Home A Home in Tarxien A Home in Tarxien – Chapter 2

A Home in Tarxien – Chapter 2

by Roberta

So, what do you think?”

Carl and I stared at the screen for a moment. We were looking at the architects’ first impression of what our house had the potential to look like, with some necessary alterations. Everyone knew it was going to be a challenge. In true centuries-old style, this house of character had that frustrating feature of having rooms leading into each other. Partly mitigated by the improvements made in the 90s, where a new staircase was built beneath new loggias that would give a second access to the first floor, the changes made then still left much to be desired. The dislevel in ceiling heights on ground floor? No problem, said the 90s architect – just add a wooden staircase and a little gallery (for no purpose whatsoever) in the bathroom upstairs to connect them. The house really needed a thorough renovation, starting from the very basics: accessibility to rooms that made sense. Now, finally, we were looking at a plan that a) did not involve having to go outside to access the first floor and b) did not involve having to pass through bathrooms to get to bedrooms.

And we had a kitchen pavilion.

And a double-ceilinged staircase.

And a decently sized outdoor area.

We were very happy.

We got all our papers in order and applied for permits. I think this is always the worst bit. The waiting and not knowing what the outcome would be. What would we have to compromise on? Would they outright reject the proposal? They were an anxious few months. In the meantime though, we made use of the house in the best way I know how.

I threw a party. For myself.

The property came with its own little plunge pool, a round maybe 2m diameter jacuzzi-like pool. The building was not in any way condemned, all it needed was a good clean. Plus, we had boxes upon boxes of alcohol we had leftover from our wedding a few weeks before (crazy year). I had celebrated my birthday in Tuscany in June and with it being my 30th, I desperately wanted to throw something closer to home. Having this “waiting” house, with an outdoor area that could easily accommodate a few tens of people, was the perfect setting. This was also quite probably going to be the last Summer we could enjoy the house for a while and it felt like a waste not to use it while we could. So I recruited help (mum, dad, I love you) and we set about cleaning the entire area.

Let me tell you, that bougainvillea is a killer in disguise. I had no idea the plant had thorns that could really, really bite and by the end of it, I had more scratches than I’d care count. I won the battle, though not the war. Eventually the bougainvillea would have its way, creeping slowly across the house when we were not looking until, when excavations started, we were forced to part ways. But I digress. At this point in our story, the bougainvillea was tamed back to look pretty, but not be the deadly, thorny plant it is capable of being. The cobwebs were cleaned, bathrooms disinfected, pool emptied from the muck (dad, Carl, I really really love you), cleaned up and refilled, the pump and filtering system set to work and the BBQ retrieved from our apartment in Naxxar.

It was so much fun. We had spritz and dips in the pool, we had burgers and music, cake and wine and when twilight descended, we switched on the fairy lights my dad (LOVE YOU) had installed that ran across the property, and wound up nicely at the palm tree. A pretty moon hung just above the dome of the Santa Maria, the spires of which made a gorgeous, Maltese-if-I-ever-saw-one, backdrop. When the cake was brought out, pastel blue, orange and pink, I cut flowers from the bushes we had crawling over the walls. Pink leaves from the bougainvillea, pale blue flowers from the Blue Plumbago, orange flowers from the Orange Trumpet Vine. I placed them carefully around the bold THIRTY topper in cursive script. We sang, we ate, we drank. We took photos (lots of photos!) and were happy.

At the end, my friend came up to me and hugged me.

“Do you realise this is yours?” she said. I had not.

“Now. Maybe now I do.” This wasn’t a venue I was about to leave and that’s it. Some day, maybe not soon but some day, this would be my home.

And God, I’m going to throw so many parties.

The permits came in a few months later. 

And we hit our first, big snag.

But that’s a story for another day.

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