I live in a country where summer rolls in like a slow tide, and then, suddenly, it hits our shores with an overwhelming bang. The postcard image of ‘a magical summer’ that you read about in holiday brochures is spoiled by overcrowded beaches, evening traffic jams, parking nightmares, promenades overflowing with tourists, heat strokes, jellyfish-infested waters, humid nights, and men walking around town in speedos.
But thankfully, summer in Malta starts around mid-April, when the strawberry season is at its peak, and runs up until mid-November as the first Christmas decorations start to appear in shop windows. So as school children file through the school gate and the last of the severely sunburnt tourists board a plane home, I can finally welcome the start of MY summer with a long-awaited sigh of relief. And it all starts in October.
October is the month when I can find a comfortable spot on the beach to stretch out and enjoy the milder intensity of the sun’s rays. It’s also that time of year when I can resume my evening power walks along the promenade without having to weave my way through the idle crowd.
However, October is not only about relishing the last glow of summer. On a more personal level, October marks the beginning of new projects and commitments. I find inspiration in the sudden tranquility that befalls the island. The land slowly recovers from the blistering summer heat and starts to flaunt its bright green foliage. Malta’s magic is restored. And while this shift takes place, my favourite fruit comes along.
October is when I return to my ‘pomegranate ritual’: scooping out hundreds of the fruit’s ruby seeds into bowls and sitting down to watch the new episodes of The Vampire Diaries.
And the main reason why I love October so dearly?