GGANTIJA TEMPLES

It has been quite a few days since I wrote in my blog, so now I am back and with pleasure. My sister was with us and we had so much to see and talk about that nothing came from writing. It was, of course, a very valuable time.

Gozo is still a place where, now after nearly two months I’m totally happy, relaxed, and feeling joy in everyday walking around the beautiful limestone houses, churches, other buildings and landscapes. The flowers, plants and insects are very attractive to me and to learn about them is a delight. The people are friendly and very nice. I have now attended two of my pillow lace making classes and have become friendly with the women there, delightful, and I just totally adore making the lace – well that is to say – learning the first stitches. It is a very relaxing activity and the work is beautiful to look at.

With December coming up there is a lot of activity planned by the local people to celebrate Christmas, religion is still very much part of it, which is only normal in my view and it is refreshing not to be in a total commercial way of celebrating Christmas. It is warm, feels like it is around 20C and sometimes over 20C. We have had thunder storms and one week of much needed rain, you could see the fields becoming greener as the days went by. Now I see farmers tending to their vegetable plots.

I cannot help taking photos, some of which I hope to use in starting to draw in pencil, and I like to share them too. This place is a photographer’s paradise if you are interested in architecture – which I am too. But also if you just like to document the local flora and fauna. I know that in the coming month I will have the opportunity to photograph people at their festivals and that too will be interesting.

And so I will share our last day together. My sister and I delighted as we visited the ancient temples in Xaghra and walked for two hours around that really charming town. We had a lovely lunch in the square as well. And we descended 10 meters down into the earth to look at caves, it was a strange feeling being in the bowels of the earth, very strange and my first time being in such a low cave, our heads nearly touching the ceilings.

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Man selling little jars of Carob syrup or honey on the way to the  temples.

Views of the Ggantija temples which date back to between 3600 and 3200 B.C.  The outer shell of the temples has been well preserved because it has been made from Coralline limestone which is hardwearing, while the inner structures like doors or altars had been made in the softer Globigerina limestone.

Lunch at a nice little eating place near the church and in the square was delicious.  We walked for hours along the narrow roads of this town, we saw beautiful lacy curtains on the double doors which is traditional here.  I love the arches, the different features in the architecture of the houses, and the use of a little colour is striking as seen in the blue paint on the gold stone.  Often people may be sitting on a bench or chairs and enjoying the peace of the place here in Gozo.  My sister Josefine posing near a beautiful historical door.

Inside the caves.  Though fascinating it is not totally my cup of tea, I was too aware of being so deep underground.

We came across this man making his lace.  My teacher later told me that he is the only ‘man’ in Gozo that makes lace.  His work was so very neat!

And this are the leaves, bark, fruit, and flower of the Carob tree (Ceratonia silique), and evergreen tree the pods of which are used here to make a syrup used for cough and sore throats.  Originally also used as animal fodder, the tree belongs to the pea family.

I hope to be back now to writing as I have so much to share of this amazing place.  All my senses are at top performance to take it all in and reflecting on it is what my blog at the moment is all about.  I hope my friends and followers will enjoy some of it too.

 

BETWEEN MOON RISING AND SUN SETTING

This evening we took a walk along the cliffs at Xlendi.  It had been a hot day and the evening cool was nice and refreshing.  Where the path leaves the road it becomes interesting and I found many wild plants and flowers growing here.  The landscape was beautifully lit by the setting sun, which throws a special warm light over the earth.  Higher up along the cliffs there is an amazing array of terraced walls in the local stone, the walls are dry, stones just left on top of one another.  It looks like they are terraced agriculture land but they are actually a pathway winding its way up to the top of the cliff, towards the tower, we did not get that far this time but are planning another walk and pick-nick soon up there.  The moon was rising at the same time, full moon it seems too, it is so very beautiful here, photos just don’t do it justice.

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AUTUMN MIRTH

“To-day I think
Only with scents, – scents dead leaves yield,
And bracken, and wild carrot’s seed,
And the square mustard field;

Odours that rise
When the spade wounds the root of tree,
Rose, currant, raspberry, or goutweed,
Rhubarb or celery;

The smoke’s smell, too,
Flowing from where a bonfire burns
The dead, the waste, the dangerous,
And all to sweetness turns.

It is enough
To smell, to crumble the dark earth,
While the robin sings over again
Sad songs of Autumn mirth.”

From a poem called DIGGING.”
Edward Thomas, Collected Poems

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MYSTERY IN NATURE

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
Henry David Thoreau, From ‘Walden; Life in the Woods’
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Some of my recent thoughts on nature.

I just find it so intriguing, to look at the changes, not only during the seasons, but also within a day.  I was driving through a remote part of Ireland recently, I was fairly high above sea level among some rocky hills, there was a mist hanging among the rocks, it was pleasantly warm and though no sun was to be seen, the light was very special.  A moment of stillness.

At some stage in my life I used to think that observations about nature and the earth were perhaps a little mundane, there seemed to be much more important things to keep busy with, but not anymore, now I know the value and the joy that everyday observation can give one, and how intricate everything is.  Earth science is a mighty large field, so interesting, just even to learn about the composition of the soil, wow!  And that’s not to speak of the beauty of it all, I am amazed every single day about what I notice in the minute details.

What a truly wondrous planet we live on.  And how much joy to be had in observing all this beauty, it sure makes the heart feel thankful.

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ITS ALL FLOWERS TODAY

Today we went to visit an organic farm some little way down the road, nearer to the coast. The farm was fabulous with lots of vegetable beds, several tunnels full of seedlings and much more, I did not think it right to photograph the place, so while the farmer and my partner were talking I found some lovely flowers to take photos of (with my phone). So here they are.
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