Il-Belt filghodu

kemm toghgobni il-Belt filghodu

Mattew jigri ha jasal il-Kunsill

Renat fl-espresso l-gallettini jbill

Sales girl tissara ma shutter tal-hanut,

Xwejjah isaffar, jitbissem, avolja bla lira fil-but.

Mal-qorti tal-football l-esperti,

U vanni gass down ghaddej bir-riferti.

Ghand Censu ta’hdejna l-anzjani jiskru bit-te’,

u jmeru l-xulxin jekk Gilbert kienx ahjar min Pele,

Kantuniera ma San Duminku,

Skoss nisa jitkellmu f’qaqocca, il-qalb u ir-ruh tal-parrocca,

Neriku bil-pass u l-bastun jerhila s’ghand Toni,

li ghandu l-loghob tal-karti bhala wiehed mid-doni.

Cisju bil-kelb li ma kull bieb jedha jgholli saqah,

u kif jara xi guvni gustuz dlonk jerhilu ghal-warajh,

Tessie tgerger ghax ghamlulha azzjoni

u naqas ix-xoghol fl-eqdem professjoni.

Mal-hin jibdew dehlin l-avukati, bl-ingravati rrigati

u l-ilbiesi stirati, tal-cafe jaqsmu triq bir-riha u bl-aroma

imbghad sigarett u helwa ghat-toghma.

pastizzi jinbieghu bhal pastizzi, irkotta pizelli, pizza u qassata

imbghad Doris tgerger ghax qed tihxien mill-patata.

L’hemm isfel Lucy tintasab fuq bank li haditu b’cens ghal ghomorha

u hdejha Cettina bil-make up tixxennaq li xi hadd ghad jigborha,

flok bahrin issa ghandna t turisti, tal-karozzin ma qatax qalbu u ghadu jirsisti

fil-pjazza tal main guard kullhadd koxtu barra, min idoqq il-flawt,

vjolin jew kitarra,

u-Belt tqum u torqod u tilqa l-kulhadd hawn go fiha, avukati u kriminali

sinjuri, fqar u mbruljuni, min m’ghandu xejn u min ghandu miljuni,

helwin, qosra twal hoxnin irqaq u koroh,

suwed gingrin sofor u maltin jghaddu min strada rjali bhal hin,

u hekk jisbah ghada u l-istess jerga jigri,

u jien ninnota, u nikkonsla ghax id-dinja rota,

illum go Valletta, ghada Brussel u pitghada Berlin,

min jaf min jaf id-destin !

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the grass is always greener on the other side

We always want what we can’t get
If it’s dry we want it wet
If it rings we want it silent
If it’s calm we want it violent
We always prefer what we can’t reach
When on a mountain we want a beach
If it’s shallow we want it deep
When we’re awake we want to sleep
We always dream of hidden treasures
Of easy lives and haughty leisures
Of flowing wines, forbidden pleasures,
of fields of gold and days of lust
We want it now we want it fast
We want it bigger
We want it better
What it takes it doesn’t matter
And God forbid
If we’re not first
To taste success, to quench our thirst.
We live our life an endless race
A constant battle, a constant chase.
Until we stop and look around
And get our feet back on the ground
And realize what really matters
It ain’t easy to swim against the flow
But unless you try you’ll never know !

Lent- the time when Maltese Catholics fast…. and gain weight.


Since the arrival of St.Paul on these Islands and the conversion of the Islanders to the one true religion Christianity, The Maltese have followed the rules of the church of Rome to the point ( when convenient to them). This has led to idolatry that verges on the fanatic during village festas, which now, hundreds of years later is even manifesting itself in decorative tattoos that mingle the profane and the sacred in a way unique to us Maltese. Lent or the 40 days of fasting that prepare Catholics for the feast of the resurrection  of Christ is another one of these Occasions. From Ash Wednesday up onto Good Friday us devout Catholics refrain  from eating meat and sweets and instead resort to soul cleansing foods such as spinach and anchovy pies, ricotta pastries, bulging with spinach and broad beans, tuna dishes dried baccala and a thousand other delicacies that do not involve meat, that is not to mention the array of stuffed olives, gbejnet and other savories that would have tempted even the most determined activist on a hunger strike. Then come the sweet substitutes ! After having duly prepared for the fasting period by stuffing all kinds of pasti and topping it up during carnival devouring mountains of prinjolata ( an immensely sweet melange du tout) we set aside the cadburys and kit kats only to indulge in quaresimal to keep our sweet tooth at peace. Mind you Sundays are non fasting days so special trifles are prepared, kannoli bought and consumed by the dozen and since the weather is now springy and bright an ice cream during our traditional “dawra mal-coastroad” cannot go amiss.
Holy week gives our taste buds yet more diversity, with the culmination being good friday. Good Friday’s break of fast at the Carbonaro residence in Valletta is nothing short of mythic, having survived the whole day on black coffee a spinach and anchovy qassata and not more than 3 slices of Lampuki pie, all the family eagerly awaits the evening meal. The Carbonari have bred and lived in St.Ursola street for more than a 100 years, and that unassuming street on the East side of Valletta is where all the action is happening, the procession, the scouts with their bugles, and the inimitable La Vallette band, sounding marches in a way they only can and marching in a formation that many other bands have tried to imitate but can never quite match, and last but not least, the statues, The procession in Valletta has something magical about it, the sound of the wood poles resting on the bearers’shoulders leaving gory bruises, the general smell of incense that fills the streets of valletta with more than an aroma, its like being transported to another era. Unlike the processions in other towns and villages the one in Valletta has so far resisted to change and I honestly hope it stays like this for a long time… Back to food now; Going back some thirty years when my nanna was still alive Good Friday affair used to be a whole day matter, I used to love the whole ceremonial of the day, going to ta’Giezu church to see the preparations and catch up on the gossip on which of the statue bearers was omitted last minute, comment on how big the olive tree of the first statue is and so on and so forth. Nowadays the Carbonaro houshold is run by my Auntie, who although is massing up the years is still very active and full of energy, the secret in my opinion bieing spinsterhood.  As I said, the whole procession passes from our street, and with the first note of the bugle we cousins, aunts and uncles and our spouses and children tussle for a good place in the balcony to enjoy the procession whilst trying to spot mere mortals we know in the crowd. There are eight statues in all and by the 6th one everyone is fidgety and nursing grumbling stomachs but our Aunt does not allow us to touch food until the last statue passes our balcony and when it does the meal gets under way. Cheese Pies, fresh maltese bread, gozo cheeselets, pumpkin pies, stuffed olives bigilla ( our spicy special maltese paste) snails, gallett and every kind of food imaginable bar meat. It is a gathering that we all wait for year after year, and even though sadly some are no longer with us, they are replaced by the young additions to the family. We Maltese have a unique way to mix the sacred with the profane and I even though some have recently gone overboard, these long standing traditions should be cherished and passed on from one generation to another. All societies in different countries have traditions that define them and set them apart from others, we have our ways, let’s hope they are kept this way. And as traditions go, let’s not forget the Easter morning relief which manifests itself in the consuming of figolli and easter eggs all in the glorification of the Resurrection –  – of our Cholesterol levels