My personal disaster of the year
It's been a year in which I've lived through several personal disasters but when my fridge seemed to give up the ghost recently it was the last straw and the air turned a very deep blue around here!
But on to something more positive....
My gadget of the year
This contraption for slicing onions is a godsend!
It comes from Lidl Italia, who, as purveyors of dried cranberries, have disappointed me this year, it must be said.
My books of the year
[not necessarily books published in 2013, but a selection of books that I've read this year]:
At the beginning of the year, I enjoyed the second volume of Cardiff man Ken Follett's Century Trilogy, Winter of the World. Volume three is due in September and I am looking forward to it. But come on, Ken bach, can't you hurry it up a bit?
I also loved Simon Mawer's The Girl Who Fell from the Sky.
Malala's autobiography, which I read in Italian, was compelling.
For Christmas I received this and Simi and I are enjoying perusing it every evening:
My cookbook of the year is this one, by Italy's "sexy chef" Carlo Cracco - recipes, new ideas, tips and a true masterclass.....
.... which brings me to ....
My TV programmes of the year
Number one has got to be Masterchef Italia and the third episode of the third series goes out on Thursday night. That's two hours of compulsive viewing for me so for the time being I won't be posting here on Thursdays, folks!
Italian TV often gets slated but Rai does turn out some interesting drama series. Of the 2013 offerings, I thought one of the best was Volare - La Grande Storia di Domenico Modugno. Perhaps it's because I can remember how, even in Britain, we all went around humming the song!
I've become addicted to Downton, via a friend who is kind enough to lend me her DVDs. I have watched some episodes in Italian, but let's face it - Maggie Smith's withering lines need to be delivered by Maggie Smith.
Monday nights at 11.30 find me tuned to Sky News UK for the press preview by Kevin Maguire and Andrew Pierce ["Toryboy"]. The banter between these two really cheers me up and I am waiting for them to get their own series.
Of the recipes I have invented myself, the winner is this pasta dish.
Post of the year on this blog
The most-read post of 2013 was not about Sicily at all, but about my memories of visiting the Verdi locations in the Emilia-Romagna.
The neighbour who obsessively dusts her clothes line was a contender and the young fiancée of a certain Italian politician comes close but I have to hand the award to Miss Miley Cyrus [assuming she can stop twerking for long enough to receive it].
Words I don't want to hear in 2014
Twerking and the name of she who does it; phubbing [ignoring people to look at your mobile phone all the time and I don't want it done to me, either]; decadenza because the expulsion of Mr Berlusconi from the Senate took forever and succeeded in keeping him in the headlines; scontro [clash] because in Italy there's always a scontro somewhere in public life. How about a helpful and peaceful incontro [meeting] instead? Pazienza - a word that should be banned from the Italian language, especially in connection with public transport in Modica! And I don't want to hear any more of Darrell, Pip, Rob or Helen [all on The Archers].
My hopes for 2014
That there be no more tragedies like this.
That there be peace.
My personal hopes are to be held, understood and not judged and to be granted more time with my precious dog, Simi.
May the New Year be kind to all of you and your loved ones, too.
And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine;
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught
For auld lang syne.
Buon anno a tutti!