By the time I got down to Convent Place quite a crowd had gathered and although I was vaguely aware of the Ceremony of Guard Mounting it had been so long since I’d been a spectator I couldn’t remember too much about it. What I did know was that I was going to be even later (than I’d initially anticipated) in getting back to my travelling companions at the Bristol because there was no way I was going to miss this event.
Almost as though by fate I found myself (once again) standing outside the door to the apartment above the Angry Friar – the apartment I’d applied for back in 1976 but which the Navy wouldn’t let me have (see 2:8) because it didn’t pass their inspection. Looking at the door I recalled how absolutely gutted I felt back then and yet today I felt a certain endearment toward it that it has somehow managed to secure itself a very unique place in my life story. I can never walk past that door without recalling the day I walked through it.
As I mingled with the crowd I noticed that most people were holding a leaflet and so I stuck my neck out and asked a nice roving policeman for one – he kindly obliged and purloined one for me from somewhere. As I stood in the crowd reading my leaflet I noticed people coming out onto the balcony and it wasn’t long before it was crowded with dignitaries including the Governor himself. The Ceremony began with soldiers marching out in ceremonial style and taking their place in the square; after a dialogue between the Governor and the Officer in Charge of the parade it wasn’t long before the military band arrived to the crowds delight.
Although the pomp and ceremony was wonderful to watch (particularly with me being ex-military) I also loved the way the steeped history of how the Royal Gibraltar Regiment keeps the Rock and her residents safe was illustrated; I also loved how the changing of the guard took place to the wonderful music (including By Land and Sea) of The Band and Corps of Drums of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment.
I felt very lucky to have caught this ceremony (almost by chance) after already having had such an amazing morning on the Med Steps, in Alameda and gate-crashing Trafalgar House. When the ceremony ended I finally set off for the Bristol Hotel to meet up with Carol and our friends for lunch with quite a few tales to share with them.