The reason for this long break in communications was a trip to the UK, and preparing for the trip was boring with one exception. Week seven saw a long awaited celebratory dinner, just the two of us, at De Mondion.
This restaurant sits atop the Xara Palace hotel, a 17th century palazzo and dining on its outdoor terrace gives a spectacular view over the island to the Mediterranean beyond. This would be more impressive to diners who, unlike us, did not have the same view from their balcony at home! Nonetheless, it was very fine, and the food justified the reputation of the chef, who is deemed the best in Malta. they serve French haute cuisine, using as many local ingredients as possible.
Sadly we were not able to dine outdoors as there was a gale blowing, but the intimate, very comfortable dining room was an excellent substitute.
After a sumptuous meal, I was gently sipping my recuperative green tea while Lawrence dealt with the bill. I glanced up to see a panic stricken husband. “Did you bring any money” he said. “No” I replied, thinking he needed some change for the tip. But no! It was much worse than that. He had brought his “muggers wallet” by accident where the most recent card was almost 5 years out of date. Whoops!!
Lawrence called Edgar our local taxi driver on my mobile, ran down into the car which fortunately was waiting at the door, and scurried home (fortunately close by) to retrieve the correct wallet. I in the meantime contrived to sip my tea very slowly and fended off the waiter twice, assuring him that my husband would be back very soon. I could see that the poor man was wondering if Lawrence had an adverse reaction to something he had eaten.
Some time later, a very flustered husband appeared, and told a tale that would have done Mr Bean proud. On arriving at the apartment building, he burst through the outer door, dashed to the lift, ran into the apartment, all the way to the back where he picked up the correct wallet, and dashed back out again – only to be passed by a strange dog which rushed past him into the apartment! I wish I could have seen the double-take he must have done! Talk about bad timing. Fortunately the dog was friendly, and did not snarl as he shooed it out of the flat. It then proceeded to accompany him into the lift and downstairs. He knew it must belong to one of the other residents so did not want to let it go outside, but he had extreme difficulty getting past it for several minutes. All this time Edgar was revving the engine ready for a quick getaway, but all he could see through the glass door was Lawrence scurrying about bent over, but not the dog. He must have thought he was mad!
Anyway, eventually he returned, we confessed to the waiter, who by this time thought I had been abandoned, and paid the bill. I tittered all night.
So then home to Blighty, where we played with the Drakes Broughton folk band in the Pershore Carnival, and in one of their practice sessions. It was great to catch up with them again, as we used to play every Monday night. My mother’s birthday was another notable event as was my eye check-up. No more operations, but 6 months of drops to correct persistent fluid build up in my macula. Could have been much worse.
Just before coming back, we had a fabulous day with our friends the Hodgsons who had invited us to the traditional Richard Johnson Memorial Service in St Brides Church, Fleet Street, followed by a banquet in Stationers Hall. St Brides is a Christopher Wren church with it’s tall “wedding cake” spire being, of his creations, second in height only to St Paul’s Cathedral. The music was wonderful with a new composition by a young composer setting a traditional psalm to soaring atonal, often discordant, but quite stunning music. The sermon theme was “Life is a bubble” as it has been since its inception centuries ago. As is traditional, the theme “I’m forever blowing bubbles” was also sung by a fine soprano. Football sprang to mind at that point!
Lunch was equally fascinating, as apart from the delicious, beautifully presented food, the hall itself was a historical treasure with the Livery flags and the gorgeous panelling. The piece de resistance was an original James the First Bible. Such ancient, beautiful calligraphy and binding was quite moving. So many thanks to Roy and Joan for a great day.
After that it was time to sort out what we were taking back to Malta. We had to buy two cases, as we had come back carry-on only and I wanted to take my treasured Vorwerk hoover back, together with a load of linen, two duvets and my cutlery! So we ended up with 3 cases and two pieces of hand baggage. These items are seriously expensive over here and Ryanair’s luggage charges quite modest, so it was worthwhile.
Back home to the apartment and straight to the balcony where there was an enormous firework display as part of a local festa weekend which lasted till midnight. It had been good to see everyone, but this is feeling like home now, and we were both glad to be back. Our first visitors would arrive the next day, so off to bed to recharge the batteries!