A Festival in Noto

Every parish in Sicily has a festival once a year to celebrate the saint in whose honour the church is dedicated. We happened to be in Noto a good few years back during the festival at the Cathedral, which is dedicated to Saint Nicolas (Basilica Cattedrale di San Nicola). We began the day with the classic…

Merry Christmas the Sicilian way!

I am going to miss Sicilian Santa terribly this year. I shall just have to rely on Hubby to make sure there is pasta as well as turkey, that we play card games amid the debris of nutshells, and that something with tentacles somehow manages to creep onto the dining table! MERRY CHRISTMAS! BUON NATALE!…

A Nativity Play with a Difference

It’s that time of year again when I start thinking about nativity plays, and halos made of tinsel. When moving back here to England, I had hoped that English primary schools still followed that great tradition of making little children memorise passages from the bible, plus lots of Christmas carols, then make their parents laugh…

Ten things I loved doing in Sicily

We sneaked back to Sicily for a holiday a little while ago. Here’s a list of the best ten things I enjoyed doing again: UNO Laughing at my husband who had forgotten how to drive a manual car, and how to stay on the right-hand side of the road, and how to keep cool when…

Yes, this package of white powder is mine

Last week I received a summons from the local post office, informing me I must present myself at their offices within an appointed deadline. The card had rubber stamps and a signature and even a RED rubber stamp, which in Italy is downright scary. Our main post office is in the western wing of the…

Buying a House in Italy: Where have the original features gone?

Now that we are looking for a house to buy in England, Hubby is getting a lot of surprises about how English people do it. “Are you SURE they’ll leave the kitchen behind?” he asked me in the first house we viewed. “Yep, the whole lot,” I reassured him, “even the kitchen sink.” We went…

The Sadness of Sicilians in England

There’s often something forlorn about Italians in England, isn’t there? An air of pathos hangs around them, especially in summer when they are gradually realising that it really, truly isn’t going to stop raining, not today, not before the end of their holiday, not ever. They look tragi-comically out of place, what with their glowing…

Found in Translation

One of the various jobs I did in Sicily was technical translations. I specialised in translating and co-authoring medical textbooks and research papers, and legal documents. You may think this sounds dull but, trust me, they are far more entertaining than regular translations. By doing this job, I learnt that Italian doctors are world leaders…

Who Cleans up after the Flower Festivals in Sicily?

Ever been to one of those Mediterranean Fiorata festivals and wondered who cleans up afterwards? The locals spend the night putting millions of flower petals, seeds, beans and nuts out all along the road to make lovely pictures and the have processions alongside them for people to admire the ephemeral art. Then the next day,…

Sicilian Housewife gives her Husband two Black Eyes

Hubby and I had just flopped blissfully into bed from parenting-induced exhaustion. When our kiddo has a cold, he makes sure the suffering is dished out fairly and evenly among all persons present. I believe some people can finish running a marathon with more energy than we had after a day of making lemon and honey,…

Are you suffering from Tanorexia?

I recently found out there’s an illness called “tanorexia.” I thought I might suffer from it, being so unable to get a suntan. I went to the beach yesterday and everyone asked me “Is this the first time you’ve been to the beach this year?” Sicilians ask me that every time I go to the…

I Married a Pastafarian

I used to think Italians were Catholics but, since living here, I have found out they are devout Pastafarians.   If I make my Hubby go without eating pasta for an entire 24-hour period, he thinks he will die. He has been brainwashed since early childhood, you see. Forget vegetables! Italians are told that eating…

Caption Competition! Win a Free Book!!!

I have been delighted with all the enthusiastic feedback you lot have been giving me about my latest book. Do you want to know what my mother said about it? “That’s a very unflattering photo of you on the back cover.” “What do you mean, unflattering?” I asked, narrowing my eyes. “It makes you look…

Camping like Tarzan

You may have noticed I’ve fallen quiet lately. This was partly because I hoped you’d miss my witty tales of derring do around Sicily so much you would decide to buy my hilarious novel to fill the void. It was mainly because the electricity keeps getting cut off. The electricity has been cut off 42…

Book Review: The Dangerously Truthful Diary of A Sicilian Housewife

Originally posted on Sicily Inside & Out:
I have been following Veronica Di Grigoli’s blog for a few years now, laughing along at the Sicilian Housewife’s  struggles and humorous confusion associated with day-to-day life in Sicily as an expat. Now the blog has become a wonderfully polished and hilarious laugh-out-loud-belly-laughing-thigh-slapping book and I cannot resist expressing…

Home at Last!

I’m glad to have survived the heart thing, but surviving that hospital was more miraculous really. It turned into a series of Fear Factor. DAY 1 – Meeting the contestants Smell rating: Gorgonzola You need to read From my Sicilian Hospital Bed if you haven’t read that yet.   There was no bidet or shower…

From my Sicilian Hospital Bed

You might think being in hospital isn’t very funny, but that’s just because you’ve never been in a Sicilian one. A heart condition…. or not? I came in yesterday because my heart was being naughty. Apparently I have ventricular tachycardia, which is the same arrhythmia that makes professional footballers drop dead right after winning an…

Into which orifice do I stick this?

In the UK, where I come from, medicine is something you swallow. In Italy, you cannot leave the doctor’s surgery with a prescription in your hand before asking the immortal question, “Into which orifice do I stick this?” Seriously, it could be any one of them. Over the years I have been prescribed things to…

Loafing around in Sicily’s Gingerbread Village

The people of San Biagio Platani, a village in the Agrigento province of south-western Sicily, have celebrated Easter every year since the 1700’s by decorating their streets with arches and towers made of bread. The entire community spends three months turning the place into a gingerbread village… yet Hansel and Gretel never come!   For…

A Rough Start for the Rough Guide to Sicily

  So, what’s it like to earn your living by going on holiday? Jules Brown, author of The Rough Guide to Sicily, describes his very first hilarious trip to Sicily especially for my blog. He has written stacks of travel guides, but Sicily was his first and, he says, still his favourite  – despite how…

How to Queue-hop in front of a Sicilian

If queue-hopping were an Olympic sport, the Sicilians would win gold every time. Yet recently I beat them at their own game. My son has a massive amount of blood tests. We always go to the same clinic, as the people who work there are my friends. One of the men looks exactly like Johnny…

How authentic an Italian are you?

Originally posted on Englishman in Italy:
I asked Mrs Sensible if I could pass for an Italian, not a chance she said, you don’t dress like an Italian, you don’t think like an Italian and even the Italian words you know, sound funny when you use them. To prove her wrong I have put together…

The Kind of Blogs that Make Money

Since I’m skint, and my part of Sicily has 49% unemployment, I’ve been researching how to make money from blogging. If this doesn’t work, my only option will be to work in one of Sicily’s 1,456,998 Chinese shops selling tiny polyester clothes which smell of mothballs. I’ve found out there are three types of blogs…

How to Annoy a Sicilian

Despite their reputation for having a volcanic temperament, Sicilians are actually a phlegmatic bunch. I’m endlessly amazed by what they’ll put up with. But, if you must, here are the Seven Secret ways to irritate a Sicilian from here to next Sunday. On Monday, make fun of his white vest. I once tried this on Hubby,…

Celtic Hair

My sister spent a year in Italy getting her hair persistently cut into a mullet. She went to a different salon every time and begged them for a “Little crash helmet” (caschetto), which is what Italians call a bob cut all one length. But apparently every hairstylist in Milan had signed a secret pact to…

Mazel Tov! The Sicilian Housewife goes to Israel!

Not really. I went to a “meeting” in the local council building to “discuss” the “promotion” of “tourism” in our town last night. All these “”””””” “”” ” ” “””  have a purpose and I promise to explain. Being an astute housewife, I realised very quickly that I had been lured there under false pretences…

Single Woman in Italy? The Sicilian Housewife’s Guide to Italian Men

I spent years travelling alone among the men of Italy. I wish I had known all these insider tips, which I’ve now learnt from my own Italian Hubby! Boundaries Italian men will do things that overstep “boundaries” in your culture. Their boundaries are different. One thing they will do, relentlessly, is chat you up in…

The Best and Worst of Sicily

Originally posted on secret sicily:
Veronica is the brain and pen behind Sicilian Godmother, where she writes about her life in Sicily as an English expat. When I asked her to write a guest post about things she loves and hates about Sicily, I didn’t expect to open such a big can of worms! Her initial draft was way…

The Tentacles of Doom

Foreigners think English food is awful, and I know why. It’s because they don’t know how to eat it. I served a roast dinner to my outlaws at Christmas a few years ago. They took some potatoes, which sat all lonely and solitary in the middle of their plates. After eating them in dry, disappointed…