was movement again and we got a Naval caravan without too long a wait. On the upside we’d probably both prefer to manage the issues than be separated any longer than we needed to be.

(Postcard of St.Michael’s Cabin, Gibraltar when it was a restaurant. Notice the musicians.

Back in 1976 St.Michael’s Cabin was one of the most romantic little restaurants in Gibraltar situated half way up the Rock overlooking the dockyard, the Town and the small coastal town of La Linea, Spain; I’d gone up there in the evenings to check it out and the views were to die for so I booked a table for the very evening Carol was arriving. (Sadly today it isn’t open evenings and only does snack food for tourists during the day which to me is a crying shame and a very sad decline of a wonderful resource). Once I’d booked the table I arranged a female baby sitter through the Naval Wives Club (who was confident with a baby and a toddler) so finally (I thought) things were starting to come together.

On the day before Carol was due to arrive I decided to go up town and buy her and the children presents. Quite a lot of the shops in those days sold those leather goods and ornaments from Morocco but that wasn’t really what I was looking for. In the end I decided on teddy bears and eventually found three in different sizes and colours that I liked. Tomorrow I would take them to the airport.