MEMORIES FROM MALTA When West Sussex became my second home for many years – and how that came about – Part Two

By Albert Fenech

Glyn as a young man in Malta with my wife Tilde (left) and my late mother Pauline

The first part I wrote about how very often the twists and turns of life are just simply amazing – often, bizarre. Amazingly, they continue throughout life.

I recounted my school and youth association with Glyn and the way our lives developed.

From 1970 onward he came to visit Malta every year and stay with us, enjoying the sea and sunshine and merrily snapping his pictures.

In the mid-70s he married Hilary and they went to live in Plumpton, a village five miles north of Lewes in East Sussex – and this was my introduction to Sussex which over the following years became my second home.

From there, the distance to Central London was short and we often took a boat up the Thames to Westminster Pier. Of great positive attributes, their semi-detached was next door to a pub and this was our social haunt.

Plumpton Racecourse

But Plumpton was quaint and quiet and the village had many scenic beauties which my wife Tilde and I enjoyed – even though we had to sleep on the floor because their house was small and they had two children.

From there, the Genins moved to Horsted Keynes and between HK and Malta, we exchanged visits a countless number of times always accommodated with each other.

Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s grave In Horsted Keynes

At the time, over 40 years ago, the main attractions were a mini-market, a laundry, a fish ‘n chip shop, the Green Man pub and the HK Club.

HK is in West Sussex and this opened up a completely new vista for us, a quiet but thriving village and a stepping stone to the nearby attractions and beauties of Brighton-on-Sea.

The pub where Albert & Lyn met, old schoolfriends from Malta

On our first visit there driven by Glyn, my wife Tilde immediately fell-in-love with Brighton, its total environment, its historic buildings and heritage and historical relativities, restaurants, shopping arcades and enhancing our Maltese desire to always be close to a sea shore.

The Labes, Brighton

Sadly, we were not induced to take to the water and swim because of its brackish colour compared to our blue Mediterranean, but we did walk along the sands and enjoy the feeling and the lukewarm sunshine.

Brighton Pier itself was a magnet that drew us on every visit and naturally, every visit had to include a hearty meal of fish and chips!

The Lanes

My wife also fell in love with the beauty of the Brighton Pavilion where we quietly stood and admired and imagined the activities of past dates.

As I recalled in Part One on his sad passing away in 2019, the following was recorded:

Glyn Genin, former Picture Editor of the FT has sadly passed away following a short illness. Glyn was the youngest ever picture editor in Fleet Street when he was appointed the role at the FT, and upon leaving, was at the time, the longest-serving picture editor on a Fleet Street newspaper – some achievement. He will be remembered for many things including his stewardship of the Picture Editors Awards for many years and chair of the UK Picture Editors Guild. 2019”

Glyn and I enjoying a quiet beer during one of his many, many Malta visits. Note the camera bag is ALWAYS at hand.

Being in London at the time, I was particularly honoured by Glyn to be invited to one of the annual Picture Editor Awards that was on at the time and I came face-to-face with then Prime Minister Tony Blair and introduced as being “from Malta”.

We warmly shook hands and he augured we keep up the “good work” in Malta where he was a regular visitor and an admirer.

After a hectic world-wide career, Glyn eventually retired from the FT, still on the whole a youngish man, and dedicated his time to freelance photography worldwide, refurbishing his picture libraries and looking for new ventures.

In the meanwhile, in another twist, his wife Hilary had been appointed as editor to the internationally famous INSIGHT GUIDES – and naturally, who better to have a photographer than Glyn himself? I was commissioned to write the text for the Malta Guide and check the text, and naturally Glyn had to provide the pictures for the array of other Insight Guides.

And so it there ended as the three of us eventually slipped into retirement.

One of Glyn’s many, many pictures of Malta, typifying the essence of Mata and Gozo

HOWEVER, HOWEVER there is one more and most important event in yet another TWIST OF FORTUNE. For some three years I had attended the Royal Naval Tal-Handaq School in Malta and regularly received their magazine.

Among many others, one was Lyn Funnell who lived near Hosted Keynes at the time. I contacted her and she and hubby Johnny met me at the Green Man Pub in HK for a good chat.

Our conversation revealed that Lyn was running a highly successful travel site named B.C.IngU.com and she asked me whether I would be interested in writing a regular Malta column.

That was about ten years ago and I willingly accepted and was a weekly contributor for the next ten years before she retired from the site. However, this served as my mentor into the world of travel writing and I have gone on to contribute to several sites including this one Unknown Kent and Sussex – with many, many thanks to Lyn.

Since then we met in Malta on several occasions and recalled old days.

Talk about fate and twists of fortune!

ALBERT FENECH

salina46af@gmail.com

Author

  • Albert Fenech

    Albert Fenech was born in Malta in 1946. His family moved to England in 1954 where he spent boyhood and youth before in 1965 returning to Malta. He spent eight years as a journalist with “The Times of Malta” before taking a career in HR Management Administration with a leading international construction company in Libya, later with Malta Insurance Brokers, and finally STMicroelectronics Malta, employing 3,000 employees, Malta’s leading industrial manufacturer. Throughout he actively pursued international freelance journalism/ broadcasting for various media outlets covering social issues, current affairs, sports and travel. He has written in a number of publications both in Malta and overseas, as well as publishing two e-books. For the last eight years he had been writing a “Malta Diary” with pictures for Lyn Funnel’s B-C-ingU.com international travel magazine.

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