Feeling refreshed after drinks in Piccadilly Gardens we upped sticks and carried on our quest to find the 100-ton gun. As we strolled leisurely along the pedestrianised way on Rosia, past an Italian restaurant, enjoying the sun and the views, Joe was particularly animated asking me questions on things we saw and I took great delight in (casting my memory back and) having a go at answering him. 

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(Pedestrianised boulevard to Rosia)

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For me too it was a particular treat to be able to glance over at the dockyard with its busy quayside, all its warehouses and its infamous clock tower and enjoy occasional private moments of the past in my mind. As a young sailor I was often on the quayside supporting warships (passing through) with their needs and got to know the crews of many a Royal Navy vessel; back then there was a sandwich van would come along the quay around lunchtime and I’d often have a ‘cheese and cukes’ (cucumber) sarnie with friends from other ships. 

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Today, from where I was standing, I could see a warship alongside and people on the quay checking stores; it was a wonderful – almost envious – blast from the past. There was something very surreal (and reassuring really) that although I am now an old man something I did did as a young man still continues and I could literally stand there watching it thinking ‘that was me forty years ago’.

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A little further on down the road, still looking over the wall from the pedestrianised boulevard I noticed a collection of arches that had been put to good use for young people’s activities. As a youth worker (today) it particularly interested me to know what some of the Gibraltar youth enjoy to do and it was great to see a diverse selection of clubs; Urban Dance, Taekwondo and Ju-Jitsu were all there, and another arch tantalisingly named ‘Crucible’ was also there but gave no indication of what went on there. 

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(Riverside Cottage atop a grassy knoll with Newark Castle to the left and the River Trent in the foreground)

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The archways reminded me of when I was based in Porstmouth because just outside the establishment HMS Vernon was a row of similar arches and (if I recall rightly) one was a tattoo parlour another was a cafe, and I’ve always loved old buildings being respected and used in the present day. A house we once owned in Newark (Riverside Cottage) used to be an old warehouse connected to the corn exchange and it was full of old beams and jivets(?) sticking out of the walls where pulleys once brought bags of oats up to the third floor. It was right next door to Newark Castle (where King John died) and (sitting atop a grassy knoll) looked straight out onto the River Trent. Sorry, I’m digressing again.

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“Oy. Come on youth. I want to see this 100-ton gun today if that’s alright with you”. Joe had a way with words. He didn’t say a lot, but then he didn’t need to.  🙂

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