Home at Rhymney Street

If you look at a map of Cardiff, somewhere along the tracks that lead to Cathays station, is a higgly piggly street.

rhymney street

This is my new home. The house is brand new, therefore unlike the street, nothing is higgly piggly. Except the undergraduates walking down the street. Because of its higgly piggly nature, cars (and taxis) cannot drive excessively fast which makes the street quieter than average.

Location , location, location. I like being closer to the centre than I was. I am spoilt for choice as regards shopping, with a Tesco, Sainsburys and the big Co-Op within reasonable walking distance (oh, and Lidl!) . I like being straddled between two stairs, one that takes me to Albany road on the one hand, and Crwys road on the other. The temptation of fast food and cocktails awaits!

To be a tourist guide in your own country!

My holiday back in Malta included a 5 day break for my friends in the UK to visit the island I had been talking about so much, my home. As I was to find out, advertising your home town has its responsibilities and pressure!

We were rather unfair on our respective boyfriends, having hardly ever met each other before, so one obstacle was whether they would get on or whether the trip would be fraught with awkward silences. They were angels (for the most part, punctuality was another issue!) and really got on well with each other. As a group we were perfect.

Malta to me is seen through different eyes than a tourist. This is one thing I immediately had to come to terms with when planning the trip. What I thought they should see was not necessarily what they would be keen to see. Knowing them so well and having planned the trip together I knew what they were looking for. A good time, a relaxing time. When you have a group of 6 people you are unsure whether they would want the same thing at the same time but that was also ultra smooth!

I was so happy that there were no moments of tension, no hanging around and not a moment of boredom. Malta is full of exquisite things to see but having only 5 days, I wanted to be selective. September is also risky but we were blessed with sunny weather hot enough to swim, if I bit too humid (Sophie, Emily and Amy didn’t seem to mind!)

Day 1: They arrived in the morning which was great as it gave them enough time to settle and even enjoy their lovely apartment in Tigne!

2014-09-10 12.21.50

They went for a dip in the pool with a fantastic view and therefore immediately settled into Malta holiday mode. In the evening we took them to Mdina, a sight I didn’t want them to miss. They were captivated by the Silent city, the dark side streets and the views. I was happy with my first decision to take them there. It is a pity we did not have the energy for Fontanella chocolate cake!

mdina gate

Day 2: This was a Gozo dedicated day. I felt my friends would be missing out if they didn;t visit the sister Island. It was good since Emanuel and I love the place so much so it would be a good stop before Emanuel left for Bournemouth. Having Game of Thrones fans with us we first went to Dwejra where Sophie and Rhys could (try to) re-enact the Dothraki wedding. This was followed by a ponder around the market known as It-Tokk after tasting some Maltese food at Cafe Jubilee. The sun was beating down on us and the best place to be was by the sea on the orange sand in a beach known as Ir-Ramla l-Hamra. After being harassed by sunbed hawkers and building sand forts, we all had a swim and a rest.

2014-09-12 17.37.15

The best way to finish a Gozo day trip is with traditional Gozitan Pizza by none other than a lady known as Maxokka. Yum!

Day 3: Waking up late after a night of drinks and chats I felt Valletta was worth a visit. We went for a late lunch at Crave at the Valletta Waterfront and then went up to see the Saluting Battery from the picturesque Upper Barakka.

saluting batteryAfter walking through the grid like city and passing the President’s Palace, the law courts and St. Johns Co-Cathedral we sat down and had lots of Cisk, their favourite beer!

In the evening, my group of friends were in for a gaudy treat. The last feast of the season in Malta is the one in Haz-Zabbar.  I had been talking about feasts and fireworks and Catherine wheels for ages (ironic considering I cannot stand them!) and they were so curious! They were flabbergasted at the loudness of the fireworks, the church decorated with colourful bulbs. One thing that really impressed them was our Maltese gigifogu – an array of mechanised Catherine wheels and other shapes. The lack of health and safety was also a shock as they were lit by 14-year-old boys and sparks were flying and landing at their feet!

Day 4: On Sunday, it was the gospel day of rest and having gone in at 2am the previous night, it was a time to catch up on sleep. Emanuel and I on the other hand were busy doing last-minute jobs and catching up with old friends and relatives before Emanuel left for Bournemouth the following day. The surrealism of my UK friends being in Malta and Emanuel leaving for the UK was not lost on me.

Day 5: With Sadness we couldn’t believe it was the last day of the holiday. It was mostly another day of rest where they were treated to Maltese Hospitality in the form of my parents who feed them and gave an endless source of Cisk. We did manage to pop into Palazzo Parisio gardens, sneak a visit to the Rotunda and also take them to see a Maltese glass blowing demonstration.mdina glass

 

All in all, being a tourist guide was successful. This success was mostly due to having fantastic friends to enjoy it with! Thanks Sophie, Amy, Emily, Nate, Paul and Rhys!

Till next time x

 

Ten Books

Nominations have been going round on facebook for a variety of things. I have been nominated to list 10 books that have in some way changed me or simply stuck with me. Not all of the books have changed me, but nostalgia is definitely associated with most of them.

1. Winnie the Pooh in The Hundred Acre wood – A.A Milne

I have spoken about Pooh in another blog post. The simplicity and wisdom of the bear is    I’m sure one of the main reasons my Mum was so fond of the characters.

(from the telegraph.co.uk)

2. Animal Farm – George Orwell

One of the books that taught me about life and about my own ideologies. Thanks to my parents I’ve always been brought up with an open mind and this book was interesting to process.

(from http://share.nanjing-school.com/)

“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”

3. Watership Down – Richard Adams

You’d think I would have gone of Rabbit stew after this book. I was hooked to the book, and only recently found out that there was another book published called Tales from Watership Down.

(from Amazon.co.uk)

4. Atonement – Ian McEwan

One of the best books I have read in recent years. I read it over 3 times, and not only because I decided on the spur of the moment to sit for my English A Level. It prompted me to read more from McEwan such as On Chesil Beach.

The picture is from the pivotal moment in the book, also made a movie.

 (from http://homoliteratus.com/)

 
5. A Voice in the Wind – Francine Rivers
 
I spent a reasonable stretch of years really interested in religious novels and Francine Rivers is one of my favourite. Set in the time right after the resurrection of Jesus, this moving story describes one of the first Christians and her struggle with faith, in a time where the Colosseum was full of dying Christians. A great read. The other two books in the series, are also incredible.
 
 (from http://www.goodreads.com)
 
 
 
6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
 
This is the third book in the series and one I have read over and over again. It is the first time we meet Sirius – my Favourite character!
 
(from warner brothers)
 
 

 7.  Woman of Substance – Barbara Taylor Bradford

The secret of life? It is to endure. I read this book when I was a young teen and the growth of one woman always inspired me. I cannot say the same of the other books in the series, possibly because the main protagonist took a back seat and it was always her I had admired.

(from silversistersmedia.co.uk)

8. Matilda -Roald Dahl

My two favourite books by Dahl are Matilda and the BFG however the one that influenced me the most was Matilda. In fact, I can’t wait to see the West End show in London. Maltilda convinced me that my already avid reading habit was good for me! Wasn’t the little girl the cutest too?

(http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/matilda/images/31436678/title/matilda-wallpaper)

 

 

Matilda - matilda Wallpaper

9. The Fry Chronicles

Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. Best of British Comedy. I also love autobiographies and have read a number of them, mostly those of politicians. Stephen Fry’s autobiography merges brutal honesty and amazing literature in one. He loves the english language and treats it with such respect! His documentary on Manic Depression and AIDS are also deserving of a watch.

10. Sarah’s Key – Tatiana de Rosnay

I bought this on a whim and has been one of the most harrowing World War II stories I have read. The image of the little girl is with me whenever I think about the war or this book.