Thursday 4th May 2012
After an excellent flight Barry and I arrived on time in beautiful sunshine on the lovely island of Malta on Thursday, 3rd May. After sorting out the mix-up with the taxi, the Grayshons, Gregory's and ourselves headed for the Palace Hotel, Sliema. We hastily unpacked and met our friends on the roof terrace for lunch and some sun.We were invited to the Victoria to meet Jaqui and Larry at 5o'clock and had a happy reunion with them and Brian and Ann Cozens too. We read our welcome pack and the history of the island prepared especially for us. We were all set for our island adventure. Ann and David Grayshon persuaded us to walk down the hill to the promenade to find a suitable restaurant for dinner, which we did, but what huge portions! We returned to our beautiful room on the 7th floor with that amazing sea view and slept like babies.
Friday 4th May 2012
On Friday, we sat on the roof terrace again and badly burned ourselves in the sun forgetting that the breeze hid the heat of the sun. Later we joined other lodge members in the Victoria Hotel after being hi-jacked enroute by the Welsh contingency for liquid refreshments on their balcony. We enjoyed our dinner on the terrace and caught up with old friends and made several new ones.
Saturday 5th May 2012
On Saturday, we shared a taxi to Valletta to meet David and Co. at the Cafe Cordina for lunch where we all sat in the largest outdoor cafe in Malta. We didn't visit the Malta Experience or Museum this time as we had visited them on previous visits. We were lucky enough to get seats on the coach for our return to the hotel after visiting the gardens and enjoying the magnificent views from the walls several feet above the bay. We all met at the Penny Black Bar that evening before dinner and it was obvious we had all had a great time.
Sunday 6th May 2012
On Sunday some of us went to Marsaxlokk harbour but we couldn't make such an early start so we retreated to the roof terrace again, but sat under the umbrella this time. The coach journey to Hagar Qim was interesting and the guided tour of the Temples was interesting and educational. This was followed by dinner at the Blue Creek Restaurant which was a delicious meal in a lovely setting.
Monday 7th May 2012
On Monday, we walked down to the harbour to board Captain Morgan's boat for our Grand Harbour tour. We did this tour many years ago but it was even more enjoyable this time as our guide gave a very comprehensive description of the historic areas we sailed by. The men went off to their meeting in Valletta while we went by coach to Casa Rocca Piccola in Valletta. This 16th century Palazzo, the home of Baron Budach and his family was filled with the loveliest furniture, paintings, silver and antiques which were shown to us by the baron himself. Afterwards we were served wine on the terrace and later dined in a small restaurant full of character where the food was excellent and the Maltese wine even better. Our newest member delighted us all by saying a few words in English and had made Jaqui's night with her splendid faultless effort. Jane welcomed a further three members who had received their Lily pins making the grand total of 53.
Tuesday 8th May 2012
Tuesday was a very full day with a 9am coach ride to view the palace gardens before arriving at the magical walled city of Mdina. We went our separate ways around the city to discover its many secrets such as the Carmelite Priory, cathedral, views from the walls, cafes and shops.
We then boarded the land train for our visit to Jaqui and Larry Porter's for lunch. What a fantastic time! The buffet was amazing as was the wine which never ceased to flow. The views again from the lovely apartment were breathtaking. At 4o'clock we boarded our coach after thanking our hosts and returned to the hotel. We all met again at the Penny Black bar before dining at leisure. What a perfect day.
Wednesday 9th May 2012
Wednesday was a relatively free day, so we ventured forth up to the roof terrace again to enjoy the sun and the pool. Later that afternoon the men went to their second meeting and the ladies went to the Palazzo where we enjoyed a selection of tasty Maltese titbits alfresco style.
Thursday 10th May 2012
Thursday was our last full day so we soaked up the warmth ( sitting in the shade ) on the roof terrace, and David Starbuck joined us for a sandwich lunch. Gradually most of the party joined us to reminisce about our lovely, interesting and unforgettable week, and enjoy their last afternoon in the sun. We then prepared for the Gala dinner, and, Barry sporting pink bow tie and cream jacket ( James Bond would have been green with envy ) and I had a great time. Before the meal, Jaqui sang Jerusalem to us in her beautiful voice and John Dutchman - Smith gave an amusing rendering of that popular verse about Uncle Joe's mint balls. We then enjoyed a fantastic meal in the Palazzo di Capua which was part of our hotel.
Friday 11th May 2012
Sadly we made our farewells and left the hotel on Friday morning for the airport. This was a brilliant week when we renewed old friendships and made several new ones. We can't all get to every meeting for various reasons but the power of the Internet helps to keep our friendships alive and a week like this has so much to commend it.
Thanks to the organisers, Jaqui and Larry, and to David Starbuck for foreseeing what a wonderful week this could be, and to the hotel staff and the Maltese people for making us so welcome. It certainly was a happy and memorable week.