There’s an old saying that goes something like ‘If you want to really know about someone don’t knock on the front door, go round the back’. I learned many years ago not to be anything other than what I am because I have an appalling memory and so ‘bigging myself up’ is a complete waste of time; for what it’s worth I don’t mind (metaphorically speaking) whether people come to my front or back door (I’m just happy they called in the first place) because I’m the same wherever I am (and I love that friends have often said they like that).
Digressing a little, I know, but there is a very loosely-connected theme with all that and what I’m writing about today. Wherever I go in this world I love trying to find out a little bit about the country I’m in and their culture and if I’m lucky I’ll get to have a natter to some of the local people – if I’m really lucky I’ll get a cup of tea with said local people and even end up on their Christmas card list!
Over the years my nosiness has got me into temples, mosques, crocodile pits (and some very dodgy situations) but those stories are for a different memoir; even on this trip I managed to somehow sneak back into Trafalgar House (see 3:17) to enjoy a little moment with my past. Possibly the point I’m trying to make is that if I’m travelling hundreds of miles to go somewhere I want to make the absolute most of it and I think my thoughts on all that were reinforced when I asked a friend once how she had enjoyed India. “I’ve never been to India” she said. “But you’ve been to Goa haven’t you?” I replied. ” Oh” she said, “Is that in India?”.
Not long after leaving Casemates I quickly found myself up the back streets and loving it. I had no idea where I was, or where I was going and I couldn’t care less; what I did know is that I felt totally safe and as though I belonged (a feeling very much helped along by my reader ND who dubbed me an Honorary Gibbo, I felt like I’d been knighted).
As I moved between the streets and alleyways I knew it was a golden opportunity for me to touch base with some of the Gibraltar which isn’t usually on show to tourists (although heaven help me because in reality that’s what I was). I think the things most people head for include seeing the apes and checking out the beaches and although I was very much looking forward to both of those things – first things first :).
Just being there (in that labyrinth) was so cathartic for me in terms of putting to bed some of the most painful feelings from years ago; yes I was sent back to UK before I was emotionally ready to leave the Rock, yes it took me forty years to come back and yes there had been new developments – but the Gibraltar I’d held in my soul was still very much there and I loved that.
And as I meandered around my utopia soaking up tall quiet buildings, back street businesses, cobbled pavements and painted steps I was in no rush to leave, why would I be?
Postcard from Gibraltar said:
You have really caught the atmosphere of the back streets & alleyways. I love wandering around them too 🙂
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Alan Dixon said:
It’s one of those places I’m very comfortable in and where I spent hours at a time just wandering and wondering; very often I never saw a soul which only added to its intrigue. It’s very much on my shortlist for when I begin my paintings. Thank you 🙂
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