Friday, October 12, 2007

Arriving in Malta...

click on the images to see these flags full size!
In the above pic, you see Fort St. Angelo from the English Post, the part of the wall that Mr. Starkey was responsible for. We are looking towards the main "castle" part of it. I presume the Grand Masters were really happy with the nice new construction going on right in the middle of all the old stone work. Should be a prestigious address though.

I love the flags. Normally I am in Malta during the winter, and seeing the summer flags come out is like seeing spring flowers.

The above picture, which you have to click on to see it full size, tells a great story. It is a plaque with the ancient "red and white" flag of Malta which is still in use, commemorating a great military action. And beside it, somebody from nowadays scratched in his commemoration of quite another sort of action entirely.
I think all in all I prefer the modern scratched in memorial...its more immediate and real somehow.

The closed doors to the Palace Armoury. Actually it is the back door to the palace stables, where the collection was banished when Malta became a republic back in '64, and the museum needed to be used for legislators. (or maybe not....I suspect that one set of big closed doors looks much like another....grin! Lets pretend these are the Palace doors then.)

Malta busses.
What follows is a cut and paste of my visit to Malta back in May, only now I am able to illustrate it with the above pictures.

May 07
Here I lugged this armour halfway around the world only to find the armoury is closed. Seems the roads were all being torn up, and nobody could get in the door, so they downed tools and hung a shingle on the door saying "closed until further notice!". (actually, it turned out to be an old sign they forgot to take down, and the real entrance was on the next street over!) Crikey! Well, instead of hanging around Valetta and its noisy road work, we wandered back out to the bus scrum and took the number four out to Fort Rinella. (google Fort Rinella,Malta, you'll be glad you did!) While Brenda drove off to meet our friends at the airport, I hooked up with Mario F., the head of the Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna. This is an organization which is working at recovering a lot of the Malta history. I had an excellent afternoon with M. F. chatting about everything under the sun. About time I had such a break...the first one in years. I treated myself to a Cisk (thats a beer) and a kinney (thats a soft drink). I got the impression that M.F. needed a bit of a break as well...the frustrations of managing several museums and multiple projects has clearly taken a toll on his patience. Since I had already built a functional armoury, we discussed the possibility of creating a hands-on working armoury, and how to make it sustainable. Clearly, it won't be THIS year, nor likely even THIS decade, so I suspect it was more of an exploration of an idea than anything else. Its not like they really need my skill as an armour but he was rather keen on how I was able to make my armoury pay for itself. Besides, as far as making armour, I see that there is already an excellent armourer here in Mosta, creating armours for a display troupe. All I can say is "good on ya!" There is never enough metal clothing to go around! And this guy is really good. I really must try to make time to visit him this week!

(author's note...I never DID get around to visiting the fellow...but again, his armour is really good! Not that I ever got around to taking pictures of his stuff...too much "real" stuff to take pictures of!)

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