FLINT STONE AND CLAY BRICKS

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I guess it is because I had become so used to the lovely honey coloured limestone on Gozo that I am taking so much notice of the red brick that is used so much in England and especially in Norfolk, it has its own beauty and is as natural as limestone seeing that the bricks are baked clay (earth).

And in Norfolk much use is made of flint stone in combination with red brick, the flint is found naturally in chalk, with layers in various shapes and sizes, flint is almost pure silica.  There is black flint and grey flint, the colours are due to impurities.  There is also rounded beach flint.  The flint has been used as a building material in Norfolk since ancient times and many archaeological material has been found in the surrounding areas made out of flint, it was a very useful material because of its hardness and sharpness.  Norfolk is also rich in clay and from the 13th century onward clay became an important building material in combination with the flint, giving the beautiful finish you see all over the area now.

And still in Norfolk, just a few days ago an abundance of wild flowers were already in bloom, like I showed in my last blog entry – GREETING SPRING – these are wild flowers and found while walking along the road-side. I was happy to see the first wild chestnut tree in bud and already showing the beginnings of a flower.

And so it goes on, ever discovering new things and rediscovering old ones, life is so interesting and fulfilling.

Meanwhile I am back home and working on my latest house improvement project (a little one), lining a walk-in wardrobe with wall paper to stop dust falling down.  And discovering that mice had eaten away some of the wiring covers….my little project has just become a very big one.

This is a very old house indeed.

 

FAREWELL GOZO, for the moment.

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A beautiful Red Admiral butterfly came across my path the other day, or was it I that came across its path.

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It is no wonder that we see bees and butterflies these days, the abundance of flowers is breathtaking, such a joy for both insects and humans.

Both in the wild and cultivated the delightful colours of flowers greet one, every inch of towns and village are made beautiful by these displays.

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In another day we are leaving Gozo for the summer months, we are already looking forward to coming back though I must say that we are also looking forward to spending the summer in Ireland and seeing everyone again.  Most of all we are just grateful for everyday we can live in peace and in beautiful nature among family and friends.  Living in the moment is the best way to enjoy life.

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We will leave some friends behind and the many people we interacted with the last few months have been lovely and very generous with stories, information and their time.

I’ve had a lovely and interesting time with my Gozitan bobbin lace making class, my great teacher, and fellow students, it was very enjoyable and I learnt a lot, and discovered that making lace can become addictive.

Ir-Rabat has been a wonderful place to live in and explore, all the artistic corners and the lovely ambience that is tangible in this great town have been top class, and the Citadella has been top of the list as have the little alleys around St.George Basilica and St.Francis Square too, and of course the library there.

Gozo has had so much to offer us, nature, people, art and culture, all much enjoyed.

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We are very grateful, that is Ian and myself, for having found a flat in Ghajnsielem for next winter, the view from the place is incredible, more and new adventures await, all being well.

Feeling very grateful and appreciative to avail of this opportunity.  So for now it is back to Ireland and to West Cork.  I must have taken thousands of photos while here and in the coming months will still be posting stories about Gozo, that is for sure.  But for the moment I am taking a week off from blogging, we will be with family in UK for several days, I will not be near WiFi perhaps.  So I wish all my dear friends and followers a good week, thank you for reading my blog, and see you soon.

XAGHRA VILLAGE IS PEACEFUL

For some days now I’ve been saying that I should visit the village that we can see from our walk on the outskirts of Victoria, high up on the hillside it towers above the countryside. I was intrigued to know more about it. On the map I could see that the village is called Xaghra (pronounced shara with the ‘SH’ of Schindler) Its population is around the 5000! Seeing that the Ġgantija megalithic temples, as well as a stone circle are found there – it must be one of the earliest areas on Gozo of human habitation.

I found the village very peaceful, the little streets picturesque, and the ambience friendly. On this visit I did not go into the temples, nor visited the windmill which, by the way, dates back to 1725. That, as well as the caves with its stalactites and stalagmites, is planned for a visit in the near future. I started off by visiting the church (our Lady of Victories) always curious about what the magnificent Baroque façade will reveal on the inside. It was well worth it too, though too ornamental for my taste. After that I walked for a long time along the narrow streets, just enjoying the limestone houses, some really old and brittle, some quite new. I eventually ended up at a museum of toys where I was shown around all the amazing things of the past, a very interesting place and very nice people to welcome you.

One very interesting building I came across, and will talk about this further down among the photos of it.

I walked for hours (my workout for the day) and took the bus home to Victoria which drove there in 5minutes, I still cannot believe how close together all the places are here.
A wonderful day it was!
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Below are the photos of the building I wanted to talk about.  Though I know nothing about it actually, only what I can see and deduct.  Both the older and the newer building are literary built on rough rock, I just wonder how this is possible, it looked as if the buildings were just plunked loosely on top, but I am sure that cannot be the case.  Also the grey rock seems different material to the regular limestone that is used here as building material.  It’s killing me and I just have to find out more about it.  The last two pictures I took to the side of the older building, there seems something going on with the cement (not sure what type of cement it is)  it gives an interesting and lovely design in the last photo.  I did see this sort of thing also on some of the other buildings in the village.  On my next visit I will go to the town council and try and find out more.  The limestone of the Maltese islands has me totally bewitched.

The lady at the toy museum is a goldmine of information, she showed me so many of the toys, explaining all about them.

LILIES OF THE VALLEY

While doing some gardening today I discovered that the lilies of the valley were flowering, such a heavenly scent. I picked some for the house and got to play around with taking photos, then experimenting with editing, it is after all the weekend, we worked hard all day, and anyhow I have got writer’s block right now. I have one favourite among these pictures, I wonder would anyone guess which one. 🙂  Have a lovely weekend everyone.

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FRAGMENTED LIGHT

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The sea was playing magic, shimmering in a thousand  sparkling mirrors of itself,

the sun, movement like a vibration, disappearing on the horizon,

two people appear out of this fragmented light – in a canoe –

they move fast into the still and aquamarine waters of the cave,

leaving no trail.

MARSAXLOKK CELEBRATES ST.JOSEPH

The other day while talking with a friendly local shopkeeper, I was told that there would be a procession in honour of St.Joseph taking place tonight. I thought this would be interesting, and a chance to get a real feel of the Maltese people and their beliefs or traditions. Before I came here I did not know anything about Malta or its people, so time for me to do some observation and learn.

In the evening I set off to the church to see what was happening, there were a few locals already seated, and more people started to arrive. Bit by bit the church filled up and prayers started. I found it interesting to hear Malti (Maltese) being spoken, which is an Arabic language, spoken well it has a nice sound to it. A group of local young girls gathered around the altar and started to sing. It was soon after that I went home for a while to put some warmer clothes on as I was freezing, but having returned the church service was still going on and I decided to wait outside rather than make a disturbance of doors opening and shutting. Anyway there were things to see on the square, I saw more and more people gathering. I decided to sit at one of the tables and order a coffee while waiting.  A little later there was a commotion, someone had parked a van where it should not be as it would be interfering with the procession, two police were making sure the van was gone, but the driver was not happy and gave voice to that. Mothers with children, some quite small, were waiting too, all of us now eager to see the procession coming down the steps of the tastefully lit church, it had become quite dark by now. Finally the massive doors were swung open and some of the priests appeared carrying flags, candles and a cross, followed by a dozen or so men dressed in white robes, and wearing white gloves, carrying the very heavy statue of Jesus being taken down from the cross, I thought that it would have been a statue of St.Joseph.

The crowds filled the whole large square by now, they were quiet, the sound of the church bells loud and beautiful filled the air.  A feeling of devotion hung over the crowd as they walked behind the priests and statues praying as they went, I retreated into the background so as not to be disrespectful, and quietly went on my way home to the apartment.

Processions do not take place much anymore anywhere and it is to see tradition living on, and people living with this sense of timing of the season’s passing. I am glad to have witnessed this evening’s happening. I would say that half of the population of Marsaxlokk, which is said to be 4000, was in that procession tonight.
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LONDON FROM THE WINDOW OF A TAXI CAB

 

It had been a long time since I was in London for any reason, but recently we had the pleasure of being invited to a luncheon with my partner’s brother and cousins, a bit of a reunion you could say, and very pleasant it was. This meant that we would take a taxi ride from the train station to the venue, and sitting in the back of the vehicle I had quite a good view behind me and also from the side windows, so out came my mobile phone and I just snapped away. Not too unhappy about the result I decided to share some of the photos here. All these photos are taken somewhere in the central area. London has so much to see architectural wise, also delightful is to see all the people passing by, normally I am very careful about photographing people, I am always conscious of not wanting to be intrusive, so I was delighted to notice that I got quite a few people in my pictures this time, I find it so interesting, such an amazing diversity of humankind to be seen in this cosmopolitan city.  I was very impressed with the beautiful contemporary architecture of Kings Cross railway station.  Like being underneath a gigantic mushroom inside!
I am also always very interested in the trees that grow in cities, they make all the difference to and add enormously to the beauty of the buildings, even, and perhaps especially in winter.   I am thinking of the boulevards in Paris, the many mulberry trees in Lisbon, the pine trees around Athens, and the plane trees in Antwerp to name but a few.    It is also good to see that trees can still form part of modern city planning, more and more so in fact.

I’ve enjoy the short visit to London and after all it’s only an hour’s flight from Cork!