Wednesday, August 24, 2022


 You are lucky to be able to capture a twilight image in Italy, as it does not fall slowly, as in Britain. Here, one moment it is there but go and get your phone or camera and it is gone. Our Modican Nobel poet Salvatore Quasimodo's words Ed è subito sera - And suddenly it's evening are true - metaphorically too, of course, as anyone who is ageing (like me) will tell you. 

On Monday evening, however, I managed to reach for my phone in time and here is a view from my bedroom window but this time with the Ferragosto bunnies out of focus!


Thinking of this view, and its fast transition into darkness, I was reminded of some words from Colette:

Regarde! Regarde la couleur du ciel au couchant, qui annonce grand vent et tempête. Qu’importe le grand vent de demain, pourvu que nous admirions cette fournaise d’aujourd’hui ? Regarde, vite, le bouton de l’iris noir est en train de s’épanouir ! Si tu ne te dépêches pas, il ira plus vite que toi

- Colette, Journal à rebours,"Sido et moi".

Look! Look at the colour of the sky at sunset, predicting strong wind and storms. What does tomorrow's strong wind matter, provided we can admire this furnace that we have today? Look, quickly, the bud of the black iris is blossoming! If you don't hurry, it will go faster than you...

Wherever you are, enjoy this lovely time of evening!

Tuesday, August 16, 2022


I'm not a "Rise and shine, sing in the morning" type of person. I'm more, "Light, go away!" first thing. Nor do I normally gaze out at the view from my bedroom window at that time of day, as it's all I can do to open the shutters and stumble to the bathroom. But yesterday, perhaps because it was the Ferragosto holday, I did and - still being a bit dopey, you will understand - I thought there were some whacking great bunnies coming to greet me! It was only the shape of the fichi d'India (prickly pear) bush in the field out there, but it cheered me up:

Ferragosto, or the Feast of the Assumption, is when Italy virtually closes down and everybody except grumpy old me heads to the sea. For the past two years, during which we have been in and out of various lockdowns, my local bar closed only for the 15th, not for a week, as before, presumably to try and recuperate some of the takings lost during the Covid emergency but this time they have closed for the full week again. There is a quiet in the streets reminiscent of the lockdowns but happily that backdrop of fear in the air is absent and today I had an aperitivo and a plate of stuzzichini in another local bar with a friend, which helped dispel the memory of those grim times.

In the absence of a celebratory breakfast out yesterday morning, I made myself a granita all'anguria (watermelon granita) and very refreshing it was, too. I had bought a traditional Sicilian brioche for the occasion and Bertie the dog enjoyed a doggie gelato.

I hope you all had a good Ferragosto and look after those August bunnies if they come to visit!

Wednesday, August 10, 2022


It is mid-August and once again it is the Feast of St Lawrence, followed by la notte di San Lorenzo, the night on which young Italians often stay on the beach, looking for shooting stars or le lacrime di San Lorenzo (St Lawrence's tears). If you see some, they are said to bring you good fortune. As I wrote last year, the only notte di San Lorenzo on which I've managed to spot some was in 2019 and whether they brought me good luck depends on how I interpret 2020! I suppose they did, in that I have been lucky enough to survive the pandemic so far and in 2020 I managed to complete my memoir.

This year. I think I will be disappointed again, though, as it seems that the Perseids will mostly be active on the 13th, but may be obscured by a very bright full moon. Never mind, I love the Sicilian moon! 

Whether or not you see the stars, here is a lovely song for you to enjoy tonight:

Monday, August 01, 2022


This is the hottest summer I can remember in Sicily and it seems to be wearing us all down because the extreme heat started early, in May, and I believe it has only rained for about ten minutes since. There are, of course, compensations, such as granita, anguria (watermelon) and myriad ice cream flavours and I certainly perked up when a friend brought me this traditional Sicilian basket of goodies from his garden on Friday. 

There are aubergines, datterini (tiny, date-shaped tomatoes), salad tomatoes, tomatoes for sauce and occhi di bue (bull's-eye) tomatoes, long peppers and a kind of pepper that I had never seen before.These are called friggitelli (from friggere - to fry) and, although they are related to chilli peppers, they are not hot. (I understand they are known in the US.) My friend told me to fry them in olive oil and garlic until browned and to add coarse salt only at the end of cooking. That is exactly what I did and wow, they were good!


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