Walking along the winding streets in the Tal-Grazzja in Haz-Zebbug, I encountered this small workshop at the cross roads of Triq Vilhena and Triq is-Sidtna ta' l-Angli. The man at the doorway caught my attention, since he seemed to be totally engrossed in his work, so I approached them at the door.
I present you Salvu and Charlie Dimech also known as Ta' Widna (the nickname is a long story which they did not tell because we got caught up talking about their skill); furniture restorers. Salvu (Charlie's father), worked as a carpenter prior focusing on furniture restoration. In fact he stated humbly that for them work never stopped. For Charlie, this is not his full time job, however he treats it with the same dedication of one.
Salvu, now in his 80s, was really keen to show me his workshop, and make me understand the importance of being a carpenter if one wants to restore furniture.
They both have Haz-Zebbug close to their hearts, and Charlie's words were the following, "minn hawn ma nitlaq qatt!" (I will never leave this place!). I loved this. These men love my hometown and unlike me never left the place. Salvu proceeded showing me photos of some work he restorored, and his pride was evident throughout.
They love their work, they love the town, and for them the village feast is what makes Haz-Zebbug so unique, however Salvu added that Haz-Zebbug is even grander because some of the best people were born here. "Ghandna lil Dun Karm Psaila, lil Mikiel Anton Vassalli....lil ....". (We have Dun Karm Psaila the national poet, we have Mikiel Anton Vassalli the father of the Maltese Language...}. However he added that apart from great people, Haz-Zebbug also had some great robbers too, and he mentioned a famous robbery done at the Dock Yard years back...
I made my excuses, but not without cheekily asking them why they had the statue of St Joseph on the facade and not that of St Philip, since they love the feast so much. Their reply was that St Joseph's feast was also celebrated in town, and for them it was important too.
I walked out from their workshop with a sense of pride...and I suppose it is the sense of pride that the locals are so famous for...and I smiled, walked on and continued on my journey of documenting this town's spirit.