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#Richard'sRendezvous ‘Maintenance’ is the word

Archive image of Gibraltar's Supreme Court. Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

Yes, maintenance, `The process of preserving a condition or situation, or the state of being preserved,’ says the dictionary, and who am I to argue with that! Of course, I’m not suggesting for one moment we don’t all know what the word means, but I just wonder and wonder if we give it the priority it deserves and how far up the list of ‘things to do’ - or things that really need doing - it deserves to be... I’m reminded of the final weeks of the laying out of our `new’ (at the time) top end of Main Street and when all the works were done and dusted, I stood on my terrace looking out towards Ince’s Hall, as I live high above Amar’s Cafeteria and have an uninterrupted view straight ahead to the end of Main Street, and thought, `I wonder how long it would stay in that pristine condition?’

Needless to say wear and tear is going to play a part as years go by but a conscientious plan of maintenance ought to be in place, and of course this applies everywhere. The lollipop trees are looked after and pruned as often as possible in order to keep their round `lollipop’ shape but the same can’t be said for the pavement on that stretch – not very pretty – with those stains on the ground which, so happens, are now looking better as they’ve faded somewhat due to pressure-jet cleaning (which they needed quite a few weeks or more before), helped by the little rain we’ve had, so forget the catchy tune, `Rain, Rain go away come back another day...’ No, no please stay, you work wonders on our streets!
I’ve noticed on sunny days the ugly, dirty patches don’t look as bad, but they’re still there and come levanter or cloudy, darker days, they look a sight to behold!

In the same area, we have the planters that need seeing to, crying out for rust removal stuff and coats of paint or replacing all together... and further along past Referendum Gate, opposite the Trafalgar Cemetery, three or four litter bins there keeping Lord Nelson’s statue company... those should gone when Nelson was still in the Sea Scouts!

Not wanting to be a bore, but I think it’s a good example to highlight at this moment about that dreaded word... maintenance, because of the very recent announcement of the `Life under Siege’ exhibition on the Upper Rock. A lot of work has been expended on that display refurbishing the whole area and it looks great – Which takes me back to where I started, focusing on the top end of Main Street. In other words, are we going to keep an eye on the exhibition and keep it maintained or, will it go down the same path that many of our areas in town have regrettably followed?

Leaving them look tardy, ignored or deferred to be dealt with, `eventually,’ when they’ve remained a painful eyesore for so long? There is so much to look at in terms of maintenance and I do realise everything can’t be dealt with at once considering there’s a cost involved and manpower etc, but I’m still of the view the M word is not given the importance it so deserves and thinking caps need to be placed on the heads of those in authority who deal with such things and come up with ideas.

The Royal Crest or Insignia above the courts was beautifully lit at night when they added the `modern’ structure to the law courts and so it remained for a time. Sadly, shortly afterwards, it was no longer. Darkness befell the lion and unicorn. My kitchen window leads onto the court garden and the court’s entrance you see, so I approached another individual in authority who saw to the problem and later informed me there was an issue with cabling which they tried to put right but were unsuccessful at that time for whatever reason, so what next? Nothing! To this day it remains unlit. That was about 20 years ago!

So next time you’re out one evening walking the dog, take a look... the Royal Crest still not illuminated, but hey, with recent events, maybe that item will move up the `things to do’ list – fingers crossed! Hence my point – how long does it take to put things right? So now’s the time for real improvement especially with the BID/Downtown project in hand and let’s forget about, `Gibraltar could be like Monaco’ or `We could be the Pearl of the Mediterranean’ for now, and concentrate on things and areas that need tackling and bury the `Gibraltar is dirty or filthy’ comments, not just from visitors but from our own citizens also, who have been complaining more about it recently.

I recall being told by someone in high places, there were individuals going round checking these things like unlit street lamps etc, etc... Remember, the (BID), Business Improvement District/Downtown mantra, `Make Gibraltar Clean, Green and Welcoming’ and also to quote a Government Minister, `Make the town centre a better place to visit!’

Indeed, and it has to be said however, there is much more `green’ around these days if you look out for it, so brownie points are in order there! Whilst on the subject of `clean and welcoming,’ I was `welcomed,’ a few days ago, on my way in to GBC, by the sight of doggie business on the pavement, as it narrows there, literally just outside the new GBC building entrance on Rosia Road... why oh why can’t dog owners `pick up,’ it’s not such a big deal surely, and I’m told it’s not the first time, right in front there...And to really keep it topical, the `know-it-all voices and comments kept on coming by the bucketful: My oh my, the so many scores of maritime-knowledgeable-seafaring-experts-clearly-possessing–great-awareness-and-understanding of the subject, we have in our midst.

The true experts from here and abroad (including Spain) have voiced their experienced, well informed, clued-up, skilled opinions on the handling of the bulk carrier OS 35 incident, affirming it is being dealt with correctly, but clearly those professionals are wrong! Speak Freely and other social media contributors have the correct versions and answers, as they do in so many other issues played out there!
On the positives, a great violinist performing by the telephone booths at the entrance to Main Street opposite the ICC, choosing the right classical and other well know mainstream tunes to play, attracting passersby who showed their appreciation. His skill was amazing, hitting perfect, clean notes.

Another good player was a guy on his accordion, both very good, no need to audition those two! An unusual sight, I thought, whilst having my coffee on a Sunday morning in Main Street, was Sharon, who works in the Government’s Drawing Office directing about a dozen Gibelec all-male workers, instructing them on which manholes to uncover to install cables etc.

\It was so refreshing to see a young woman - in a way taking charge of the operation - in what would be described generally, as a male `area of activity’ in the work place... Well done Sharon!

This week I leave you with a little quiz...which would you choose to give your town the best impression?
I’ll be back in a fortnight!

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