Last Tuesday I published a cartoon showing Strait Street in Malta, also known more prosaically by generations of sailors as The Gut.
As a result Richard Evans dropped me a line with his memories of the sailors’ paradise away from home.
He says: ‘The Gut was a great place to go in Malta. I first went there aged about 19 in 1953. The Gut was not only bars, there were also hotels where we could book a bed for the night. The rooms were multi-occupied, perfectly clean with sink and fluffy towels for about three shillings a night. The porter would look after our cameras and swimming gear and other possessions.’
And the bars? ‘It was the days before electronic music so most bars had a piano and drums and loads of saxophones and trumpets so we all enjoyed the rowdy music. I don’t remember there ever being much trouble as being Malta there were never any single girls as being Catholic they all had to be chaperoned .
‘One night we did have a load of Yanks who’d had too much ale and decided they wanted to start a war and fight everyone, but they were soon sorted out.
‘We consumed plenty of beer but being 1953 to 1958 there were no fridges available so your beer came with a couple of lumps of ice.
‘This wasn’t too bad if you could drink it before it warmed up. After that it tasted of onions.’
And Richard adds: ‘There were a few elderly ladies who frequented the bars.
‘Aged about 40, they were as old as our mums.
‘I had lots of fun in Malta and I have been back many times.’