Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I'm always pleased when I make a new food discovery [new to me, that is] even if it is not a Sicilian product and yesterday in our deli I discovered lard d'Arnad, a salume produced to an age-old method in Arnad, Valle d'Aosta. It may not look much but after its long brining in herbs it tastes wonderful - ideal antipasto food on bruschette or rye bread.

Yesterday I was also pleased with myself because I managed to walk as far as Raffaele the hairdresser's for the first time since becoming ill and I am now a redder blonde. It was great to be out and about under my own steam in the Via Sacro Cuore, not least because I was beginning to wonder how I was going to do my Christmas shopping without the recipients of my presies knowing exactly what I was purchasing for them, as my friends were kindly taking me whenever I needed to go there [and very grateful I am].

Today has been a day of unexpected gifts and kindnesses, beginning with this pretty "angel" plaque from Rosa [the miracle cleaning lady] and her family. I need all the guardian angels I can get so I was both touched and delighted to receive this. Then Cathy my boss turned up with a most welcome bottle of gin and she also brought along the white torrone, a gift from the manager of the Altro Posto who had apparently been asking after me. Isn't that fantastic? It seems so long since I visited my favourite bar but I can't quite make it that far yet. I'll be there soon, though, Giorgio - don't go bankrupt in the meantime!

At 5pm the door bell rang and it was the kind neighbour who visited me in hospital and brought me some of her marmellata when I came home. I'd left an English Christmas card for her and her family and she was so glad to have it that she came round bearing a bag of mandarins and lemons from her trees plus a plate of her home-made goodies; I couldn't resist showing you a close-up of these and they are, anti-clockwise from the front: cobaita [a bit like torrone but covered with sesame seeds], Modican chocolate [made without dairy products], honey biscuits and [centre] almond torrone. I very much appreciate the time, trouble and love that goes into preparing such a gift.

Nothing could really blight such a day when we have had glorious sunshine as well but the Post Office nearly managed it: in I went to post just two packages for delivery within Italy and, ever the optimist, I thought I'd be quick as I'd got ticket 171 for the postal counter and noticed that the customer with number 168 was already being served. In my Christmas cheeriness I had not bargained for the inevitable three customers who queue-jump to ask for "a little piece of information" which takes as much time to explain as the splitting of the atom, what with the clerk not knowing the answer and going off to have a conference with his colleagues about it, then the customer wanting more and more details... After three and a half years, why these customers are attended to out of order still mystifies me. I also saw that a new notice has appeared on the postal counter, informing customers that now the clerk is only allowed to deal with five transactions per customer at any one time. After that, you have to get another ticket and wait all over again! [Thank goodness I posted my 30 or so items of varying weights to the UK last week!] It makes no sense, as if someone has one heavy parcel that they want to send by registered post, that alone takes about half an hour. And there are plenty of these! A lot of them are elderly gentlemen and they all post enormous boxes of uniform size and shape to the mainland. What can be in them, I wonder? Sicilian food for the folks up north?? Anyway, after "only" about 20 minutes or so, my tasks there were completed and I limped off [rather jauntily, I thought] to enjoy the seasonal atmosphere of Sacro Cuore once again.

Finally tonight, behold, reader, how beautifully the shops gift-wrap for you; in this case you don't even have to find a label!


Anonymous said...

Had you noticed that there is -just visible - an image of Christ on one of your plates! Its a miracle!

I hope you have a great Christmas and may your Gods protect you..

jmb said...

Glad to hear you are gradually getting better Welshcakes and it is lovely to see the kindnesses of your friends and the wonderful Sicilians you come in contact with.

Did my email go in the trash again?

James Higham said...

I picked up here that you walked as far as the hairdresser. Now, as you know, I know what that entails so well done. Did you go to Conad though? Is that the next step?

James Higham said...

Very Merry Christmas, Welshcakes and rest up. Love to Simi.

Sally said...

What a lovely post, all those Christmas delights radiating Christmas cheer and goodwill. Here we are in England, with family arriving, larder overflowing, tree sparkling and tonight at 11.30, when I go up our village church belltower to ring in Christmas I'll be thinking of you dear Welshcakes, and all the people who read this blog, and wish us all a very happy Christmas, with peace, kindness and friendship to everyone - and there's a black dog, who'll tomorrow will be wearing tinsel round his neck who sends a big woof and a metaphorical bone to Miss Simi - HAPPY, HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

flutterby said...

WL, what a wonderful neighborhood you live in. And what a better world it would be if we could all have and BE neighbors like yours. This is the road to world peace.

CherryPie said...

Sounds like a lovely day apart from the post office.

Happy Christmas :-)

Trubes said...

Hello my friend Welshcakes, so glad you are having such a lovely time with your Sicilian friends and neighbours. Also I
I am delighted to read that you actually made it to your favourite hairdresser; Well done!

Have a wonderful Xmas and love and hugs to Simi from DT and I and Princess Chloe...purr purr..zzzznn xx


Ellee Seymour said...

How wonderful to know that you are now able to go out a little and are so well looked afte.

Thank you so much for my lovely Christmas card. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and that the New Year will be kind to you. xxx

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Not until you told me, Mutley! thank you and Merry Xmas to you. Thnks, jmb. Can't find any email from you in inbox or trash!x Hi, James. Can't do the slope or steps to Conad but it is, possibly, the next one to conquer. Thanks, James. Simi sends wags x woof! Many, many thanks, Sally. You do cheer me up. Hope you are having a wonderful time. x I agree , Flutterby. I'm sure world peace can only come if we try to understand those nearest to us. It was, cherrypie. Merry Xmas to you, too.x Ciao, Trubes. Merry Xmas to all of you from Simi and me x Thanks, Ellee. I'm glad it got there on time. Thanks for yours, too. I love snowdrops. Hope you are having a great time there. x

Anonymous said...

With your beautiful soul Welshcakes you would have many a guardian angel fluttering close by ...:)

There is nothing like putting your hair in the hands of an expert to lift your mood..I know how I feel when I have to put off a visit to the hairdressers.....

I love the last parcel (and smiled at your ongoing postal woes) the gift bag is almost too nice to use... Merry Christmas dear one

Colin Campbell said...

Take care Welshcakes. Lovely vignette of Christmas Life in Sicily. I have a personal gift wrapper in the house. My wife does a lovely job. I am hopeless.

Merry Christmas

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

You are very kind t say that, A'Jay. I've been thinking about you and hope that your Christmas is a good one. Many thanks, CC. I am useless at gift-wrapping too!

Anonymous said...

hi cymraes
Nadolig llawen ,blwyddyn newydd da i chi xxx
take and be well in 2009. i so enjoy your blog , its like a trip through fairy land
thank you VM

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Many thanks, Valleys Mam. You are very kind. A very happy New Year to you.


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