Friday, 17 December 2010

An Englishman abroad

Mrs QO & I leave tomorrow to spend Christmas on Malta with a select band on her side of the family. This will be our third trip to this fascinating Mediterranean island. Everyone who was anyone in the 'invade and colonise' line has been through the place, leaving something behind; it's a fascinating mix of cultures. The Maltese language has Semitic roots, overlaid with much Arabic and Italian influence. The Maltese driver has lunatic roots, overlaid with much Italian influence. The island having been a British Protectorate, the theory is that one drives on the left, but this is honoured more in the breach than th'observance, frankly. Local wisdom is that one drives in the shade wherever possible, and if that disconcerts the oncoming Brit visitor, well, it's nothing personal. Road signs are misleading on the rare occasions they're there at all, roundabouts are just a way of using up concrete, and traffic lights can be out of action for years before repair. Nobody takes much notice of them, you see, so why bother rushing to do something about them?

The Maltese people are friendly and courteous, although two locals can exchange comments about the weather and sound as if a major ruck is about to kick off. The local brewery turns out worthy products, the sea is startlingly blue, the old buildings unearthly beautiful and Grand Harbour by night one of the most breathtaking views anywhere. I fell in love with the whole deal on our first visit, and am very glad to be going back.

Oh, and not to rub your noses in it, but the weather report from Malta this morning was 19 degrees and sunny. If you're feeling a tad jealous, it may help to know that we have to fly from Liverpool at Stupid o'clock on Sunday morning, so will be staying at a Travelodge in Widnes tomorrow night. Trust me, there are no grounds to feel jealous of us on that score...

Packing still remains to be done, so I shall sign off and wish everyone a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

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