After leaving the Alameda I came down into the car park by the cable car terminal and saw (directly in front of me) a very familiar building, my old home Trafalgar House.
To my left were the apartment blocks by the Fire Station where one of my readers (MG) recalls lovely memories of having lived there as a child particularly with having the Alameda right outside her door; what a blessed childhood! From where I was standing I could only imagine the views from the apartments which must have been awesome; from one side there is the Alameda and the Rock and from the other side (there must have been) sea views over Rosia?
Passing the cable car terminal naturally brought back many lovely memories of trips up the Rock with the children to see the apes and I know Carol, Sheila and Joe all wanted to do the trip during the week and so I checked out times and prices. I often say that if you didn’t go visit the apes during your stay then you didn’t ‘do’ Gibraltar. (It’s unthinkable).
(Looking up at my old apartment, Trafalgar House)
As I finally approached (what I tend to call) Trafalgar Island (because the road goes completely around it) I looked up at the old place with both affection and thanks (really) because although we lived high up in Number 10 Trafalgar House, climbing the steps to our apartment were a small price to pay to have my family with me earlier. Although I knew full well where the entrance was I deliberately took the long way round the ‘island’ (clockwise) just to touch base and sort of say to this lovely old building ‘Hey,remember me? It’s good to see you again’.
After walking completely around the building I finally arrived at the entrance which was almost opposite the Trafalgar Cemetery. The first thing I noticed that had changed was that there was now a locked outside door where there used to be an open lobby – you may recall (see 2:16) I wrote about that lobby and an incident that happened when Carol and I returned from our night out at St.Michaels Cabin – there was also a new shiny brass plaque by the door.
As I stood looking at the door from a few yards away a man came out and walked off in a hurry; as he did so I noticed the door was closing very, very slowly and on the spur of the moment (as if by instinct) I shot forward and slipped inside before it closed behind me.
Inside, my heart was pumping because part of me knew I shouldn’t be in the building as it was clearly private to residents only but the temptation to revisit had just been too much. For a while I stood frozen as I listened to hear if anyone else was moving around until I finally convinced myself it was safe to move. I quietly began climbing a set of steps that I recognised until I literally got myself outside the very door of my old apartment (terrified that the present resident might just open the door and ask me what I was up to).
Fortunately no-one did come out and for a wonderful five minutes I was back there at my apartment in 1976 with my family chatting to other residents across the inner triangle where we all had a washing line. No amount of money could have bought that experience for me and I don’t imagine any amount of explanation from me would ever convince my readers or anyone else how much those five minutes meant to me.
Although a part of me could have stayed there all day I knew I had to go and somehow managed to slip out of the building as quietly as I’d slipped in. Before walking on a took a quick selfie with the brass plaque and then crossed the road towards the Trafalgar Cemetery.
As I looked back I almost felt the old place say thank you. So I said it back out loud. “Thank You”.
Maruchi Golt said:
This reading has brought tears to my eyes. I felt so emotional, as I put myself in your shoes. I too have had this experience when visiting my first home (away from home), when I first started my own family when we got married now going on to 50 years next July
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Alan Dixon said:
Thankyou Maruchi. It’s very warming that you understood the emotions I was going through. I knew full well I was in a place I shouldn’t have been but the temptation proved too much for me. I didn’t know if I would ever get another opportunity and so took a chance. I suppose the worst case scenario would have been getting arrested for trespass but fortunately I didn’t and these photos are now among my treasured ones.
50 years of marriage is a wonderful achievement Maruchi and I congratulate you. I am a little behind you my friend (41 years) but hopefully will enjoy that achievement too one day 🙂 Alan
Lesley Waterman said:
Hi Alan. I have just come across your blog and felt I had to tell you that I worked in The Buccaneer for a few months in 1973. Quite an adventure. While I was in Gibraltar I met my future husband who worked on the cable car. We are still together after 42 years and are returning to Gib on 7th May for 5 days.
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Alan Dixon said:
Hi Lesley and hey what a great story!! Quite made my day. Thanks for reading my ramblings and I hope you are enjoying them.
As you must have realised from my memoir the Buccaneer was a regular watering hole of mine (and probably every sailor in the worlds) though on my recent visit last year it had been closed for a while and was on the brink of reopening as a cafe/bistro/bar so I’m sure you’re going to enjoy popping in – and I’m sure you’re going to love our lovely Rock as it is today. I completely walked all over it, up and down it and even through it and felt as though I’d never left. Even today I’m very much emotionally connected to Gibraltar and very often there in my thoughts.
Lesley congratulations on your 42 years anniversary, I salute you both though Carol and I aren’t far behind you 19.12.1975. I’ve no doubt you’ll have a fabulous holiday in May of which I’m extremely envious (though nicely envious) and please do let me know how you get on and what you get up to. If I were to recommend anything at all it would everything – the pubs, the restaurants, the apes, the lot…. and particularly the people. But you don’t really need me to tell you that do you? Have a lovely break Lesley X Alan X