7 Chakra’s This was good read, I agree with everything you have said too much isolation is not a good thing. We are social animals at heart, Thanks for this
Well what a surprise within 8 hours of publishing the above blog HSBC have managed to open my account at last. The thing is I’ve already checked out another bank so should this post upset someone there, I’ll simply switch my tiny amount of business to them.
It always pays to keep something in reserve.
I would like to draw a line in the sand with HSBC who appear to have gotten too big for their boots in Malta/Gozo. I have been an HSBC customers since they took over Midland bank in the UK. HSBC (the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation) not the High Street Banking Corporation as many believe (strike 1 for misrepresentation) are I believe either in a complete state of turmoil here on the islands, which I can only put down to their constantly absent Directors or complete incompetence (I wouldn’t trust them with my grandsons piggy bank). Now being angry is not good for my ‘Karma’ and normally I’m a very happy chappy but I would like to relate what has been a saga spanning months, to try and give HSBC Malta my money, and is now making me angry and when the Crazy Brit gets angry, step aside.
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I’ve had what some would call a frustrating day today, but I have to smile at what’s gone on and the way the system (and I use that word in the broadest sense), how the system works. Actually I still haven’t clearly worked it out. They call me CRAZY, well I’ve learnt to keep smiling and with some of the experiences I’ve gone through today may help some of you to avoid the pitfalls.
OK so here we go, I arrive in Gozo and am given the keys to my apartment. Joe my landlord has been great and is always looking for ways to improve things and help me with anything I need. I have to say, this isn’t the typical experience that people find, but he’s a bit crazy (like you know who). So I’ve absolutely no complaints on the number 1 thing you have to do when you arrive, GET SOMEWHERE TO LIVE! My village (I’m still not saying where it is) is perfect for what I need, but I think I’ve covered that in my previous posts. But the second thing I felt was important was to make sure I had access to medical care if it was needed. I arrived with my E.H.I.C (European Health Insurance Card) they’re given to you for free provided your country is a member of the EU, so if you take ill while away then you’ll be treated there, and the bill is sent to (in my case) the British N.H.S.
It’s a reciprocal arrangement for all EU countries, so whenever you go on holiday to an E.U country, and if your home country is in the EU always make sure you have your little blue card. Consequently I go to the very excellent hospital in Rabat and walk to the accounting department and hand them the S1 form I was sent from H.M.G in the UK. This is to arrange for me to qualify for Maltese health care. The “little blue card” isn’t any use once you’re a resident here, although I’m sure if you needed treatment they’d use it. So the lady in the office takes the S1 form which the UK government sent to my new address in (Ah you nearly caught me there). They do that to make sure you are a resident, if it was done any other way I guess that would open the “system” to fraud.
Now the next thing I need is to open a bank account “easy peasy in any other country”, but not here, at one stage I complained to the bank and said “perhaps I should find someone else willing to take MY money”. OK I know I don’t have a lot but that’s never stopped anyone wanting what I’ve got anyway (no names mentioned). Without access to your money you can’t buy “stuff” or pay rent, so having access to money is, I would say quite important. However you can’t open a bank account unless you’re a resident. HELLO! So wait for it, to obtain residency you have to show you are living here permanently, and show copies of bank statements. Are you still with me? I’m not sure I am.
Now I’ve been with HSBC since before they came to the UK, and they suggested I became a Premier customer years ago, I didn’t need to do anything but my “personal banker” Jill, arranged an account in the US for me, and I had very little to do to get it. I wasn’t exactly loaded but was getting money from different sources in the UK and the US. I’ve gotta say I’ve been a Premier customer for several years and it’s a great program with lots of benefits and it costs NOTHING (just click the link and see). So Michael at the bank, after a rough start (me going just a bit crazy with him-sorry Michael) gets stuck in and starts really helping to ease the process for me and removes a LOT of the unnecessary red tape. But the final thing he needed was me to prove I had been accepted as a resident. “Go to the Ministry” he says, “and get the paperwork going they will give you a temporary document which we can use to prove you are a resident”
.The Citadella Rabat
So I get up very early this morning and drive into Rabat/Victoria (I prefer Rabat as that’s what the Gozitan’s call it and it was us Brits that forced them to change the name to honor Queen Victoria) and that’s just not cricket old chap. Anyway I’m there by 7-15am they open at 8 am but it was a lovely day so I sat in the courtyard and watched the staff arriving for work. A nice young lady opened up the door smiled and said, we don’t open ‘til 8, Oh I know I’m fine here in the sunshine (yes all you people in the cold and rain, eat your heart out).
So it’s now 8am, she says you can come in now, she promptly goes and takes a selection of forms staples them together and asks me to bring them back when they’re completed, along with all of the other things I need to prove “economic self-sufficiency” Now I’m no lawyer and I don’t agree with age or sex discrimination, in fact I fought a case in the US against one of the US’s biggest retailers for just this type of discrimination (and this will be the subject of another blog), but this young lady who was smiling throughout the whole process clearly expected me to go away and I was n’t sure what her problem was (surely not me I’m just an innocent Crazy Brit).
Now No.1 I may be wrong here, but I though one of the things about being in the EU was the ability to settle in whatever member state you wanted.
No.2 I’ve looked, but the forms I have don’t appear to be referenced, so they can’t be seen on the internet and is that kosher?.
No.3 despite my inane ability to keep smiling I was starting to lose it, but hey ho, it’s a lovely day so what.
Enjoying the sunshine not aware of the battle to come
I told her I’d like to complete them in the office, she was clearly upset and hovered over me as I started to fill out the forms. Before I could go much further she asked if I had the form given to me by the UK government the S1 form (don’t anyone forget to get that, it’s most important) well no I said, I’ve given that to the hospital and they never gave me a copy. Do you also have the last 6 months of bank statements? She said. Holly crap I’m tottering on the verge now, well it’s like this I say, my bank accounts are in the US and the UK and as yet I don’t have one here. So give me copies of those she says. (This is not going well). “I’ll tell you what” I say smiling ” I’ll go back to the hospital and ask them for a copy of the S1”, we prefer the original she replied, Oh.. OK I’ll ask for the originals, I’m sure they won’t mind giving me those now they’ve seen them. (Famous last words).
At this point I’m taking a break, I have a doctor’s appointment in 15 minutes (no not for high blood pressure) but thank god for that little blue card, see you later.
Ciao, well that didn’t take long and how well it went. The service the doctor gave me here was in a different league to what you’d get in the UK or in the US. I have to say I wasn’t surprised as Malta ranks 5th in the World Health Organization table of Countries. But consider this, I called in at the pharmacy Ta’Pinu and the pharmacist Marica rang the doctor for me and arranged the appointment at the pharmacy with just 2 hours’ notice. Now that is unheard of anywhere in the world and just goes to show how importantly the Maltese regard their health care. And the doctor (I’m not sure I can tell you her name –ethics?) knew what she was talking about, and appeared far more knowledgeable than the average doc. The U.K and U.S by the way are way down the league table in ranking. Anyway, surprisingly my blood pressure was normal and the issue I have (numbness in the hand) is due to me leaning on my arm while I’m writing these blogs (crap I’m doing it now). So I can now issue a health warning not just for reading but for writing these darn things.
Back to those famous last words
“I’ll go back to the hospital and ask them for a copy”, we prefer the original, Oh OK I’ll ask for the originals I’m sure they won’t mind giving me those now they’ve seen them”.
I drive to the hospital, the hospital here is excellent and the staff are very attentive, however when I popped my head into the administration office things went downhill quickly, but its not the ladies fault so I keep smiling. My S1 form had been sent off to Malta and they don’t keep any copies so I’ll have to wait for about a week for it to make its way to me. But what happens if it gets lost in their “system” well I have absolutely no idea! So after trying very hard to persuade the lady to help me out and even my erratic behavior and sob story didn’t work, I thanked her for her help (do that whatever the case) and I then made my way back to the Ministry. Maybe they would take pity on me. No chance.
Oh!”Dearie me” I said smiling like a Cheshire cat. Thank you for your help I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens. But if you see me begging on the street corner because I’ve no money remember me, I said to her. Dead silence, no response apart from that “sweet” smile again. Well at least this helps me demonstrate to you how important it is to keep as many documents as possible and bring them with you. Now I thought I was being clever when I set out for Gozo I scanned everything into my external Seagate hard drive and guess what, it stopped working! After long periods of live online chat this was the final message
“Dear John: Thank you for contacting Seagate Support. Based on your replay, you have a defective. Unfortunately, the drive is out of warranty and cannot be replaced. If you are interested in recovering the data via Seagate, please contact our fee based Data Recovery Services by visiting the link below:http://www.seagate.com/services-software/data-recovery-services/consumers/in-lab-data-recovery/ Alternatively, you could remove the drive from the external enclosure and connect it into a compatible third party enclosure. However, note that if you are not very careful, you may damage the platters, thereby making it difficult for even data recovery experts to recover the files. For additional assistance, feel free to contact us at:http://www.seagate.com/gb/en/about/contact-us/technical-support/
Regards, Leslie Seagate Support ref: _00D00hhzl._5003Aeau8r: ref”
I’m dumbfounded! I need to go and lay down in a dark room, close my eyes and just relax, I should really go to the Lotus-Tal-Qalb to chill out, but I’m there tomorrow for another massage, I need to de-stress and Nico is just the person to help, besides now I have a physical issue with my hand so I convince myself I can afford it .
Now you would think at this stage nothing else could happen to frustrate me aha. I didn’t mention that just before I came to Gozo I bought a new cell phone, I sat on it and the screen cracked. I ordered a new screen from eBay, not a lot of money but expensive for carriage, and I have to wait awhile for delivery. But I’ve been ordering a lot online recently, to get things I couldn’t find on Gozo, a landline phone for example. So I mentioned this to someone and they suggested I went to Sound and Vision. Sound and Vision continued the trend for the way Gozo retailers display themselves (very low key). I go inside it looked quite small on the outside, but when you go inside you find the place is massive, it’s like walking into my Tardis, small on the outside, but big and well stocked on the inside. I explain my predicament to Jason the owner and he’s happy to wait for the screen I bought on eBay to be delivered and see if he can fit it for me. Big relief thank you, so what’s frustrating about that. Sound and Vision have a large display of phones and they’re the same as the one I bought on eBay. They’re cheaper and I can have one right now. Crap I’m throwing good money away here, so I buy a cheap non-electrical phone so when I have a power cut (with my luck it will happen) I can still use the phone. Everything you need right here on Gozo, it’s just that you have to search to find it. I think I’ll have to give up blogging and maybe offer my marketing services to the local retailers (there was a time I was OK at that).
So remember, Gozo residency can take some time to process (no longer than other countries though) it’s something of a mine field getting through the process. Don’t lose your temper with anyone, they’re just telling you what they’ve been told (it’s just a pity that they’re all told different things). But this is part of the charm of Gozo, at least you interact with humans instead of talking to a machine. So if you haven’t yet moved here, and are thinking about it, COME, its wonderful, but prepare as much as you can, and bring all the relevant documents. Forget the clothes and all the other crap I brought, and remember when out shopping that the shop on the inside is way different than the look of it on the outside. But isn’t that nice (not seeing all those advertising banners) and what have you, it all looks so “un-commercialized” just like going back in time.
I’m in that Tardis again.
addiju sakemm il-ħin li jmiss (goodbye until the next time)
John Chalkley aka The Crazy Brit
This Blogging is turning into an addiction, once you start you just can’t stop (as the actress said to the bishop). And all these sexual innuendos also have to stop, people will start to think I’m a sex maniac, well unfortunately ladies I’m not (I’m simply a little crazy).
As you can imagine being crazy, I would expect to attract crazy people, which as it happens today when I attended a seminar on “The Law of Attraction” given by the excellent Philip Holden simply wasn’t the case. Our small group met at the “Lotus Tal-Qalb” in my little village of (I’m still not saying) on Gozo, and what a wonderful group of people they were. I’m not telling you their names as one of the few rules of the meeting was complete confidentiality, which when I saw how we all opened up was a good thing. Everyone said what was in their hearts, as Philip guided us through the process.
I have to say at this point that I thought I knew a lot already about the LOA, (how wrong I was).We went much further than what I’ve described in previous blog posts, (they were a few years ago now during a different life, I was in good old Texas then). We did all sorts of things, past life regression, meditation, but most of all, (with only one exception Philip) we cried our hearts out. Even though I was the only guy in the group (apart from P.H) I shared my feelings in a completely open and honest way (honesty is the best policy in everything, yes including blogs) and the tears rolled. We connected with our previous selves which I know may sound strange to those skeptics out there, but like I always say “don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it”
When I first met Philip, just a few days earlier at another of his sessions, I really entered as a complete skeptic (he told me he realized that in today’s meeting) however I left that meeting full of questions and doubts. Today any doubts I had are now gone, I’m completely convinced, and while I won’t tell Y’all what to do (Y’all it’s that Texas slang slipping in again), it’ll be gone very soon, I can totally recommend you trying it (the L.O.A not the Texas slang ha ha).
Philip started with some limited rules, which were extremely useful and helped keep the room “in tune with each other”. He taught us many techniques, without exception every one of his students experienced the palpable energy in the room, even the toughest of us openly cried (ME). WOW! what an experience, we regressed to previous incarnations even me (in a way)! We talked openly about the experience, there was no bluffing, even those of us that were embarrassed to admit who they’d been in their previous lives owned up (me again), and what an experience that was. The tears flowed as our emotions came to the surface, and I rather embarrassingly admitted who I felt I had “experienced”.
Now as it’s all confidential I’m not telling what the five ladies in the room said, but I can and will reluctantly tell you what I experienced. I really have to qualify myself here, I’m not saying I was this person, that would be too great a leap of faith for you and for me, but somehow I definitely experienced this person’s life. I struggled with my hearing, which is quite bad now and I’ll explain why in a later post, (yep blame Texas again) but I still managed to stay on track maybe I diverted a little, but I caught up with my emotions. So who was this person? I really am embarrassed to say his name (and it takes a lot to embarrass me nowadays) but lets just say my initials are J.C and his were the same. I’ve mentioned him in previous posts.
Maybe it was because I was “hard of hearing” or maybe it was because I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus Christ recently (I describe my faith in good old Facebook as a Christian Buddhist) as anyone who reads my blogs or are my F.B friends will know. I hope this isn’t regarded as blasphemy, because I’m certainly not the second coming. One young man sadly thought he was “The second coming” when I met him November 2014. It was in a psychiatric ward in Wales, unfortunately he was diagnosed as schizophrenic, and he was a really nice kid, he played guitar for us whenever we asked (wouldn’t harm a fly) and in my opinion he wasn’t crazy. In fact maybe he was saner than most so-called “normal people” but that will be another post for another time.
My “experience” was kinda like I felt what J.C felt. Believe me I don’t think of myself as religious. I would argue (and so would The Buddha) that Buddhism isn’t a religion (and that should be the subject of its own blog). In fact in my view religion has been the cause of much of the worlds troubles, whether it be Jews, Christians or Muslims, we continue to fight among ourselves, yet we supposedly believe in the same god. Well if I’m crazy so are all those Jews, Christians and Muslims. I know in this day and age that’s a dangerous statement to make, like Salmon Rushdie (and I don’t want to end up like him).
I know very well as it happens, people from all three of these religions and we all got one famously, too famously in one particular case (and that will never appear in a blog).The only group that happens to be tolerant of other religions are Buddhists, what does that tell ya?
So yes I experienced being in the manger, preaching, doing miracles and dying on the cross, and when J.C finally rose from the grave wasn’t that a kind of reincarnation? Well as I say I’m certainly not claiming to be him reincarnated or otherwise, but maybe because I got my wires crossed I simply experienced what Jesus Christ experienced, and it was mind-blowing for me. Yes I can hear some of you cynics saying Christ the Crazy Brit is really crazy, well I’ve never denied that, but I’m not prepared to keep quiet about the feelings that Philip brought out not just in me but the others in our group.
The stories were fascinating, some of us played a part in the lives of each others experience (some of the group may have been my three wise men and I know who Mary and Joseph were) but my lips are sealed (I’m sure that Philip won’t mind me saying he was probably the donkey, in fact I think he likes to think he’s built like a donkey, but that his fantasy), and I don’t think we need to go there.
We experienced other things which I can remember, but find it hard to explain the technique to get there, you’ll need to visit Philips website to ask for that information. Hey for anyone that didn’t realize that these blue highlighted words are “hyperlinks” to further information (I know some of us aren’t tech savvy) his website is www.philipholden.com. Hey I experienced something today that for once I find hard to put into words. Imagine that, the Crazy Brit stuck for words….
Excuse me I had to stop for a while, Bobbin, (my daughter Sarah) just rang to see how I was doing, we haven’t spoken since we said goodbye before I left. I need to prioritize things, she and my boys (grandsons) Emin and Oliver will always be my greatest priorities, and the ones who I can trust and as we know “Trust is like virginity, once you lose it you never get it back” well that’s what they say. But I believe that people can earn your trust once they’ve lost it, provided both parties want the same thing (The Law of Attraction).
At the end of our day Philip asked us to pick a card from a set of cards I’d never seen the like before. We all picked our card and showed it to everyone P.H then read directly from a book that came with the cards and described what our card said about us. This was the final straw for me, yet again he hit the nail on the head, or should I say the card did.
For those that can’t see my card its Mattraya now if that’s not convincing you are a very skeptical person and I strongly suggest you stop reading my blogs.
We all hugged and said our goodbyes, yep there was a little kissing involved, but nothing the only straight guy in the room couldn’t handle, I felt we’d really bonded today and we went away in an air of enlightenment, peaceful, happy and harmonious. And isn’t that what I said I’ve been searching for all these years.
I like to leave on a funny note, so talking about virginity, (I know we weren’t) but yesterday I learned the translation of the Maltese name for where I live “Virtu Court” believe it or not its Virgin Court. Now as I said to a friend only today, it’s a long time since I’ve been in a virgin (crap I’m not supposed to make sexual innuendo and Bobbin may read this) but as a funny guy used to say “I know I’m awful, But I like it” can any of you Brits out there remember who that was? let me know in the comment below if you can.
Until next time peeps, Its goodnight from me, and its goodnight from him.
(Hey whose crazier here, me for writing this stuff or you for reading it) Gotcha x
John Chalkley aka The Crazy Brit
Peace, happiness and look for harmony (it helps).
In my last blog I talked about a Leap of Faith (my journey to Gozo). This may seem a crazy way of going about things, but I’m going to move backwards and forwards through time to explain how I got to where I am today, and about the CHANGES I’ve had to make. I always fancied being Doctor Who in his Tardis time machine, I’d love to own a Tardis, just think of all the interesting people you could meet from the past and even more interesting to find out what your future holds in store.
When I listen to other people’s advice they say it isn’t healthy to dwell on the past or to put too much faith in the future, even The Buddha said that. Well, I believe we should learn from our past so we don’t make the same mistakes in the future. And when it comes to making plans for our future, as a favorite singer of mine John Lennon once said: “Life’s what happens when you’re making other plans”. So whilst changes to our plan can and usually do happen, I still believe we all need an idea of what direction we want to go, even if we have to change course along the way.
Now as you will no doubt find out I’m a fan of The Beatles, they changed the music scene in an exponential way (I like that word exponential). Their music inspired my life “All you need is love” the list goes on. Paul McCartney helped me write a project for school, and both John and Paul came to my house twice! (That definitely has to be the subject of a separate future blog). So I’m in good company when people refer to me as a crazy brit, John Lennon was regarded by some crazy people such as Tricky Ricky also known as President Richard Nixon, he thought J.L was crazy when he put his life on the line and became a thorn in the presidents side. John Lennon was shot by another crazy American during his “Peace campaign” (conspiracy theories abound here). I learned stuff from John, like sometimes we have to take risks in order to move on and change, “change is inevitable without it we die” a slogan I used when I did a proper job.
Lennon “Tattoo” My Tattoo My Tardis
I’ve taken the Crazy Brit moniker for my “literary” pursuits. By the way I’m also on also on YouTube@ crazybritvideos. In time I’ll make available some old videos from years ago (look out everyone all will be exposed) and there’ll be new ones as I make them. Unfortunately so far I haven’t worked out how to make a video of the future (but I’m working on it) believe me I may be a little crazy but I will get by “with a little help from my friends”. As a well-known guy from Apple quoted:
Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do……Steve Jobs
Well I know I’m not gonna change the world, but with a little luck I can help myself and maybe others, to change their outlook on life.
So how did I end up here in Gozo? Well in part thanks to my ex Texan wife (more about her later hmm maybe?). I arrived back in the UK not in a Tardis on a 747 with 2 suitcases and $5000 in my pocket in September 2014. WOW! What a shock, my ex not only offered to repack my suitcases as “she was so good at packing”, (and guess what, lots of my things were missing when I unpacked), surprise, surprise. But she also managed to persuade me (well in the end I had no option) to come back to the UK at the start of winter. I arrived from Texas where it was 100f into Manchester airport in freezing weather. I know everyone said the previous 10 years had been crazy for me, and quite possibly for the people around me! But this was hard for an old geezer.
So here I was financially and emotionally buggered. Crap, I wouldn’t treat a dog like that, but I love dogs (and I’ll tell you about my girls Tasha and Munchie in a future post).
But I digress…. My family (thank god and my mum and dad for them), found me a small cottage in a place called Buckley in Flintshire, Wales. Talk about going back in time, I bought my first house here over 40 years ago, and now I was renting a tiny place within walking distance of the house I used to own, but now couldn’t afford to buy. I was cold isolated and depression set in, or the black dog as Winston Churchill used to call it. My psychiatrist said “anyone would be depressed after what you’ve been through and you are definitely not Bipolar” (I may tell that story in another post). I barely survived for over a year, I had no focus, I felt like I was a burden to everyone in my family, crap I’d never felt so low. My psychiatrist, Doctor Nirvani, now there’s a name for someone like me who describes himself as a Christian Buddhist (perhaps I’ll write a blog on that someday). But to continue, Doctor Nirvani was excellent, he cared, he listened and he treated me better than any of those “quacks” over in Texas who just dished out lots of meds and taking the money. There ought to be a law against that, street drug dealers end up in prison. But just because they have a certificate that allows them to give them out these quacks end up in mansions (that really does need to be the subject of yet another blog).
Doctor Nirvani convinced me that I really needed to get out and mix, well a lot of people had said that, so one day I did it, I’ve gotta say in the condition I was in it took a lot of courage, I really didn’t want to do it, but I did. I joined a group on an internet site called Meetup. Now for anyone who’s on their own and wanting to join a group of like-minded people without any agenda of dating or “hanky panky” (and it’ll be a long time IF and when I get to that stage) like someone once said “Trust is like virginity, once you lose it you never get it back” by this time I’d just about lost all trust in everything and everyone (including myself). However, someone else said “never say never”, who knows with time, anything can happen. Meetup was great for me and it brought back the old John, and that’s someone I hadn’t met in a very long time.
I eventually joined several Meetup groups including two here in Gozo even though I was still living in the UK, so I made friends before I even moved. That really did help me find my place here emotionally, making contact with people who appear so nice and welcoming, (I only hope it stays that way when they meet the crazy brit haha) Meetup helped give me the confidence I needed to make my change. I also joined expat.com and took part in their posts both giving and receiving advice. Expat really gave me the practical ins and outs of how to make the move to Gozo, and all from people who were either already here or considering moving. Health cover, financial planning, whether to bring a car, just about anything and everything is discussed online, all very confidential and under assumed names (mine is chalks not Crazy Brit).
We all should know that good preparation is key to the start of any new endeavor whether it’s painting a car or moving home, that’s something I learned when I did a real job. At one time I worked with a guy called Jon Kosmoski the founder of House of Kolor (and if you’re into custom cars click that link) Jon always said when you’re starting a job the most important stage is preparation. This time (unlike other times) I succeeded in making the change seamlessly because of my preparation.
Changing and getting out with friends really did save my life, I’ve invited everyone to visit me whenever they want to come, and for once I’ve got tons of room in my new place to put them up, no more inflatables on the floor (steady guy’s I’m talking mattresses’). The first good friend to come here is the attractive and clever LL, not Lois Lane, (although that would be a good match for a Superman, if only I was Superman and not crazy). Loopy Lou (as I call her) is a published author and really easy to talk with.
What on earth does she see in me? I know she’s not after my money, got none. My body? You’ve gotta be kidding.Perhaps it’s my extraordinary crazy charming wit Ha-ha! Well I’ll have to ask here when she arrives. LL writes serious stuff and is landing here in 4 weeks’ time. So now I have a real incentive to get my House in order.
Now after my ramblings lets get back to Gozo (are you still with me)? I’ve been busy shopping, exploring, moving furniture and of course writing, I’ve gotta say I’ve done a helluva lot and its only day 7. There are plenty of shops in Gozo from the upmarket Italian designer outlets, to local craft shops, today I ordered a handmade sign for my office/meditation room from Katrin Formosa in the nearby craft center, give her a call if you want something specially made to be ready when you arrive, tell her the Crazy Brit sent you and she’ll charge double (not really).
When it comes to grocery shopping well they have a Lidl on the island with their usual selection, you can be in a Lidl anywhere in the world and the selection is exactly the same. I prefer my local grocers and restaurants they offer good value and delicious food, besides I hope to get some of the local gossip for my blog when I eat or shop there. As far as being accepted and fitting in is concerned, Gozitan’s (natives of Gozo) are generally very friendly and helpful, and in my experience also trusting. I’ve been here 7 nights and my landlord Joe still hasn’t come for any rent, I offered it when he rang to see if I needed anything, after Betty gave me the keys, but he said no rush. See if you can do that anywhere else in the world, no contract signed and no money paid? Perhaps I just look honest, well honesty is the best policy when dealing with people or (writing blogs).
My next project now my internet is connected, is to produce a video of all of those out of the way places I’ve found. As I said in my last post I enjoy driving and getting lost, finding out of the way places, and there are some real gems here on Gozo, the GPS always gets me home when I turn it on, so I can relax and just do as the woman on the GPS tells me (nothing’s changed) but as Gozo is so tiny anyway it’s hard to get lost.
Some out of the way places (you need to explore to find them)
When my video’s ready it’ll be on YouTube just look for crazybritvideos. But don’t look yet it may make you cry, Ahhhh
It’s getting late and I think it’s time for another favorite pastime of mine (vino time), Hey the first word I learned here on Gozo was għada which is Maltese for tomorrow, (if you need something done now it’s always: sorry it will be tomorrow) but that’s all about the pace of life here, so very different to the UK or the US, I’ll be back tomorrow Cheers!
Hello again so now its day 6. Since I last wrote, I made myself a very healthy meal using my version of a “Mediterranean Diet” and followed it with a few glasses of local Gozo wine. Hey the wine is quite inexpensive here and good quality, but watch out for the kick of the local stuff, 1 glass and I was anybody’s (well not quite). Gozo being a devout Catholic country, and with my initials being J.C I have to watch my behavior and not stagger around the village drunk. But my conscience is clear, as I say I drink what Jesus drank (and the local’s haven’t objected yet) even the Crazy Brit needs a release now and then. Wine and olive oil, what a great way to keep healthy (or struggle to get healthy in my case).
Restaurants abound on Gozo and they all offer their own unique atmosphere, you can always check out Trip advisor, it’s a great resource for people on quick a visit and who don’t have the time to shop around and experiment. I’ve posted on Trip advisor myself it gives me a warm feeling giving advice.
Talking of advice, if you listen to some famous writers, you learn that writing really has to be disciplined. You have to be methodical, so I now get up bright and early each morning, just as the sun starts flooding into my office (well it used to be my 3rd bedroom) but yesterday I converted it into my office/meditation room, and it still has a bed for when visitors arrive. But now if I start to suffer from writers block, I can turn out the lights, close the curtains and meditate. When it comes to meditation I can learn all the techniques available, as just around the corner from me is the Lotus Tal-Qalb a nonprofit group of spiritually aware people, with regular guest speakers, therapists and teachers in many disciplines such as Yoga, Meditation, the Law of Attraction, massage, lots of my kind of “stuff”. My first session is in a few days’ time, who knows where that will take me.
By now surely anyone who’s got Google (if I said I had Google on Gozo the locals would think I was infected with something) you should have found my village (oh but I hope not) if you still can’t find it and you really want to find it, try meditation, if that fails send me a message, if you ask me nicely, maybe I’ll tell you “The Secret”.
So have I reached Nirvana? Have I found my Shangri-La? Will I continue to feel at peace in my new home? Who knows! I don’t have a crystal ball (I just walk funny). But I’ll continue to be inspired and guided by The Buddha and that well known poet, Rudyard Kipling and in particular his poem IF which became my mantra for life after my dad used to tell me it at least once a week (thanks dad a lot of good that did me ha). But this really is a way for any man to conduct his life.
IF by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowances for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream-and not make dreams your master;
If you can think-and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’ em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings-nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run’
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And-which is more-you’ll be a Man, my son.
Until next time “addiju” as they say in Maltese or “Goodbye” as we say in English.
John Chalkley aka The Crazy Brit
The observations of a Crazy Brit
A Leap of Faith
Well I’m writing this at 7-30 am in the morning here in Gozo, its 6-30 am in Mold-Wales were I started 36 hours ago. When I left the UK it was hail and snow, and I just don’t like the cold weather, but the cold weather doesn’t like me so it’s mutual, that’s the big reason I needed to move it was literally killing me(COPD). I arrived at midnight after an uneventful journey on the budget airline Ryanair and waited 8 hours at the Hertz check in desk to collect my car at 8am (it was then that the girl on check-in said they would have come and to meet me 24/7 if I’d asked) Oh well bugger! So on Thursday morning I collected the car and I headed off to the Gozo ferry and the short trip across the Bahar Mediterran (that’s how they spell it here) on my way to Gozo. (I’m missing out much of the detail stuff to get to the point) the leap of faith.
I found my apartment quite by accident 2 months ago on my quick 1 week visit to Malta to check it out, I’d never visited Malta before but was intrigued by its history (and weather). Malta was very busy lots to do, but a little too “touristy” for me. After spending a couple of days driving around the island (believe me you can drive around the island easily in 2 days, we aren’t talking big here) I decided to take the car on the ferry to Gozo. Now if Malta is small (with a population around 400k) Gozo is positively tiny (population 30k ish). The island is around 15 miles long and 8 miles wide and is steeped in history, the world’s oldest structure the Ggantija Temples can be found on the island. So here I am driving around, trying to lose myself as I like to do, and I came across this beautiful village on the north of the island, population around 1200, although that will rise and fall according to the birth and death rate (I suspect the birth rate will exceed the death rate, again, more on THAT later). I decided to stop for a coffee in a quaint little coffee shop, the village was deserted, and it was a case of spot the person. I walked onto the balcony and the lady looking after the place said hello (with a very obvious English London accent).
I ordered coffee and croissant, the special of the day, 2 euros and sat in the sunshine to relax and enjoy this is February folks, (eat your heart out Wales). I started talking to Wendy and she asked what I was doing in Gozo, I explained that I was looking for somewhere to live, without another word she picked up her cell phone, actually mobile phone, I lived too long in Texas (everyone over in Texas agrees I did-puzzled) anyway she rang Betty. “Hello Betty” she said “I have a young man here looking for an apartment”, now either Wendy was short sighted or she was just trying to flatter me, but at 65 I’d hardly describe myself as a young man! Nevertheless my ego was suitably stroked and I met Betty outside the magnificent church (more on that in later).
Drama a bus in village View from my roof
She promptly marched off past the church towards a farm, and what looked to me as a really old, but well maintained building (actually as I found out later it wasn’t an old building, it was just that here on Gozo everyone kept their building in the traditional style, good for them) . Getting inside was a surprise, first of all the stairs to my 1st floor apartment (in Texas it would be the second floor, the ground floor would be the first floor), talk about two nations divided by a common language. The lobby and stairs were white marble and had a little sand on the floor, Betty said “Gozo had a sand storm from the Sahara that week”, THE SAHARA! (Well North Africa is just a few miles away). In the lobby were a couple of cages one with a budgie the other with some other exotic wild bird (I used to have a Budgie called Benny, don’t worry I won’t go into that in detail). So Betty strides up the stairs and by this time I’m exhausted by her brisk pace, I’m too much of a gentleman to estimate her age (ha-ha) but let’s put it this way she’s probably at least 10 years older than me.
So I get a very quick zip around the apartment, 3 bedrooms, 3 balconies a kitchen and all the bits you need to start afresh a 10 minutes maximum, (slow down Betty). We popped down the stairs (Betty popped, I wheezed), we stopped half way up the road to the church so I could get my breath. “Are you OK John” asked Betty “Oh I have a breathing problem only a little asthma and just need to catch my breath” I said. “I have asthma as well” said Betty. Well you could have fooled me, after I caught my breath and we continued on our way (only about 500 yards) Betty quickly told me a little about the apartment, “a lady who has lived downstairs for many years is English, and the rent is….” (Well I may let the cat out of the bag at some stage, I don’t need thousands of cheapskates like me invading my island paradise).
I said goodbye to Betty and told her I’d let her know my decision ASAP she didn’t have internet or email but gave me her local telephone number (I didn’t think there were people off the grid nowadays). Now OK if the apartment and the village was that good surely it was a no brainer, but unfortunately the UK had made the decision to have a referendum as to whether or not they wanted to stay inside of the European Union, and I really wasn’t sure where that would leave expats like me. I went back on the ferry to Malta thinking Gozo is more my “cup of tea”. Nevertheless the next day I set off again in my trusty little hire care (and we are talking little) and continued to explore Malta. I got back to the hotel exhausted, this really wasn’t intended to be a holiday just a fact finding week and it was hard work. I lay in the hotel that evening considering my trip so far and thinking….. Gozo really did suit my nature and Karma more than Malta, so I got up bright and early the next day and off we went (me and my now good friend, the Vauxhall Corsa) for another trip to Gozo. I drove around the whole perimeter had lunch in the village of Xlendi overlooking that special blue of the Mediterranean and enjoyed their catch of the day “sea bass” and what a lunch it was.
Sea Bass at Xlendi View from my table
I called in at the apartment on my way back to the ferry, no-one was there but I left a note in the letter box explaining who I was and leaving my email address (I made no mention of being a crazy Brit it might have given the wrong impression). After what was a fairly uneventful journey back to the UK I arrived and sat down in my small 1 bedroomed apartment in the cold in Mold Flintshire and considered what I should do. What the hell it was freezing here in February and I was sitting outside in the sun having lunch a few days ago, “am I crazy or what”? Then an email arrived, it was from the English lady downstairs from the apartment she explained more about my new home, but to be honest I was already sold after a quick 10 minute viewing (Betty was such a pushy salesperson-NOT). So what if the UK left Europe, so what! I’ve taken far greater chances in my life, only a couple of years before I was thinking of moving with my girls (Tasha and Munchie) to Ecuador, South America and the health care there isn’t anywhere near as good as the Maltese archipelago. Malta has the fifth best healthcare in the world according to W.H.O. (better than the UK and the US) besides Malta having once been part of the British Empire have strong links with blighty, yes we used to have an Empire before the US stuck here nose in the trough, (but that needs to be the subject of another blog). Talk about going back in time to how England use to be, here in Malta even the phone boxes and post boxes are red and the electrical system is the same as the UK, driving is on the left side, which is the right side (or correct side) as far as I’m concerned, am I making any sense here, I know I’m a crazy. So that was it I made my Leap of Faith, I threw caution to the wind (not for the first time in my life) and sent an email to my go between (who I’d never even met) and said I wanted the apartment.
A Gozitan phone box The restaurant in Xlendi
Now when I lived in Texas, my pet name (well I was treated like a pet) was The Crazy Brit. Point of order! I like to share a few thoughts here, firstly, I may have been crazy but strangely enough since I left Texas people have commented how I’d changed for the better, sure I went through one helluva time when I got back and I certainly experienced the money grabbing consumer society while I was there (I’m not sure I want to talk about that, but we shall see) but I was changing, I was getting back to the old me. Hey the Yanks had kept me comatose for 10 years (and that is definitely the subject of another blog). Secondly, you really couldn’t find two completely opposite places than Texas or Dallas and Gozo.
I think I’ve found my peace and tranquility and so far with the people I’ve met my other hope is harmony. Peace, Harmony and Tranquility. I used to wear a silver ring with those 3 words on it, but that’s gone the same way as all of my other stuff, and currently resides somewhere in Texas.
So what about my apartment in Gozo? Well I arrived yesterday, Betty brought me the keys while I finished a coffee with Wendy and she walked to the apartment (I drove, I really need to get more exercise and I will). She left me alone to explore and it was then that I realized I’d really fallen on my feet. While the building looks old on the outside the inside is fitted out with the latest fixtures and fittings, a brand new IKEA kitchen, Italian tiled floors and exposed stone walls with artwork painted directly on them, picture are hung in all of the rooms and there’s lots of homely little nick knack’ around. The roof is all mine, I could fit two of my previous flats in Wales up there, and I overlook the countryside on one side and the village on the other. I have a fully equipped kitchen with everything from a teapot (very important for the Crazy Brit) to a garlic press and a corkscrew (also important for the Crazy Brit).
But it didn’t have any dish washing soap (washing up liquid), shock horror, so last night I jumped in the car and headed off to find a shop, I passed the local village shop almost immediately but decided to have a little look around. I saw several ‘quaint’ little restaurants and was finally tempted by a little place which had an open air eating area La Stanza. The waitress asked if I’d like to sit inside as it was a little chilly this evening. “Chilly” I said. “Last night I walked home in hail and snow”, I was fine sitting just where I was, eating my fresh catch of the day, sea bass, well why give up on a good thing, but I’ve found that some people do (and that IS the subject of another blog). Talk about a leap of faith, I arrived with 3 suitcases in which I’d packed 65 years of my life.
One of my favorite comedians George Carlin talked about STUFF in a very funny stand- up comedy routine, and that also helped me break away from hanging onto my stuff, so it all worked out for the best. You know we all need to do this sometimes in our lives, take a leap of faith, it’s certainly better than being pushed.
Peace and good Karma to you all, it’s now 9-15am I need to get out in the sunshine, Yee ha! (Whoops that’s the bit of Texan that’s still inside me coming out, not long now and it’ll be gone, wow 10 years gone just like that).
As I’ve been told over here that, I “talka very mucha witha ze queenz English” actually I thought I had a tinge of scouse, but mum’s the word. TTFN.
John Chalkley aka The Crazy Brit