I have been ill-prepared for this trip so each arrival at port is a Magical Mystery Tour or more accurately, a Marty Feldman Lightning Tour. I had heard of Cadiz before we arrived, nothing more. It has plenty of history but not recent; by 1770 it was the trading port with the Americas and established a wealth beyond London. Not for long though – thirty years later the English appeared on the horizon in the form of that good man Nelson who promptly set his cannons upon the city; good old British diplomacy. In its final major act upon the world stage it was the port that hosted Villeneuve’s fleet on the eve of its total destruction at Trafalgar.
Apropos of nothing at all, the words of King Creosote’s plaintive Admiral have risen from the waves:
You’ve carved a hairline scratch
Into this granite heart
And it’s here I falter….
It’s you I’ll scuttle the fleet for
Make my first mate walk the plank for
Admire the all or nothing
I’m Admiral of nothing at all
Nothing at all
Its demise as a major city is purportedly historical but the more obvious reason is geographical. It is on a peninsula surrounded on almost all sides by water – there is simply no room to expand.
On the great chequerboard of life, what random roll of the dice, what storm-tossed sea put me here on this day, of this month, in this year – December 22nd 2012; Cadiz.