When you wake to a red sky in the morning you expect some wet stuff to follow at some time in the future. By early afternoon the lightning flashed and the thunder roared and the rain pelted down and the doughty drivers of Malta batted not a single eyelid. Slow down for the poor visibility? Nah!
My cousins took me under their wings today, helping by identifying my photos of Grand Harbour and explaining exactly where various events occurred during WWII. Charles pointed out the place where the Bofors had been (for which he heaved the ammunition).
Paul was able to point out where the Ohio, one of the very few surviving merchant ships in the Santa Marija convoy, tied up after being nursed into the harbour on the morning of 15th August 1942. The arrival of the remnants of this convoy quite literally saved the island, which was close to starvation. Supplies of ammunition were so low at that time that anti-aircraft batteries were rationed to just 11 rounds per gun and, so short of fuel, the fleet of submarines could not sail. The story of Operation Pedestal and the great ship, the Ohio, has been told many times – and so it should be.
We piled in the car and Paul took us to lunch in a swish restaurant in Sliema and afterwards back to Hamrun, to show me the house my Aunt Mary lived in, and the one my late father ‘baby-sat’ her children in. What a devil he must have been. I can’t repeat all the mischievous things he got up to, but I think there were sighs of relief all round when he grew up and joined the Army.
How jolly fortunate I am to have such a lovely family. I just wish I didn’t live on the other side of the world.