I first visited Gibraltar in March '89 on exercise with the Territorials. Because it was a military plane we couldn't fly directly over Spain so we had to fly around the coast of Portugal (Which took four hours in a Hercules). Due to really violent storms in Gibraltar we were prevented from landing. So we had to land at Faro in Portugal. The Army, in it's infinite wisdom deemed it uneconomical for us to stay the night in Portugal so it flew us back (another four hours) to Brize Norton in the UK and there we stayed until two days later when we successfully flew out to 'Gib'.

After unsuccessful attempts to find work in Madrid in '92 (no green card) I went down to Gib as I thought it'd be easier to find work. I was set up in five days.

Here are some of the people I've met and some of the places I've seen.

People and places in Gibraltar

Paparazzi Boulangerie

When I first arrived in Gibraltar I adopted one pub to be a place to meet locals and ask about work. That pub was to be the Three Owls on Irishtown next to the police station. On leaving the pub my fourth day of looking for work I passed the shop next door and saw a job offer in the window stating that a 'Boulangerie Assistant' was required. Excited at the prospect of at last finding a job I ran into the shop and announced, "I'd like to apply for job of Boulangerie assistant." It was then that I realised that my french had failed me and I had absolutely no idea what a boulangerie was hence no idea of what I was applying for.

Luckily the boss, Roger Kitson (no photo - sorry!), asked me wether I'd had experience in a kitchen to which I informed him that I had. The next day I started work on a trial period and I made sandwiches at Paparazzi's for four months.

Roger is a really humorous bloke from Leeds and his girlfried Carol at the time was expecting their first child. For this reason Roger had put the sign up advertising the new job. Unfortunately he hadn't yet told Carole and I burst in literally five minutes after the sign had gone up and asked for Carole's job - which upset Carole a little. Working at Paparazzi's was great because I started early in the morning and finished mid afternoon and I love pies and pastries. Bonus! Roger was a great boss and if he gets to read this then "I hope you're doing well, wherever you are, and don't worry I have forgotten about the forty quid you owe me!"

I worked alongside the wonderful young lady appearing with me in the photo here for the full four months and I'm kicking myself as I cannot remember her name. She's a British girl and a real pleasure to work with. If you can help me out with this one please e-mail me at robgp@hotmail.com Thanks!

Anna Marie Montegriffo

One day whilst working upstairs in the Boulangerie the owner of the Paparazzi Restaurant downstairs, Nick McSomething came up a little too quickly and asked me if I'd like to earn twenty pounds for half an hours work. I expressed interest but I wanted to know more, to which Nick replied "Oh, nothing like that!" This puzzled me even more.

He took me downstairs and introduced me to a couple of ladies who proposed I should be a strippergram for one of the ladies' sister's birthday. Always good for a laugh I accepted and with the ladie's help created a profile of her sister to help me write a poem.

The party was to be a closed door affair and was to be held in an Indian restaurant. I was to come in dressed as a waiter, carrying the cake which was in the shape of a large pink 'thingy y'know... MAN's thingy!' with paint brush bristles for hair.

It was only later that I found out that the lady was Marie Montegriffo who was then the Lady Mayoress of Gibraltar.

The day of the party came and although Roger, my boss, was quite worried about the reputation of the Boulangerie should word get out of the extra curriculum activities of it's staff, I was really looking forward to it.

I waited in the kitchen and when the time came I took in the cake, set it down and read the poem.

Happy Birthday Anna,
Well here's a surprise,
going on tonight,
before your very eyes.

To help you celebrate,
a cake, You can't beat it,
but judging by the shape,
you'll have your cake and eat it!

Two fellows by the roadside,
you're looking for another,
here's another fellow,
come and help me uncover.

However the funniest part of the performance came from Annette who was completely lost and had no idea whatsoever of what was happening. She'd never even heard of a 'strippergram'.

After all was sorted I was invited to join the party and had a great time and found Annette who is also called Anna-Marie to be totally fascinating.

The photo above was taken in '93 when I took a holiday to Benalmedina with my then fiancee Claire and we visited Anna-Marie at her shop 'Alba' in Gibraltar. I used this photo because for some reason she's neve let me have any of the photos from the party. I wonder why.

When I moved to London in '91 to work at Healthcare Magazine one of the perks of the job was the ability to make telephone calls around the world in our own time. I made use of this and phoned Annette in her shop in Gibraltar only to be told that she was in fact in London. It transpired that her father, Chris Montegriffo, was ill and had been brought to London for treatment at a hospital literally a short walk from where I was working.

It's a small world out there.

Muhamed at Corks

Whilst I was working at Paparazzi's there was a time when I'd have to work late at night which was okay as there was a pub to my right and a wine bar opposite. The doorman of Corks, the winebar opposite, was a young Morrocan guy named Muhamed. He cracked up at my impersonation of how we perceive spoken Arabic 'Maharrr la hannhhhanrrch ptui (spitting sound)' and would ask me to perform it for all his Morrocan friends

As I was working there from the November '91 until March '92 we had a lot of time to kill standing in the street and waiting for customers.

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Last updated 30/12/98 - Created using Notepad by Rob Price.