Yesterday there was a hilarious Tanti Burlo’ cartoon in the Times . Its subtlety will be lost on anybody who does not live on this island. Suffice to say that a) Malta has a well-publicised problem with ‘illegal’ migrants that has revealed the fascist / insular underbelly of a supposedly Catholic culture b) Malta has a well-publicised problem with bird hunting, which is the vice of 10,000 washed and unwashed, who regularly hold various Governments to ransom c) tonight is World Cup night and half the nation will watch with bathed breath while the other half will disguise itself as francais or feign disdain and d) someone entrepreneurial has made a killing in silly plastic flags fixed to vehicles of all shapes and sizes.

I am old enough to remember 1982, the last time an azzurri team made it to a World Cup Final with any real chance of winning, and the mesh of tangled bodies in Chris’s parents’ living room. And the night of tricolori flags on the Sliema front and bemused tourists toting large cameras, wondering if they had been transplanted for a moment to Circo Massimo.

Nothing much has changed, in the football-fried frenzy of the populace.

And in the meantime, the sun savages and wrinkles skin, runs lines across the hasiras, keeps the ACs screeching next to to the solar panels, dries up all sources of natural water and greenery.

And soon, I will be 45 and striking another year off the tree of life. And pretending the mirror lies.

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