Well, I have returned to the UK after a two weeks research and holiday expedition to the Maltese islands, Gozo in particular. The world’s oldest building, the Ggantija Temples, is in Xaghra on Gozo – predating the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge it is the oldest thing I’ve hugged. The phantoms of that place are tangible – to me. One of the research items I discovered was that those temples – we assume that was their purpose – along with those on the larger neighbour, Malta, were abandoned about the time that Ancient Greek historians consider the legendary Atlantis sank into the ocean. Loverly juicy stuff for this fantasy writer. So not only did the islands suffer from raids and seiges from the Turks in the sixteenth century, and the axis Nations in WWII but by the Atheneans around 2,300BC.
My wife and I met up with Glenda, a British writer living on Gozo. After lunch in our hotel (we discovered the staff knew her well as it one of her favourite spots for coffee and meals – well done St Patricks Hotel at Xlendi Bay!) she hurtled us in her car sailing over potholes and careening the limestone walls to show us the sights. I’d only met Glenda online with the other former Christopher Hill clients so it was marvelous to meet up face to face in 3D.
She gave me a copy of Anthony Burgess’s Earthly Powers – recommended reading partly because it was based on Malta. More later in the week on a review.
Now for something completely different. We returned to empty fridge and larder so while my wife threw clothes into the washing machine I popped to the Tesco supermarket. “How much are these tomatoes?” said a woman to me.
“I’m not sure, the price label is missing,” I said. “Let’s take a label off these cheapo ones and call them one pound thirty.”
“Can you do that?”
“Simple. Look.” But before I could, she looked at me more carefully.
“Hey, you’re not a Tesco shelf stacker!”
“I didn’t say I was – ah, my shirt is very similar isn’t it?” I wondered if I could fool the checkout girl and get a staff discount.
At the cereals another woman asked for the price of Bitesized Shredded Wheat.
“I’m not sure, but as they are smaller than the full brick-sized versions they must be cheaper. I tell you what, Madam, you can have them for half price – call it £1.53″
But she sussed me out too. Some people are no fun. Hah!