Author Topic: PART 3-ONCE UPON A VERY LONG TIME AGO.............................  (Read 2703 times)

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gina39uk

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Sorry for the wait - hope you think it was worth it!!!

PART 3

During the many years spent in Puerto Pollensa, and indeed Majorca itself, I have met many, many, people.    Some came and went never to be seen again, others became ‘holiday friends’ (those who returned year after year and I was always happy to see).  Some of course were not so welcome and I couldn’t wait to see the back of them (thankfully not many on that list) but, as in all walks of life there are certain people who leave a mark on your life and a big hole in your heart when they are no longer with us.   One such person for me was Jack!

……………During the winter months Puerto Pollensa was a very different place from summertime.  It was very much a ‘locals’ scene and very few tourists came except for the coach trippers from the south of the island who came 3 days a week.

It was natural therefore that any foreigner (non Spanish) who came to stay in the winter for any length of time, eventually found their way to El Barco.  Jack was no exception…….
One  evening this rather portly, bespectacled gentleman of ‘a certain age’ walked into El Barco.  I hadn’t seen him before but immediately knew he was English (well you just DO don’t you?).   ‘Good evening’ I said ‘Not very nice out there tonight is it.  What can I get you to drink?’   To which he replied in one of the most beautiful voices I had ever heard ‘Darling!  I could murder a Gordons and Tonic’!

Over the years I never tired of hearing that voice.  He once told me that he had actually been born in Newcastle and until he moved to London at the age of 13(more about that later) he spoke with a really broad Newcastle accent.
‘It’s thanks to a lady called Elsie Foggarty – The Voice of the Stars – that I speak like this’ he said. ‘Cost me a small fortune and my two wisdom teeth’! ;D 
 Anyway – I  digress……………………..

Over the weeks that followed Jack became a regular of El Barco arriving most evenings at the same time, staying until around 11.00pm having partaken of several G & T’s.     During those times we talked and talked and I soon learned that he was out in PP for the winter staying in a friend’s apartment.  He had been retired for some years and lived in London in an attic flat that he had had for over 30 years!
He sometimes used to help out in a theatre ticket office belonging to friends, purely out of boredom.  He was openly Gay and moved mostly in Gay circles.
He had been in show business as a dancer prior to doing his national service which he blamed for ruining his feet and preventing him from dancing again.  He was friends with several well known dancers and drag artists some of whom I was priviledged to meet later down the line.    Other than that I knew very little about him but he fascinated me.  I always felt that there was something more to him ………………and I was soon to be proved right!

One wintry night Jack had arrived for his usual G & T.   There was only one other person in the bar at the time as it was a really nasty night.   He had just ordered his 2nd drink when the phone rang.   I gave Jack his drink and went into the kitchen to answer it.    Looking back I am always amazed with regards to ‘instincts’!
 
The voice on the phone asked me to verify that he was indeed calling a number in Puerto Pollensa, Majorca.  I confirmed that he was correct.  He then asked if he could speak to Jack!   ‘Jack who?’ I asked.   ‘Jack Hewitt’ he replied………………that’s when the ‘instincts’ kicked in!!
‘Sorry’ I said, ‘who did you say you were?’  To which he replied ‘I’m xxxxxx(the name escapes me) from the News of the World and I would like to speak to Jack Hewitt please’.
‘I think you’ve got the wrong number’ I said, ‘There’s no-one of that name here’
‘But I have it on good authority that he can be contacted on this number at any time’ he said.
‘Sorry to disappoint you’ I said ‘but no one of that name is here or ever has been.  I think you have been misinformed.  This is a Bar and our clientele is mainly Spanish so a Brit would stand out like a sore thumb as they are very thin on the ground at this time of year, but if you would like to leave your name and number on the off chance that he may find his way here one day I’ll be happy to take a note’.
‘That won’t be necessary’ he said rather curtly. ‘Obviously I’ve made a mistake’ and with that he rang off!

I went back into the bar to Jack, who was oblivious to all this, and said ‘OK Jack – I think we’ve known each other long enough now for me to ask this question – WHO ARE YOU??’      I then proceeded to relate the phone conversation word for word after which Jack’s response was ‘Oh my God they’ve found me again!  Won’t they ever leave me alone?’

I replied that in my opinion they wouldn’t be troubling him there again as I had done a very good job of convincing the man that Jack was definitely NOT in Puerto Pollensa.


For a short while Jack remained completely silent then he said ‘You’re right Gina.  It’s time I told you my story.  We’ve become good friends and I know I can trust you’.

JACK’S STORY – IN BRIEF.

The incident above happened in the mid 70’s (I forget the exact date) when a new Spy scandal had re-surfaced in connection with the Cambridge 5, and on this particular occasion they were probing into the affairs of – Sir Antony Blunt.

For those of you who don’t know, the Cambridge Five as they were known was a Spy ring formed in Cambridge University, which sold secrets to Russia during the Cold War.  Their names were Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, Kim Philby, John Cairncross and a 5th man who was later to be identified as Antony Blunt.
Anyone who had had relationships with these Five were immediately targeted as soon as fresh evidence against the Five came to light.

Guy Burgess and Antony Blunt were homosexuals so moved in the same circles in the 1940’s.   It was during that time that a very young, impressionable homosexual boy of about 16 from Newcastle, who was trying to make his way as a dancer in London, was introduced to this pair.  That boy of course was my friend Jack.

To cut a very long story short, Jack soon moved in with Guy and Kim Philby who shared a flat at that time, and was Guy’s lover for many years until that fateful day in 1951 when Jack said goodbye to Guy and went to work as usual in a theatre ticket office.  This was to be the last time he saw Guy ever again!      He returned home from work to find the flat empty and all Guys clothing gone!
It emerged later that he (Guy Burgess) together with Donald Maclean had defected to Russia!!

Many, many more things happened to Jack of course over the years because of his connections to Guy but I am not going into all that at this stage.    Suffice to say that Guy’s defection and spying connections were just as much of a shock to Jack as to the rest of the world.   Jack knew absolutely NOTHING of Guy’s secret life even though there are still many to this day who don’t believe that!

SO………….every time anything remotely connected with that era resurfaced, poor Jack was always targeted.  There was always some eager, budding, journalist who hounded him hoping to be ‘the one’ to finally break him.   It never happened!

Of course on that night in El Barco all those years ago, Jack only covered the surface of his story, but I felt very honoured that he had placed his trust in me by confiding it.   Over the years of course he told me everything in great detail and even put a lot of it down on paper as he was planning to write a book telling his side of things.

My friendship with Jack lasted until he died in 1997 at the age of 80.  When he was 65 he had a heart bypass and his doctors told him if he continued to live his life at the same pace as before the operation he couldn’t expect to live longer than 5 more years.        On his 70th birthday he said to me ‘Well darling, I’m now on borrowed time and I’m going to make every minute count!’.   And he did just that!

Although Jack had never been personally involved in ‘spying’ over the years, because of the endless publicity, he was often introduced to people in similar situations who’s cover had been blown for one reason or another.    On one particular occasion Jack was staying out in PP for the winter again and I invited him to dinner one Sunday.   ‘I’ve got a friend from Palma coming up that day Gina, is it OK if I bring him along?’    ‘Of course it is’ I said ‘The more the merrier!’

Sunday arrived and so did Jack with his friend who turned out to be none other than Greville Wynne – a Real Life Spy!

More about Greville next time………………………………………………!! ;D ;D ;D

   



« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 22:45:36 PM by gina39uk »
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Wrightstuff

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Re: PART 3-ONCE UPON A VERY LONG TIME AGO.............................
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2011, 12:55:55 PM »
What an interesting life you live. And Jack sounds like a wonderful character.

Cant wait for the book Gina.

Thank you for taking the time.. Its truly wonderful to read your tales.

Paula  :D

Bonyslad

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Re: PART 3-ONCE UPON A VERY LONG TIME AGO.............................
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2011, 13:10:44 PM »
Gina,

 What a wonderful story and so , so interesting . As a John le Carre nut it was doubly interesting to me.
 Please keep them coming because memories like this are hard to come by.

 BL  :) :)

 Incidentally, if you get the chance to see the new Tinker, Tailor, Spy film starring Gary Oldman and Colin Firth do grab it , it's excellent. Know it was about a decade later than the Burgess / Kilby era but very much along the same lines i.e. Treachery at the top of the Secret Services with a lot of gay undercurrents and I don't mean to sound judgemental.
BonysLad

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Belladonna

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Re: PART 3-ONCE UPON A VERY LONG TIME AGO.............................
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2011, 13:26:18 PM »
BL, seen the film - brilliant.  Gina, sat reading this as if I was indeed watching a film. All the scenarios playing out in my head! A fabulous reconstruction darling!  ;)  It is certainly lucky that you took time to write things down - my instincts tell me there are a lot more goings on too!  Thanks for sharing.
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EmilyJo

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Re: PART 3-ONCE UPON A VERY LONG TIME AGO.............................
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2011, 16:34:42 PM »
Hi Gina  :) 8)- just home and quickly read your fantastic story ;D - will digest it in detail later  ;D thanks also for  your kind words about my rather insignificant  report on  my 'escape route' ??? ::)  :-[I am glad to have joined this lovely friendly forum - ;D LOL EMJ 8)
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Eleanor

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Re: PART 3-ONCE UPON A VERY LONG TIME AGO.............................
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2011, 16:36:14 PM »
Brilliant Gina! Thank you! ;D

Like Bella I too have many pictures in my head. You actually made me go quite cold! I really enjoyed reading your story Gina and look forward very much to more!  ;D

PP certainly has many hidden secrets! ;)
Eleanor


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Chemical Dave

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Re: PART 3-ONCE UPON A VERY LONG TIME AGO.............................
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2011, 23:19:12 PM »
Gina

As others have said, what a great story and what an interesting life you have led. You describe the things so well I can really imagine being there. Really looking forward to hearing more.

I hope you don’t mind but I would like to know more about your venture, El Barco. I would be interested to know where about in the Port, it is/was. The translation of El Barco is ship or boat, which I am guessing relates to fishing somehow.  Is there any meaning /history to the name. What kind of establishment was it when you owned it. What kind of food did you do, that kind of thing. Sorry for all the questions.


Dave

gina39uk

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Re: PART 3-ONCE UPON A VERY LONG TIME AGO.............................
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2011, 11:47:04 AM »
I hope you don’t mind but I would like to know more about your venture, El Barco. I would be interested to know where about in the Port, it is/was. The translation of El Barco is ship or boat, which I am guessing relates to fishing somehow.  Is there any meaning /history to the name. What kind of establishment was it when you owned it. What kind of food did you do, that kind of thing. Sorry for all the questions.


Dave

Hi Dave

So pleased you are liking my posts and of course I don't mind your questions.

El  Barco was located on calle Juan XX111 almost at the end on the right hand side before the roundabout (across the road is the new Barclays Bank now)
It was run for many years as a Spanish Bar with just snacks & tapas then I had the good fortune to take over.
You are correct - the name means Boat or small ship and ironically most of my clientelle in the beginning came from the marina.  In those days there were a lot of foreigners (Brits, Dutch, Swedes etc) working and caretaking the boats and most of them lived on the boats all year round.  During the winter months my menus were good old fashioned stews, homemade pies, etc. to keep the boys full and warm.  During the summer of course the menus changed to suit the Tourists but one Special  which was constant all year round was my famous Barco Burgers!! (long before MacDonalds arrived in Spain!) It is no lie when i say that people used to come over from Alcudia just for a Barco Burger!  In hindsight i should have patented them when I had the chance ;D

The bar was very small with only a few tables  but there was an outside covered courtyard which had previously only been used for storage.  My food trade started to grow so I desperately needed more table room. So with the help of a very good artist friend of mine who painted the courtyard out to look like the inside of an old sailing ship, we  soon had a proper dining room!  This came in very handy of course for Christmas/New Year when we had private parties etc.,

Oh Happy Days!!

Sadly El Barco is no more but the memories will  never die! ;D
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girlie in the corner

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Re: PART 3-ONCE UPON A VERY LONG TIME AGO.............................
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2011, 08:57:33 AM »
Is that roughly where Stefanel is now, Gina?  Do you happen to have any old photos to scan in and post?   It would be lovely to see them.

gina39uk

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Re: PART 3-ONCE UPON A VERY LONG TIME AGO.............................
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2011, 14:30:53 PM »
Hi girlie.
It's where the internet shop is now.  Yes I do have lots of pics and plan to scan them all when I get some time.  Will try to upload a couple over the next few days ;D
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Chemical Dave

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Re: PART 3-ONCE UPON A VERY LONG TIME AGO.............................
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2011, 17:24:38 PM »
Thanks Gina

This is all very interesting and great reading.  I would love to have tried a Barco burger. Can you tell us your secret ingredient?

It is interesting you mentioned the Barclays bank. Mrs CD was in the Port on holiday when she was a young teenager. She does not remember too much about it now but does remember buying small fancy bottles of liqueurs from a shop which she thinks was where the Barclays bank is now. She loved the shapes and colours of the bottles and was not interested in the contents (even though we are Scottish!) and looking back, was amazed that they would sell them to a thirteen year old.

I can't wait till you get some photos loaded. I am sure they will bring back many happy memories.

Dave

Belladonna

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Re: PART 3-ONCE UPON A VERY LONG TIME AGO.............................
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2011, 17:46:34 PM »
Ah yes, that would be the Mir shop with the bottles upstairs. A real mr grumpy, but known by everyone and those bottles hid some really wierd things being pickled inside! A real loss when Barclays gave him an offer he couldn't refuse and he sold up. 8)
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gina39uk

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Re: PART 3-ONCE UPON A VERY LONG TIME AGO.............................
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2011, 23:57:51 PM »
Ah yes, that would be the Mir shop with the bottles upstairs. A real mr grumpy, but known by everyone and those bottles hid some really wierd things being pickled inside! A real loss when Barclays gave him an offer he couldn't refuse and he sold up. 8)

Yes Bella - you are quite right it was Colmado Mir - though we always used to refer to it a 'Fortnum & Masons'.  It was a real treasure trove and always amazed me that there were so little breakages as the stairs all the way up to the top floor were laden with bottles and there was barely room to put your feet!
Juan (Mr Grumpy) has to be the most miserable man in the Port for all his money.  The kids used to dare each other to make him laugh - as far as I know none of them succeeded ;D
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Mary Lorenzo

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Re: PART 3-ONCE UPON A VERY LONG TIME AGO.............................
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2011, 10:27:04 AM »
Great recollections Gina - can't wait for the next installment!
I'm sure it will be the News of the World phoning for you soon!! hehe!

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Re: PART 3-ONCE UPON A VERY LONG TIME AGO.............................
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2011, 15:55:46 PM »
Thanks Gina for part 3, very interesting indeed. We have just got back and whilst we were in the Port we looked at some old pictures and memorabilia but I don't recall seeing El Barca in what we looked at so, pictures would be nice. Quite by coincidence I happen to have a Gordons and Tonic to hand right now....................well, the sun is well over the yardarm (if we could only see it to-day)!