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Life for us in Gibraltar (particularly now we were happily installed in Edinburgh House) just got better day by day; part of the reason for that (I think) was because the climate was lovely, we had made some really nice friends and we were finally beginning to feel as though we belonged somewhere. Thinking back our network of friends was strong and so our social life was really good; typically there were regular functions at the Fleet Pav(illion) – now a multi-storey car park – (including bingo nights and summer balls), there was steak nights at the Rock Hotel and for raucous dance nights there was the Buccaneer nightclub (now no more). 
(Door to what used to be the Buccaneer nightclub)

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One enduring memory I have of the Buccaneer was standing at the bar in there and watching a Royal Marine being thumped so hard he was laid out; the reason it’s so memorable is because as I looked at the marine flat out on the floor Carol said ‘she’ had clocked him one because he had ‘touched her up’. Shock mixed with total admiration on the way home 🙂


(1976 At home 21 Edinburgh House)

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But our sense of belonging wasn’t just as a result of being connected to other military families; we were becoming very close as a family and loved spending time together. As well as that we were also beginning to connect with local people too. As the children were growing it was lovely seeing them become more aware and fascinated by both their surroundings and local people and so we would often take them for walks into town when locals would stop us to talk to the children and make a fuss of them (bambinos) – they loved it and so did we. If we paused at the Piazza for drinks they would take the children for a walk around the square (to give us a break :)).


Retracing my steps. Top photo 1976 at John Mac Hall. Lower photo 40 years later in 2016 in the same place)

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On my recent visit (2016) I revisited many of our old haunts and walked around many of our favourite walks and there were times when I would just stop and sit to relive certain moments.

(1976 Out and about in Gibraltar)

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I think our connections with local people were also quite strong because Carol made all the children’s clothes (and many of her own) and so often shopped locally (in those little shops – Princess Silks was little in those days with no cellar) and got to know local traders selling fabric and haberdashery and the like; many military families we knew didn’t go in those kind of shops but since we didn’t have a lot of money we did – thankfully Carol was a very talented tailoress. Later, we also began using the services of local people to babysit the children when (for example) we got the chance for a day trip out (sometimes to Morocco on trips organised by the Naval Wives). Somedays I could swear we had morphed overnight into Gibraltarians.

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