Sicily v. England

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.

Typical English weather
Typical English summer


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.

My family is now just as large as Veronica's as shown here.
My family is now just as large as Veronica’s as shown here.


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.

Even the prime minister does the beach towel shuffle.
Even the prime minister does the beach towel shuffle.


In England:

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.

In Italy:

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.

Hanging out of the window to get a signal
Hanging out of the window to get a signal
Ah! The signal's great up here!
Ah! The signal’s great up here!


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.

If only driving in Italy was as tranquil as this
If only driving in Italy was as tranquil as this


In the UK I used to drink tea, beer or whisky.

In Italy I drink espresso, espresso with grappa, wine, grappa and more wine.

Beer, Just an excuse to use this wonderful picture again.
Beer, Just an excuse to use this wonderful picture again.


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:

Englishman in Italy



59 thoughts on “Sicily v. England

  1. Brilliant! Love both of your blogs as you know! And you could insert Ireland for most of those things especially the weather! Love Mrs Sensible’s reaction to the seaside! And yes, I have done the beach towel shuffle too – I thought it was an Irish Catholic thing 😉


    1. I couldn’t understand why Mrs Sensible was getting so excited. Her face was a picture as I shook my bum and my swimming trunks slid to my ankles. Meanwhile her nieces were scanning the horizon for the invisible ship.


      1. Hi Linda, you are correct. The last time Mrs Sensible got that excited was when I drove around the roundabout in Casale Monferrato the wrong way. I just had a little English moment.


      2. I now have the same problem when I visit England, I haven’t driven around a roundabout the wrong way yet, but I have set off on the wrong side of the road once or twice.


    1. Sicily wins for me too. When Mrs Sensible is asleep I whisper in her ear “We need to live in Sicily… the food is great in Sicily” One day she will wake up and say “I had this fantastic dream, I think we should move to Sicily”…


  2. As an American expat who has lived in Sicily for the last thirty years this blog rings quite familiar! 😉


      1. Hi!. I understand quite a bit and I’m able to say a few phrases but I rarely try to use it in front of my friends. Too laughable!
        All the best!


  3. Adorable! Loved the post! Oh if only we had had the Internet back when I moved with my parents from Germany to rural India in the eighties. Now THAT was adventure! What stories I could have written. Except my English was outrageously awful at that time. Or as a Brit would say, ‘perfectly horrid’.

    Cheerio and Tschüss!

    (and do keep it up, we all love reading these posts!)


    1. A blog about your travels in India would be great, do a memoirs blog, just backdate everything.

      Oh and a BIG THANK YOU to Veronica for allowing my bit of madness to pollute her blog.


  4. Another corker, PN. I’m glad Veronica was your first follower – so classy! I love both blogs. I note with interest that you don’t include your friend Mr Cretino in this post. Selective memory? Or the administrative equivalent of Stockholm syndrome?


  5. Oh a great post and thanks to Veronica for allow PN to write in here.

    You did really make me laughing here Peter, I could follow your steps in the roundabout…..
    So much fun 🙂


      1. Best of luck–I hope you get there. Is Mrs. S from Northern Italy, or would moving to Sicily involve leaving her family behind? I have never been to Sicily, although I’ve been to Italy three times and loved it. Is Sicily very different from Italy?


      2. Hi Naomi,
        Mrs S is Sicilian, she was born in Catania. That is why I behave and I am a good boy. I really don’t want to wake up one morning and find a horses head at the bottom of my bed. 😉


      3. Hi Naomi,
        Mrs S is Sicilian, which is why I behave and I am a good boy 😉 I really don’t want to wake up and find a horses head at the bottom of my bed.


  6. Hilarious to say the least. LOL well DONE!!! I read this blog last night during one of my insomnia moments and I had great difficulty stopping myself from laughing out loud thus waking DH. I CAN SO identify with everything you wrote. You and Veronica certainly do help me see the funny side of living in Sicily…something which doesn’t come all too naturally to me…usually I’m too overcome with frustration! Keep these blogs coming both of you pl LOL 😉 😉


  7. Thank you Veronica for letting me join in your blog. It has been great fun and I have enjoyed replying to the comments. To those who wandered over to look at my blog…thank you, but next time you pop over remember to bring a bottle of wine.

    And Veronica… get well soon.

    Best regards
    Pecora Nera, Mrs Sensible and the scabby white cat.


    1. Thank you PN!
      I am feeling a bit better each day and it all went very well. I received a special delivery of 960 PG Tips teabags today which will no doubt speed up my recovery to record time. 🙂

      I am so glad to see my blog followers loved your post so much, and thank you again for writing for us!


  8. Loved the post. After months of rain here on the west coast of Canada, I am now counting down the weeks until we are in Sicily. Just dying for the sun!


  9. Sicily eh? Shouldn’t you be worrying about “the family” just a little bit?? I’ve heard tales of those Sicilian “families”. . . as in Marlon Brando worry …Capiche?
    little white pecora nera—hope the chip business is bustling 🙂


    1. The cats… now let me see. Scooby Doo my scabby white cat is bilingual (He has to be able to understand me and Mrs Sensible my Sicilian wife) and English cats only understand English. PS: Today Gilda the amazingly fat dog with short legs missed his dinner, it seems Scooby Doo sneaked into Luigina garage, found the opened can of dog meat and scoffed the lot. .Luigina, the old lady who lives next door was not too pleased, nor was Gilda.


So, what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s