Posts Tagged ‘Valetta’

Double glazing

June 4, 2014
future fire-men

future fire-men

It was bound to be a day of excitement. The glass windows and doors were delivered last Friday. A man from Samoa with a large truck unloaded them and stored them in our garage. He was a well built and stocky man. His ankles protruded from his socks and boots like timber posts rising up from the harbour to support a bulk carrier. I asked him if he played rugby which he denied. I later found out he has six kids to support and a lovely Gauguin Tahitian like wife. He proudly showed me a photo. That would keep him as busy as any training session in any sport.

It is reassuring that there still are families bestowed with generous fruit of the womb progeny for further future development. I mean, the percentage of over 70 seems to dominate any street scene now. Only last week a scientists was being interviewed on television who claimed there is something magic in red wine which promises to be the elixir of all youth. He is trying the red wine ingredient on himself and he did look rather flush with vigour if not a bit floral as well. People in their nineties will be playing tennis soon, he enthused. One wonders though that those that are growing obese will keep those wonders of the ageing red wine contingent at bay with dying earlier. It is a neck on neck race.

So, last Monday the shop fitters arrived and installed all the glass windows and doors. It were a father and son team. Both were also stocky with belts around their waists with a variety of tools arranged hanging from them. Anyone turning up with loaded belts must inspire confidence and trustworthiness. I mean, have you seen firemen lately in full regalia? Awesome. One must be tempted to start one just to see them arrive and jump off the truck all ready for action. In fact, sometimes one reads about firemen starting a fire secretly in order to see some action. It is not unusual. It must be boring to spent so much time up a loft all dressed for action, when day after day there are no fires. The wives waiting at home; “did you have good fire to fight today, darling?” “No, he answers grumpily”. “Just dried some hoses and did some training, sliding down the pole.”

The windows and doors were fitted by 2pm. Can you believe it? It just shows that experts just do it. No fiddling or wrong measurements. The father came from a Maltese background and both his sons had visited Valetta two years before with their grand-dad. Malta is a great little country and I would recommend a stay there at any time. I wrote a story about a Maltese lady called Rosaria.
You might like to read some of it.

Rosaria from Gozo (Halal approved sausages continued)

July 31, 2012

Rosaria from Gozo

Gozo lace making by Rosaria

Rosaria in Gozo was deeply puzzled by the need for Botox implants in Australia’s Rockdale. In Malta, women had rather fulsome facial features with generous and ample bosoms. Not much needed propping or lifting. In any case, she was convinced that as you got older one would look of an age whereby years of living expressed themselves in looking older. Was looking young so important? Did grandmothers not want to look as if they had grown wiser and older than a teenager? She knew from gossip magazines that in Valetta there had been some that were suspected of also having injected a kind of filler under their skin to get rid of ageing wrinkles. Rosaria thought that the pictures of those people often showed vacancies of minds with eyes looking out without seeing much at all. To be so self-absorbed, wasn’t ever present in Rosaria’s world.

She had a lot to ponder about while sitting in the shade of a large and very old olive tree. Rosaria wasn’t just being idle in the shade of that lovely tree. Anyone having a closer look would see a fast and deft movement of hands. There were arrangements of small narrow shaped wooden bobbins in her lap that would be changed around rapidly. Each of those bobbins had a thread which Rosaria was using to make garments of lace. On a chair she had arranged the lace on a covered straw cushion with lots of pins holding the different threads in place. Near her feet was a large sized porcelain doll partially dressed in colourful cloth. It was a picture perfect. Somehow, Rosaria’s pregnant swollen belly with a large doll on the ground and threaded bobbins in her lap told a story of creativity, peace and serenity.

The filtered light under the ancient olive tree was adding to a dream-like landscape of a rugged rock island telling its ancient history. She had been dressing those porcelain dolls for some years now. Her mother had taught her the basics of that skill when she was very young. The main thing was to not get the bobbins mixed up while creating the intricate work of fabric making sure each thread remained independent from each other. When she had four dolls finished she would catch the ferry to Sicily’s Messina and sell them to a gallery specialising in exhibiting her exquisite dolls, all dressed in colourful hand stitched traditional costume. The laced material would be applied on top of the hand stitched fabric, allowing the colours to show through. People from around the world would travel to Sicily’s Messina to visit the gallery and buy those intricate dolls. The dolls were works of high art. Rosaria was getting a name for herself as one of the master lace makers for the hand cast porcelain dolls. Those dolls were passed from generation to generation, becoming priceless family heirlooms.

While his wife was busying herself with lace, Joe was bobbing around on his boat. He had caught more than enough fish and was just reflecting on how his wife’s sister was faring in Australia. He was amazed about all those home improvements going on so far away.  He was trying to imagine the timber stud walls with plaster sheeting and the magic of a stud finder beeping on its search for timber studs. It must be the same as his fish-finder, he reckoned. He also relied on electronics to find fish. They were not all that far apart. Did the world not rely now on electronics to find almost everything? Joe was deeply immerged in his philosophical ponderings. For once this hot summer there was a cool breeze blowing about his boat.

Rosaria from Gozo (Malta) halal sausages

July 29, 2012

Rosaria from Gozo (continued)



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.