Paul OGarra was born in Gibraltar on the 8th may 1952. His father, Louis, was a British schoolteacher from Manchester turned soldier by the war and served with the Royal artillery on the Rock. He returned after the war was over and started a school, St Josephs, the first postwar school.
Louis married Teresa Azzopardi, the beautiful young daughter, baby of a family of Gibraltarian shipchandlers, fervent Roman Catholics. Louis and Teresa had four children of whom Paul was the third eldest.
Childhood was spent roaming across the Up South, Rosia and Europa Point areas of Gibraltar engaging in childish games and adventures, all the while reading extensively.
Paul was educated at Gibraltar Grammar school. At the earliest time possible he set off in a steamer from Tangiers, sailing to Southampton with a friend. After working a spell in London he left UK to discover the world. Later he alternated callings as a tour guide of Morocco of south Spain and eventually running a Flamenco club on the Costa del Sol.
In later years Paul was to marry and have a family of three girls. Eventually he set off again to new places in the middle and Far East, Phillippines South America, and when Perestroika and Glasnost arrived at the hands of Mihail Gorbacheff, set off to discover the East. He studied Russian at St Petersburg. Then to the Ukraine, falling more and more in love with the Great Russian writers and painters as he went.
Fourteen years ago he was operated on successfully at the Bullfighters Hospital in Pamplona in North Spain. Two years later the cancer metastasised to his lungs on which he was duly operated and half of his lungs were removed. Later he suffered strokes in both eyes and lost partial sight in one eye and total in the left which he duly recovered by swimming and praying. Seven years since his last operation and remission seems to be total.
The Boy who sailed to Spain is Paul O´Garra´s first published work and will be followed in the next few months with a collection of short stories and a second book, Malak, making the boy who sailed to Spain the first in a series.
John Mackintosh Hall