The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

A Spring Enchantment

The sign for a Dead End stood sentinel at the entrance to a bumpy road that sliced through fields of still-leafless vines. But we decided to ignore it and drive on anyway. The thrill of the unknown was more enticing than the possible inconvenience of ending up in a field or in front of a rubble wall and having to reverse all the way back.
Dwejra and Fiddien 033
Dwejra and Fiddien 046
The countryside was lush and the grass as green as polished emeralds. On either side of us, the silent vines are contemplating their re-awakening. Instead of getting narrower, the road widened to a little clearing and there we were in front of two gaily-painted lilac walls that seemed to form an entrance to another, much narrower, bumpier path.
Dwejra and Fiddien 024
We stopped the car and got out (well, two of us did – the Mischief Maker preferred to continue reading his beloved airplane books from which he is quite inseparable). The air was soft and warm, almost too warm, and carried on it the scent of spring. I looked at the lilac gate-way and my mind took off. Before too long I was in my own magical realm.
Dwejra and Fiddien 026
I was sure that somewhere at the end of this path, a princess slept - because, surely, those gnarled trees with their knobby trunks that seemed as old as the island itself, were once young knights in search of true love. But their quest had failed when an evil old witch turned them into mighty trees with their arms all askew.
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Dwejra and Fiddien 028
My feet itched to explore some more, to see where the path led and what I would find at its end. But empty stomachs were clamouring for food. I would have to come back some other day.  I would have to come and explore and break the magic spell. Or maybe I would come back and fall victim to the enchantment myself.
I turned my back, reluctantly, leaving behind me a dusty path lined with brooding trees and the promise of adventure and enchantment beyond an incongruous lilac gateway.
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Photographed at Fiddien Valley, March 2014

Friday, 21 March 2014

Wasted Time

Nadur 010
Since I have taken this quote very much to heart, I fear that instead of sitting down to write, I have wasted my time scouring the Internet for inspiration for my travel scrapbook and for photos of hairstyles that might suit me (just in case I decide to go for a bit of a change). I have been productive in other ways though, as my scribbling on notebooks never ceases – nor does my photo-taking.
Dwejra and Fiddien 020
A plethora of wild flowers including giant fennel, asphodel and greater snapdragon
We had a national holiday last Wednesday and went exploring – as we are wont to do. We never expect to find anything new, but, somehow, we always do. Perhaps it’s because we tend to look at the world around us with wide-open eyes and find the unexpected in the mundane and ordinary. Because in reality, none of it is – ordinary, I  mean. When you don’t expect much, you are given a lot in return. Spring is definitely hard at work and she gives ungrudgingly. It’s a bit late to start writing about all the little big things but I definitely have enough material for a number of future posts. I’ll keep my fingers and toes crossed over that one.
Dwejra and Fiddien 019
Giant fennel umbel - opening up
And while we are on the subject of wasted time, here’s another of my all-time favourites:
Finally … I have recently joined Instagram. If any of you are on this other ‘time waster’, drop me a line, I would love to see what you are up to. My Instagram profile is here and my name is storiesandscribbles ( no surprise there).
Have a wonderful weekend and apologies if this post seems a bit all-over-the-place: I had a Nerf-gun war going on around me while I was writing it.  Thanks heavens for little boys and for big ones too.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Willful One

It was 1986. Our French lesson dragged on interminably. I thought I would scream if we had to recite another irregular French verb. Outside our classroom window, two sparrows with thoughts of nest-building pecked lovingly at each other, perched precariously on the edge of the stone balcony. In between a je suis and a tu es they had hopped over the edge and flown away. My thoughts followed them. I was soon somewhere above the puffy clouds.
The abrasive sound of chalk on blackboard brought me back to reality. Another confounded irregular verb to memorise. I  marked it in my book and peered at the board through half-open eyes, wishing I was a bird and could fly away to some fantasy realm. I turned my head slightly. Across the very narrow aisle, littered with school bags, my friend Helga was busily scribbling away. I doubted she was that interested in French verbs.
Mdina Ditch 083
“What are you writing,” I whispered between one conjugation and the next.
“The lyrics to Kayleigh,” she whispered back.
“Write them for me,” I replied, as I surreptitiously handed her my notebook.
She nodded. Minutes later the notebook was back on my desk. I glanced at them and hummed the song in my head.
Do you remember, chalk hearts melting on a playground wall?
Do you remember, dawn escapes from moon-washed college halls?
I was back in my reverie again. This time it was the clanging sound of the recess bell that brought me back to the classroom.
Mdina Ditch 084
It was  March then, as it is now. At lot has changed since that far-off day in the classroom. And a lot has remained the same. I am no longer a bored teenager at school and the ‘80s are just a golden memory. But I am still prone to day-dreaming and to building castles on clouds. Only now, those moments come upon me while I am driving or cooking. And, yes, sometimes while working too. I still hum Kayleigh in my head and, although I have a lot of quiet moments, I can be boisterous and a little bit unruly too. I have changed but, deep down where it matters, I have remained the same.
Medieval Mdina (12)
Our classroom balcony – just above the main entrance
As for March, it is as unpredictable as ever. It is willful and capricious. It  is sunshine and thunderstorms; raindrops and hail. It is beautiful beyond any other month of the year and the most willful out of all of them. March is predictably unpredictable. A maiden clothed in the most exuberant cloak of colours that only the Master painter of the universe can devise; a tomboy with a most mischievous grin. I delight in all that this month has to offer and I will it to go on forever. Because, you see, we are strangely akin, March and I, and I was going to tell you why but, on second thoughts, I will leave it up to you to figure it out.
For those of you that are curious, here’s Kayleigh:
Speaking of change, our school has recently been transformed into a centre of Culture and Leisure. More about that, if you are interested, here and here.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Fabulous Fridays: March

Picnic at Dwejra (92)

Excuse my rather long absence – things have been rather hectic at this end. March is here and since it never does anything by half measures, it rushed in on the wings of a strong wind and heavy rainfall. I think I love it best out of all the months of the year. And for good reason – because it gets really pretty around here at this time. It doesn’t last long, but while it does, I will be enjoying every minute of it. I hope you’re all starting to feel spring stirring. I am in a bit of a mad rush but I’ll be back with more about March and me next week.

Humming along to:


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