Hzanna’s husband duly returned from yet another highly lucrative day at his own Azzopardi’s “Meat Solutions’ shop selling an incredible amount of lamb cutlets and rosemary ‘infused’ sausages. He quickly nipped into Bunning to pick up the shelving, special screws and grommets. He had found out that screwing into the plaster boards of his brick veneer home was fraught with failure. The plasterboard after all was part of the veneer. The plaster would not hold any weight, just crumble. Life and life-styles were learning curves to overcome. Nothing was easy. His close friend and husband from the Sicilian Mamone family had far more experience in the ways of own home and home improvements. You need a stud finder, he advised. It will tell you were the timber studs are to screw your shelving on. You can’t just bang screws in willy-nilly in a brick veneer like back in Malta where walls were made hewn from solid stone. What’s more; those walls were made hundreds of years ago. Here in Australia we are modern and all is new here. Go, get a ‘stud finder’ and make sure it has a battery, he said.
He was hardly home when Hzanna found her husband creeping along the walls of the brick veneer own home, holding a gadget that emitted a pulsing sound. When the pulsing stopped and made a continuous sound the ‘stud-finder’ had found a stud. It was marvellous. Home improvements technology at its best. In no time were the white shelving unwrapped from their plastic imprisonment and husband proceeded, with the help of the stud finder, to fasten the shelving onto the studs hidden behind the plaster walls. The shelving came with an Allen key, which Hzanna thought belonged to Allen. He explained this was not so. It was just the name of a small hexagonal tool that could drive screws and bolts &nuts to fasten different ‘home improvements’, he explained. Hzanna decided to memorise all those details to relate to Rosaria when next connected by Skype. You need a lot of patience and fortitude but after a while the mysteries of ‘life-style’ will become clearer she hoped.
Even so, when Rosaria send her the photos of the party at Gozo’s L-Ghadira beach, she suffered pangs of warm memories, not quite having faded out. The Malta memories were persistent, not easy to obliterate. The Rosaria olives with stuffing she remembered from all those years ago. The climb over the rocks. The washing and drying of clothes on those same rocks. The singing voice of Aunt Sophia she could still hear together with the peppers and chillies hanging from the doorways and fishing-boats coming at the harbour side. The salted anchovies’ bouquet still on her tongue. Rockdale is just as good she consoled herself, yet again. She knew that her husband was proud of his Azzopardi’s ‘Meat Solutions’ shop in Rockdale. It was doing well and money was rolling in.
Her daughter’s lack of suitable boyfriends was a niggling problem. She thought that perhaps she should give her the chance of finding someone back in Malta. But, she was now more Australian and hardly even spoke Maltese. Even so, it remained a worry. Hzanna was reflecting how things were different in Rockdale with frowns on her forehead. Malta was different as well. They don’t have Bunning’s improvements or modern brick veneer. Apart from her daughter’s problems with football loving and beer drinking boyfriends, Hzanna had noticed a change in her daughter’s facial features. Her lips were curled and becoming somewhat pouting. She overheard the word Botox and had read that some women thought it important to try and prevent growing older. There was a method of injecting a youth retaining substance now. This method would fill cracks and hollows and loose skin would be rejuvenated to its former unblemished glory. Why did she at twenty three already feel she needed to retain youth? Was her daughter not in the middle of ‘youth’? Perplexing problems reared its head.
Still, the shelving had been put in place and she finally had space to put the family photos including the full coloured one of Azzopardi’s Meat Solutions shopfront in Rockdale’s shopping Emporium.