Teachers next… get ready for a grinding!

After a good post, it is time to take on the teachers. ‘Hell hath no fury, like a woman scorned’, goes the saying… but an angry man should not be scorned either.

My next project will be a short but intensive one, where (late primary and secondary classes) teachers are to get the brunt of my anger. I have already enough material to drown the poor drones, but will present my idea in a different manner.

Hopefully any teacher worth his salt will be able to reply with decent answers, although I sincerely doubt how they can satisfy me. I have a feeling a few boats will be rocked. Can’t wait to throw some of you overboard…

My rant will be on the inhumane amount of homework heaped on students.

Hmm… now where did I put my Pink Floyd album?

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The new Tarxien – Luqa link road. Pluses and Minuses.

Just like a snail that hides after a fierce summer, the onset of early autumn and the waning of the sun bring me out of my shell to enjoy the outdoors a little bit more. I make no bones about it. I hate summer and the endless savage heat it brings with it.

Sure, I cool down a bit with a dip to the sea, but the sunny season here drags so long that it is a pain in the proverbial padded backside.

And with extra excursions on my mind, I come to my topic today. The Roads. I know that many have been over this before, but I fail to see how such a simple black-top can be built with so much short-sightedness.

Granted this is Malta, and contractors are unreliable, but there is a limit to being plain unreliable and jumping to being plain dumb. However it seems that there is no end to the amount of dumbness by those who design the roads.

One of my favourite haunts at various times of the evening is a walk along the airport runway. A cool, uninterrupted walk of about six kilometres that I strive to enjoy every day with my wife. So obviously, to go for my walk, I have to drive the three odd kilometres from home to our starting point.

And I honestly cannot, for the life of me, imagine why these ‘fouls’ have been made during the recent upheaval of Luqa Road.

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Coming out from the roundabout linking Tarxien to Paola and Santa Lucia, I see that the first part of the road to Luqa has not been resurfaced. Considering that the government has spent so much on the rebuilding from the second roundabout onwards, I think it is folly to leave the last bit, a mere 300 metres stretch of road just as it was. All it would have needed would be a ‘scratching’ and resurfacing.

While we are on this stretch, I would like to point out that at no point is this road wide enough for safe passage of two cars. One of the main culprits are the many dusty trees making their presence felt along the side of the secondary Junior College. I am sure it has been said many times. We do not need trees in contact with the roads, unless they are protected by barriers. So why not make the barriers wider and allow for a pavement or a cycle track along the school wall? As it is, the courage to pedestrians who perhaps might take the walk is greatly diminished.

Just as that bit is over, we come to perhaps what is the biggest blunder of all. That humongous roundabout linking Tarxien, Marsa and Luqa. Who, in hell’s name invented such a monstrosity? The sheer physics of such a piece of useless shit means that one has to slow down to a crawl to manouvre his way around this chicane, because that is what it looks like. A racing chicane.

A driver on the left lane who is 5 metres behind the car to the right will suddenly find his windshield brimful with the arse of the same car that in most cases will probably stay on that lane on his way to Luqa. I’m sure that without even needing hindsight, this piece of traffic wizardry could have been avoided or made smaller. I will mention the small fact that coming back from Luqa, it is absolutely terrible and terrifying.

Having had the good fortune to visit countries abroad, I still cannot comprehend why we do not steal an idea or two. Granted, a roundabout will always be helpful (and necessary) in decreasing speed by breaking the roadso to speak, but still, it is way too big. I hope we don’t have landscapers building them into ‘portable gardens’. That is so dumb.

The rest of the road therein is extremely good, and I applaud the ideas of pelican lights rather than a 60km speed limit, although I have a feeling it won’t be too long before a limit is slapped onto this stretch of asphalt. It’s an absolute necessity, although sometimes stretching the horses’ lying under the bonnet of your car is so therapeutic. Not that there’s anywhere to do that nowadays in Malta…

Since we are at the point of crticism, I would like to ask why the hell does the pavement need to have ‘lands’ of greenery in them? Or a bench?….. Ah well….

Obviously, it is a great improvement on the older link, and it is a pleasure to drive along, making my commute, even by bicycle, far easier. The LED lighting, clear markings on the asphalt, service culverts, traditional Maltese rubble walls are all bonuses… well done….8/10. 

The great PN-PL debate… and why they are not worth our time!

It looks as if this country can never get anything right, or rather, its’ politicians are hell bent for leather on self-destruction. 

The latest two skirmishes now are on the much-vaunted and much-maligned buses and their routes, and a recent leasing of a hospital by the government.

Let’s start with the bendy-buses. London Mayor Boris Johnson has been widely quoted as saying ‘he was “delighted” they were clogging up the streets of Malta‘. 

Now while I am truly disgusted and surprised at the services offered by Arriva in this country, I thought it was pretty poor form by the Mayor, who introduced these buses himself, and is now rather in a hurry to shift talk to who inherited them. As to why Mr.Johnson really needed these buses on most of London’s tortuous, winding roads, only God knows. An idiot could tell you that they were unsuitable for London except for the most far-flung routes… such as going from the centre of London Town to Zone6 areas, such as Hampton court.

As it is, Londoners rarely use buses (own experience), and use the quite efficient underground system most of the time. At the prices the bus carriers in England charge, it is hardly surprising. The equivalent of 3Euro for a bus trip from Tarxien to Marsa is the norm. And that is not a day ticket either.

Most buses are scratched, dirty, ramshackle affairs…. I recall them being called ‘bone-shakers’ by none-too-kind detractors of the system.

Now, obviously, all is laid on the step of Dr.Austin Gatt, minister of transport. Whether it is fair or not, I cannot comment, but what I do know is that in this little country of ours, a smattering of common sense could go a long way.

If the authorities had insisted that we keep the ‘Hub System’ in place, utilising central places for larger transportation of commuters at one go, this problem would never have arisen.

But the average Maltese Joe is a paragon of moaning. It is difficult for the normal person to accept change. Especially the elderly…I’ve seen more lenient donkeys and asses. So we were back to the old system. Nothing bad in itself, if only the bloody buses could keep to their schedule. How difficult can that be? Every 15 or twenty minutes, a bus HAS to leave the terminus, whether full or not.

There is no need to say that the incumbent power-hungry party in opposition, is taking full advantage of this situation, and jumping on the bandwagon. Only a day after Mr.Johnson’s now famous remark, billboards are appearing all over the island with hilarious slogans on them. According to the PL, they will wave their magic wands and ‘Stupefy’ everyone with their efficiency once in power.

An ardent PL supporter pointed out to me that once PL will be in power (a hardly surprising bet…) they will send Arriva packing. I am sure that he has a logistical plan in place…

St.Philip Hospital. Ah! The much talked over hospital lease. this week we heard on the news that following huge congestions in the new(ish) Mater Dei hospital, the government has decided to lease a private hospital that had gone out of business. In truth this hospital was being used for rehabilitation purposes already.

So when the government decided to fully lease this building, one can imagine that the opposition, once again, disagreed. I don’t know if the fact that now, two hundred beds will be used for rehabilitation, freeing the general hospital occupancy.

For those who are not from these islands, let me just point out in passing, that in our little country, we have a state of the art hospital, with free health care for everyone. I doubt many countries can offer the same as little Malta. But I digress…

So obviously, despite getting the lease for what I think is a decent price for the amount of years it will be in possession of the local health care authorities, the opposition, once more, disagrees. ( I dare say that the spokesperson for Health for the PL is not even up-to-date with the proceedings!)

And this, my friends, is the local political scene….

PN does one thing, and no matter what it is, the PL disagrees. And the PL says one thing, and the PN says it is wrong… the middle-of-the-road approach has long left the country, together with any semblence of dignity by our members of parliament.

…the same members who spend half a year on extended leave, but still getting paid from our taxes. I don’t know about you lot, but I don’t call these people my representatives…

(PS. due to my now long-standing health problems, much of my weekend mornings are spent in Mater Dei. Truthfully, I have rarely noted this congestion, and have always been treated extremely well. I have nothing but praise for the tireless hospital staff. Of course, you will find a rotten egg in any basket. I DO agree however that beds are sometimes being occupied in vain after clinical interventions, and I DO believe that the opening of St.Philip Hospital will be an added boon. Nothing’s perfect… but then, what is?)

59 countries have invaded this blog!

Lately while doing some research and statistic gathering for this site, it was with a surprise to note that I have readers from 59 different countries, Malta included. 

I could not believe my eyes at this pleasant revelation. Mostly because I do not belong to an entity, such as a sports club…. or even worse, to a political party or belief (GOD FORBID!).

So to realize that your thoughts are sought after by so many people and so many followers, is absolutely splendid.

Oh happy start…

More often then not, mornings for me are a nervy start to the day. I am quiet, withdrawn and regularly in pain from the damned RA and AS conditions I have. So one can imagine that I am not the best person to have a happy conversation with.

But when I arrive at work, get out of the car and look in the direction of Zejtun, to be greeted by these beautiful ‘paintings’ (for want of a better word), things suddenly start to look better…

Gorgeous hardly begins to describe the images…

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Looking towards Zejtun… 6.30am
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Looking towards Zejtun, with a famous quote…

Updated a new ‘old’ page.

Recently I have had a number of queries regarding a page I used to keep, but no longer made available. This was the ‘hymns’ page, when I used to design and create hymn images for use in churches around the island.

I no longer do this work, but after repeated pleas, I have made this page available again. The link for the downloads will be updated by the 5th of October.

Apologies if this has created some distress.