Friday, March 21, 2008


Today has been as busy as any other in the shops and bars [Good Friday not being a holiday in Italy] the traffic has been as chaotic as ever and the lunchtime cacophony of which I am so fond did not disappoint. Why, then, did I feel as though something was missing? Why did it seem, somehow, too quiet? Later I realised: I had not heard the bells of the Sacro Cuore Church which normally punctuate my life; these were silenced late on Thursday and will sound again at 00.01 on Sunday morning. When I think of this, I just want to hug my adopted town to myself, for keeping to a time-honoured tradition.

Last week I sent a book about Modica to a friend in the UK and my friend is now having a good laugh at the mistranslations to be found in it. [This happens when publishing houses don't use qualified, mother-tongue translators -professional translators translate into, not from, their mother tongue - and the mechanics of translation may make another post one day.] Among the gems in this tome are the fact that , in the "Syphilis museum" , about which I wrote here, "you can see "butts which cured syphilis" [the "butts" were a version of the French barrels into which mercury was pumped whilst the unfortunate patient sat there] and the news that the town has a district called "Deaf". It does, indeed, have a district called La Sorda ["the Deaf One"] and I live in it! A deaf woman once owned a famous café up here.

Reader, wouldn't you like to live in a town where "butts" cure syphilis, there is a district called "Deaf" and, what is more, people have surnames which translate as Orangeblossom, Honey, Clove, Then-tomorrow [my personal favourite] and April?


Leslie: said...

I'm laughing here as I think of all the Chinese signs in a neighbouring area (it's where most of the Chinese immigrants go to live). When they translate into English we get stores or restaurants named things like the following:

Flying Dragon
Golden Bull
Happy Date
Lucky Joy
Much More Cafe
Obsessed Seafood

It's very amusing! :D

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Love them all, but "Obsessed seafood" best, Leslie! Thanks for sharing.

jmb said...

Good Friday not being a holiday in Italy is most strange, isn't it? Did you have to work.
La Sorda, I love it.

Nunyaa said...

Smiling, this made me think of a bar/restaurant in Cairns named the Cock and Bull.:-)

James Higham said...

Delightful that you observe the old ways, Welshcakes

CherryPie said...

That is a very amusing translation :-)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, jmb. Yes, strange. Worked yesterday but Monday we are closed, I am happy to say. Nunyaa, love that! Thanks, James. I think so, too. Ciao e Buona Pasqua, cherrypie.

Crushed said...

The syphils museum sounds interesting.

Maybe you could enlighten me, I've always been under the impression that we gave the New Worls smallbox, but they returned the favour by giving us syphilis. However, I have seen that challenged by a suggestion it came from the East slightly earlier.

I don't know what the Museum think?

Ellee Seymour said...

I definitely think your blog would make a good book too, you should contact the tourist office and get them to publish some highlights from your post.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Crushed. I'm not sure about that one but I always thought we exported veneral disease. Then there is the complication of the French calling it the "English disease" and us calling it French! I didn't find any info at the museum about that but will look it up to see if Campailla wrote about the origin.
Thank you kindly, Ellee!


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