Ten years ago today I was starting on what turned out to be the worst job I ever did, trying to revive a dead loss of an old fishing boat alongside a rat-infested quay at Marsa. Don't get me wrong, Malta has its charms for the tourist but because I'll always associate it with that job, the mere mention of the place still brings me out in boils. We stayed at the Castille Hotel in Valetta, the night when a massive tide of cockroaches came marching towards me out of the wardrobe still makes me shiver whenever I think about it. The Second Engineer, a wiry little bundle of Latvian energy called Sasha, certainly made the most of his stay. He'd work his twelve hours with us every day knocking cylinder liners out with a sledgehammer, have his tea, get his head down for a couple of hours then get a taxi to a casino somewhere where he'd do his best to drink the place dry, make merry with ladies of negotiable virtue then get a taxi back to the boat, grab another couple of hours shut-eye then do it all again. I've truly never seen anyone like him for stamina. So yes, Malta. Not a bad place for a holiday but don't work on a clapped-out ship and don't stay where I did. Rabbit stew seems to be their national dish but I didn't try it because I'm squeamish about eating bunnies and I didn't try the beer and wine because I'm teetotal.