If you work at home in Malta, as I do, then you are used to frequent week-day knocks and rings at the door. No one would call, or rarely, when I lived in the UK (Malta has a high percentage of women not in the workplace, so it’s assumed someone is at home during the day). It’s one of the mild annoyances of home-office life here. But stopping to answer the door is my equivalent of a break at the water cooler I suppose. Mostly, it isn’t of course the postman. It’s a far more entertaining bunch of people!
Today’s three unexpected callers were regular enough – one salesman; one workman from a utility; and one courier firm delivery man. But all were atypical too…. here’s why:
A few articles ago, I wrote about the statue at my door. Today, I found a silver basse-relief of Christ offered to me. I opened the door to see not the caller, but a framed silver objet d’art thrust my way, and an invite, in Italian, for me to purchase it. I must have looked so stunned that the salesman asked me if I spoke Italian. I do. But I said ‘no’, in English, to avoid being drawn into any sales’ pitch. But clearly Malta’s villages are prime target now for Italians bearing religious artefacts. Must be the common European market doing it’s bit. Has any one else here had a similar experience?
Enemalta man is a distinct breed; unannounced and monosyllabic generally. My regular meter reader never speaks, and just barges in the moment I open the door. Today’s man was pleasant and chatty enough, and had come to do some 25-minutes work replacing our meter with one that does intelligent remote reporting. Did I miss a note about him calling, I asked? No, they just arrive and expect someone’s home so they can do the work. Not very efficient as even housewives would be out at the shops in the morning. How many trips do they make to the same houses to get the replacements done? At least I won’t have meter readers disturbing me from now on!
I do sympathise with couriers delivering to my place at the end of an alley. If they have heavy or bulky parcels they have to reverse round the dog-leg bend, almost scraping their vans. Not an easy manouevre. Today’s delivery was interesting as it made me wonder at the beauty of cross-border internet shopping . I ordered some dining chairs four days ago from the UK. And here they are today! Quicker really than going down to the local shops and waiting for the order to be placed and arrive in a month. Unsurprisingly, Malta has a high percentage of cross-border EU online purchasing compared to neighbouring EU states with large internal markets. I know someone who buys his GAP jeans from the States as it’s quick, hassle-free and cheaper than buying equivalent brands offered here.
A typical day then of door-to-door callers in Malta. I am intrigued though if anyone bought the silver image of Christ in its frame. Perhaps the Italian will find his market online instead.
Photo: Courtesy of Gege Gatt.