After an amazing lunch we all went back on the beach for a dip and another hour or so lazing around in the sunshine; there couldn’t have been half a dozen other people around and so we virtually had the beach to ourselves. I walked the length of the beach a couple of times which is my way of sun tanning because I hate lying down on sun beds. At some point someone said they wanted to go back to the Bristol for a siesta and the other two agreed which was fine by me because I knew I’d just go walkabout for a few hours.

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(With Kev on Main Street)

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Back at the Bristol with my three travelling companions tucked up in bed until early evening I took off on walkabout with no particular plan in mind. Throughout the week I’d been uploading photos onto my Twitter account and as a result a few locals had begun taking an interest. As I walked down Main Street I heard a voice shout “Alan!” which naturally I found quite bizarre. It turned out to be a really nice local man called Kev who had been following my walkabouts on Twitter and who came over to introduce himself. We chatted for a while and talked about it being my first visit to Gibraltar in over forty years and really how thrilled I was to be back on the Rock. Although our meeting was brief we hit it off from the start and promised to meet up for drinks and a proper chat the next time I was in town (which is looking like May/June 2017). After taking a couple of selfies we shook hands, parted company and both headed off to wherever we were going, but we’re still in touch today nearly six months later.

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Later that afternoon I was to have two similar chats (as the one I had with Kev) with two other local people who had also seen some of my photos on Twitter and although I didn’t take selfies with them (because it just didn’t seem right) I loved the idea that they were just as nosy/curious as me because I’d have done exactly the same thing. My personal mantra has always been ‘The world is my backyard’ but I find it fabulous that because of social networks that mantra can be everyone’s.

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As I wandered past the Post Office on Main Street a First Day Cover in the window (with a set of John Lennon stamps on) caught my eye so I went inside. John Lennon was very much my childhood hero and there have been times when I’ve shared some of that ‘rebel’ in him. I always loved the idea that he married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar and that he reflected that in his song ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’; a song I’ve loved singing at many a gig gone by. Along with my daughter having being born on the Rock they are just another couple of connections I’m very fond of.

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One of my more sober interests, however, is stamps and First Day Covers although these days I’m only really interested in subjects that interest me. Naturally the John Lennon cover interested me and so I bought it but while browsing inside the shop I came across stamps with my old ship HMS Scylla featured on them and began chatting to the girl in the Post Office. She was very helpful and said that although she was unable to sell me the ‘shop set’ she would be happy to bring me a set from their main office by the following day; she duly did and I duly returned and bought them.

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But speaking of HMS Scylla I ended up (at some point) in a wonderful shop (for ex-sailors) at the top of Main Street opposite John Mackintosh Hall where I spent quite a considerable time chatting to the proprietor and looking at his vast collection of photos of British warships. Eventually I bought a classic photo from him of Scylla in Gibraltar which is now among my treasures at home.

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(Looking for Dolphins)

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Just as I got back to the Bristol a Twitter message came in to me from another of my Gibraltarian Twitter friends to say ‘Alan there are dolphins off the Marina’ and so I shot off down there to see them. Unfortunately by the time I got there they had gone but the sentiment remained in that yet another local was taking an interest in my return to (and wandering a around) the Rock and alerting me to things they feel I would be interested in. 

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As I near the closing posts of these memoirs of Gibraltar I like to think it will be nice to meet up with a few folks for a cup of tea when I get back. We’ll see. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

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