Today’s fabulous guest post is from one of my favourite bloggers, Pecora Nera (which means Black Sheep). I think of him as my male counterpart, as he is an Englishman married to a Sicilian lady, known only as Mrs. Sensible. I sometimes wonder which of us is more bonkers.
I received an e mail from Veronica at Siciliangodmother asking me to do a post for her blog, I shouted at Mrs Sensible and told her how excited I was. I am still excited to have been asked to write a post for her blog.
Seven differences between England and Sicily
It goes without saying the weather in Sicily is 20001010 times better than in the UK. In the UK we have wall-to-wall carpets, In Sicily they have wall-to-wall sunshine. Admittedly it does rain, but it is exciting rain. Two months of rain falls in the space of 15 minutes and drowns everybody, the sun immediately comes out, dries the floor and apart from a few soggy individuals and the odd car that has floated away, you would never have believed it had rained at all.
I can count my extended English family using one hand and not including my thumb. On the odd occasion when I have phoned the UK, I might be greeted with “oh it’s you, how are you, I thought it was the builder phoning”
Now that I am part of Mrs Sensible’s family, I have suddenly gained 22 Sicilian aunties and uncles and more cousins, nephews and nieces than I can count. If one of them hears through the Sicilian grapevine that Mrs Sensible or I am ill, my phone will ring and vibrate all day long with anxious relatives wanting to know if we are ok or if we have contracted the very serious illness called cervicale.
Before I get excited and try to describe the Sicilian seaside, let me just tell you what Mrs Sensible said when I took her to see the sea at Blackpool. As we walked down the concrete promenade we caught a glimpse of the grey cold windswept Irish Sea, Mrs Sensible said “Is that it?”
When Mrs Sensible took me too a beach in southern Sicily, the sun was out, the sea was blue and her nieces were heard to say “wow isn’t Pecora Nera white”. Later when I decided to change back into my jeans and flip flops I did the beach towel shuffle. This is an established method that generations of English people have used to change out of their wet swim suits and put on their normal clothes. It requires great coordination, you have to be able to hold the towel closed with your teeth (people with false teeth should not try this) and the amazing ability to remove your swim suit and replace it with your underwear whilst maintaining a degree of modesty and showing only a small bit of naked skin when the wind blows.
Mrs Sensible who had been in the surf with her two nieces nearly had a heart attack, she told me it was indecent and while she showed her nieces a nonexistent ship on the horizon, she told me I could be arrested for getting changed on a beach.
Patient: “Doctor I feel unwell, I have a headache, I generally ache all over and feel tired.”
Doctor: “Take 2 aspirins three times a day, go to bed and drink plenty of water.
Patient: Doctor I feel unwell, I have a headache, I generally ache all over and feel tired.”
Doctor: “Here is a prescription for the hospital, go and have your blood tested for everything, here is a prescription for the pharmacy, make sure you take all the medicines I have prescribed, take a urine sample to the hospital. In 24 hours go back to the hospital and collect your results and bring them to me; we will then know what is up with you.
In my UK house we had broadband, telephone, wifi. In Sicily my mobile worked if I stood on one leg and leaned out the south-facing window whilst holding a metal coat hanger in my hand.
In the UK we drive on the left hand side of the road, we normally drive within the speed limit and obey most road signs. I normally received 3 points on my licence every second or third year because a speed camera was particularly well hidden and it wasn’t registered on my Tom Tom Sat Nav.
I have driven in Italy for the past 7 years. On occasions I have driven on the left hand side of the road, only correcting my error when Mrs Sensible’s hysterical scream reached my ear; we did once navigate a roundabout clockwise. Whilst Mrs Sensible hyperventilated and suffered heart palpitations I managed a perfect 3 point turn and managed to drive around the roundabout anti-clockwise. Finally, the speed limit is governed by either the car in front of you or the car that is almost glued to your rear bumper and after 7 years in Italy I am yet to be awarded with a speeding fine.
In the UK I used to drink tea, beer or whisky.
In Italy I drink espresso, espresso with grappa, wine, grappa and more wine.
Many thanks to Veronica for allowing me to bring some madness to her blog.
I am sure you’ll be keen to go and visit Pecora nera’s own marvellous blog after this masterpiece: