Let’s rewind, what was Giovanna’s childhood like? Did your parents push you towards becoming an educator, and what role did restoration and manual work play in your childhood?
My mother was a teacher and my father was a doctor so academia was always important to them, but I never felt pressured, just loved. My working life began with a theatre in education group, where I had to turn my hand to whatever task was required so there has always been a practical side to my nature. I’d learnt many DIY skills from my parents, who always bought houses in poor condition and then did them up themselves before moving on to their next home. We moved a lot, I went to 17 primary schools! Luckily I was sent to boarding school for my secondary years which provided some stability in my life.
Books and films have given me a dreary idea of boarding schools. How was it?
I loved every minute. It was in an area of rural beauty, we were well fed and entertained and learned a great deal of independence. And yes, we did have midnight feasts!
For how many years did you teach / work in education? What are two memories you like to share from this time?
I’m still teaching whenever I get the opportunity, if it’s in you its a thing you can never stop, even if not in a formal educational setting. Breakthroughs with struggling children are always memorable, so I will never forget the 7 year old Swedish child who took 3 years to learn to write, or the 10 year old English child who was able to put his aggression aside and trust me enough to finally learn to read, but all teaching is a great pleasure to me and I recall all students with great fondness.
Of the places you restored, which is your favourite?
An old farmhouse in Balzan. It was in a perilous state, with some collapsed roofs, rising damp and no plumbing or electricity, but it did have many charming old features such as beautiful stone carvings, timber beams, ktieb and xorok, traditional tiles and cangatura floors we were able to save. It’s now a beautiful modern home that’s a delight to enter and a pleasure to live in.
What would your pet say about you if we asked for a reference?
“She’s a big softy”