Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Idler, Tuesday, November 26, 2018

The apes

could be


HAS anyone done a census lately on the Barbary apes of Gibraltar? This could resolve the latest complication to have entered the Brexit negotiations.

The Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, claimed to have a veto capacity over the final draft agreement for Britain's leaving of the EU because there is no explicit mention of the status of Gibraltar. The draft seems to have gone ahead anyway, but Gibraltar remains a complication.

Gibraltar is, of course, the huge rock dominating the entrance to the Mediterranean from the Atlantic ocean, which has been occupied by the Brits since 1713, in terms of the Treaty of Utrecht, but is claimed by Spain to be its sovereign territory.

The difficulty for the Spaniards is that the people of Gibraltar – ethnically Spanish – consider themselves to be British and have no intention of changing that status. Thousands of actual Spaniards cross into Gibraltar every day to work, then go home again in the evening.

Sigh! Northern Ireland, now Gibraltar. Another ancient squabble that had subsided with Britain's EU membership stirs into life again.

Tradition has it that when the Barbary apes that live on the Rock leave Gibraltar, so will the British. Sigh again! Not another referendum, this time among the Barbary apes?


THERE was the incident in World War II when Queen Mary, the world's largest liner, at the time converted into a troopship, appeared one fine evening in the straits of Gibraltar.

Queen Mary was so large and so fast that she sailed alone. The U-boats couldn't keep up with her. She was too big and too fast to be contained in any convoy.

There she was, unmistakeable in the evening sunlight. The Gibraltar gun battery flashed by aldis lamp its customary challenge: "WHAT SHIP".

Came the reply by aldis lamp from Queen Mary's bridge: "WHAT ROCK".


MAYBE Nat King Cole has the last word on it … "The Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble … but our love is here to stay …"


SINGER and songwriter, Fiona Tozer is to join other Durban musicians this Sunday in a fundraising shindig in support of Jean, the famous Bluff Cat Lady who feeds and cares for 69 cats every day.

The bash will be at the Fynnland Sports Club, starting at 1pm. The music will be punctuated with raffles and there will also be a jumping castle for kids. Entry is free.

To book a table phone the sports club on 031-4662010. For more information, or to donate items to be raffled, phone my old muso mate Smelly Fellows on 078-2649475.

Jean has been feeding the cats on the Bluff for 40 years, says Smelly, and the fundraiser is to help her cover expenses. It's a worthy cause.


I HAVE to be careful with the spelling of Smelly's surname, Fellows. I was at school with a bloke named Skunk Fellowes (with a second "e").

Smelly, Skunk … I wonder if they are distant cousins, the spelling of whose surname diverged over the generations?

It's a small world.


A SPANISH knight, travelling at dusk, comes upon a poor inn. He alights and knocks.

The innkeeper comes to the door and asks his name.

The knight answers: Don Pedro Gonzales Gayetan de Guevara."

"Alas, senor. We do not have food enough for so many."

Last word

Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.

Edward R Murrow

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