|Majestic, presiding over the Mediterranean, Rock of Gibraltar|
I must have walked past so many times and yet it was only a few evenings ago, taking the dog out for an evening stroll, that I noticed the stone angel mourning in a discreet corner of the road as it curved past the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity and towards Line Wall Road, Commonwealth Park, the marina and the spread of sea beyond. The sun, just beginning to set over the Spanish hills on the western side of the bay was shaded by the Cathedral and as its creamy walls glowed in the rosen sunlight, I was struck by the juxtaposition of the exotic, the colourful, bright, sunlit Mediterranean and the sober discreet Englishness of a little stone memorial, set in its own rose garden, more reminiscent of a country parish in the home counties than of a bustling city carved into a Moorish fortress turned colonnial outpost.
|Unexpected memorial at Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Gibraltar|
Consecrated in 1838, the Cathedral is Anglican in a staunchly Roman Catholic city, and, to my view at least, could be easily mistaken for a mosque, its arched windows and very square, squat walls reminiscent of Spanish archeaology which itself is redolent of the Arabic influence of Al-Andalus. It is surrounded by palm trees, and looking eastwards, you can see towering above it, draped in its wild olive trees, carob and pines, the majestic Rock of Gibraltar. Overhead swoop chattering gulls and higher up, tiny black specks which could be birds of prey circling. The vista is most un-English, yet enter the Cathedral and you are in a cool, hushed space filled with the dignified calm of any other Anglican church I have ever stepped in.
|Arabic archways and leaning palm trees|
|Cathedral of Saint Mary the Crowned|
|Ocean Village, development and yachts, another part of Gibraltar culture|
|Mosque at Europa Point, Gibraltar|
I stroll round again to the "weeping angel" tucked in the corner surrounded by roses. It is lovely. I have lived in England long enough to consider it my home as much as I do Gibraltar and I have to catch my breath in sudden homesickness.
|Stone angel in perpetual mourning|
Politics aside, I myself am a product of a mix of cultures, not one, nor the other, just me, my own unique mix. Perhaps that is what being Gibraltarian is these days: not ex-English Colonnial, not ex-Spanish through local intermarraige; not Genoese, not Portuguese, not Maltese, not Moroccan, not Indian, despite our roots being linked to any number of these. We are who we are, unique individuals, uniquely Gibraltarian.
I ponder on this now and again, and wonder how so many people from so many different backgrounds can so calmly live and work together, combine their pasts and create new futures together. I am convinced, though through instinct, not through scientific fact and dry data, that this is one of the reasons why Gibraltar is a survivor and why it forges onwards whatever difficulties are thrown in its path. One of my ponderings led me to wonder what happens when someone from one culture falls in love with someone from another. It is a question with thousands of answers, one tackled by artists and writers and story tellers since time immemorial. So I wrote "The Promise". It is a short story. You can download it from Amazon. But here's a taster, to make you think.