Living in our caravan was always really cosy and the views of the Rock from our lounge window were fabulous but space was very limited and so when we finally got the news we had a married quarter we were dancing. (Although my dancing is a bit like Mr Beans). Our new and final abode in Gibraltar would be 21 Edinburgh House, a three bed flat on the first floor, opposite Rooke barracks on Queensway.
(1976 Tracey at our new flat)
Edinburgh House was (and still is) a collection of several hundred flats (in two storey buildings) occupied (then) by both Royal Navy and RAF personnel; they were designed in quadrangles with communal space in the middle. In the seventies our communal space was a play park for the children; today it is car parking spaces and the flats are no longer for military personnel. On my recent trip (2016) I spent almost an hour having a fascinating chat to the present tenant and I’ll write about that in Chapter 3. Back then the NAAFI was where most service families shopped and conveniently it was just over the road. Another attraction of the NAAFI was that service families could have credit for things like electrical items and there was also a Christmas Club which allowed us to buy stamps and save up for presents and the festive season. For our family things like that were really helpful.
Our flat was in the quadrangle nearest to Rooke barracks and so nipping home for lunch was quick and easy; another great thing about it was that most of our new friends were also in our rectangle. Virtually opposite was Steve (Funky) Gibbons (an electrician) and his wife Claudia; looking left from our balcony was Penny and her hubby Sandy Saunders (a leading rate in my own department). Both Funky and Steve appealed to me the minute I met them because of their dry senses of humour. Although those two couples didn’t have children they were still very close to us in our social circle; all of us would often hoof over to the Fleet Pavillion (Fleet Pav) across the road for bingo nights, socials and those more informal evenings that insipired the women to make new evening gowns for the occasion. On several occasions Sandy and Penny came with us on trips to Morocco which I’ll write about later.
One couple who did have children and were very good friends were Jim and Betty Simm; their two daughters often played with ours and we all had many a birthday party in each other’s flats or a trip to Alameda Play Park.
Life in Gibraltar had just got even better.