Perils of living in the penthouse

We love our flat. Fact.

It is spacious and bright, very accessible to the entire island and we have a wonderful large terrace. When we viewed it, we instantly wanted it. Also, it’s a new building, so no traces of previous owners.

But forget it being idyllic. When we moved in, the lift was not functional for another two months and we live on the sixth floor. Ok, I am pretty sporty but in this debilitating heat it gets tough even going down. And we moved in without a lift too- the first day carrying a dozen of large bags each. There was even no light around the staircases so I walked into the hole for the lift on a few occasions (they were covered, thankfully).

It was only when we came back from our holiday in France that there was a lift. We were very excited by that. Only to come home and find the flat without electricity. Power cuts are also common in this place. In my 11 years in London I remember two. In my two months in Malta I have had approximate one every week.

Two days ago I mentioned that we are expecting guests. I prepared the flat and the food.

As I was chilling I heard a strange noise.

Electricity went off.

We called the landlord immediately, but it was too late- our guests have arrived. I thought ‘that’s it, party is over’, but they all walked up. We were using the emergency staircase lights and I had a couple of decorative candles. It was very romantic but I was not pleased nevertheless. People could not see the food and the wine was warm.

Electricity returned just as they were leaving.

That is however not the worst case. One day we woke up and there was no electricity. But funnily enough, one can manage very easily without it here – it got weird to me only around 3pm. I bought a shoe cabinet that I needed to assemble and fancied a coffee first. But I still had no electricity. So I asked the labourer here to fix it. The poor man was running up and down those six flights of stairs endlessly but to na avail.

To cut this short, in the end the owner came and helped out. Still took another hour or so. He established that it’s the lights that throw my electricity and he started unscrewing one – what happened after will never leave my mind. There was a flood coming from my ceiling!

The owner was totally cool about it- apparently, when they laid the cement on the roof, it expanded too much in the heat so they cut it across – and the water (from a rainfall four months earlier) made its way through the building onto my kitchen floor. Legendary.

Other thing I am having trouble getting used to is the water pressure. To say it’s shit is a major understatement. You just never feel fully washed. When washing the dishes the tap is literally spitting on your hands. Dah.

And the dust. We have a marble floor and we totally love it, but it is always covered in dust and that is despite the fact that I mop every goddamn day. My feel are black and we have to wash them all the time, especially before bedtime.

Renting the place was also adventurous. Imagine – since we paid our deposit and agent fee, we never heard from the agency lady. She even wanted us to pay her the money – significant amount! – in cash with no receipt given. We refused. Eventually, she gave us something – with no reference to herself though. When we asked about the lift, if it will be finished in time, she just kept saying don’t worry and to other queries ‘This is Malta’. To date that expression explains everything that I think is wrong.

The best part is that we signed a contract but before we were handed the keys to the flat, ie a few days before moving in, they made us sign a different contract which claimed that we pay only half. And always in cash.

But I guess this is Malta!


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