In the taxi from the airport I just could not get enough of the physical contact and went into octopus mode with one arm around Tracey as she sat on my knee and the other arm around Carol as I kissed Sam on the head…then Tracey on the head…then Carol…. At one point I had to ease off in case I literally crushed them all – on top of which I suddenly became aware of them wanting to look out of the window at their new home; of course they did. The other thing was that they were naturally all exhausted from the journey which had begun over twenty four hours before in leaving Newcastle, travelling to the airport and staying overnight somewhere which may sound like a walk in the park now but back in 1976 it wasn’t easy for a young mum with two children. I’m not sure me slobbering all over them was any help at all.
(A view of Gibraltar in 1976 when the border was closed)
As the taxi wound its way towards Trafalgar House I don’t think Tracey took her eyes off the Rock while Carol just soaked up her new environment on her very first trip outside of the U.K. Finally we arrived at the Trafalgar building and somehow managed to get everyone and everything including all the baby paraphernalia up umpteen flights of stairs to Flat 10.
(Trafalgar House is the cream triangular building and our balcony was the wide window to the right second one down from the top)
Tracey was quite fascinated that the Trafalgar building was triangular on the outside (like a toblerone) and hollow on the inside where residents had their washing lines on pulleys (to discourage them hanging washing from their outside balcony). It crossed my mind that Tracey mustn’t be allowed out of the flat unsupervised as it was a sheer drop to the ground floor. On my recent trip to Gibraltar I sneaked into the Trafalgar building and went up a few flights of stairs to see if I still felt the same way as I did forty years ago when I looked over the internal balcony and I did.
Inside the flat Carol and Tracey had a look around and were really happy with it. It was spacious and had quite a nice big lounge, bunk beds in the children’s room and best of all a balcony off the kitchen looking directly over Alameda Gardens. Both Carol and Tracey loved looking out over Alameda (or as Tracey would say Alan-meda 🙂 ). Likewise as with the internal balcony we decided Tracey mustn’t be allowed on the outer balcony unsupervised.
(Photo taken today 28 June 2016)
It was one of those situations where although everyone was shattered no-one wanted to go to sleep so we all just jumped onto the double bed and had a group hug. For the first time in weeks I felt whole again, my herd was back with me.
Lying on the bed Carol handed me a small present and said “Happy belated 21st birthday darling”. Forty years later I’m still wearing it 🙂