As one of a party lost amid the corridors and concourses of Malaga airport — 20 travellers in search of a coach — I was minded to suggest we ask for divine assistance in our hunt. There seemed a lively hope of a successful appeal since one of our number was Lord Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, still looking fully possessed of his powers 12 years into retirement. In the event, help came at sublunary level when a local told us the bus station was on the floor below, a detail omitted by the official at the luggage carousel.

We hadn’t wanted to come to Malaga at all, in fact, but were delivered there, Club class, by British Airways because it was too windy to land at Gibraltar. That’s what happens meteorologically where continents collide. Two days later, as cross-winds continued, other BA passengers bound for the Gibunco Gibraltar International Literary Festival had the unnerving experience, spared to us, of wobbling down almost on to the runway, before whizzing skywards again. Their plane did this twice, then aimed for Malaga too.

The festival, let me say at once, proved a huge hit, for those taking part, those watching it and those paying for it, in the shape of Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar and the many generous sponsors. Among the last group, special thanks are owed to Morrisons, the owners of the only big supermarket on the Rock, who gave most of the food and drink enjoyed by guests at the festival lunches and dinners.

The lavishness of these was commented upon by Lord Carey at the closing dinner in the special role he had by then gained as the festival’s “resident grace-sayer” (his description). His thanks to the Almighty for the extent of His bounty was followed by sustained applause. Was this, my neighbour asked, the first time any of us had heard an ovation for a prayer?

I, too, experienced acclamation unfamiliar to me at the close of my address on Life as a Journalist to a group of pupils at Gibraltar’s Bayside School last Thursday. A Schools Festival alongside the main event in this second year on the Rock had been the idea of festival director Sally Dunsmore, who asked me to take part. Sally, of course, will be well known to my readers as the prime mover behind the Oxford and Blenheim Palace festivals. While flattered to be included in what she considers her “festival family”, I recognise that with family membership come family responsibilities, one of which is to do what is requested.

Discovering on arrival in Gibraltar that other schools speakers were such luminaries as the Woodstock-resident, husband-and-wife historians Ross and Melanie King, novelists Ben Okri, Kate Mosse and Joanne Harris, chanteuse Patti Boulaye and Oxford professor Diarmaid MacCulloch — of the BBC series A History of Christianity, who now has Sex in the West in the can for transmission early in the new year — I began to think my sixth-form audience was going to be feeling a bit short changed by me. I envisaged scenes reminiscent of Gussie Fink-Nottle’s calamitous address to the boys of Market Snodsbury Grammar School, as described by P.G. Wodehouse in perhaps his funniest scene.

In fact, the teenagers could not have been better behaved. They listened to my address with what seemed to be interest (but which could have been silent amusement at my presumption in thinking I was saying anything that could be thought interesting) and asked intelligent questions later. As Patti Boulaye said after her schools gig, these youngsters were a credit to the parents of Gibraltar.

Patti’s praise came during a concert she gave in the amazing setting of St Michael’s Cave, the huge natural hollow at the heart of the Rock. Featuring songs from the shows, her polished set included memorable accounts of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Don’t Cry for Me Argentina and George Bizet’s saucy Habanera from Carmen Jones.

During the course of the second of these she ended in the lap of George Carey, who thanked her for making him the envy of every man present (if not perhaps making her the toast of one woman present; I mean Lady Carey). Since his Lordship has figured prominently in this piece so far, I ought properly to say that he appeared more conventionally in Gibraltar, preaching at the Festival Service on Sunday morning in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity and, two days earlier, discussing Moral Dilemmas of the 21st Century. Over one of these dilemmas, assisted dying, he has lately gone against his previously expressed opinion by coming out in favour of it.

Patti, whose warm personality is shared by her husband, Stephen Komlosy, became a sunny presence behind the scenes. On Saturday, following drinks with them in the lovely garden at the Garrison Library, I ate lunch there flanked on one side by Diarmaid MacCulloch and on the other by Steve Hogarth of the rock band Marillion. Steve told me he had been pictured in The Oxford Times recently while headlining at Cropredy. Now here he is (see above) again.

Final joke. John Julius Norwich, ever a wit, spoke in his Governor’s Lecture on the Mediterranean of the besieging Greeks at Troy, overcome with heat in their craftily gifted equine and asking: “Is there a doctor in the horse?”