The first thing I can hear on awaking is one of the local cockerels crowing at the top of his voice, and then 2 or three others in the locality will join in, now the local competition has started between the local poultry to see which one can outdo the other. The first thing friends that stay with us will comment on is 'the bloody crowing cockerels'.
This time of the year the temperature is around 20degrees first thing in the morning, and as I step out on to my bedroom balcony and look out across the slightly greening valley at the sunrise over Victoria, the capital of Gozo, I can see where the baking summer has previously parched the landscape a dusty brown almost desert like colour. I can see the criss cross of the boundaries of the small parcels of farmland as they sweep down the edge of the hillside into the valley below where the local farmers are starting to work.
I hear the distant sound of the church bells calling the local population to morning mass.
Alongside the cockerel chorus the birds will be singing in harmony, then in the distance a sudden commotion as one of the local farmers bids me good morning, 'bongu Steve' whilst moving his herd of goats and sheep, bells around there necks clanging as they walk, to pasture at the end of the road to graze for the day, this does not stop the herd pausing momentarily to graze on the plants in the pots outside peoples houses before being hurried along again.
The peace of the morning is then shattered by the diesel death rattle of one of the farmers as he starts his old tractor, ploughs attached, before proceeding to his own parcel of land nearby.
The air has the smell of burning about it, a combination of wood smoke and grass as the farmers burn the fields prior to ploughing and planting the winter crops.
Around 7.30 we get the arrival of the first of many of the street vendors, shattering the silence of the village, announcing there arrival with the sound of blasting musical air horns, each has his own unique tune so that you can tell which service they are actually offering. They will be selling general groceries like toilet paper, bleach, beer, and bottled water. Then another will offer bottled gas or how about fresh fish caught that morning. Bread from one of the local bakers, fresh fruit and vegetable direct from the local farmers, and they are generally cheaper than buying from the supermarket. Only down side is that you have to be in at the time they pass.
All this is a far cry from my old life in London, where the first thing I would hear on stepping out side would be the sound of traffic on the nearby A1 dual carriageway. Am I happy to be here in Munxar.....You Bet.
'Life is something that everyone should try at least once'. Henry J Tillman.