The morning tide was as high as the sun and the promenade at Sliema had been flooded by water from the bay. The bus broke down at Msida; we hung around the pavement with the queue for a state lottery booth, then the engine finally caught and we piled back on. Valletta was busy at half past nine - the tide of the city goes out in the evening - and the bench seats were all taken above the Saluting Battery. British marching songs played on a speaker, the water in the harbour glistened white in the sun.
My flight was three times delayed: a flight attendant fell ill, a man in a wheelchair couldn't get on the bus, and there was a brief computer malfunction as we taxied down the runway. The two people next to me were talking in Maltese, their speech peppered with English, "High Barnet, Northern Line...Ryanair, quite a lot cheaper...all the way north...three-hour flight...Durham...University of York".