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

Monday, 30 June 2014

Simply Loving

It is summer and it is as hard to sit down and write as it is to sit still and read. So, from time to time, I will just share the things that make my heart beat just a little bit faster. And I will try to keep it short. Try is the key word here because I do tend to ramble sometimes.
This month’s favourites:-
~ My hydrangea. When I bought the plant in May of last year, I was not sure it would survive our harsh summer. But I watered it. Everyday. And I kept it in a shady corner of our garden. It lived. Then winter came and it was reduced to a few leafless branches. I was ready to throw it away. Then March rolled around and the days got warmer. It grew a few leaves, then more and more. It had survived and this month, it flowered once more. The blooms are gorgeous but that is not the only reason why I love them. One day, I’ll tell you more.
My flowers (3)
~ Instagram. What’s not to love? It’s the perfect way of keeping up with friends (both the real and the virtual ones) and family and it only takes an instant. Or maybe a little bit more. I’ve found out that it can get addictive. You can find me here if you’re interested.
~ Cool sea breezes – until they last.
~ Lazy weekend afternoons spent reading or browsing through my stack of Pottery Barn books and magazines. I admit, I am a a bit of a Pottery Barn addict.
Valletta 061
~ Longer daylight hours.
~ Streets lined with oleanders bushes in full bloom. While every other plant that is not watered regularly has long given up the fight, these hardened veterans flower in full drought and provide some welcome colour to our otherwise rather drab landscape.
~ A new blog I’ve discovered via Jeanne called Close Ups And Wide Angles. The photos are just divine.
~ The poems of Pablo Neruda. You may read some here.
~ Swimming in water that is still so cool that it literally takes your breath away.
~ The music of Melody Gardot – perfect for balmy summer evenings under the stars.
Wishing you all many happy summer memories. Until next time …

Monday, 16 June 2014

Stories In The Stones

The year is hurtling towards midsummer and I am being dragged along – reluctantly – like an obstinate mule, digging my heels into the earth and uselessly hoping that it will grind to a halt. Slow down, slow down, I whisper to no one in particular, this ride is way too fast. The coachman does not heed my fretful call. I am not in command. I feel giddy, unsafe, trapped in a vortex that is madly spiralling out of control. But through the chaos, a voice bids me to calm down. There is time, it says, time to breathe, time to learn, time to write about the permanence of this transient life. But surely, I thought, that is an oxymoron. Then I reflected; and finally, I understood - that we are all invited to leave an indelible mark. We can write our stories in sand and let the tide wash them away or we can carve them painfully, but permanently, in stone.
Mdina Ditch 094
And I looked around me and saw an island whose history is etched in the limestone blocks of our buildings. The stories of our fathers are intricately bound to the stone walls that surround us. Almost reverently, I reach out to touch their golden faces, gently caressing the marks left by the winds; left by time. I lean forward, let my forehead rest on their pock-marked surface and shut out the world.
Medieval Mdina (79)
Then I hear it, the hum as of a thousand muffled voices, telling me their stories, their triumphs, their tragedies. There were tales of love and despair; of hatred and death; war and disease; of pirate raids and a fervent Faith. It seemed that I had finally understood. This, then, was my calling, to give a voice to the voiceless and a history to the nameless. It was up to me to discover the patina of ages; to unravel the mystery of doors that led nowhere and to tell a tale that would have been lost in the mists of time – were it not for the stones.
Medieval Mdina 089
I smiled. The spinning had stopped. The coachman had finally come to a halt.
Medieval Mdina 033
Location: Mdina - April 2013

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Sun Always Shines Above The Clouds

Sometimes life takes you to places where you never expected to go. Last week, work took me to Sofia. I wish I could say that the experience enriched me, as travelling usually does. But all I got to see of Sofia was the view of the mountains from the office and a view of the office from my hotel window.
Sofia 031
Sofia 033
Other than that my impression was limited to the short drive from and to the airport: a city ringed by mountains, with ugly, run-down apartment blocks badly in need of a coat of paint interspersed between Art-deco buildings that have seen better days. Graffiti is common, as are the roses that spill their blooms into the roundabouts and centre-strips in which they are planted. And trees – lots and lots and lots of trees.
Sofia 035
Sofia 032
Never in all my life have I had so little to say about a city I visited. But perhaps it was  meant to be that way. Travelling solo can be lonely but I never fail to pack a trusted companion. For this trip it was Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”. Perhaps it was fitting that on a trip loaded with work I chose a book about chasing your personal dream. Perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence that  on both of my flights back home the plane had to break through dark storm clouds into the sun. Perhaps, as the book suggests, omens are all around us – we just have to know how to read them. Perhaps life teaches us lessons even when we are several thousand feet above the ground.
“We are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria – May 2014


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