For some reason I have a very poor recollection of what used to be behind Edinburgh House (apart from the sea) or even what was further down Queensway after the NAAFI (perhaps we never went that way, I don’t know) but I definitely didn’t expect to find what I did find.
As I strolled past what I think used to be the NAAFI but now looked like some massive great multi-story carpark under construction it almost felt as though I’d left the Rock transcendently and landed in the middle of a city somewhere.
At some point during my walkabout I came to the conclusion that there must have been some sort of land reclamation because not far down the road I was greeted by literally dozens of high-rise apartment blocks that were definitely not there in my day.
Although this abstract image of a million (slight exaggeration) triffid-like buildings reaching up to the sky (like something out of War of the Worlds) seemed alien to my mental image of Gibraltar there was something about it that worked; their newness struck a chord with me and (sort of) modernised Gibraltar in my mind.
My memories and recollections were more of the old town and its steeped history that included the Moors, the Spanish and the British all fighting each other for ownership but of course that was a long time ago and naturally if the Rock was to survive world progress it had to move on. The fact that this massive colony of high-rises were separate from the old town pleased me; the back streets were sacrosanct in my mind and (as far as I was aware at this point ) were still very much there.
In order to move on more homes needed to be built and with land being of a premium the only space left was up. Just walking among the high rises reminded me a bit of Hong Kong which (also strapped for ground space) built upwards. I got that about Hong Kong. I guess as I walked around the high rises I ‘got it’ about Gibraltar too.
Finally after scouring the area I came across that new Morrisons I’d been looking for – and that’s not all I came across. Just off the car park to the supermarket was what looked like a fairly new hospital (St Bernard’s I think). It all started to make sense now. If I retired to Gibraltar I’d probably rather like a Morrisons and a hospital on the doorstep of my luxury apartment; even if I hadn’t yet retired and lived in Gibraltar I’d still like those things nearby. In my day it was Liptons on the Main Street and RNH on the other side of the Rock. I loved the progress and wondered whether the locals did. While I was at it I wondered if there were any vacant apartments for sale or rent. With that thought I went into Morrisons to buy my semi skimmed milk.