Thursday, July 27, 2006


I bumped into Irma's husband, Cesare, in the greengrocer's the other day and the first thing we discussed was the heat. If you thought it was only the British who go on about the weather all the time, think again! In my experience, the Sicilians comment on it almost as much, particularly at this time of year. "Che caldo!" ["It's so hot!"] is the constant lament, changing to "Che freddo!" ["It's so cold!] in winter, often on days which seem to me extremely mild. Cesare says that having to cope with the heavy, humid heat of July and August is the prezzo [price] you pay for living in Sicily and it's a price I'm prepared to pay!

He also says that the trick is to keep drinking, in the heat, even when you are not thirsty. A tip from another friend for those moments when the heat just overwhelms you - which can happen quite unexpectedly, several times a day - is to just sit and do absolutely nothing until the moment passes, which it will. A coping stragey I've evolved myself is to always have a packet of crisps in the house so that if I get dehydrated, I can replace salt levels quickly. It works for me! And I rub dog Simi down with ice cubes after we have been for a walk at around 5pm [which she insists on doing although I find this the hottest time of the day].

Incidentally, Sicilians who have not visited Britain are fascinated to hear that, during a normal British summer, you can feel quite comfortable most of the time, even in the city!

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