Having decided to stay around in Gibraltar to see in (and out) the National Day, I found myself at a loose end, wondering what to do and where to go. Do I hit the streets and explore the whole Island, leaving nothing for Catherine and me to see together? Or should I simply sit in a bar and drink until I don’t care what I do.

Actually the decision was made for me. Getting up bright and early to get out of the unbelievably hot stuffy smelly dorm at the Youth Hostel I headed straight into town and found a very pleasant little cafe / bar who served me a dreadful coffee but a divine orange. I sat there waiting for midday, the time of the ceremonial changing of the guard outside the governors’ house.

Heading into the small square at the Convent (where the Governor lives) I waited, it dawned on me that if this were a changing of the guard it would be prompt rather than 10 minutes late. I headed back to the hostel to check the poster out – ahh – it was Saturday at midday, not Sunday.

Further irritation was caused when I discovered that Sunday trading laws are pretty much still in effect here and nowhere was open, at least nowhere that could sell me a small bundle of handkerchiefs (I forgot mine and a fat man in a hot climate needs something to mop his brow with).

I chanced to run into the hostel owner again and thought I’d try and charm her into opening the launderette especially for me – she wasn’t having any of it however – I wasn’t going to be beaten so easily! I headed (dirty washing in tow) to the marina, figuring that dirty sailors would need to clean clothes, and if all else failed I had every intention of marching up to the barracks, making much of my fathers army life and blagging the use of their facilities. Fortunately it didn’t come to that and the marina came up trumps.

A fantastic little place hidden away in the depths of brand new, stylish, marina buildings and posh cafes. The lady who runs the place is Scottish, and as ever when a Welshman and a Scot get together rugby comes to the fore – we both thought England did pretty badly against the US – even if they did win. To cut a long story shirt, I smiled sweetly, pretended I knew nothing about these complicated new fangled washing things and she very kindly offered to do it all for me, she shooed me out of the door and told me to return in an hour… perfect… exactly the right amount of time to grab lunch and a small pot of mint tea.

Enough action for a rest day you may think, but no not me. I couldn’t resist getting my leg over the bike and exploring this tiny little bit of Britain away from home. Heading up to the rock I looked in detail at the Siege Tunnels, the Apes (don’t call them monkeys) St Michaels Cave and I also got my first proper look at Africa. It wasn’t that good a look as it was surrounded by heat haze and it could quite easily been Spain for all I know – but it was in the correct general direction.

Heading back into town I found a mosque –  isolated out on Europa Point, I saw a big tanker that had kind of sunk and kind of not sunk – see the photos, and I managed to find a shop open that sold handkerchiefs!

A pretty successful day in all, tonight sees me meeting my new room mates (let’s hope they don’t snore as badly as last nights). I’m heading into town this evening as I’ve decided it’s better to join them than try to ignore them – the party is getting into full swing and if last night was anything to go by we’ll be treated to a bad Spanish singer made wonderful by a gang of scantily clad Spanish women who can’t dance very well – but look quite good trying!