The reason for our need to reach Gibraltar by mid September was because Jac and I had decided to get married. Both having reached our sixties we didn’t want a grand affair and we had determined that Gib would be an appropriate location: good weather (hopefully), a place we were planning to stop at and far enough from home that we could keep it small. Jacquie had lived in Gibraltar in the early seventies and I had first visited the Rock in 1979 with numerous visits since, so we were both familiar with the location. We also reasoned that if we could spend 3 months cooped up together on a boat without killing each other then marriage was likely to work. Before leaving home we had booked the Rock Hotel for a civil wedding and sent copies of all the necessary paperwork to Gibraltar registry office, but there was still an enormous amount of preparatory work to complete. On our trip down, when stuck in various locations, unable to move because of weather, we had envisaged not arriving on time, but that was now all behind us.
We sorted out the necessary paperwork, arranged the details with the Rock Hotel, arranged flowers, a cake and all the other necessaries for a wedding. We were expecting 25 guests so we were set for a good party!
We still found time to explore the Rock and do a bit of sightseeing. Gibraltar is a Marmite place; you either love it or hate it. I had seen it change from a major garrison town, hosting all branches of the British armed forces, through a rather seedy phase after the withdrawal of the British forces from the Rock. It has now reinvented itself, becoming much smarter with improvements and redevelopment occurring all the time, quite an achievement for somewhere with so little available building land.
Jacquie and I love it. It is familiarly British; the police wear British uniform, the post boxes are red, beer is sold in pints and there are both Marks & Spencer and Morrison’s selling all the goods one would expect to find in similar stores in the UK. It also fiercely British.On the other side of the coin more Spanish than English is spoken together with mixed “Spanglish,” often with words in phrases from both languages in the same sentence.
Having sorted out all the wedding arrangements, all that remained was for the arrival of our guests who were expected from 30th September onwards.