How do you make a Maltese cross…..?

kick him in the balls. Amazingly, astonishingly and totally unexpected Slammer just got a signed contract from a Swedish company with a base on Malta as a German language mod for an online auctions house. Starting date would be December, just right for my up and coming Baseler doomsday. I tried to stay here, lord knows I really tried but after a two year search and me not getting any younger and the end of my unemployment insurance and a looming homelessness I must admit defeat and move on. Part of me wants to stay here and carry on the good fight and I lay wake at nights wondering if there is anything else that I could have done, any mouse-click that I missed, should I have opened that page, or done this or done that, I simply don’t know and now I have run out of time, the thought of being dependent on social services is abhorrent and doesn’t work for me. The company seems solid enough, but I do have the feeling they run a somewhat “American” style businessship, (there you go a triple “s” in a english compound word) we will see. So Malta, lock your women away and put the Weizen cold, Slammer and the Pig are on the way.

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Great news. Keep in touch and let us know how you are getting on.

A Swedish auction site? What are they selling, second hand IKEA furniture? Sounds a bit like EF to me are you sure you won’t be working for The Local? Good luck with the new venture Slammer. You jammy devil going to live in Malta when we’ll all be freezing our bits off here.

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Congrats! Malta is a great location, IMO! And actually, being a forum mod sounds like the perfect job to do in Malta. Guess you can be there down on the beach with a cold drink and a laptop.

…likkle update… I set off this morning from Basel, and needed to to the alpine transit before dusk and the re-freezing of the damp roads, I got iced out just short of the Gotthard but managed to get to Milan and onto the A7 to Genova before I got caught in icy, very dense fog, freezing fog with zero visability and dark and Italian drivers are not compatible with Slammer and the pig, so I Holed up just past Pavia for bed and pizza and a rough bathtub red and grappa. I will hit the ferry from Genua to Palermo for the 23.00 sailing tuesday, then ride around Sicily to Pozzallo and the ferry to Valetta. Wish me luck.

Landed in Palermo and disembarked into Palermo rushhour traffic. My oh my, what a steep learning curve, traffic rules are more like “guide-lines” and as for road markings? Why waste perfectly good paint. When the powers that where designed the BMW LT1100, model ´94 (aka Iron Pig) they installed the loudest, most humungous horn in the BMW arsenal, I had to fumble for the button but when it went off my street cred rose exponatially, I now have a new toy, much better fun than mearly the winker.

The Maltese chronicles. It was time to let go, the removals guys were anting up and down the stairs lugging boxes, the house was being emptied plain cardboard box by plain cardboard box and there were dozens of them, Jakob, the landlord had managed to pack forty years of home away in cardboard, the contents of each and every box inventoried with his neat handwriting on a white label. These boxes here belonged in the living room, these boxes contained the kitchen, other boxes held papers and carefully wrapped knick knack from the Study, boxes full of bedroom, a boxed hallway, and boxes labelled “books” “Aa” through “Ac,” “Ac” through “B,” “D” through “E,” boxes and boxes of books. I had managed to do fifty of the eighty things that I had needed to do before blowing Basel for good, problem is that there are always another twenty things on top of the eighty that I simply had not thought about. To bad, what wasn’t squared away by now wasn’t gonna get done and what had not found room on Iron Pig was staying in Basel. I tried to find room for everything, pack, unpack, try a different way, pack again, unpack and start from the beginning, there was simply no way to fit everything on the pig that I wanted to keep together myself, so even after I had consigned almost everything I owned to the bin, I still had to lose more and with a heavy heart I parted with another load of belongings. At the end of the day it’s only stuff. I was still trying to decode the Rubik’s cube puzzle of packing my meagre belongings onto the bike when Jakob came by to say goodbye and wish me a good and safe journey. Jakob is past eighty and holds a Professors title and two doctorates simply for the heck of it. The best way to describe Jakob is to picture Dr.Nefarious, you know, the mad scientist from Despicable Me, Jakob comes complete with white lab coat, coke-bottle-bottom glasses and stooped gait, all that is missing are the black rubber gloves, but I am sure that he has a pair someplace. He gave me his copy of Homer’s “Odyssey” by way of a parting gift, a nice gesture that I really appreciated, but he probably would never be able to comprehend the profound irony of his gift. I found Theresa (aka Mad Landlady) to say goodbye, just as she was getting ready to go out, she was wearing a fur coat that must have looked good on some boney model on some cat walk in Milan way back in the day, on her however it looked as if this little old lady was being eaten by a humongous tribble, she also wore a large brimmed black hat with two bright red cotton cherries in the hatband. “Mr Slammer” she wailed, deep anguish in her eyes, “they are taking my things and putting them in boxes, why are they doing this? I don’t understand, It’s terrible, they are my things.” I simply did not know what to say, how do you explain that her home has been bought by a immobile investment company happy to have purchased this prime location in the center of Basel and now really need to turn it into luxury apartments as soon as possible and that it’s nothing personal, just business. “I am going to the police now, this must stop immediately and I have written to the president, here, have a look” She held three crumpled sheets of foolscap paper under my nose, written on a mechanical typewriter that had not seen a new ribbon for quite some time; the papers were full of random key-stokes, disjointed sentences and random words. I realized that I was holding the swansong of a dying mind in my hands. “The president will help me, won’t he Mr Slammer?” “I’m sure he will, I am leaving now and want to say goodbye” “Yes, yes, goodbye, I’ll tell you how it went this evening when you come home, it’s terrible, all my things.” I watched her walk down the street and waited until she turned a corner, I fired up the pig and headed to the motorway for another roll of the dice in life’s great game of chance, perhaps I’ll get snake eyes this time. Winter riding is a curious thing. It is said that the three great emotions are a good dump, sheer terror and a orgasm, on a motorbike in the middle of winter you can get all three at once, your mind starts to run different scenarios on what can possibly go wrong, jump out at you and then kill or maim you most horribly. Actually it’s not quite true, I enjoy riding in winter, however I do find it quite demanding, there are just so many more things to look out for. For instance! I had calculated that I had a good six hours time to make the alpine transit before dark and the re-freezing of the run-off from melted ice, and although I had plenty of time I stepped up the gas, I raced past Luzern, past the lake and into the tunnel under the mighty Gotthard, a blinding white capped triangle of grey rock under a cerulean sky. Past the Gotthard and the first of quite a few pit stops, fill the tin tank, empty the meat tank grab a coffee and a bit of warm. Slammer still till got a load of riding to do. It was cold but nothing I can’t easily handle, fog, on the other hand, I hate. Just past Milan in the Po valley it came, thick, viscous dense, cloying, nasty, grey, icy fog, the sun was going down and the pig was low on gas, clearly it was time to quit. Thing was I couldn’t see , not even the side of the road, I took the next exit from the Autostrada and hoped that I would chance upon a town or something before I ran out of gas. But with the sun down it went very cold very fast, Iron Pig was starting to get a build up of ice around the fairing and there was ice on my helmet and jacket, also I feared the road was starting to ice up to boot, every now and then a sheet of ice would slide off the windshield with a papery crinkle sound. But I found a petrol station and filled up, also the pump attendant directed me to a hotel located not too far away. The next morning the fog was still thick and the short run to the Autostrada took quite some time, Italian truck drivers on a time schedule don’t give a hoot if a puny motorbike gets in the way, they probably would not even feel the bump anyway and they must have a built in radar to be able to drive safely that fast, I however couldn’t see a thing and cowed right at the very edge of the tarmac, flinching every time a overtaking lorry whooshed by. I needed to get out of this blasted fog, I ached to get out of this wretched fog, I so longed to get out of this icy, freezing fog. Instead it became denser and denser, then I remembered a trick my father taught me, “When you are in trouble in dense fog/rain/snow/hail/alien invasion/acts of god, snick up behind a lorry and stay in it’s wind shadow!” So I found myself a lorry with a 40ft container on the flat bed that was going my way and snuggled right up it’s ass, then I thought that it may not be the wisest course of action to follow the advice of a man who had by self admission broken every bone in his body by way of various motorbike accidents, so I backed off until I could just make out the rear fog lamps, that kinda worked until the bugger turned off at a gas station and I found myself flying blind, A few hours more of this knife edge riding and I could just about make out a area of grey that was starting to become lighter and lighter, was that the sun? Come on, put some welly in it, burn baby burn. At last the fog dissipated and I reached Genova and the ferry to Palermo on Sicily. Actually I had arrived mid day and the ferry did not leave until eight in the evening, I have been to Genova quite a few times and I know it well, it’s not a pretty place so I stayed near the ferry terminal, reading and dozing, kicking stones into the harbour and being generally bored out of my skull. The ferry was nice enough, one of these jobbies that are half dedicated to lorry trailer and container transport and the other half for passengers, their cars and a motorbike. I don’t usually book ahead as a rule because I don’t like having to ride under pressure, I’ll book when I arrive, but I do know the prices and for 30 Euro plus I got me a cabin all for myself, a total of 150 Euros for me, the bike and a bunk, a price as good a it gets for a 22 hour cruise down the boot of Italy. “Futility!” My war cry echoed through the cavernous hold of the ferry as I disembarked into Palermo evening rush hour traffic, quite a steep learning curve if I may say so, most cars had a collection of random dents and smashed lights, and I soon realized, that traffic rules are more like guide lines and the road markings simply a waste of perfectly good paint, for most part the drivers, totally unaware that there may be other people on roads, carried on driving the way they had done since the days of the Romans, arguing with their spouses, clipping their kids around the ears, talking on the phone or eating, sometimes all at once, but Iron pig has a secret weapon, the loudest horn in the BMW arsenal and boy did I make use of it, my street cred rose exponentially when I flamed that bad boy off. A first glimpse of Sicily, from the deck of the ferry it looked as if the Island was having a storm, but the closer the ship go to Palermo the clearer the skies became and a Mediterranean dusk brought in the night. Little was I aware of the chewing I would get at the hands of Palermo traffic . I made it through and out into the countryside and before long I found myself riding on empty roads into the night, however around an hour later, I could not put my finger on it but something did not feel right, so I stopped to consult the map and found out that I was going in the wrong direction and that there was no alternative but to return to Palermo for another mauling at the hands of Palermo traffic, this time it cost me a shattered mirror, knocked off by a careless driver who simply shrugged as I told him in no uncertain terms what I thought of his pedigree. I rode past a hotel and decided it had been a long day and that it was time to quit and get beered up. The next morning I settled the bill to a girl behind the reception desk, she was a petite creature, almost elven in her appearance and sporting a hairdo that I had last seen on Barbarella, she looked cold in the freezing 20°C plus morning air. “Are jew not a da kold-a een your moto-bik-ah?” her voice soothed. “Eyehem so kold-a” she told me and put her dainty hands into my twin ham hocks with attached fingers, "fheeehl my handz-a, zey are zhoo kold-a, eye em like-a da mhaahrble ston, no? I swooned and would gladly have stayed as her personal human bouncy castle all day long until the goats come home, but I had to get to the ferry at Pozzallo, so really, I needed to haul ass. Once out of the gravitational pull of Palermo the trip to the next way-point of Catania became a very nice ride indeed, the roads were up to standard and followed the landscape for most parts supported five to ten metes above a wilderness earth by concrete pillars, the sun was out, the landscape a green mountain high the sky was blue and I found myself whistling and singing in my helmet as the miles passed. Sicily possesses an amazing landscape, a lot like a warm Scottish highlands, and literally throning above all in the distance, the mighty Etna, the top of the volcano blanketed with a cap of deep snow and with plumes of steam and yellow gas hazing the sky, the remaining signs of the recent eruption from last November. All too soon volcanoes and mountains gave way to miles and miles of orange tree and olive tree monoculture and the other crop of Sicily, garbage, miles and miles of garbage lining the road as high as a man, thick and deep, picture the scene at the airport in the movie “the fifth element” it would seem that Sicilians simply don’t care, but I think they do and that there is simply nothing that can be done, sad, really, really sad. From another planet. The harbor town of Pozzallo, on the south coast of Sicily has a strange, other worldly feel to it, a kind of dusty fronteer-y, wild-west-y kind of thing with wide empty spaces, apart from the town its self, it is a landscape seeded with ruined or run down buildings and jumbled stone blocks that at one time must have been a house or something. Huge cacti plants, with leaves that looked like spiky green toilet seats gave the impression of being in Mexico. I could almost hear Lola Beltran belting out Paloma Negra But on every street dozens of African blacks glowered at me with either hostility or alcohol or drug induced indifference, the refugees from Africa, the ones that did not make it onto the news as statistics from another tragedy at sea. They have braved, guns and desert and the Mediterranean, they have left their family and country for a better life and now find themselves washed up on the shore at the southern most part of a continent that has no use for them, it is a powder-keg and I fear that the match had been lit, soon violence will erupt, African style violence and Europe’s south will burn. Refugee boats, stacked like so much firewood on the dock at Pozzallo, dozens of them, I tried to get some more photos but the chain-link fence stopped me from getting closer and a angry guard shooed me away. But looking at this picture again makes me wonder just how many boats slip away in the night from the shores of Africa that are never seen or heard from again. I had some time to kill before the ferry left so I decided to carry on down the coastal road for a few Kilometers, just to see what is around the next corner, nothing much, just dust and garbage, every now and then I would come across groups of blacks, men women and children, sitting, or living, under grimy transparent plastic sheets that were held up by tree branches or supported on top of crumbing walls of yellow stone, a nearby midden of rotting shrimp shells among the garbage gave off a truly gut retching stench, is this a little bit of African reality here in Europe? I don’t know, and to tell you the truth, I don’t care, it’s not my problem to solve so I did what we do in these cases, I turned my back and let them fade from my mind. Malta I walked into the office in full biker gear, I could have been from Mars for the stare I got, I introduced myself to the girl behind the desk and drew a blank, I made a joke about the weather and that it hopefully doesn’t get much hotter in summer, blank. “take me to your leader” blank. “I start on Monday” Ah, a reaction. “I’ll get somebody to talk to you” she said and got busy on the phone. A few minutes later another girl came and took me to a office and asked a few questions, she was not much older than my youngest daughter and had a Miley Cirus screensaver on the computer. Then we went for a “checking out of the location” however she started to annoy me with the Kindergarten speak and I was about to ask if there was a grownup that I could talk to but before that happened I realized that she is my boss or as they call it here, a team leader. This Malta-gig could be more difficult than I expected. My favorite place in Valletta, the saluting battery, the panorama of Valetta and the three cites is breath taking and yes they fire the cannon as the midday gun, it’s quite a spectacle . A nice day in Valletta ___ Now, two weeks into the job things are settling down, the job itself is a bit tedious, but much to my surprise Miley Cirus turned out to be a very competent team leader and as to the job? Well it is a roof over my head, food in my belly, Weizen in my mouth and the pig on the road. Speaking of roads, the ones here on Malta are best described as 3D, Slammer is from Blackburn, Lancashire so holes are in my blood, but the Maltese ones are a real doozie and as a connoisseur of potholes they have me giving little squeals of delight as I dodge and weave and wobble my way along. Of course it means that one kilometer on Malta equals 4.2 kilometers as measured anywhere else in the world. I found a flat in St. Paul’s bay and the procedure was a surprisingly painless one day job, here the streets are knee deep in hungry housing agents, for you who have rented in Switzerland or are currently jumping through the flaming hoops of renting in Switzerland the ease of renting here must seem like I pulled a Jedi mind trick. St Paul’s bay, the new Slammer pokey-hole. Anybody up for a swim? I was So that’s all for now, 2014 has been around for almost a day and I’m ready for a new start on fantasy island. The Pig under the mighty walls of Valletta.

I needed a beer, no I really, really needed a beer, something over 5%, a beer and a single malt would do just dandy as this day had been my very own private view of hell. Seven O’clock in the morning, we few Indians had gotten our assignment from our respective multitude of Chiefs….! “Zit-face!” A young guy startled up, (I don’t know the names yet) “cars and multimedia!” “Blond, vacuum headed bimbo!” Half of the female crew looked up. “Animals and pets.” “Slammer!” He grinned at me, sitting in comfort in his black leather, high backed swivel-chair, stroking a white fluffy cat, “female undergarments!” That meant that I would spend the next eight and a half hours scanning the realm of the online auction house for glitches in the undergarment matrix. Now I know from contemporary pop-culture that vending machines selling used and unwashed girlie knickers are on every street corner and in the toilet of every Sushi-bar in Japan, right next to the condom vending machines, but I would never, ever have guessed that there is such a roaring trade in worn and unwashed wimmin’s undergarments in Europe, at least in the part that I now find myself responsible for. In fact, one month into the job and I tell you now that I could have gladly gone to my grave without knowing what I now know about the full spectrum of German sexual preferences. And I have not known a sheltered life. DTW’s, (Damen Wäsche träger, Woman’s (unwashed) undergarment wearers) after a half hour of screening the morning starts to get surreal, but they are not the worst, I really get grossed out by those who we simply call: “The Sniffers.” Go figure. These buggers really make my skin crawl as I ikk and gag my way to the office watercooler. As in every trade were you are in close contact with the great unwashed you really get to know your customers, here, Spammers, trolls, liars, fraudsters, cheaters, thieves, and downright organized criminals are the highway men and brigands and cut-throats and snake-oil salesmen of the 21st century, they constantly trawl the pages of the online auction house for prey, looking for chinks in the armor and finding on a daily basis new and inventive ways to rape and pillage and plunder. I really have never held a high opinion of the human race and this job seems to confirm my somewhat jaded views. Some of the adverts that scroll down on my screen are simply too ironic to be funny: “Weddingdress, worn only once” some range well into the moronic and the imbecilic, but the callousness of the person wanting to swap a family dog for, (and I quote) “something electronic” will haunt me for a long time. The tedium of the job makes your thoughts wander and your minds-eye starts to paint a picture of the person behind the advert: “sugge krosse trenner” it sees a semi-literate fourth generation Turk looking for a cross-trainer from behind a computer screen in his room located in a monotonous sea of grey concrete high-rises somewhere in Berlin-Wedding “Sugar-nose, Fluffy, our sweeeeety, sweet sweetsweet likkle doggy-woggy is looking for a new mummy and daddy, will you give him a warm place in front of your hearth. For only 300 Euros you can give cutey sweety Fluffy-woofy your heart and Fluffy will give you his.” Text like these and a crudely Photoshopped picture of some dewy-eyed sick mutt padded out with little hearts and sparkles in a pink frame reveal a Romanian dog scam. We do our very best to stop these S.O.B’s in their tracks, but the sheer mass of adverts mean that some will inevitably get through. Sorry about that! However we do enjoy a high success rate of search and destroy for the really evil ones and especially those who’s thoughts are way beyond evil, there where the human psyche dives into the cold, dark marrow-chilling realm of helter-skelter, a place where you and I do not want to be. Sometimes it get’s hard to stomach, especially for the younger crew in the 20 to 25 year age group, they have a high rate of attrition and come and go quite regularly, they came here to finance the party life on the streets of Paceville and Sliema, or to earn their living between semesters at collage and universities across Germany. They come wide eyed and exited to be away from home for the first time and they leave with the ability to see beyond the onion-skin of civilization humans have veneered over the base, nasty psychotic predator monkey that we really are. Not surprisingly there is an age gap between 25 and 45, above 45 the crew is composed of a certain type of person, each with a similar tale to tell. Divorced and could no longer stomach the ghosts and sights and smells of familiar surroundings without loosing their minds, or men and women who have travelled a lot in their lives never finding stability or a place to finally call home, then the long term unemployed who are unable to find a job after reaching the big 50, some are throwbacks to the eighties and nineties of the last century and can longer function to the constraints in the expected norm of a politically correct world. A former millionaire who lost everything on the stock market, or people who when asked what brought them to Malta, change the subject to the weather. You know not to pry. I would go so far to say that this company and others, like the online betting and the compare sites and money lenders are the French foreign legion of IT, they are a place to go when nobody else will have you. …Any port in a storm.

Of course, not yet all but a lot, the fridge is full of Cisk and fish, fish that is so fresh a decent vet, two electrodes and a car battery would have it wriggling again. weizen at three fifty a pop at Fat Harrys (eat your heart out Pickwicks) and lst saturday went to see fungus rock on Gozo. Now I know for a fact… there is a humongous fungus among us!

In all honesty I prefere Blue Label but I did at least give (on your recomendation) the Prickly Pear Liqueur the benifit of the doubt and tried a glass, yes it is a drink a girl would like…!

I just read this thread - somehow I thought it was a joke from the title. Too witty for me? I’m so glad you found something, and I hope you will enjoy it! I love, love your writing. Slammer on the road is a fabulous story. I hope you will keep writing and keep sharing! Again wishing you the best!

So did I, slowly slurping that glass empty spoonfull by spoonfull, reminds me, godda get me some more.

…took a dive an hour ago, the roads here are (there is no way to put it politly) crap, I may have mentioned it. Just riding back from Valletta and turned into a roundabout, I could feel the back wheel twitch, just a leeeeetle twitch and WHAMMO! We were down and sliding. It´s incredible, in parts the roads are as smooth as glass, infact you can see the reflection of the sun and they are seemingly coated with what appears to be talcum powder. The rollbar caught the fall but still we cracked our side case, banged our hip and broke a winker glass, and oh Thank you IXS for your tough biker rags, again ATGATT saves having skingrafts. I am a carefull rider and take these roads like I would if they were coated in ice but still Iron Pig and I slid 50 Metres into oncoming traffic to much squealing of brakes. People stopped and helped, wanting to call an ambulance, but I am not hurt (much) and only minor damage to the Pig, so after I picked myself up I was able to carry on home, sitting there now, aching like a mofo but with a cold Weizen thinking that it could have been just soo different. I have rather new Bridgestones mounted but still gonna see the local dealer if there are any tires available that handle differntly on these roads, one fall is enough.

ouch. take it easy, slammer. maybe have an extra drink for the nerves!

Never took a dive before so it´s equal part hurt pride/hurt hip. Need another beer.

…gets one too.

Actually it´s Xlendi on Gozo, and yes the Maltese walk on the roads to be away from the dogcrap:-) As to driving, well I am still trying to work out how the magical “third” lane works. Back to the pig, I took a day off from riding and took the bus, as usual a Chinese built “King Long” built to CHinese specs and very uncomfortable for me, it would seem that there are three Chinese to one Slammer and I simply do not fit into the moulded seats (did you know that the bus company Arriva pulled out of Malta a week before the EU rapped them on the fingers for charging “tourist rates?”) Anyway the next day I got back on the bike rode out of Buggiba onto the coastal road, the feeders to the mainroad are set at a angle and you need to do a Linda Blair to see oncoming traffic, WHAMMO! I have a Toyota up the exhaust and went down again. Luckly no damage, but I took the bus. Comes in threes don´t it? One more to go.

Lazily reading through the classified ads on the Maltapark.com website, one advert grabbed my attention? “CELTA certified teacher required on a part time base!” You may remember that last year I struggled through a rather expensive CELTA in Basel, so methinks it is time for a bit of payback. I replied to the ad and was invited to sit in on one of the lessons to get a feel for the place. So come last Friday at nine on the dot I was shown into a classroom. Then the phone rang? “Ah!..Slammer, you…ah, gonna have to take over… ah, Maria´s class, she has just called in sick, they have a test today, here are the papers, my name is Paul by the way, over there is the coffee machine, loo here, godda dash, me class is starting, may the force be with you, byeeee!” No sooner than my jaw had shut and in walked my “Students” Islamic students, walking, talking stereotypes, the full black beard, flowing robes belonging to twelve, let’s call them “diplomats” from let´s say “far, far east” I started off with gentle, easy questions, “where do you come from?” “Someplace far, far east” I told them that I came from a town called “Blackburn,” a beautiful quaint old Victorian town, situated just to the north of England´s industrial heart and surrounded by green fields and gentle hills, where to the north, (here I waxed lyrical) windswept moors and the magnificent granite splendour of the tors and the crags and peaks of the lakes merged seamlessly into the Scottish highlands, I painted a picture of dry stone walls, gentle rain, like the wee of angels, of Tudor villages and a multicultural, friendly people. I needn´t have bothered, as soon as I said “Blackburn” all they wanted was to talk about was the Rovers and the football. I handed out the test. Half an hour later the test just over and I was running out of things to say and so I started on British humour (remember I was only supposed to be a sit-in, nothing was prepared so I was ad-libbing along like a MoFo!) What did they know about British humour?? Mr. Bean. I had a computer connected to the Internet and an interactive whiteboard at my disposal (first time I had seen one by the way) As I still over a half hour to kill I decided I would gave them a dose of Freddy Frinton and May Ward in “Dinner for One” ( ) just scroll throught the German bits. We spent the rest of the lesson talking about the different dialects, about the different dishes served and what Freddy meant by: “Same procedure as last year madam?” “Same procedure as every year James” “Well! I´ll do my very best!” We shared a lot of laughs and it was quite refreshing after my “other” work at the online auctions house where I am keeping a low profile for the moment. I had deleted an advert selling what I, honest to god, took to be a dildo, but was in actual fact the saddle from a High-Tec racing bicycle. The woman who was selling had thrown a thermo-nuclear hissy fit because I had deleted the item using the dreaded “sex” tool. From her complaint I gather that she is quite fond of the word “imbecile” Another controversial advert that I had killed was for an artificial hip, made out of titanium, a steal at only 120 Euros´. For “Decoration or Demonstration purposes” And why the hell not, in fact if you got some more you could make yourself one totally rad wind chime, its only when you follow the link provided and get to the website of a Polish crematorium that things go waaaaay beyond creepy. Fire sale. 1 Steadfast, the leading Titanium hip joint! Used, only one previous owner! Low, low, loooow mileage! Of course I made that last bit up. But that is fun and something that brightens my day, however the pervs that target the young girls looking for a baby sitter job are redlining my blood pressure at the moment. Younger/cuter/blonder attracts these SOB’s like flies to carrion. The girls, they come in three categories, firstly those that thqueem and thqueem and thqueem, this will excite the guy, this is what he wants, this is what he lives for as he sees them as a soft target and he will do his very best to make the girls thqueem and thqueem and thqueem even more. Secondly there are those that want to make the perv see the errors of his ways and start to argue and reason, all the while appealing to his humanity, it never ends well because Mr. Perv sees nothing wrong with what he does, his argument it that she should simply accept that some people are different and that there is nothing wrong with being different, and why won’t she come around to his place to clean his bathroom in the nude…? Then there is the girl that flatly tells the guy that the correspondence and his IP have been forwarded on to the authorities, he will then beg and whine and wheedle and be quite hurt as he was only having a bit of fun and that she should not have taken him seriously it was all a laugh and he thought that she was… and please don’t… and sorry, so sorry. My fantasies involve these creatures and a baseball bat studded with six inch nails. But just like their fantasies, mine too will never happen, but it does good to paint the picture in my mind, perhaps there is not a lot of difference between them and me after all. It comes in threes they say? And every one comes out of the hurt locker. The first time I have ever spun out on a motorbike has been just recently on Malta?s crappy roads, a result of the mirror-like surface on a nearby roundabout where Iron Pig and I parted company, I remember feeling an ever so slight twitch from the rear wheel, the next thing I know is WHAMMMO and that we had reversed orientation 90 degrees! Thankfully the damage was slight, a banged up side case for the pig and a collection of bruises you could sell to science for me, I limped around for a while and took the bus to work. A few days later and still feeling like King Kong’s chew toy I very gingerly saddled up again only to be rear-ended by Toyota. Again not much damage and after spending an hour with the 'ol fibre-glass repair kit we were as good as new. Not even a WEEK later I end up on the bonnet of a SUV, this time the damage is more substantial, side case crushed (it would seem that they make great airbags though) damage to the fairing, rear lamp smashed and all the tough plastic around the rear end shattered. But it would seem that the Pig looked after Slammer and I was not even scratched. It does get one thinking about mortality and how fast things can go to hell in a hand basket, so after all the scrapes, bumps and narrow escapes from lunatic fringe drivers on dangerous roads you would think that I would see the light and mothball the Pig. So not gonna happen! Poor Pig looking all sorry for herself, hurts just to look at this picture. However! What will kill the Pig in the next few weeks or so is my arch-nemesis, burocracy! It’s getting to the point where we need to dump our Swiss plates and register ourselves on Malta, mainly because the Pig?s Swiss insurance is running out and I am long past the period of grace awarded by Transport Malta for the changeover, if caught it will cost a fine of 40E´s per day over that deadline. Now then! To import a Bike older than 14 years and with the Pig’s quite substantial CO2 emission from the EU would cost around 300E´s! But! I will allow you to feel my pain, because this is the part where having lived in Switzerland comes to bite me in the arse. As we know Switzerland is not in the EU and to import a bike older than 14 years with the Pig’s CO2 emission from a not-EU country will cost me? “Ahem! Drumroll please” BRRRRRRR- Dang TUSCHHHHhhh Boom! 37.437,00 FrikkingE’s! I have been through the paperwork with a fine-tooth comb and if I can’t find a loop-hole soon then the adventures of Slammer and the Pig will come to an end. At least the busses are cheap and run on time… …More or less?! On the busses. The magic busses of Malta, complete with their little Madonna grottos on the dash, where little old ladies would kneel and make the sign of the cross. Knowing how the Maltese drive I can´t say I really blame them for wanting to up the odds. There are still a few of these very handsome vehicles on the road today, Old Leyland´s and Thames busses, beautifully restored, all gleaming chrome, with a mirror shine on the hubcaps and polished, spotless paintwork I see them from time to time on the promenade road in Sliema and Mosta and Luca rumbling past as they ferry tourists in search of the genuine Malta experience, there is even one converted to sell “sovineers,” not to me they don’t, I dislike tourist tat at best of times and take it as a bad sign if you can’t spell what you sell. The sad reality of the Magic busses, slowly fading away. The grey paint scheme on this bus shows that it once drove the inhabitants of Gozo around the island. However regardless of the chrome and wistful sighs that long for yesteryear, they seem displaced and out of time amongst Hyundai’s and BMW’s and Smart cars. Now that they have been taken out of the context of their original purpose, they are now no more than shiny exhibits out of a museum. The new King Long busses made in China are nice enough though, modern and efficient and economic and don’t burst into flames like Boris (the merc) Johnsons castoff ex-London bendy buses they replaced. That’s all for now, so I´ll leave you with a picture of “The Pub” in Valletta. A pub to die for as the late, great Oliver Reed would tell you. Impressions Carneval on Malta, as colorfull as anywhere else on the planet. What do you do with old cannons, why you bury them in the harbour wall and use them to moor ships. I was fascinated how the chain holding a floating mooring had cut through solid rock. The causeway under the mighty walls of Fort St. Elmo Malta´s new economy, huge reserves of Gas have been found just a few miles offshore. Went swimming again and found this chappie, looks like somebody dropped an anchor. A luzzu, one of Malta´s iconic boats ferrying the eternal tourist to all the bright spots

Twas such a beautiful day yesterday and because Bexi came to visit and I was on the late shift we decided to to the tourist two step around Valletta including the grand harbor tour… The cruiseliner season is getting underway, over a half a million people visit the Island at some point during their cruise in the med. The fortress of Floriana next to the Capital, just now everything is green and the air is full of the heady scent of flowers in bloom. The fortress on Manoel Island, one of the most complete period fortifications in Europe, this Vaubanic style fortress is a massive screw you to any invader. The old submarine base on Manoel Island, bomb and shell damage still evident. Undewater is a lighter sunk during the bombing, now a great dive site. St Pauls Anglican cathedral. The watchtower in Senglea, in the little tower you see carved eyes and ears, nobody get´s past without being seen and heard, you have been warned. The old military hospital in Il Birgu, here, like all over Malta the war is still very much present. A long time ago.

May I make a little correction to your correction…(Achtung, Nerd alarm!:slight_smile: A dghajsa is one of the little double ended water taxis you see flitting in and around Grand Harbor, like pint sized Venetian gondola and propelled in much the same way, however almost all have a Outboarder bolted to the stern. The other Boat that Malta is famous for is the kajjik, built like the Luzzu but only with a square transom. The one in the picture is on offer in Maltapark.com for 600€ Hmm! Can´t say I much like the square transom. looks like it could cause a problem in following seas. My favorate though is the Luzzu, double ended with the high prow and transom. The fleet is around 30 to 40 years old with new ones being built mainly on Gozo, the design is said to hail from the Phoenicians and I can undertsand why, you simply can´t improve perfection. All have engines but there are one or two with the sails, but I think that they are mainly for show to make Spinola bay a bit more prettier. One curious design aspect and I havn´t yet found out why, apart from the main propeller all Maltese boats have a second, smaller prop offset to the port side? Respectivly, a dghajsa, a kajjik and a Luzzu. Disclaimer, not my pictures this time.