Maltese interlude

There’s a reason old adages pass the test of time, and it turns out a change is as good as a rest. You would think that having spent most of my week sat in front of a tiny ten inch laptop writing I would be loath to settle down in front of the same device again on my nominal day off to write some more. However that’s exactly what I find myself doing, feeling efficient, active and motivated after a working holiday on Malta.

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It’s, perhaps, the sun wot won it (to paraphrase the tabloid). After the low grey skies of December in southeast England it was surprisingly motivating to experience a solid block of sunny and relatively warm weather. Perhaps I was lucky – it was apparently the driest and warmest winter in my lifetime. Usually this time of year is characterised by squalls, squalls that forced George H Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev from their navy vessels docked in Marsaxlokk harbour onto dry land when declaring an end to the Cold War on the island in December 1989. But I wanted to get away in any case.

Knowing that I would be able to head out without the winter gear of the British season: thick coat, hat, scarf and gloves for a walk along the 12 km length of the Victoria Lines was fantastic. I don’t think that’s too strong a word. Most days I would dress as I would for a summer’s day back home.

Equally, having the sun pierce my half-closed curtains before the alarm made its daily call, and having natural light until five each evening, seemed to significantly boost my productivity (while having access to a sea promenade rather than the grey streets of south London improved my desire to head out running).

I was lucky enough to be in Malta as its minute capital, Valletta, celebrated becoming one of two European Capitals of Culture for 2018. Oddly, the organisers spent much of the day giving out branded gloves and scarfs. ‘What do I want a pair of gloves for?’ I kept hearing British voices asking, something I asked myself. Had I more than hand luggage I would have been tempted by a pair. And come evening I was immensely jealous. It turned out the gloves were fitted with multi-coloured lights on their finger-tips. The trees leading from Floriana to Valletta had lights too, in the red and white of the national flag. In the dark they made for a magical atmosphere of celebration.

So what became of my productive month? The answer, curtly, is a great deal, including looking back at my travels in Freetown, Sierra Leone, which you can read on the Travel Magazine website here.

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