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Monday, 08 February 2010
Mike Jane


Is this the baby brother of the famous Mary Jane? When we were very young, the name Mary Jane conjured up the following words*:

What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She’s crying with all her might and main,
And she won’t eat her dinner, rice pudding again ...
What is the matter with Mary Jane?

When we were a bit older it brought to mind other ditties, by Lennon/McCartney, Janis Joplin, Tom Petty, Pete Townshend, Technohead, Alanis Morissette, Tori Amos, Mary J. Blige** as well as numerous other songwriters.

* from When We Were Very Young by A A Milne 1924
** Mary Jane Blige sampled the Mary Jane Girls on her song

Posted by bigblue on 08/02/2010 at 07:13 AM
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Sunday, 07 February 2010
St Paul’s Cathedral


This is a panoramic combination of three photos, taken inside the cathedral at Mdina, Malta.

The building we can see today was designed by the architect Lorenzo Gafa, it was built between 1697 and 1702 to replace a ruined Norman cathedral destroyed by the 1693 earthquake on Malta. Despite this, several artifacts and edifices survived including the painting by the Calabrian artist Mattia Preti depicting the conversion of Saint Paul, a 15th century Tuscan painting of the Madonna and Child, and frescoes in the apse which illustrate Paul’s shipwreck.

According to Visit Malta the dome interior only dates from the 1950s while the marble-inlaid graves are of former bishops and other members of the cathedral chapter.

Posted by bigblue on 07/02/2010 at 08:38 AM
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Saturday, 06 February 2010
Mort in Malta


There are a surprising number of pictures of Mort on the gravestones of the faithful clergy in the cathedral of St Paul in Mdina, Malta. This was the only one I saw that showed Mort playing the walk-with-a-balloon-between-your thighs game. Perhaps this is why he is not carrying his scythe.

Posted by bigblue on 06/02/2010 at 07:19 AM
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Friday, 05 February 2010
Maltese sunset


The sunsets and sunrises in Malta are relatively brief affairs, but most cast an interesting light over the island.

Malta, which is in the Mediterranean and South of Sicily lies closer to the equator than Tunis the capital of the North African state of Tunisia.

Posted by bigblue on 05/02/2010 at 10:02 PM
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Tuesday, 02 February 2010
Ramla Bay


This is a panoramic shot of where we had our business meeting in Malta last November. Click on the photo for a bigger version. I was interested to see the mixed reviews (mostly positive though) on Tripadvisor. As we were there on business (and checking emails and conducting conference calls at certain times of the day) my only gripe was that I expected a cheaper, fixed-rate (or even free) internet subscription. The food was good, but more variety over the week would also have been appreciated. There were no other problems.  A link to the website of the hotel is here.

Posted by bigblue on 02/02/2010 at 07:30 AM
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Monday, 01 February 2010
Malta Bus


By way of comparison with yesterday’s quaint and charming image I thought I would show that some of the Malta buses are quite modern. This was the bus we took back to our resort one night, from the Maltese capital city of Valletta, which happens to be a Unesco world heritage sight.

Posted by bigblue on 01/02/2010 at 07:59 AM
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Sunday, 31 January 2010
Malta by Bus


It is relatively convenient and improbably cheap to travel around Malta on the Maltabus, especially if you buy a pass. After a certain hour the buses stop running, so you have to be careful to ensure that you can return back to your base (especially if you have to change buses en route). For this reason alone, if I were to go to Malta again, I would stay in one of the larger towns and not a remote resort.

In my first few days in Malta, while working, I entertained notions of hiring a motorbike or scooter to explore the island. After travelling on the buses during my first day of holiday I reappraised the situation. As you can see in the photo above, the driver is navigating roads with his son standing next to him beside an open door. He seemed to show less regard for the motorcyclists that we overtook. For safety reasons, if I did want my own transport, I would hire a car.

I thought I would also provide a view of the somewhat mixed iconography above the driver:


It falls into the “mostly religious with a touch of porn” category. Then again it has been noted that the playboy image appears to have been “sanitised” here in the UK, even for children: What I saw and What Fink saw.

Posted by bigblue on 31/01/2010 at 07:30 AM
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Sunday, 24 January 2010


A familiar and yet unfamiliar word. This is a squad car of the Pulizija Ta´Malta, the Malta Police Corps.  Founded on 12 July 1814, it is one of the oldest police forces in Europe, if not the world.

The poster behind the car is advertising Simon’s, an Elvis tribute bar in Qawra, on St Paul’s Bay.  If there was any justice in the world the pulizija of St Paul’s Bay would have shut that place down years ago.

St Paul’s Bay has a long an interesting history, and is where Paul of Tarsus is said to have been shipwrecked on his way to Rome to face trial. The local guide who took us on an excursion one night after work assured as that it was well documented that this was the very bay where Paul was shipwrecked, and apologised that it was dark and that she therefore couldn’t point out the very rocks where the ship struck land. Somewhat bemused I have scratched around on the internet and found that even though the first records of the shipwreck at this place were written 400 years after the event, this doesn’t stop certain people from “verifying” this by comparing the local geography to the account in Acts 27 (27-32):

If you visit the island of Malta today you will find an inlet that is called St. Paul’s Bay. Ancient tradition has hallowed this bay as the site of Paul’s shipwreck. The earliest document mentioning this tradition was written more than four hundred years after Paul’s shipwreck. However, given the bearing on which their ship was drifting, this bay is the first possible point of contact that they would have had with the island of Malta. Also, there is other evidence that points to this bay as the scene of the shipwreck.

Right, except that the argument is based on the geography of the modern bay (18th Century) fitting the description in the bible, and it does not even attempt to argue that all other bays/rocks on the island don’t fit the description.

Posted by bigblue on 24/01/2010 at 07:54 AM
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