Tuesday, September 25, 2007

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, GOT THE FRIDGE MAGNET






Whenever I visit a new place, there are two things I want to bring back with me: a book about it and a fridge magnet. I have bought fridge magnets in Sicily at one or two of the more famous tourist attractions, such as the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento and the Greek Theatre at Syracuse, but in general Sicilians have not realised what tourists want as souvenirs. Here in Modica the magnets can be found in some shops in Modica Bassa and I have bought “Sicily” , though not “Modica” magnets in the local ironmonger’s up here but that is hardly a store that your average tourist is going to seek out, is it? When I did the Nelson Trail earlier this year, in the town of Bronte I did find some books but, although you could buy all sorts of articles made out of Etna ashes, I could not find one with the words “Bronte” or “Castello di Nelson” on it. Is it so very difficult to carve or engrave the name of the place onto an object?

When my furniture and books arrived from Britain, Gina, who was helping me unpack the boxes labelled “kitchen” had only just got over the amount of cookbooks I had when, poor woman, she came across the magnets! “Qua c’è un altro!” [= “There’s another one here!”] she kept exclaiming for the rest of that day. My other Italian women friends gazed in amazement at my fridge-freezer , proudly displaying its collection of decorations, the first time they visited as they are used to perfect, impersonal kitchens with everything tidied away. “Ma è arrivato così?” [= “Did it arrive like that?” ] asked Irma and I explained that I had personally wrapped each one in bubble –wrap, not entrusting this task to the removal men. [I love bubble wrap! Apart from stuffing it in bras for blog photos I always line my suitcase with it when travelling: thus I have a supply at the ready to protect any glass or china I am going to buy. Gina was actually going to throw some away during the unpacking and we had a tug of war!]

I’m quite fond of my fridge-freezer and the freezing compartment is bigger than that which most Italian women have as they buy few frozen foods and do not, as a rule, freeze portions of dishes that they make. In Britain I used to keep the fridge temperature at 2 C but here it refuses to go lower than 3. And if I make a mistake and leave the fridge door open an instant too long when loading the fridge in summer, up soars the temperature immediately and it takes hours to come down again. If I have to replace the appliance – and I hope I don’t for a good while yet – I am going to get one which does not show the temperature on the outside so that I can’t worry about it!

My search for fridge magnets continues everywhere I go but if I am with my Italian friends they no longer look at me questioningly: they have accepted the fact that I am quite mad!

15 comments:

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

I think everyone needs to collect something.

I collect CDs, but also Antique Maps.

I think my Mum collects fridge magnets, or may be it was my Gran, when she had her own home.

Lee said...

I used to have fridge magnets on my old fridge but when I bought the one I have now, I couldn't bring myself to put them back up on my new one, so now they're hidden away in a large pottery piece here on the floor. My freezer is at the bottom with the fridge compartment at the top, too. I like it that way.

Perhaps when the novelty of this fridge/freezer wears off, out will come the fridge magnets! ;)

jmb said...

May I send you one from Alaska? I bought some extras and I feel as if you went with me on my journey.

I actually use my magnets to hold photos and "important" papers on my fridge so the Italians would think my fridge beyond the pale.
regards
jmb

Shirl said...

A close friend and I have been swapping motto fridge magnets for a couple of Christmas/birthdays. We've decided it is now 'our thing', a challenge to come up with novel messages each year. For my recent birthday, my son bought me a box of fridge poetry. All those little words to separate and arrange around the edge of the door in ABC order! Pete wrote me a poem yesterday so I must return the compliment later on today.

I do not think you are mad - everyone must have homely ways that make them who they are!

Unpremeditated said...

That's an impressive collection! I remember when I was young I used to clllect those leather bookmarks you get at historic sites - but then I saw a boy on Why Don't You ...? who'd already amassed over a thousand of them and got rather disheartened.

lady macleod said...

Now there's a use for bubble wrap I had never considered! Oh my.

Oh dear you would find my refrigerator quite boring. When we arrived it was covered with magnets that had different French words on them. I was shocked, "How can you clean the door?" so now we know my priorities... I shall have to see if I can find you a "Morocco" magnet, a nice camel perhaps?

I will say when Q was young I did use them to hold up photographs and school papers and such. I had to clean the refrigerator door myself as I did not trust the housekeeper to get the arrangement right (I hang my head). My most favorite of all time said, "Because I'm the Mother". he he

Gledwood said...

you can get some fantastic fridge magnets from the national gallery in London... as I'm sure many art galleries do ... I'd quite like a Canaleto on my fridge too...

Ellee Seymour said...

I'm like you collecting fridge magnets, I always regret it if I don't buy one. I don't have quite as many as you. However naff they are, I always buy one.
How lucky of you to be sent one of Alaska too from jmb.

Shades said...

I've got a lot of fridge magnets as well, the weirder the better

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Crushed. Where do you go to find your antique maps? I'll bet they are lovely. Hi, Lee. I can understand that. I imagine they'll creep back on one day! Hi, jmb. Oh, yes, please - I would love that! I don't think the Itals would think your fridge was any worse than mine! Hi, Shirl. I have seen the sets of fridge poetry you mean. It must be fun to play around with them WITH someone. Thanks for not thinking I'm mad! UPM, that's really sad that that otehr boy discouraged you! Clean the door, Lady M? - I never thought of that! I would love a Morrocan magnet! I'm terrible about the arrangement, too - I keep putting them just so. Hi, Gleds. That's one of my favourite places in London. Hi, Ellee. I'm in good company, then!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Ciao, Shades. Which is your weirdest fridge magnet?

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Several places- but there's a shop in Broadway is quite good.

I have a few county maps, a few errponeous maps of the world, but opride of the place is the 19th C map of Ireland.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Crushed, That last one must be lovely.

ChrisB said...

Hi I dropped in to see your fridge magnets after Gledwood said you had done a post on them (coincidentally I posted a picture of mine today. I would have liked a closer look at yours but unfortunately the pic doesn't enlarge.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Chris. I'll come and have a look at yours now. Sorry about the pic - I don't know what to do about it.

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