Migration in Maltese local newspapers – press clippings part two

Migration in Maltese local newspapers – press clippings part two


This is second part of the press clipping archive that we have built following the migration issue in Maltese newspapers. If you require to see the previous post (articles from February-March 2015) please click on the link below:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/migration-in-maltese-local-newspapers-press-clippings-part-one/

Without repeating ourselves – but putting emphasis on the issue – this is not done for any profit, but purely for the informational value. In recent weeks we have spoken to several foreign journalists, who were covering the migration story and each of them asked the same question: how is the phenomena of migration via Mediterranean reported in local press.
Malta is recognized as a hub for both humanitarian rescue missions and the destination itself for asylum seekers who want to reach safety of Europe. No wondering that there is an interest in how the local media tell the story.

Main backbone of the archive we have gathered is from Times of Malta and Sunday Times of Malta – as this media house is incredibly dedicated to the issue, much more than other English speaking newspaper. You can easily see it in this post – April was extremely hectic when it comes to coverage. So much that we had to make an entire new post for the month alone! If there was one or two articles on the topic in March, there were sometimes 7-8 different ones in the month of April per edition. Scanning and editing was a bit of nightmare – some stories or pictures are really unbearable. The more respect and awe goes to the staff of Times of Malta who were on the story round the clock. This newspaper is also bold. Please note the front page from April 16, 2015 – the photos published created an outrage on local level. Malicia has been on the island for a decade now and she cannot recall such a shocking cover before. But this is needed – this is the reality of the migration crisis. Times of Malta was also the only newspaper that  followed up the story on a daily basis, often reserving space for it on the front page.

There was however a very interesting article in the Sunday Circle, a life-style (glossy) magazine on April 26, 2015 and we have added it to our archive.

Again, if you are a foreign journo who needs some back up on the story, this archive was created for you. If you need assistance to be put in touch with local media workers, local photographers and NGO`s, please let us know at lil_lilac_tree@yahoo.com and we will  try to help you.

The Times of Malta/The Sunday Times of Malta:

April 6, 2015:

The Times of Malta – April 6, 2015, page 5
TOM_April_6_2015_p5

The Times of Malta – April 6, 2015, page 7

TOM_April_6_2015_p7

April 11, 2015:

The Times of Malt – April 11, 2015, front page

TOM_April_11_2015_front
The Times of Malta – April 11, 2015, page 4

TOM_April_11_2015_p4

April 12, 2015:

The Times of Malt – April 12, 2015, page 6

TOM_April_12_2015_p6
The Times of Malt – April 12, 2015, page 9

TOM_April_12_2015_p9

April 13, 2015:

The Times of Malt – April 13, 2015, page 5

TOM_April_13_2015_p5

April 14, 2015:

The Times of Malt – April 14, 2015, front page

TOM_April_14_2015_front
The Times of Malt – April 14, 2015, page 8

TOM_April_14_2015_p8

April 15, 2015:

The Times of Malt – April 15, 2015, front page

TOM_April_15_2015_front
The Times of Malt – April 15, 2015, page 3

TOM_April_15_2015_p3
The Times of Malt – April 15, 2015, page 6

TOM_April_15_2015_p6

April 16, 2015:

The Times of Malt – April 16, 2015, front page

TOM_April_16_2015_front
The Times of Malt – April 16, 2015, page 4

TOM_April_16_2015_p4
The Times of Malt – April 16, 2015, page 4 (#TimesTalk ad)

TOM_April_16_2015_p4_ad
The Times of Malt – April 16, 2015, page 9

TOM_April_16_2015_p9

April 18, 2015:

The Times of Malt – April 18, 2015, front

(soon to be added)

The Times of Malt – April 18, 2015, page 6

TOM_April_18_2015_p6
The Times of Malt – April 18, 2015, page 11

TOM_April_18_2015_p11

April 19, 2015:

The Times of Malt – April 19, 2015, page 10

TOM_April_19_2015_p10
The Times of Malt – April 19, 2015, page 11

TOM_April_19_2015_p11
The Times of Malt – April 19, 2015, page 14

TOM_April_19_2015_p14

April 20, 2015:

The Times of Malta – April 20, 2015, front page

TOM_April_20_2015_front
The Times of Malta – April 20, 2015, page  4 (upper page)

TOM_April_20_2015_p4_upper
The Times of Malta – April 20, 2015, page  4 (lower page)

TOM_April_20_2015_p4_lower
The Times of Malta – April 20, 2015, page  5 (upper page)

TOM_April_20_2015_p5_upper
The Times of Malta – April 20, 2015, page  5 (lower page)

TOM_April_20_2015_p5_lower
The Times of Malta – April 20, 2015, page  15 (editorial)

TOM_April_20_2015_p15_editorial
The Times of Malta – April 20, 2015, page  18

TOM_April_20_2015_p18

April 21, 2015:

The Times of Malta  – April 21, 2015, front page

TOM_April_21_2015_front
The Times of Malta  – April 21, 2015, page 2

TOM_April_21_2015_p2
The Times of Malta  – April 21, 2015, page 6

TOM_April_21_2015_p6
The Times of Malta – April 21, 2015, page 7

TOM_April_21_2015_p7
The Times of Malta – April 21, 2015, page 8

(soon to be added)
The Times of Malta – April 21, 2015, page 9

TOM_April_21_2015_p9

April 22, 2015:

The Times  of Malta – April 22, 2015 front page

TOM_April_22_2015_front
The Times  of Malta  – April 22, 2015 page 4

TOM_April_22_2015_p4
The Times  of Malta – April 22, 2015 page 5

TOM_April_22_2015_p5
The Times  of Malta  – April 22, 2015 page 6

(soon to be added)
The Times  of Malta – April 22, 2015 page 10

TOM_April_22_2015_p10
The Times  of Malta  – April 22, 2015 page 15 (letters to the Editor)

TOM_April_22_2015_p15_letters
The Times  of Malta – April 22, 2015 page 16 (comments and letters)

TOM_April_22_2015_p16_letters

April 23, 2015:

The Times  of Malta – April 23, 2015, front page

TOM_April_23_2015_front
The Times  of Malta – April 23, 2015, page 6

TOM_April_23_2015_p6
The Times  of Malta – April 23, 2015, page 7

TOM_April_23_2015_p7
The Times  of Malta – April 23, 2015, page 8

TOM_April_23_2015_p8
The Times  of Malta – April 23, 2015, page 9

TOM_April_23_2015_p9

This post will continue until the end of  April, more updates to come.

Migration in Maltese local newspapers – press clippings part one

Migration in Maltese local newspapers – press clippings

This was not meant to be a blog post at first. Rather, it was an idea to have some local press articles about migration ready when we were to send a copy of local photography book on the issue to be reviewed abroad. In the beginning, we thought to have one week covered but interesting stories kept appearing and we kept on cutting them out. March went by and April arrived and we continued to gather all local stories on the subject. Then last week – everything changed. Two boat drowning in just five days and over 1000 people dead, only a handful bodied recovered to be buried on the island. We have spoken to several foreigner journalists covering the story and the first question they have asked us: what is happening in Malta. How is the migration phenomenon being reported on a local level. We came back to our archive now consisting of two months worth of local press articles and decided to scan everything and put it online. Whoever needs to view the articles can simply click on the scan and see the article.

We have made some notes on the sides of some articles, to explain a term used or to highlight some other issues or to inform who the person writing the article is. Each scan is described by the same key: Name_month_day_year_page, to make it easier.

Now, most of our archive is Times of Malta and The Sunday Times of Malta as this is the biggest (circulation wise) English newspaper on Maltese market and they have put in a lot of emphasis on the story in all its aspects. The other newspaper that we use as a second source in The Malta Independent, mostly to have stories that may not be reported in TOM. There is a third English speaking newspaper on the island – Malta Today but since it is a tabloid and their coverage may be sensational, we have so far not included it in the archive – we may in the future if a story that they report will be of value.

Please note one thing. This was not done to republish local articles for profit
or anything of that sort. This is solely for informational purposes, mostly hoping that foreigner journalists who may need to see the stories for their reports, will be able to realize how dedicated Maltese media are to migration issue and how complicated and multi-layered it is for such a small island.

Malicia had written in the past her thesis on how media report a story (her thesis was about Northern Ireland peace process reported by Polish newspapers) and she hopes that perhaps somebody will use this blog for similar purpose. She also hopes she is not breaking any laws but if somebody objects, please let her know and she will put this blog offline.

We will be also using this blog to promote the local photography book and to convince people far and wide to come to Malta and tell the world what is happening around the Mediterranean. We can`t have hundreds of people drowning and nobody to care.

So educational and informational purposes only – in case somebody is asking.

If you are a journalist covering a story regarding Malta and need any assistance to get in touch with local media representatives, freelance photographers, MOAS, Refugee Commissioner, etc, please get in touch via lil_lilac_tree@yahoo.com and we will try to help you as much as we can.

February 2015:

Times of Malta February 22, 2015, page 7

TOM_Feb_22_2015_p7
Times of Malta February 22, 2015, page 8

TOM_Feb_22_2015_p8

March 2015:

The Malta Independent

The Malta Independent March 20, 2015, front page

Malta_Independent_March_20_2015_front
The Malta Independent March 20, 2015, page 2

Malta_Independent_March_20_2015_p2
The Malta Independent March 20, 2015, page 5

Malta_Independent_March_20_2015_p5
The Malta Independent March 20, 2015, page 9 (editorial)

Malta_Independent_March_20_2015_p9_editorial

The Malta Independent March 21, 2015, front page

Malta_Independent_March_21_2015_front
The Malta Independent March 21, 2015, page 2

Malta_Independent_March_21_2015_p2
The Malta Independent March 21, 2015, page 3

Malta_Independent_March_21_2015_p3
The Malta Independent March 21, 2015, page 5

Malta_Independent_March_21_2015_p5

The Times of Malta /The Sunday Times of Malta

The Times of Malta, March 1, 2015 (no page)

(soon to be uploaded)

The Times of Malta, March 2, 2015, page 6
TOM_March_2_2015_p6
The Times of Malta, March 5, 2015, page 5

TOM_March_5_2015_p5
The Times of Malta, March 5, 2015, page 6

TOM_March_5_2015_p6
The Times of Malta, March 7, 2015, page 6

TOM_March_7_2015_p6
The Times of Malta, March 8, 2015, front page

TOM_March_8_2015_front
The Times of Malta, March 8, 2015, page 10

TOM_March_8_2015_p10
The Times of Malta, March 8, 2015, page 11

TOM_March_8_2015_p11
The Times of Malta, March 13, 2015, page 7

TOM_March_13_2015_p7
The Times of Malta, March 15, 2015, page 20

TOM_March_15_2015_p20
The Times of Malta, March 16, 2015, page 5

TOM_March_16_2015_p5
The Times of Malta, March 17, 2015, page 4

TOM_March_17_2015_p4
The Times of Malta, March 18, 2015, page 4

TOM_March_18_2015_p4
The Times of Malta, March 20, 2015, page 3

TOM_March_20_2015_p3
The Times of Malta, March 21, 2015, front page

TOM_March_21_2015_front
The Times of Malta, March 21, 2015, page 3

TOM_March_21_2015_p3
The Times of Malta, March 21, 2015, page 6

TOM_March_21_2015_p6
The Times of Malta, March 21, 2015, page 11

TOM_March_21_2015_p11
The Times of Malta, March 22, 2015, page 21

TOM_March_22_2015_p21
The Times of Malta, March 23, 2015, page 39

TOM_March_23_2015_p39
The Times of Malta, March 26, 2015, front page

TOM_March_26_2015_front
The Times of Malta, March 30, 2015, page 7

TOM_March_30_2015_p7

You can see the local press coverage of April 2015 under this link:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/migration-in-maltese-local-newspapers-press-clippings-part-two/

R+M

All Lives Matter

Silent march for migrants lost at sea – April 22, 2015
Funerals for 24 victims killed in the worst ever capsizing of a migrant boat in the Mediterranean – April 23, 2015

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com All rights reserved.

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

T. S. Elliot considered April to be “the cruelest month” and it is hard to disagree.  With hundreds of lives lost in just six days, April 2015 will be regarded as one of the deadliest periods on record regarding irregular migration via Mediterranean Sea. On April 14th, Save the Children Foundation reported that some 400 people have drowned trying to reach Europe. Before the world had a chance to recover from shock and disbelief, another tragedy has struck.  On April 19th, over 600 would be migrants and asylum seekers died after their vessel overturned. Only a handful of survivors have been saved. In the same time Italian rescuers received thirty eight distress calls from twenty different boats bringing to ports over 8000 individuals – men, women and children (some as young as two years old).

The scale of the disaster can only be described as a humanitarian tragedy, biggest maritime incident since the end of WW II.  Its implications are hard to imagine at this stage and will surely last decades. We can only theorize about orphaned children and families torn apart but the terrible truth is that we may never know the full impact of loss of so many lives.

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

In the face of such unprecedented crisis reactions on local level have been both vocal and emotional. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he had nightmares of “bodies floating in the water”. Former PM Laurence Gonzi stated that the incidents were a “shame on us all [in Europe]”.  Opposition MEP Roberta Metsola called on other EU member states to “stop bickering while bodies continued to wash up on the beaches”.

Maltese public also remained strongly affected by the events. On April 22, 2015 a silent march has been held in the village of St Julians to commemorate the lives lost at sea. Organized by four activists: Maria Pisani, Erika Borg, Alba Cauchi and Damjan Attard – the march attracted a record number of participants. Over a thousand members of the general public, state officials and activists gathered in front of the Love Monument in St Julians in a show of solidarity. Among those marching were President of Malta Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Minister of Justice Owen Bonnici, Head of Opposition Simon Bussutil and US Ambassador to Malta Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, members of various local NGOs and The Ursuline Sisters Order.

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Many present held white flowers, candles and hand-made signs. Their message was clear as signs read: “1000 dead in 24 hours. Welcome to  Fortress Europe”, “Not MY Europe”, “ People before borders” and “#AllLivesMatter”  – a reference to the recent civil protests in United States as most victims of the drowning in Mediterranean have been indeed young men running away from the wars and poverty in their communities. Some posters have been made and carried by children – another sad reminder of the migration crisis. In recent years hundreds of minors have been crossing the sea on their own to reach safety in Europe and their number is rising. One of the bodies recovered from the vessel that overturned on April 19, 2015 belonged to a boy not older than 14.

The location of the march was not accidental. The village of St Julians is a tourist hub and the heart of entertainment in Malta. It is also an area where many expats from European Union and Commonwealth Countries reside and work. Love Sign is a popular gathering spot and usually is adorned with locks and other symbols of everlasting feelings. St Julians boasts of many restaurants, nightclubs and a picturesque seafront promenade. The village that is always loud and bursting with life fell completely silent for the duration of the march. The crowd started moving along the promenade towards the neighbouring village of Sliema at 19:00 pm followed by international press covering the event. All local newspapers and TV stations were present as well as Italian and English media representatives.

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

There were many signs of solidarity with the marchers. Some people joined in along the way, workers from nearby restaurants were silently standing in the doors to show their respects, the bells of church in Balluta Bay were ringing and the parish priest came out in front of the church to see the march himself.

By 19:50 pm the march descended towards a beach in Sliema – another popular leisure spot for both locals and tourists where flowers were thrown into the sea and the candle vigil followed.  The members of the crowd began to sing Amazing Grace and some of the migrants who survived the journey to Europe made short speeches thanking the public for their presence. Many cried as they recalled their own perilous journey towards safety. Hundred candles on the shore were in a striking contrast to the several families who organized a barbecue in the same location, apparently unaware of the planned event.

Despite the significant police presence (and the very discreet security personnel protecting the President) the march came to an end without any incidents and proved to be very well organized. By 20:30 pm most of the crowd has left and only a small group of Eritreans and Somalis remained to discuss the funeral arrangements for the victims of the drowning.  Some 24 bodies have only been recovered and brought to Malta to be buried next morning at the Mater Dei Hospital. We have spoken to several members of the community and despite the tragedy most of them were hopeful that things would improve and more help would be allocated to the people who seek refuge in Europe. That is the spirit of the people who have lost everything and yet refuse to stop the fight for a better future.

At the end we would like to quote the words of Maria Pisani – one of the organizers of the march. “We hardly speak of those who perished as fathers and sons, mothers and daughters. We speak of the numbers, not people”.

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Perhaps the human cost of the migration crisis in the Mediterranean will now take a centre stage. But it took thousands of lives over the years to get to this point.

Mike Caffrey –  originally from the UK and now based on Malta, Mike has been working as a professional photographer since the 1980’s. His versitile skills allow him to easily portray any topic or dive into many photography genres:  street, journalism, nature, fashion, production, gigs and corporate. He has 16 years of experience in photo editing and design. When not taking pictures, he can be seen rock climbing and kayaking (he is also a teacher of both of those). Mike is also a successful portrait painter. If you’d like to hire him for your business, please contact him at:

Website: http://www.imagocentric.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ImagoC

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey www.imagocentric.com

Picture by Mike Caffrey
http://www.imagocentric.com

If you want to help to save lives on Europe`s bloodied boarder, please consider making a small donation to MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) an NGO that saved 3000 lives last year at

www.moas.eu/donate

Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Carnival in Malta in 19 clicks

Dear Readers,

Carnival has arrived! It’s a good time to wear fancy clothes, to put on your cat ears and party like it is 1999. Or should we say 1989? (apologies to both Prince and Taylor Swift).

1.

Prince Charming

Prince Charming

2.

Indian Princess

Indian Princess

3.

Lady lost in thoughts

Lady lost in thoughts

4.

Popular costume motive - Colombina of  Commedia dell'Arte

Popular costume motive – Arlecchina  of Commedia dell’Arte

We have a week-end out of office, so we decided to grab our cameras and hit the streets of Malta to take some portraits. We plan to have a nice selection of images of people in costumes by Sunday afternoon, and we will surely share them with you. To make things even more exciting, we have decided to dig deep into our archives and we have found some incredible photos from previous year (9-10 February 2013). How about a double – Carnival photo coverage? Sounds good? You bet!

5.

Popular costume motive -  a different version of Arlecchina. Here she is known as  Franceschina, Smeraldina, Oliva, Nespola, Spinetta Ricciolina, Corallina or Diamantina. She is often a rich or noble lady adorned in green/emerald robes.

Popular costume motive – a different version of Arlecchina. Here she is known as Franceschina, Smeraldina, Oliva, Nespola, Spinetta Ricciolina, Corallina or Diamantina. She is often a rich or noble lady adorned in green/emerald robes.

6.

To serve and protect

To serve and protect

7.

The original form of female carnival character - Columbine of Commedia dell'arte

The original form of female carnival character – Columbine of Commedia dell’arte

8.

Our favourite shot. She was simply stunningly beautiful.

Our favourite shot. She was simply stunningly beautiful.

Malta is one of world’s smallest states (316 km2 or 122 sq miles) divided between three islands and one of the most populated places on the globe (with 500 000 residents and 3 millions of tourists throughout the year, density reaches 1,306.8/km2 or 3,413.9/sq m – that’s more than Hong Kong).

This tiny island is extremely colourful and occasionally loud. So, nothing captures the spirit of the island like the week before Ash Wednesday.

Il-Karnival ta`Malta (as it is called in native tongue) holds a special position among all festas and public holidays on the island. It is celebrated annually since 1535 (that’s two-hundred years longer than Rio!) and is regarded as a major tourist attraction. The daily celebrations take place in the capital – Valletta, the nightly celebrations move to Nadur in the island of Gozo. Each year sees a street parade, band marches and floats competition. It is also a fantastic opportunity for any photographer – hand made costumes of the revellers take months to prepare and the results are astonishing. Maltese are also protective of children, taking photos of youngsters is frowned upon; the Carnival is probably the only time when a photographer can snap away photos of anybody without being yelled at.

9.

Butterfly Lady

Butterfly Lady

10.

The Show Girl from French Tradition of  Moulin Rouge

The Show Girl from French Tradition of Moulin Rouge

11.

Modern Carnival costumes often use the character of Indian Princess/Native Princess. In European carnival tradition it is not seen as offending gesture. More like a homage to Disney`s Pocahontas.

Modern Carnival costumes often use the character of Indian Princess/Native Princess. In European carnival tradition it is not seen as offending gesture. More like a homage to Disney`s Pocahontas.

Through-out its history, the carnival was a source of entertainment and controversy. The Knights of Malta, who brought the tradition to the island, had to reprimand residents numerous times over costumes or lavish celebrations. In 1569 a ban was issued by Grand Master Giovanni Paolo Lascaris to keep women away from the Knights` celebrations. It also forbade masks – those who would resist faced penalty of being publicly whipped. Maltese public answered in a typical Mediterranean fashion – regular riots erupted, a Jesuit church was ransacked and Grand Master Lascaris had to evacuate himself from St James Cavalier building in Valletta. It is worth noting that the next time Maltese decided to take to the streets was in 1919 due to prices of bread (incident is known as “Sette Giugno” or “Seventh of June”, and is celebrated as a milestone towards the independence of the Island).

12.

Maiko (Geisha in training)

Maiko (Geisha in training)

13.

Professional Carnival actor from Venice. His costume was made for the use of local Italian theater and was one of a kind. Show stopper.

Professional Carnival actor from Venice. His costume was made for the use of local Italian theater and was one of a kind. Show stopper.

14.

101 Dalmatians. The girls were not twins.

101 Dalmatians. The girls were not twins.

The story of Grand Master Lascaris constitutes our favourite anecdote – today St. James Cavalier hosts an art centre, cinema and a popular restaurant. The photos in this post have been taken on 9-10 February, 2013, and we had our lunches at St James. We were wondering what Grand Master Lascaris would say. Let’s hope that our choice of local ricotta pie would be approved…

Carnival can stir up controversy even in this day and age. In 2009 revellers were arrested in Nadur for dressing up as Jesus and nuns. One person was handed a month – long prison sentence, the rest were acquitted. It was due to ancient blasphemy and censorship laws that Malta is now getting rid of. In 2010, both Rita and I took part in the art exhibition called “The Art of Silence” against the censorship and Rita commented against the carnival arrests with one of her paintings. You can see the coverage in the link below:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/its-not-war-just-the-end-of-love/

Speaking of Rita being artistic and all about carnival cheer, in 2011 she also held a small exposition of her carnival masks at the Soap Café shop in Sliema. It was a very cool experience; you can recall it by visiting the post here:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/soap-cafe-2/

15.

Another popular character from modern carnival tradition - a warrior lady or gladiator

Another popular character from modern carnival tradition – a warrior lady or gladiator

16.

Home made costumes are the best ones. Especially if they come with a candy floss.

Home made costumes are the best ones. Especially if they come with a candy floss.

17.

Perrot from  Commedia dell'Arte - male character in his most noble/rich version. Often paired with Diamantina.

Perrot from Commedia dell’Arte – male character in his most noble/rich version. Often paired with Diamantina.

But back to the streets and the people in lovely costumes. The weather in February can be harsh and windy. In 2013, we had to dress ourselves up like we were taking part in Trans-Siberian expedition and tried to keep ourselves warm and hydrated at all times. Yet still became violently sick in the end. But we are very proud of the end effect. We wanted to portray not just stunning costumes or cute kids. We hoped to show the diversity of people you can meet on Maltese streets, all dressed up and celebrating in their own ways by using photography as the medium.

Think of it as one roll of film used well…

18.

Gender-bender. Rapunzel  from Disney movie Tangled.

Gender-bender. Rapunzel from Disney movie Tangled.

19.

Family affair - mother poses with her son against a carnival float

Family affair – mother poses with her son against a carnival float

If you want a longer read about Maltese Carnival, you may net-surf to those destinations:

 

Malta Tourism Authority: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/carnival

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maltese_Carnival

Detailed blog about the Carnival: http://malta.jimdo.com/malta-carnival/

We will be back quite soon with photos from this year’s festival and our observations. But we want to leave you with a most wonderful and suitable song for the moment. This is how we feel running around with cameras.

Ladies and Gentlemen, one and only Natalie Merchant and her “Carnival”.

xxx
Rita+Mal

The times we met the Doctor – and so did you (part one)

Dear Blog Readers,

What you are about to read below is not your usual blog post. It was designed as a panel for a convention. And it will not be any panel but a special panel about Doctor Who. Something that combines our knowledge of the series, the meetings on the Who fan circuit and all those crazy happenings that make us feel like we have been characters on the show itself. It has a lot of anecdotes and should be treated in a tongue in cheek manner. We did this panel to inspire other fans to share their own stories. We had to separate it into two instalments, because the text is so long – we were afraid you will be bored to eternal sleep. In this instalment we will cover three sections: who are Whovians, what can happen if you encounter people with strange names, and we will tell you about the music with Who references. Our encounters with the Doctor (in his 12th and 7th reincarnation) and the monster stories will be added at a later stage.

We hope this will make you giggle a couple of times.

***

The times we met the Doctor – and so did you.

We had this panel idea for a very long time. Actually, we have decided to hold it off for a year, just to write down all weird moments and observations. As aloof as it may sond – we will here argue that Doctor Who universe is very real, and The Whovians are not just fans – they are a noble race of fearless and unstoppable time travellers in their own right.

We don’t know a person that wouldn’t want to jump in a time machine to see other worlds. Compared to the Doctor’s, our lives seem routine and boring. But perhaps we are already on our biggest adventure; we just haven’t been paying attention to the signs. Maybe the Time Lord is not the only one blessed with privilege of travelling though time and space and living out various reincarnations. What if our paths have crossed and we have already met the Doctor and his allies and enemies? We want you to decide if this is possible, but before we lay out our evidence, let us pen few paragraphs about the Whovians.

***

Whovians – impossible time travellers.

For fifty years, one TV series raised generations of nerds, geeks and sci-fi fans. It became a cultural phenomenon, instantly recognized and immersed in national consciousness just like tea-time, tabloid press and Buckingham Palace. Hiding behind a sofa when Daleks appear on screen is an experience that binds entire generations. All it took to win minds and hearts of millions of people on Earth was one Doctor, sonic screwdriver and a police box.

Fans of Doctor Who series – known as Whovians – are peculiar. They are dedicated to the point of obsession and follow all plots and nooks of the saga with great interest. Even the most obscure characters on the show will have their fans and detailed biography. People often refer to different reincarnations of the main protagonist as “their Doctor”. If you don’t believe us how dedicated Whovians are – let us tell you this. David Tennant (10th Doctor) and Peter Capaldi (12th Doctor) became actors because they were following the show since early childhood. Legend says, both had replicas of TARDIS in their bedroom. Peter Capladi sent regular letters to Doctor Who Magazine and made fanarts. Steven Moffat (writer/producer) used to write Doctor Who fan-fiction. Another writer on the show Russel T. Davies kept a Doctor Who diary where he noted reviews of the episodes.

How do we know all those things? Didn’t we mention that we are Whovians? We have it all memorized! You can even ask us for co-ordinates to Gallifrey and how to pilot a time machine. No problem. :)

Being around devoted fans is an experience in itself. Whovians don’t act like your regular fandom. They read a lot of unusual books: encyclopaedias, scientific papers on quantum physics, pulp novels from the 30s, fairytales…They often discuss odd topics like paradoxes, monsters and parallel universes during mundane activities (morning bus ride to work suits perfectly) and have an interesting way of putting things. If they don’t like you – they will call you a “little Dalek”, if they find a subway carriage overcrowded, they will complain loudly that it is not bigger on the inside. Their dress code is out-worldly: scarves that are half a mile long, combat shoes or converse shoes worn with a suit, hats, trench coats with cat emblems, entire wardrobe that seems to be transported from Victorian era (and who said it isn’t?). Whovians tend to be wary of their surroundings – for some strange reasons they will stare at statues of angels or keep out of shadows if in a library.

Whovians are restless dreamers that yearn for travels and adventure. They are curious like kittens, open minded and they expect the unexpected. They throw themselves head first into action, maybe that is why they find themselves in situations that sound like scripted by Steven Moffat (or David Lynch). If you are a fellow fan, you will know what we are talking about. There are days when you turn around because you are sure you hear the sound of oncoming TARDIS or your instincts tell you that the Doctor himself just passed you by in the crowd. Or you are certain that something is manipulating the time votex and things are just not right. Whatever this may be, each Whovian has multiple anecdotes of this sort that range from bizarre to blood chilling.

These are ours stories; we hope that they will entertain you.

***
Nomen Omen – it’s all in the name

On his adventures, Doctor meets all sorts of unusual characters. They represent all possible races, social classes and occupations, some of the characters also come up with extraordinary names. Fellow traveller and a Time Lady – Romana`s full name is Romanadvoratrelundar. Vile and infantile breed of Slitheen (also known as Raxacoricofallapatorians) have a proud history of having absurdly long surnames such as “Blon Fel Fotch Pasameer-Day” or “Glune Fex Fize Sharlaveer-Slam”. To know somebody’s name is a true power. It can give you a hint of the bearer’s origins or intentions and perhaps that is why Doctor never reveals his own name even to the closest allies.

We have crossed paths with several individuals with truly exotic names. An unsuspected observer would think that it was a case of having eccentric parents but we are Whovians and we can read between the lines. One time at work we dealt with a customer named “Asterios”. Pretty poetic unless you know Greek – then you would know this means “Ruler of The Stars” or “Of The Stars”. Not only it was a clear indication that the person was an alien but also showed he held a high status in the Outer Space. Rulers of the Stars – how many races would fit the description? Only the powerful Time Lords themselves. If we wanted to dig deeper, Asterios was known to be a god of rivers to the ancient inhabitants of Earth. River, a Time Lord – you know where this is going ;)

On another occasion we ran into a whole family waiting for an appointment to a GP. The kids were named Andromeda, Medea, Cassandra and Iason. The mother was Helena (and she was suspiciously beautiful). We weren’t sure if the family was on their way to Hogwarts or Camp Half Blood, but knowing the Greek mythology (and the turbulent history of the original characters) we decided to keep our distance. You can never be too careful when meeting strangers with strange names, especially if they could have come from another fandom (apologies to Rick Riodan and JK Rowling).

Situation looks a bit different if you are the one with an unusual name. So, if you have been named “Attilla”, “Achilles” or “Cleopatra” then it is possible that you are an echo of your former self from a different time line or you have jumped into somebody’s life stream and there are million copies of you throughout the universe.
But don’t panic, you are not the only one. Something similar happened to Doctor’s own companion Clara Oswald when she tried to save the Time Lord from evil Great Intelligence. Having multiple versions of yourself has advantages – no matter the space and time, you are guaranteed to always meet a familiar face.

***

“You are not alone” – meeting other Whovians

One observation rings true when you travel – nothing stands out in the crowd like the things that remind you of home. You may find yourself in the busiest street in a foreign land and once somebody starts speaking your own language, you will hear it. Don’t ask us how – but this is how it works.

Many people meet their neighbours or even relatives in the most unlikely places – when on holidays far away from home or during delegations abroad. Or they strike a conversation with a complete stranger only to discover they have mutual acquaintances. Then they joke the world is small. However truth is quite opposite – the universe is infinite and it is constantly expanding. And yet something brings us all together.

We are not sure if even the Doctor could explain this mystery. But to be honest – isn’t it wonderful to meet souls that are alike? How terrifying and lonely it would be if we were truly alone in the universe? Doctor knows this pain very well – he had spent three reincarnations believing he was the last of the Time Lords until The Face of Boe revealed that to be a misconception.

For Whovians, it is relatively easy to meet their own. In the age of merchandise, conventions and fandom – you have a good chance to run into a fellow fan almost every day. We have lost count how many times we’ve seen people wearing Doctor Who tees on the streets. We have attended sold out premiere of “Deep Breath” (first episode of series 8) with thousands of other fans and managed to meet up with Steven Moffat face to face twice. Nothing out of ordinary.

And yet, we had some encounters with other fans that were so unique and unexpected that they could be a part of Doctor Who episode.

The other day Mal nearly fainted after she went out to pay her Internet bill. High blood pressure ain`t no fun. She would be laying face first in the mud outside Marks & Spencer if not an elderly gentleman who grabbed her and took back into the Internet shop. First thing he did was to sit her down and take her pulse. The conversation was something along those lines:

Mal: Call the ambulance.

The man: No need, I’m a doctor.

Mal (cynical): But not the one I was expecting.

The man (with a laugh): Judging from your age, your doctor is called Smith.
Mal: No, Tennant.

The man: Mine was Pertwee, such a gentleman, all reason, no whining. But he passed away many years ago…Who is now in regency?

Mal: Doctor Capaldi.

The man: Ah yes, should be all right. You need to drink more, you are dehydrated. And go and see a GP.

He went away after a while. When Mal was able to stand on her feet, the shop girl asked her where she could find Doctor Capladi. Mal told her he was only taking the best before she continued on her way home.

Again, if you are the fan of the series, this conversation makes perfect sense, but a word of explanation to those who are not familiar with the Who saga. When the man introduced himself as a medical practitioner, Mal responded in a witty way that he was not the doctor she was expecting. This was a direct reference to the words of Ninth Doctor (Paul McGann) from the episode “The night of the Doctor”. Matt Smith (Eleventh Doctor), David Tenant (Tenth Doctor) and Peter Capladi (Twelfth Doctor) are actors who portray the Time Lord for the younger generations. Jon Pertwee was Third Doctor and was mostly known by the older audience. Mr Pertwee sadly passed away in 1996. There is also ongoing gag in the series that Doctor takes only the best as his travel companions.

Sometimes, you meet fellow Whovians by sheer accident. But on occasion they appear by themselves, like it was scripted. On October 19, 2013 Rita attended Doctor Who 50th Anniversary celebrations in Hereford, UK. One of the guests was an amazing artist Mike Collins. Rita had a long discussion with Mike and bought one of his prints for a common friend – writer – Helen Stringer. On November 30th, 2014 – a whole year later – Mike Collins found himself visiting Malta for Malta ComiCon. Guess who showed up at his table, all looking mysterious and smiling like a sphinx. Yes, Malicia. Mike just returned from a quick brunch and was hard at work sketching for people. But from time to time he would look at Mal (who was silently standing in a corner) with a strange glare. When he was finally done with all the sketches, he gave Mal a nod to which she replied: “Do you remember me?” It took him about few seconds to proclaim “Ah, we’ve met in Hereford! Your friend Helen was a science fiction writer”. But then he looked at Mal again, smiled to himself and corrected his statement – “No, I have met your sister. You darling are the evil clone”. Mal had a good laugh but was quite impressed that Mike was able to tell us apart (consider the fact that our own mother can’t tell which is which when we are on the phone). The whole scene gathered quite a crowd who were equally amused with a story of comic artist meeting twins in two different countries in a span of a year. But then the crazy thing happened. Mobile phone rang and it was Rita on the line. Before Mal knew it – Mike Collins was reaching for the phone to say hi to the other twin. The crowd was roaring with laughter while Malicia’s ears were crimson red. Rita was confused while Mike had a highlight of the day.

That morning Mike Collins sketched a small drawing of Peter Capaldi (as 12th Doctor) and it was one of the few remaining items on his stand. Malicia grabbed the sketch before anyone noticed and it now forms our collection of Doctor Who memorabilia.

The Hereford encounter with Mike Colling can be found here:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/doctor-who-50-years-celebration-in-hereford/

***

Listen! – The music of Who

Main theme from the series is one of the most easily recognized pieces of music in the history of television. It is also one of the very first pieces of electronic music ever created. It was composed by Ron Grainer and arranged by Delia Derbyshire in 1963 at the legendary BBC Radiophonic Workshop in Delaware Road, London. Just imagine – it’s been in use for five decades. Since the Doctor Who series revival in 2005, the soundtrack duties fall on Murray Gold. Each Reincarnation and each Companion (and some monsters) in the show have their own individual theme and the soundtrack albums are released regularly. Three Doctor Who themed orchestra concerts have taken place as part of The Proms festival at the Royal Albert Hall in London (2008, 2010 and 2013 respectively).

Doctor himself is extremely fond of music. Second Reincarnation (played by Patrick Troughton) carried around a flute, while Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) composed a whole symphony in an episode “Music of the Spheres”. During a visit to the Rings of Akhaten, Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) met and helped young girl named Merry Gejelh (Emilia Jones) to defeat a memory parasite. The song performed by Merry is recognized as a highlight of seventh series.

Doctor seems to have a lasting influence on many professional musicians as well. Ambient duo Orbital released a mix of Who main theme in 1996 hoping it would be used in the planned series with Eight Doctor (Paul McGann). In 2010 Orbital performed this song alongside with Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) at Glastonbury Festival:

Members of scandalous KLF also mixed the main theme and went on to chart with the single “Doctorin` the Tardis”. For the occasion they renamed themselves as “The Time Lords”. The video to the song is just an eye candy with a Dalek and a car that was introduced as “Ford Time Lord”.

British rock band Supergrass paid their tribute to the series and the Doctor in their 1997 song “Sun hits the sky”. The chorus incorporates famous introduction line: “I am a Doctor” and there is a cartoon of a medial person on the single cover.

If you consider yourself a Whovian, you must have blasted those songs on a regular basis, or they cheered you up when you heard them in public while going about your business. We have to admit, we haven’t found the reference to the series in Supergrass song until very recently (we must have been drunk back in the 90s) and once we got it – it was on a public bus. We have been on our way from the office and had a very fascinating conversation about what to have for dinner, when this song came on the radio. The bus driver must have been a big fan of the band, because he pulled the volume to 11. So here we were deciding between a potato salad or fish and chips when the line “I am a Doctor” hit us. We just went silent for a minute, looked at each other and other passengers thinking “Did we just hear Supergrass singing about a Time Lord?” Obviously since we are both very much in the spirit of John Peel, we had to consult Wikipedia and YouTube at home to double check. We were right; there was a direct reference in the song. Dinner could wait.

Another time we had this strange feeling like being on a set of Doctor Who, complete with a soundtrack, was when shopping at a local supermarket. It is a very cinematic feeling, when you enter a shop and hear a song called “Exterminate”. You never know from which aisle a Dalek will pop up and the invasion will begin. The song in question is a single by Snap! with the vocals of one and only Niki Harris. We love Niki and follow her since the late 80s when she was touring with Madonna (you can see her in video to “Vogue”). Niki issued two singles with Snap! between 1992-1993: “Exterminate” and “Do you see the light (looking for)”. Check her video below and tell us if she doesn’t look like an Empress of the Daleks?

Let us remain with Snap! for a minute longer. In 1995 they teamed up with vocalist Paula “Summer” Brown to record their third album “Welcome to tomorrow”. Second single from that album was named “The first, the last eternity (till the end)”. Set in New York in the 30s, it shows Summer as a comic femme fatale travelling between pages like she is travelling between parallel dimensions, calling out to people to follow her into the eternity. She rocks a beautiful red dress and her hairdo is immaculate. Now if you ever seen Professor River Song (Alex Kingstone) on the Doctor Who series, then you will be having déjà vu when watching the video. Remember the video was filmed fifteen years before character of River Song was even created. Strange coincidence or perhaps Paula Brown reincarnated into Alex Kingstone at some point in the last decade? ;)

You may argue that a song called “Exterminate” is rather easy reference to the Doctor and we will agree with you. But sometimes a song you have heard millions of times will catch you off guard. Both Rita and I are dedicated listeners of Absolute Radio and been so for over a decade. When we say dedicated, we really mean it – we are listening to it from Malta, despite the fact that their international broadcast was cut off two years ago (guys, please reconsider your policy regarding international online listeners!). One day at work, Mal was listening to Absolute and Dionne Warwick “Whisper in the dark” came on. This is one stunning love ballad off the album “Friends” released in 1985. Now imagine sitting in an office with your headphones on and singing along, only to realize the lyrics go “Travel with me through time and space”. Just like this, a simple song turns into something completely different. An invitation into the TARDIS? You look at your colleagues and they seem completely oblivious to what just have happened. You may brush it off as mere accident, but can you truly rule out the possibility that you have just received a message from the Doctor?

***

This makes the end of the first installment of the panel.

Should you have any comments or perhaps your own stories to share, let us know! We will gladly add and expand this panel with stories of ours or other fans.

Please come back as the second part will be posted quite soon. Until then, keep cool and have your eyes opened. This is a strange world we live in.

Mal+Rita

One Castle a Day – St Govan’s Chapel

Hello, hello and hello!

Welcome again dear readers – Tour De Wales continues! As we promised, the entire month will be dedicated to the land of red dragon and we have plenty of beautiful sights to show you. Be prepared for another exciting adventure!

Map of the local area

Map of the local area

If you have missed our previous entries, please take a look at the following links:

Ogmore-by-Sea Review Part1: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/one-castle-a-day-ogmore-by-sea/
Ogmore-by-Sea Review Part2: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/one-castle-a-day-ogmore-by-sea-part-two/
Saundersfoot in 20 clicks: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/saundersfoot-in-20-clicks
Barrafundle Bay in 30 clicks: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/barafundle-bay-in-30-clicks/
Broadhaven South in 27 clicks: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/broadhaven-south-in-27-clicks/

Today, we will take you to one of the most mysterious and wild places in Wales – The Saint Govan’s Head. This remote but very popular location is perfect for entire families: history freaks will have a chance to learn about 12th century chapel, kids and dogs will have enough place to wander and those who enjoy sitting down will have plenty of room to set up picnic tables.

Closer look at the map

Closer look at the map

Chapel map

Chapel interior

Before we published this entry, we had a small discussion. Should we first write about Castlemartin Firing Range or should we introduce our readers to the chapel straight away? Castlemartin Firing Range is an absolutely wonderful place and since Govan’s Head is a part of it; our initial thought was to write about the range first. A bit later, we changed our minds. Three previous entries were dedicated to the beautiful shores of Wales and another photographic entry would be quite boring. So, enjoy the historical trip to St Govan’s Chapel with One Castle a Day and we will return to Castlemartin range some other time.

Picture of a picture - this is how St Govan's chapel looks through professional lence

Picture of a picture – this is how St Govan’s chapel looks through professional lance

Dramatic cliffs around the chapel - you will not find more beautiful sights anywhere else

Dramatic cliffs around the chapel – you will not find more beautiful sights anywhere else

Do you remember that we have left Stackpole Eastate and moved a little bit further? Two miles is not a big distance, but what difference it can make! The sandy beaches and azure blue water are now behind us and it’s time to investigate the rocky cliffs and limestone coastline that are Pembrokshire’s trademarks. Govan’s Head is actually one magnificent cliff named after an Irish Saints – but we need to start telling the tale from the beginning!

Enchanted steps

Enchanted steps

Valley surrounding the chapel looks like surface of an alien planet

Valley surrounding the chapel looks like surface of an alien planet

When Stackpole Estate fell on the hard times, part of the land has been taken away from the earls of Cawdor and given to the army at the beginning of 1939. It was a harsh blow to the proud landowners who felt betrayed and soon completely abandoned the grand mansion and returned to their native Scotland. Land taking was a necessity at that time. British Army lacked a good training grounds and the remote location (with a great overview of the Welsh coast) was a suitable place to train future soldiers and test the new equipment. Of course, Earls of Cawdor received a small payment for the land but not what it was truly worth. The Second World War was just starting and the government had little patience or the necessary resources to negotiate with the gentry. The entire transaction was quick and a bit ugly – what’s more important, there was no way back. To this day, Castlemartin and St Govan’s Head are the property of British Army and the training grounds are active for 44 weeks a year. To visit the brilliant place you have to pass through military gate and several guard stops. We were truly lucky – just few days before we arrived, the range was used for training and nobody was allowed in. To let the tourists know, the Army is putting notices in Bosherston’s village pub, but if you are here for the first time, you will not know about it. We were passing through the security checks with our hearts on our sleeves, expecting an abrupt stop and arrest for trespassing. After several minutes of travelling, we arrived at a large car park when we were informed that the range was open to visitors. We have never been happier!

Majestic lime stone walls

Majestic lime stone walls

The roof of the chapel with a bell cote

The roof of the chapel with a bell cote

Just one look is enough to understand why the Earls were so angry about losing this piece of land. The range is breathtaking! We have never seen such wild beauty, high cliffs, natural stone arches and rocky shore. We are also very pleased that the range is off limits for the majority of the year. It is now rarely used for arterially training and became some sort of a natural reserve with many endangered birds nesting among the rocks and feeding its young. The military polygon is also perfect for small animals; the wild meadows and uncut grass help maintain the diversity of local fauna and flora. Don’t get us wrong, the range is still actively used for any kind of military training, but the part opened to visitors has been mostly preserved for its ecological and scientific value.

The slate roof is a modern addition to protect the ancient building

The slate roof is a modern addition to protect the ancient building

We don't know  when the roof has been created, probably around 18th or 19th century

We don’t know when the roof has been created, probably around 18th or 19th century

The cliff known as St Govan’s Head is located some 700 meters from the car park and you can get there by walking along the turfed footpath. It is worth going there first before seeing the chapel but we will leave the decision to you. We have seen the chapel first (the entrance is situated just at the edge to the car park) and wandered to the cliff after – if we knew, we would do it the other way around. All legends about St Govan start at the cliff and the action moves to the site of the chapel. It almost felt like watching a movie from the end and then skipping to the beginning. We have a real vivid imagination and we could see with our mind’s eyes how the entire story unfolded. Some people however arrive here just to admire the views and they don’t care in which order they are visiting places.

Entrance to the chapel

Entrance to the chapel

Well defined archway leading to the single chamber

Well defined archway leading to the single chamber

According to legends, St Govan or Gofan was an Irish traveler who arrived to the United Kingdom by boat to visit his friend or mentor. His profession is not known, different versions identify him as a monk educated by Saint David, a teacher, a merchant, a poet and even as a thief. There is also a tale connecting Gofan with mystical Gawain, one of the noble Knights of the Round Table who came to Albion looking for a place to rest as an old man. Govan’s roots might be shrouded in mystery but all legends agree that he crashed at the Welsh shore in dire circumstances. The boat that Govan hired to take him to Great Britain was attacked by pirates and the entire crew was slain. Govan somehow managed to escape and swam to the shore near the Govan’s Head. Pursued by bandits, Govan ran along the rocky beach, climbed the rocks and looked for a place to hide but there was nothing around him. Fearing for his life, he started to pray and then miracle happened – a small fissure in the lime stone opened, allowing him to sneak inside. Pirates scouted the area for hours but they could not find him. Thinking he might have drowned, they finally left and Govan was able to leave his hide-a-way. He made his way to the nearest village (probably Bosherton) where he alerted the local inhabitants. The villagers took him in, gave him food and a place to sleep but Govan was not yet safe. Local people were terrorized by pirates and many of them have lost their lives trying to protect their homes. Govan listened to their stories and decided that running away would not solve the problem. They needed a plan and military help from local ruler. He volunteered to return to the coast to watch the waters waiting for the pirates to return. Upon seeing them he was to alert the villagers and then they would call the King for assistance. We will never know if the plan worked, but for many years, Govan lived in the cave that opened for him and was respected by villagers. His fame grew bigger and bigger and many traveled to see him or to seek his advice. He ate fish and drank water from a small spring that after his death became sacred – the water could cure blindness and other ailments.

Inside the chapel - please excuse the bright lights  streaming through the windows. It was hard to take good quality pictures during the midday. the chapel is situated especially to receive a lot of sunshine in the summer

Inside the chapel – please excuse the bright lights streaming through the windows. It was hard to take good quality pictures during the midday. The chapel is happily situated to receive a lot of sunshine in the summer

Doorway from the inside of the chapel

Doorway from the inside of the chapel

Legends cannot be taken for historical truth, but it has been established that the site of what is now known as St Govan’s Chapel has been used since the 6th century. Archeologists surveying the chapel have discovered signs of an earlier building, probably a small monastery or a single dwelling. The chapel as we know it today has been erected in the 13th century at the exact place where St Govan has supposedly died in 586. His body is now believed to be buried under the main altar. To reach the chapel, you need to climb down 52 steps and you have to do it very carefully as there are no rails and the steps are slippery even on a clear day. This single chamber chapel is built into the side of a tall limestone cliff in a small triangular valley. It has a tiny steeple with a bell-cote and measures only 6.1 m × 3.7 m. Its slated roof looks a bit out of place – it is a modern addition raised to protect the entrance to the grade I building.

People leave graffiti on the walls of the chapel since  the middle ages - we didn't feel inclined to do the same

People leave graffiti on the walls of the chapel since the middle ages – we didn’t feel inclined to do the same

Chapel's end seems to be semi-collapsed

Chapel’s end seems to be semi-collapsed

Other way out of the chapel

Other way out of the chapel

Main altar - legends say that St Govan's body is hidden underneath it

Main altar – legends say that St Govan’s body is hidden underneath it

Small cross made of straw left by one  of the pilgrims

Small cross made of straw left by one of the pilgrims

There are two stories connected with the chapel. One tells the tale of a silver bell that St Govan used to alert the villages with when the pirates were spotted and the other claims the steps to the chapel are enchanted. The small bell was given to St Govan by the King and it was made of purest silver to give a clear and loud sound. Each time the pirates were getting near, the bell would ring so powerfully that the villagers were able to hear it. Infuriated that their attacks were so easily thwarted, the pirates stole the bell and thrown it into the ocean. Govan prayed long for the bell to be recovered and his calls were heard by the angels. They removed the bell from the ocean floor and hid it in a large stone near the chapel so the bell would not get stolen again. From now on, St Govan had to tap the stone twice and the bell would ring, thousand times stronger than before alarming not only the nearest village but the entire coast as well.

Chapel seen from the outside - back entrance and the bell cote

Chapel seen from the outside – back entrance and the bell cote

Postcard shot - we are very pleased with this one!

Postcard shot – we are very pleased with this one!

Our favorite myth is that about the stairs leading to the chapel. The steps said to be magical and their number depends on many things: the weather, the time of the day or night, how many people were going up or climbing down. Some tourist guides swear that the difference can be huge: between 74 for certain gentlemen to 35 for the ladies. We have seen the groups of visitors counting each step very scrupulously but we haven’t asked about their mathematical skillsJ. To be very honest, it is easy to make a mistake – some steps are nearly invisible, some are cracked in half and people could count them separately, others are connected and potentially could be counted as one step. It doesn’t matter how many steps you counted, the number will be unique to you and maybe you can use it to play lotto! The chapel has long been associated with good luck; some still believe that a wish made there will come true.

Sacred spring and  another steps leading to the coast where St Govan was running away from the pursuing pirates

Sacred spring and another steps leading to the coast where St Govan was running away from the pursuing pirates

Chapel as seen from the shore

Chapel as seen from the shore

Chapel from  the cliffs - our farewell picture

Chapel from the cliffs – our farewell picture

The chapel may be small and simple but it makes strong impressions on those who visit it. If you’d like to learn more about this fantastic building, please take a look at the following links:

Visit Pembrokshire: http://www.visitpembrokeshire.com/attractions-events/st-govans-chapel/
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Govan
Wikipedia again: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Govan%27s_Chapel
Pembrokshire Coast: http://www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk/website/AppAccess4All/stgovans_head.pdf
Britain Express: http://www.britainexpress.com/attractions.htm?attraction=645
Destinations UK: http://www.destinations-uk.com/articles.php?country=wales&id=115&articletitle=St%20Govan%20Chapel,%20Pembrokeshire

Coastline seen from the valley

Coastline seen from the valley

St Govan's Head in the distance

St Govan’s Head in the distance

The cliff walls are excellent for climbing - just not when the military training takes place!

The cliff walls are excellent for climbing – just not when the military training takes place!

Well, our visit to the lovely chapel of St Govan came to an end. In few days’ time, we will write about the Castlemartin Range and then we will finish our tour the Wales with a visit to the magnificent Pembroke Castle! Come back soon!

Lots of love,
Rita and Mal D.

Broadhaven South in 27 clicks

Hello again!

Few days ago we complained about the gloomy winter weather in the UK. Today, we need the biblical ark! It has been raining cats and dogs and the canals around Worcester are now full. This is an annual river Severn flooding and Rita will have a lot of difficulties reaching her work. Streets will be closed, traffic jams will go for miles and only Mal will enjoy the lovely Mediterranean climate. Oh well, on days like these, all you can truly do is to put the heating on and look at some lovely photographs!

If you have missed our Tour de Wales, so far we have visited Ogmore-by-Sea, Saundersfoot and Barafundle Bay. You can read the reviews below:

Ogmore-by-Sea Review Part1: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/one-castle-a-day-ogmore-by-sea/
Ogmore-by-Sea Review Part2: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/one-castle-a-day-ogmore-by-sea-part-two/
Saundersfoot in 20 clicks: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/saundersfoot-in-20-clicks
Barrafundle Bay in 30 clicks: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/barafundle-bay-in-30-clicks/

As promised, we are still staying within the borders of the lovely Stackpole Estate. After seeing how beautiful Barafundle Bay is, we decided to show you another private beach that once belonged to the magnificently rich Earls of Cawdor. This beach is called Broadhaven and is located just two kilometers away from the picturesque village of Bosherston. We need to be very precise here – there are two beaches known as Broadhaven. The one we are interested in is officially known as Broadhaven South, the other is simply called Broadhaven. The other beach is situated near the village of Broadhaven, in the south east corner of St Bride’s Bay and lies in The Havens Community of Pembrokeshire. Please don’t make the same mistake as we did and ask the local residents how to get to Broadhaven Beach. You will receive pretty conflicting directions. Be more precise and either ask for Broadhaven South or for the Broadhaven Beach.

The two beaches are located quite close to each other but if you are new to the area, traveling on the narrow country roads can be a real challenge. To make matters even worse, SatNav on your phone will be useless, the internet connection in these parts of Wales is the worst we have seen! You will have to rely on the locals and road signs – almost as going back to The Middle Ages!

After arriving at Broadhaven South, the first thing you notice is a large car park and camping grounds at the popular Trevallen Farm (Bosherston, Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, Wales, SA71 5DR, Telephone: 01646 661643). Again, you will be charged five pounds for parking. On a busy day, you might be asked by the parking attendant to stay only for several hours, as the parking spaces are being filled very quickly. Forget about the free parking after 17:30, in the summer you will not find a single place to park until 2 o’clock in the morning! Broadhaven is a very popular location – it is visited by thousands tourists each season. In recent years, it has also become a particularly favourite spot for rock climbers and surfers.

Luckily for tourists, Broadhaven South is not as remote as Barafundle Bay. National Trust has a small office near the parking that sells tickets, food, memorabilia, beach gear and souvenirs. You can even sign up as a National Trust member if you wish – you will not have to pay for the parking. This is what we have done and it proved to be a great decision. There is also an ice-cream van that has been in operation since the early 1960’s. The gentleman who owns it said that he is going to retire soon but each year he is delaying the decision. He remembered the original Cawdor Court at Stackpole and he could tell many interesting stories about the place. He informed us that the reason why the fantastic house was demolished was because it was abandoned for long period of time and the taxes for the land were too high to keep it. The Cawdor family apparently returned to their native Scotland and the grounds were sold. New owners were too poor to renovate the grand mansion and sadly it was destroyed. As a child, the gentleman was taught to swim by one of the Earl’s personal swimming instructors, who sometimes made exceptions for the local kids and worked for free. We were glad to hear that Broadhaven South has not changed much since them – it means the beach still remains clean and is not polluted.

Broadhaven South is surrounded by high cliffs and lime stones. The sand dunes are also much higher than those near Barafundle Bay and you will need a pair of sturdy shoes to walk around them. Don’t forget that the dunes and cliffs are part of coastal national reserve – you are allowed only to walk on designed paths not to disturb the local fauna and flora. Several plants growing on the rocks are indigenous to the local ecosystem and you will not find them anywhere else. Many people are involved in saving this splendid place for future generations!

The unspoilt and untamed beauty of Broadhaven South has been used as a filming location. In 1989, C.S. Lewis story “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” (one of the books from “Chronicles of Narnia”) has been shot for a miniseries produced by BBC. In 2010, the post production and additional scenes for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1& 2 were filmed here while the house of wizards, Bill and Flaur Weasley, the Seashell Cottage was created at the nearby beach of Fresh Water West. Broadhaven South has been used several times in Doctor Who as well – as you can see this is a famous ground for every fan of fantasy genre!

Last but not least – we also need to mention The Church Rock, a small but famous limestone solitary standing in the middle of the water some 150 yards from the sandy beach. If you believe the urban legends, The Church Rock is said to be some sort of an alien beacon or maybe an orientation point for the unidentified flying objects. It is true that UFO’s have been spotted many times flying around the beach. We haven’t seen any men in black sunbathing during our visit, but any paranormal activity at Broadhaven South could be a case for Mulder and Scully. We still believe!

1.

Broadhaven South - do not confuse with Broadchurch!

Broadhaven South – do not confuse with Broadchurch!

2.

National Trust office

National Trust office

3.

Ice scream stand offers treats to everyone including the fans of Mortal Kombat video game series

Ice scream stand offers treats to everyone including the fans of Mortal Kombat video game series

4.

Road to the beach

Road to the beach

5.

Sand dunes

Sand dunes

6.

The beach is popular all year round

The beach is popular all year round

7.

This particular picture has been edited by Mal to show you how the difference between natural pictures and those edited in Photoshop

This particular picture has been edited by Mal to show you the difference between natural pictures and those edited in Photoshop

8.

We arrived at the low tide, usually in the afternoon this part of the beach is covered by water

We arrived at the low tide, usually in the afternoon this part of the beach is covered by water

9.

At low tide the beach is growing in size

At low tide the beach is growing in size

10.

Rocks and sand - the beach looks almost like a California desert

Rocks and sand – the beach looks almost like a California desert

11.

Church Rock on the horizon

Church Rock on the horizon

12.

Calm waters

Calm waters

13.

Foot prints  - humans and animals. The dogs are welcomed to the beach

Foot prints – humans and animals. Dogs are welcomed to the beach

14.

The water is blue and green in the sunshine. It is considered the cleanest  in Wales

The water is blue and green in the sunshine. It is considered the cleanest in Wales

15.

How do you tell there is a razorshell hidden in the sand?

How do you tell there is a razorshell hidden in the sand?

16.

Broadhaven South is known from the dramatic coastline filled with limestone cliffs and caves

Broadhaven South is known from the dramatic coastline filled with limestone cliffs and caves

17.

Another beach and another Labrador swimming

Another beach and another Labrador swimming

18.

Cave close up

Cave close up

19.

Inside the cave

Inside the cave

20.

The lime stones are pretty interesting if you look at them up close

The lime stones are pretty interesting if you look at them up close

21.

The Coastal riff near the edge of Broadhaven beach

The Coastal riff near the edge of Broadhaven beach

22.

Cliffs again

Cliffs again

23.

This massive lime stone block is known locally as The Wall

This massive lime stone block is known locally as The Wall

24.

Rising tide creates  small streams along the beach

Rising tide creates small streams along the beach

25.

Water is quickly reclaiming the sand

Water is quickly reclaiming the sand

26.

Soon the sand is underwater and the tourists are escaping onto the sand sunes

Soon the sand is underwater and the tourists are escaping onto the sand dunes

27.

Panorama of Broadhaven South

Panorama of Broadhaven South

You can learn more about Broadhaven South by reading the links below:

BBC Nature: http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/nature/sites/surfing/pages/sw_broadhaven.shtml
Bluestone Wales: http://www.bluestonewales.com/pembrokeshire/beaches/broad-haven-south
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broad_Haven_South
Pembrokshire Coast: http://www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk/?PID=122
Visit Pembrokshire: http://www.visitpembrokeshire.com/explore-pembrokeshire/beaches/broad-haven-south/

All right, our work in Stackpole is done for now. We are moving, but we are not going very far. Just two miles away from Broadhaven South, there is a small 12th Century chapel that we always wanted to see. Please return soon, – One castle a day will be back!

Till then,
Rita and Mal