Guess what happened to the priest?
Gozo feels more like a building site than usual this year. For reasons best known only to the gods of local planning, three major development projects are taking place in three of the largest towns - Rabat, Nadur and Xaghra - simultaneously. These are three centres where a pavement cafe and a people-watch has always been a lovely way to pass a morning.
But the thing I really like about the island, and always have, is the sense of inevitability. Fatalism almost. Faced with a bit of a problem - a blocked road, a broken down car, a weather phenomenon - the average Gozitan will have a ten second rant, wave arms around a bit, and then work out how to make things better for everyone. There are no recriminations here. 'You drove down a one-way street. What the hell. OK. I will move my car. Keep coming.'
Here health and safety has not gone mad. It hasn't even visited the mental counselling team. It is not unusual to have to swerve in the street to avoid a builder in flip-flops up an unfooted ladder wiring up the Festa illuminations. Indeed this is probably an important initiation rite for trainee electricians. The hard hat is mainly used as an ashtray.
So we are not disheartened by the builders and have been back a couple of times to a super restaurant at the far end of the island which we often miss out of our tour. Every cloud.
I discussed this with a local a few years back. There was a news story about injuries to a young apprentice builder who had failed to walk around the top of the walls of a newly-completed house as challenged by his seniors. He said, and it has stuck with me:
'Last week a priest fell down a hole; what can you do?'
If even the priests (and this is place is incredibly Catholic) fall down holes, what indeed can you do?
He didn't know I was a priest. I hope they pulled him out.