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

Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017: A year in review and an announcement

2017 started, as all years do, with a lot of high hopes but it went the same way as its predecessors. Looking over the international headlines for the year that is about to end does nothing to alleviate the perception that life for hundreds of thousands of people around the world was harsh and horrendous. From the racial cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, to a hurricane season from hell, 2017 delivered, but not in a good way.

On a local level, the murder of journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia that I wrote about in Dear Daphne, stopped  Malta in its tracks – if only for a few days. Our attention spans are short and we flit from one piece of tragic news to another the same way bees dance from flower to flower in a spring garden. Three men have been arrested in connection with Daphne’s murder but the motive remains unclear. In the meantime, an impromptu memorial in her honour has been set-up on the Great Siege memorial in front of our law-courts and thousands of people are still hoping that justice for Daphne will be done.

Valletta Christmas lights (30)

On a personal level, our trip to the US was the highlight of our year. I made my acquaintance with Florida and re-visited a few favourite haunts in Missouri. Unfortunately, the three weeks passed too quickly and we were soon back home, dealing with one of the hottest summers in the past few years. Having said that, Florida was hotter than I could have imagined but it rained every day in the afternoon (which is normal in the tropics) so that alleviated some of the heat – although it did nothing to help the humidity. During our trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios we rode the infamous Tower of Terror, which was definitely the scariest part of our trip, for me, at least – much scarier than waiting for a tornado to pass overhead as we visited friends in Kissimmee.

During 2017 we got to discover Malta a bit more because we went on quite a few hikes off the beaten track. which helped us appreciate the last-remaining beauty spots of this island. This enthusiasm for discovery was triggered by the loss of the Azure Window and the concrete jungles that are springing up in so many of our towns and villages. It seems that what Nature has preserved, we are keen to destroy – which puts into perspective just how much some people really care about our environment, in spite of all the public rhetoric.

Valletta Christmas lights (28)

A little bit about our Christmas …

We had a lovely Christmas with colder-than-usual temperatures that added to the season’s spirit. On some days the air was so crystal clear that we could see Mount Etna snowy cap, which added a bit to the magic of the season, I baked four different types of cookies: peppermint chocolate chip, orange cranberry, mocha coconut crinkle and chocolate orange. I also made champagne chocolate truffles and a chocolate cherry cake accompanied by a boozy cherry syrup for tomorrow’s New Year’s Day lunch. The links will take you to the recipes but I might share some of them on my blog in the coming year. We spent Christmas day with family. My cousin moved to Malta from the UK this past autumn and my aunt and uncle, who would usually spend Christmas in the UK with him, stayed in Malta this year. So we really enjoyed our day and had some laughs over a game of Trivial Pursuit.

Valletta Christmas lights (29)

During the holidays (I was so happy to be off of work between Christmas and the New Year) we enjoyed an evening at MADC’s pantomime ‘Cinderella’ during which dames Dulcey and Duda had the audience, especially the children, in fits of laughter. We spent another evening at the newly refurbished Suq tal-Belt (I will write about it in 2018) and had some time to critique Valletta’s Christmas lights. I did not particularly like them as I thought they were too glitzy and kitschy for Christmas (you can see them in today’s post) and would have looked better in downtown Las Vegas than in a city that takes so much pride in the Mannerist and Baroque buildings that abound in its streets. But, as they day, to each his own, as the majority of people seem to like them.

Valletta Christmas lights (32)

An announcement

At just 18 posts, 2017 was my least productive year and there are many reasons for this. Foremost amongst them is my inability to stop (unfavourably) comparing my writing to that of others, coupled with a nagging feeling that something needs to change for me to recapture my spark. But I also had some major issues with technology and with Windows in general, and there were many days when I turned on my laptop which started to automatically update. Except that two or three hours later it would still be updating. Luckily, my cousin managed to fix whatever issues it had.

Valletta Christmas lights (33)

And so, we come to my ‘momentous’ announcement. I have decided to stop updating this blog and start a new one called Sincerely, Loree. The URL for this blog is new too. So those of you who would like to subscribe or follow along, please go to:

www.sincerelyloree.blogspot.com (www(dot)sincerelyloree(dot)blogspot(dot)com)

The final layout is still not completely finalised so please have patience with me if you come across some strange things while I tweak the template.

I will dedicate my first entry (I hate calling them posts) on my new blog to why I felt that this change was required. My main hope is that I will really get back into the blogging groove. I have read up about blogging quite a bit and my aim is to write about subjects in a more realistic and informative manner, without forsaking a touch of whimsy every now and then.

And finally …

My best nine on Instagram

Since it is the end of the year, I want to share my best 9 on Instagram, as I feel that these photos usually bring back some wonderful memories. This year all the photos were from Malta. Five of them were taken during our forays onto the island’s coast but the other four are very close to home.

storiesandscribbles_full

From top to bottom, left to right, they are: the cliffs at Fomm ir-Rih, the view from the balcony at the back of our house, the geological formations at the bay in Fomm ir-Rih, a pair of colourful doors in the neighbouring town of Rabat, red balconies in Valletta, Crown Daisies at Fomm ir-Rih, looking down from the cliffs at Ghar Lapsi, poppies in a field in front of my parents’ house, and Kalanka Bay.

I sincerely thank those of you who take the time to like or comment on my photos. Anybody that would like to find me on Instagram may click here. incidentally, as from tomorrow, my user name on Instagram will change to Sincerelyloree. The URL will remain the same,

Dear Readers, I would like to wish you and your families a wonderful year. May 2018 be kinder to people everywhere. and may we all do our little part to make it more joyful to those around us.

12 comments:

  1. Happy New Year and New Blog!
    Thank you for your wonderful posts and photographs

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  2. Happy New Year Loree - and I am excited to follow your new blog!

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    1. Thank you Amanda. You're my first follower.

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  3. YOU are using my FAVORITE ROSE PHOTO EVER on YOUR NEW BLOG!
    I have sign up!
    THANK you for your card and thoughts..............
    MAY 2018 be a GOOD YEAR for ALL.............
    XX

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for subscribing. One comment from you is enough to make me smile. The photo on my new blog is of an unopened hibiscus flower. It's very pretty.

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  4. Wishing you a Happy New Year, your trip to America in 2017 must have been very different to visiting the South West of England! Sarah x

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    Replies
    1. Yes, vastly different but the SW of England is very beautiful and we hope to return soon.

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  5. Same here, 2017 wasn't a productive blogging year for me. I hope to be better this year.

    I was so happy being off from work from Christmas to New year. It's my first time working for a company that closes for that amount of time. However, I am not liking my new job so far.

    I am excited with your new blog.

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    Replies
    1. I am sorry you're not liking your new job. It's hard when that happens. Right now I don't like mine very mush either. I am a bit bored with it. But it's always nice to have time off over Christmas.

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  6. Enjoyed your recap of 2017...your photos were beautiful. I have already signed up for your new blog. Will be seeing you there. Hugs!

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  7. I almost missed this post because each time you comment I look if there is something new and then I didn't look every time. I became a little lazy in Blogging. Indeed the Valetta Christmas decoration looks a bit overdone ! I think years fly by so quickly. What a great decision to start a new blog.

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Thanks for stopping by. I read and appreciate every one of your comments. I will do my best to reply whenever I can.

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