Friday, April 18, 2008


After a very rainy Thursday – quite possibly the last rain we shall see until about October – today has been beautiful and my glum mood has cleared along with the weather.

Lunch at the Altro Posto today was excellent, consisting of roast chicken thigh with grilled vegetables. I was amused to overhear a customer asking the owner whether he was serving granite [water ices] yet and the proud response, which was , “Ah, when I begin to serve granite, I begin!” – indicating that he does nothing by halves. The granite, like everything else in Sicily, will have to await their true “season”.

At work my boss popped into a class to ask my opinion of a draft she had written. Amazingly, the sentence she had doubts about included the very grammar point I was working on with an advanced level student at the time! We drew the student into the discussion and he was relieved to know that even mother-tongue English speakers have to think about that particular structure! [I don’t know why this sort of thing is a surprise to anyone; if it were not so, crosswords and other language games would hardly exist, would they?]

And finally, I just have to share this example of impeccable Italian logic with you all: explaining and setting a homework task in which the aim was for students to write in an enthusiastic and encouraging tone [“You are organising a charity run for your sports club. Write to the members giving details and emphasise the fun aspects of the event”] I couldn’t work out why they all looked perplexed. Then a student enlightened me: “That is difficult, teacher. We never write about a future event in an enthusiastic tone. This way, if it goes badly, no one is disappointed.” The mind boggles not only at the pessimism but at the thought that my charges would be perfectly happy to continue organising an event which they privately thought would be a shambles. Oh, well: “Cu’ ad àutru ‘nzigna, acquista più sapere.” [Sicilian proverb: “S/he who teaches, learns.”]


CherryPie said...

I am glad you are feeling happier :-) For once your food picture and description doesn't make me feel hungry I have been out for a delicious meal with friends. I don't think your students are being pessimistic they are managing expectations, they are taking a stance where they will never be disappointed and most events will be happy experiences for them :-)

Crushed said...

Ah, Welshcakes, you misunderstand the nuance!
It doesn't matter THEIR opinions on the event, it is what they want the other party to think.

It's a good idea to follow, I think. I know loads of people who talk grandiosely of their pipelines, and their pipelines must lead to the gulf, it takes so long for anything to come out of them.

I always think it better to talk down prospects, maybe your Italian students are being eminently sensible again :)

jmb said...

L'Altro Posto does a most excellent lunch indeed. That looks delicious.

What a strange thing to say. But perhaps it's like whistling in the dark for them. Assume the worst and the best will happen.

Leslie: said...

Glad your weather is better. I could NOT believe it today, but there were some snowflakes here for a while! MOST unusual. And I still have the furnace on.

I love the way your students think! I also love grammar, which most people think is very strange, indeed. Hopefully, I'll be getting a new student to tutor because that's his weakness at school. I'd be thrilled to teach him grammar! lol

James Higham said...

Hope you're feeling better and the meal looks superb.

Now Welshcakes, time to bring this up. JMB, Cherie, Nunyaa, I - everyone else - we all use MyBlogLog to make it easier to get to each other.

You're the one in the group who's held out for so liong and maybe you have your reasons. But it would be far easier to get over to you more often if we could just click on your avatar in MBL.

Won't you at least reconsider? Ask Simi her opinion.

Nunyaa said...

I know this has nothing to do with your post, but like Jams's coffee mugs, I like your dinner ware :-)

Trubes said...

Interesting article, yet again, the food looks delicious.
There's a rather interesting discussion going on, over at Lilith's blog, regarding the use of verbs in the English Language.
I feel that we may all benefit from some 'imput' from you.
Her address is on my Blog should you wish to take a peek.

Hope you, Simi and your friends have a lovely week-end.


Gledwood said...

"granite" to me sounds like something you'd break your teeth on!

Chelsea + Shiloh said...

Smile, I love this post and the final sentence ... I could use this in my workplace as I teach teenagers and believe me I'm learning every day... :)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, cherrypie. Glad you had a good time! Yes, they are probably just "managing life", as you say. Ciao, Crushed. Maybe they are! Hi, jmb. It does, indeed. Yes, it did seem strange but, thinking about it, I can see their point! It is hard to teach writing style, as it varies so much from culture to culture. Hi, Leslie. Glad you are at least warm indoors! I love grammar, too - it's so beautiful and logical! Many thanks, James. I'm not resisting - I just hate putting these things on, as something always goes wrong! However, with a little encouragement from you and Simi, I might do it! Ciao, nunyaa. Well, it's the Altro Posto's china, but I like it too! Thanks, Tubes. I will come over and have a look. I know I keep saying that, but I fall asleep all the time after work! x It does, Gleds, but you won't on na Sicilian water ice! Thanks , Abbey, and I know exactly what you mean.. .

Ellee Seymour said...

I love your snippets about student life. I'm sure your students must be enthusiastic about some future events.
I think a fine lunch like that would have cheered me up too.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Many thanks, Ellee.

Liz Hinds said...

I'm surprised you weren't aware of this aspect of the Italian character before, welshcakes! It is a veyr surprising attitude though. How can you expect something to be a success if you're not enthusiastic yourself?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Liz. I probably was but no one ever put it to me that way before!


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