“That seat you’re in there. That’s where Oliver Reed had his last drink before he died.”
It’s exactly the sort of tall story which I love telling American tourists in Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem in Nottingham. Anything mythical will do really. Robin Hood, Princess Diana – it all works.
But back to Valletta. And the seat that Phil is in really is where Ollie had his last drink. Appropriately, it’s a place called “The Pub” and is also frequented by members of the Royal Navy when they’re in town. They’ve even created a shrine to the great old drunk.
Whilst I’m attempting to take some pictures of the cathedral, Phil and Franko are assembled with John by a tourist information sign. But they’re not trying to find the past, but the present. Just when I though the Geek Factor couldn’t get any higher, John cross references some information on his smart phone with a tiny container from behind the sign.
This is a sport known as geocaching, where participants seek out small metallic receptacles containing a long strip of paper – the log – which is signed and neatly packed back in for the next person to find.
It’s all to easy to get colonial about Malta. They drive on the left, all the signs are in English and they have shops which may soon no longer be seen on the British High Street.
It really has been a perfect day. Right down to the woman on the ferry who cheerfully said : “Right then, little man, let’s go and do some bouncing.” Before I could summon up the words “barking”, “up” and “wrong tree” I realised she had a small child with her. Now then, who needs a nice pair of slacks?