Wednesday, July 22, 2009


The water service, I am pleased to relate, appears to be functioning after weeks of being sospeso and the delivery lorries have been darting up and down narrow streets and in and out of queues of cars like vespa scooters in their hurry to get around to some very long-suffering customers. Yesterday I witnessed a fine altercation as a water lorry driver was trying to reverse into this street and found himself blocked by a car whose occupants were waiting to use a nearby ATM. The car driver refused to budge and finally the lorry driver beeped at all the other traffic, turned back into the main road and tore along it at at breakneck speed. I thought, "Oh, no, now someone won't get their water because of the selfish car driver" but the lorry driver did a three-point turn in a very narrow space, sped back, entered our street from the other direction and drove like Enzo Ferrari himself to his delivery address. This time the car driver got out of the way!

Now here's an interesting snippet of information from Rosa, who hears the world's news from her companions on the no. 3 bus. [Forget twitter, the internet and Reuter's - word gets round quicker on Modica's no 3!] There is plenty of work in Italy for donne di servizio or colf [an acronym of collaboratrice familiare - cleaner or domestic helper] and badanti [carers] but it seems that very few of them are willing to work for the elderly, particularly the elderly with dementia-related illnesses. Rosa has heard that people in their forties and fifties are now taking on colf, in the hope that the person will become loyal to their employer and stay on during his or her old age.

There were thought to be about 1 million colf in Italy in June of this year and it is estimated that 500,000-600,000 of these have entered the country illegally. However, under new legislation, from September each family will be able to register 1 non-EU colf and 2 non-EU badanti [provided these are already in Italy and provided the employer meets the income requirement in the case of the former] thus regularising their presence in the country. This will solve the problems of many working women but it isn't going to help the ailing elderly.

On we go: this morning Lucia visited, bearing a jar of asparagi which her husband had picked from their garden and preserved. I'm dreaming of all the nice risotti I am going to make with these and trying not to think of possible after effects!

I would like to be able to show you a photo of Leapy, but he's too fast for me! Leapy is a baby lizard [well, he was a baby when I first encountered him but he's grown some] who lives on the balcony. He darts out from behind my plants when I water them. But at the weekend, when I opened the gas meter cupboard [on another balcony] something moved very fast and I just caught a glimpse of Leapy. I worried myself silly in case he had got trapped in there and it was ages before it occurred to me that he knew the way in [through a grille, presumably] and therefore must know a way out. He didn't appear yesterday and I thought he'd gone back behind the plants but this morning there he was, leaping round the cupboard again. I don't know the first thing about lizards, except that I prefer them to spiders [but then, I prefer King Kong to spiders] so if you do, please could you tell me: is he intelligent enough to get out when he wants to? Is he sleeping in there? Should I put some water in the cupboard for him and, most importantly, should I try to get him out of there?

Raffaele the hairdresser has been working on his publicity again and has come up with a little booklet telling you about your star sign and how you can improve your life [by visiting the salon!] I think it's a neat idea:

As for me, I have at last [thanks to Lancôme] achieved tanned legs! Four years in Sicily and I have not managed this feat previously. I do find it hellishly difficult, if not impossible, to tan, and I really have the sort of skin that you should keep out of the sun. However, dear reader, if you had such pale skin and lived among the bronzed lovelies of Italy, you would want to go out dressed in a bin bag in summer! So this year I braved the tanning booth for 10 x 15-minute sessions [I know it gives you wrinkles and worse!] and the result? A slight tan [a tan on me would be a normal colour on everyone else] everywhere except on my legs and my face [the latter intentionally protected by total sun block and a ton of make-up]. Finally I decided that "the only safe tan is a fake tan" and did the deed this morning, after bathing, exfoliating, moisturising and all the other preparation. I'm quite pleased with the result and can face the world! By the way, in the July edition of Good Housekeeping [to which I have a subscription] a woman has written to the beauty editor to say that her husband hates the smell of fake tan. The editor replies that this "must be a male thing" so do tell me, gentlemen readers, is this true? My theory is that they put something chocolatey in it because I like the smell!

Some of you will know that, after water and the Sicilian post office, the bane of my life is the VBS [visible bra strap] and after that, any kind of inelegant garment strap. So why, oh why, are clothes designers putting straps on every top or sleeveless dress I see, sometimes up to 4 of the things? I could understand it if there was some semblance of a bra within the garment, as the straps would be needed to hold it up, but of course, there isn't and the straps are too flimsy to hold the garment itself up. Most of us will need to wear a strapless bra under these tops or dresses so what is the point of adding any straps at all to them?

Lastly, here is the ice cream of the week - croccantino all'amarena [crunchy stuff with black cherries] at Modica's Gipsy Bar:


Mary said...

I'm pleased to hear that your water problems are easing . It makes life a whole lot easier having a reliable supply. Today, I've been enlisted to help my daughter with her geography assignment which focusses on water resources and I'm sure that a mention of your problems in Sicily will be an interesting footnote.

I know what you mean about care for the elderly. The days when people took care of their own are long gone, and so provision has to be made. Care for the elderly is becoming big business here in Australia. I prefer to bury my head in the sand and avoid thinking about what may happen in the future.

We also have a lizard, that lives under our house. He really is a very large blue-tongued lizard, easily mistaken for a snake at first glance. My shrieks have been heard around the neighbourhood. The possum who lives in the roof is very noisy at night-time although he sleeps peacefully all day...and last night we discovered a bandicoot snuffling round on our lawn. Evidently they are very rare these days so we should feel lucky.
We don't need a domestic pet when there's a whole uninvited menagerie sharing our space. I wouldn't have it any other way.

PinkAcorn said...

I really enjoyed your post...except for the ice cream I'm hungry...again.

I say just leave the little lizzard alone, he's found his home..your home rather!

Water...why doesn't the city just drill more wells, or is that a stupid question?

Unknown said...

May I assume Sicilian drivers are as aggressive as Italian drivers on the mainland?

Hmmmmm... no care givers is another reason not to grow old. Oops! I am already there (almost).

I know nothing about lizards, except that my youngest son had them for pets and got angry when I referred to them as miniature dinosaurs.

Glad to hear the fake tanning stuff worked for you. As for me,, I tan easily and deeply. My hair used to bleach out quickly to blond, but that was before it turned gray.

Oooooooooooh! That ice cream looks soooooooooo good. I must somehow get some soon.

j said...

I so enjoyed your views on VBS (do you know that is Vacation Bible School here? *smiles*) I am so top heavy that the pink dress that you are modeling would never be an option. You look lovely in that shade!

I would be honored if you could participate in Positive Day. Considering your location (does it sometimes amaze you that we are able to correspond with people who live so far away???) my daughter would be especially THRILLED!!

Truly a pleasure to 'meet' you through blogging.

jmb said...

Well you ran the gamut of many topics in this daily doings!

I remember when I lived in London, so loooong ago, everyone there was obsessed with getting a tan in the summer. Of course they could not due to the climate but bought lots of fake tan stuff from the pharmacy.

I believe it much better these days than it was then, thank goodness.

Minnie said...

Delighted for you that your water supply is, well (I am touching wood, etc., here) improved. It must be a great relief to you. I salute your patience - or should that be true, Sicilian 'pazienza'?
Domestic/home help for elderly situation similar in France (with more young women taking it up; is v organised, with local authority involvement + loads of training, etc); but doubt Sarko et Cie'd countenance such 'regularisation' ...
Congrats on the pet lizard! He (or more likely she, as seeking indoor space) will take care of him/herself, fret not.
Er, l'Oreal Sublime Bronze is v good - and almost odourless!
The straps are a problem, aren't they?! Bisous, P

Rowena said...

It shocks me that people in their 40's and 50's are already taking on colf. Good gosh! I'm smack dab in the middle between those 2 numbers! Please keep us up-to-date with the Rosa wireless. Bless that woman!

As for the lizard -- just be sure that it isn't raising a family. Otherwise you'll be writing about leaping lizards in the not too distant future.

Trubes said...

Hello Welshcakes, I've enjoyed reading your 'Daily Doings', You've brightened up a very wet and windy morning.
Your fake tan looks lovely, so natural. I havn't tried Lancome yet but will when required.
Glad the water service is functioning again. How do hotels etc manage?

I totally agree with you about the VBS, it seems to be a fashion in the UK at present, to show your bra strap, usually displayed by wearing a wide necked top draped over one shoulder, thus displaying one bra strap of matching colour.
Not my style at all!


Ellee Seymour said...

You look gorgeous in that pink and blue. Long may your water continue to flow, and well done Raffaele for being so ingenious.

Sally said...

Fiat aqua! Hurray! What a relief it must be and fingers crossed the supply keeps up. Your lizard will be fine, they can fit through the tiniest cracks and he's clearly right where he wants to be, I don't think you need do a thing about him. Aren't the ghastly white legs the biggest problem? - I swear by Holiday Skin, moisturiser-cum-tan, which builds up gradually - let me know if you'd like some.

James Higham said...

Forgive this OT promotion, Welshcakes but please support Man in a Shed’s “Silly Week” next week. Logos are available at his site.

Whispering Walls said...

I'd put some water out for the lizard just to see if he drinks it. Love the fake tan - it's so cold here that I'm back to jeans and socks.

Lucia said...

I really liked your post today it had so much interesting info today! I'd prefer a lizzard to spiders any day! Although if I see a spider I just get my shoe and BANG it's gone.
ENZO FERRARI, hilarious, I'm going to call my friend who lives in London, ON ENZO FERRARI!!!

CherryPie said...

How cool having a resident lizard :-)

Leslie: said...

Your legs look great with the tan. I can't go into the sun too much because of meds + burning + don't want any more wrinkles. So I tried fake tans. I had spray tanning twice but couldn't stand the smell and I've tried bottled tans and can't stand the smell. So I give up and just get a bit beige in the summer. But if you are even in the shade, you can still get a bit brown and don't have that horrid fake tanning smell. Maybe what you use is different from here but I've tried so many different products it doesn't make any difference. So beige I remain. lol

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi WL..lots going on in your Daily doings :-)...

I love Raffaele idea for new publicity and the star signs, excellent idea..

Now about the VBS, not right on the dress you are wearing, it has very very thin straps, but I don't particularly mind showing my strap, sometimes I match it up with a colour from my top..!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hello, Mary. I wouldn't say the supply is reliable yet but at least the lorries are delivering. Yes, I think it would be an interesting footnote as people don't imagine there could be a water shortage in a western European country.
Care for the elderly is a problem everywhere in the west, I think. With the best will in the world, it is very hard to care for someone with advanced Alzheimer's and most people are not in a position to give up their work to do so. I, too, have my head in the sand.
I think a large lizard would scare me, but not as much as a spider! I'll have to look up bandicoot! You have quite a menagerie there, as you say.
Thanks, pink. Sorry about the ice cream! Thanks for the lizard advice, too. I suppose we don't get that much rainfall, really, but if they can desalinate the water around Hong Kong, I don't see why they can't do that here.
Hi, Nick. I'd say mad rather than aggressive. It's being young at heart that counts and you are! I think of lizards as little dinosaurs, too. You are lucky to tan so easily. Have a nice ice cream!
Hello, Jannifer and thank you for visiting my blog. Thank you for your kind words about the dress. I saw it in a sale and had to have it! I will be happy to participate in "Positive day" as I think it's a brillinat idea that your daughter has had. I am always amazed at how many friends we can make through blogging and social networks and at where they all are. A great pleasure to meet you, too.
Hi, jmb. Yes, there was a time when you "had" to have a tan in the UK. Fake tans have improved greatly since I last used one!
Bonsoir, chère Phidelm. I wouldn't tempt fate by saying "improved" but it's good to know they are working! Yes, Sicilian "pazienza"! I imaginre the French would be very organised about home helps and like you, I can't imagine Sarko allowing a "regularisation" there. How do you tell a lizard's sex?! Your advice has cheered me up. I'll look out for the l'Oréal. I hate straps! Amitiés.
Hi, Rowena. That was a shock to me, too! Rosa is marvellous and a mine of information. Oh, goodness, I don't think I can cope with a colony of lizards!
Ciao, Trubes. Glad I brightened your day! I used Lancôme Flash Bronzer - very easy to apply. I suppose the hotels buy a delivery of water when they run out and I think some of them have extra tanks on the roof. Yes, I've noticed that fashion for bra straps in the Uk- don't like it.
Elle, you are so kind. Thank you. I'll tell Raff you like his idea.
Hi, Sally. What's the betting that the water will be "sospeso" again ready for Aug 15th?! Thanks for your lizard advice - I lie awake worrying about him/her! Hate ghastly white legs and mine were ghastlier and whiter than most. Thanks for the offer. I'll carry on with the Lancôme for now and let you know. Buona serata. Hi, James. I'll have a look. Not sure I could keep it up for a week!
Hi, WW. OK, I'll do that - can't have the poor little thing going thirsty in this heat. Too hot for jeans here at the moment - 40 C again today.
Ciao, Lucia. Glad you liked the post. Thanks for the lizard advice - most reassuring. Viva Enzo Ferrari!
Hi, Cherie. Oh, it it cool? I like that!
Hi, Leslie. I wasn't even beige! I wouldn't have minded that. I was ghastly white! I've had some real battles with fake tans but I read that the new generation ones are much better, so decided to give it a go. I used Lancôme Flash Bronzer. Now I have to see how long it lasts!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Anne. I'll tell Raff you like his idea - he'll be pleased. A lot of the Ital women match up top and strap colour and I do it sometimes, or use transparent straps. But relly I don't like showing my straps!


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