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Nuffield Pool was where I found out I had developed a stomach ulcer from my years on the booze. When I look at photos of the pool I can still identify (even now) the exact spot I found that out – half way up lane six facing toward Rosia. That recollection is particularly clear and very poignant to me since said ulcer very nearly killed me; the fact that I neither drink alcohol or smoke today is my personal thank you to the doctors who literally saved my life.
As a young adult I was an excellent swimmer – naturally you have to be a strong swimmer to be in the Royal Navy in the first place. As well as being a leisure facility Nuffield pool was also the venue for the Armed Forces swimming galas and it was during one (as I was swimming up the third length of a four length freestyle race) that my abdomen felt like it had been stabbed with a carving knife leaving my innards feeling as though they had liquidised with hot fluid. Somehow (Heaven knows how) I finished the race by literally crawling to the finish line in total agony (amid Carol’s horror) taking last place after having led for the first two lengths. Not long after that event I found myself in RNH (Royal Naval Hospital Gibraltar) having some very unpleasant tests (at the same time our baby daughter Sam was admitted for surgery) but I’ll come back to that story later in my memoirs.

(Tracey running away from me after I’d fished her out)

Probably one of the most defining memory’s I have of Nuffield Pool isn’t my favourite, in fact looking back it’s one of my worst memories and not something I’m especially proud of. To cut a long story short I wanted my daughter Tracey to get in the water so I could begin teaching her how to swim but she wouldn’t get in. In those days I wasn’t the most tolerant person and to my eternal shame (although my daughter has long since forgiven me and we laugh about it now) – I lobbed her in! 

(A little smile but she’d never let me forget that I lobbed her in) x


As recently as this week Tracey referred to that ‘baptism’ (tongue in cheek) as child cruelty because she knows it winds me up and we both have similar wicked senses of humour. Today (as a childcare professional) I cringe even thinking about it but do console myself that it WAS forty years ago and she now sees a funny side to it. (And she’s a great swimmer 🙂 ). And yes, I know, the photo is awful 😦

(The swimming pool today)


On my recent visit to Gibraltar (May 2016) I walked past Nuffield Pool on my way to Europa Point and was really pleased to see it had been nicely refurbished. It looked great. From the roadside it looked as though it was now a private complex (although I don’t know if that’s the case) and I think someone told me the name had changed too. As much as I admired it I didn’t feel as though I could knock on the door and ask for a dip – but then given some of my past experiences in the place that was probably no bad thing. It was good to see that it was being so well looked after though – just like so much of Gibraltar today. I loved that the water fall still cascaded down from the Rock, some things never change.

(Tunnel to Europa Point)

After passing the swimming pool there’s a tunnel which eventually leads to Europa Point and although I have no recollection of ever going that far in the 70s with my family it seems inconceivable not to have done so. My only real memory of Europa was of the lighthouse and so I was amazed to see how much was going on there today. I had no recollection of the Mosque and wondered if that had been built after the 70s? The cafe was definitely not there (before) and the bus terminal looked as though it had been recently upgraded. I think what shone out for me above everything else was the new Gibraltar University, a gorgeous building right on the sea front. If a student cannot be inspired there, then he will never be inspired.