So you’re Sicilian. Are you in the Mafia?

“Mummy, why are the baddies English?” my son asked me last week. He was watching “Rio”, a cartoon film about parrots in which the bad parrot, from the Brazilian jungle, inexplicably talks with a very posh English accent. “Well, it’s just one silly cartoon,” I reassured him. Then he listed all the English baddies he … More So you’re Sicilian. Are you in the Mafia?

A new book: SICILIAN CARD GAMES an easy-to-follow guide

  ‘SICILIAN CARD GAMES an easy-to-follow guide’ gives very clear instructions for twelve Sicilian card games, with photographic illustrations.  It is the only book of Sicilian card games in print worldwide. Sicily has its own unique deck of playing cards, and lots of games exclusive to the island.  Card games are an indispensable part of the … More A new book: SICILIAN CARD GAMES an easy-to-follow guide

Multicultural Sicily: The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ridiculous

This afternoon we went for a walk around central Palermo. In Piazza Politeama we saw these fellows. The man at the bottom was sitting cross-legged on a glass tumbler. All along Via Ruggiero Settimo there were buskers playing drums and guitars, there were fire-breathers and jugglers, there were men on stilts making balloon animals for the … More Multicultural Sicily: The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ridiculous

What does “Confetti” mean in Italian?

Sicilians, like many other Mediterranean people, give little gifts of sugared almonds to all their friends when celebrating the key events in their lives. If they are fancily wrapped sugared almonds, they are called confetti. If the almonds also have a gift attached, the whole thing is called a bomboniera. Sicilians take this art form … More What does “Confetti” mean in Italian?

Padre Puglisi has been Beatified. Can we PLEASE talk about the Mafia now?

In Sicily, if you open your mouth and say something about the Mafia, if you just pronounce the word Mafia in public, the reaction will be sharp intakes of breath all around you and horrified silence. It is a social gaffe even more hideous than meeting your new mother-in-law with your flies undone whilst going … More Padre Puglisi has been Beatified. Can we PLEASE talk about the Mafia now?

La Traviata and the Italian Art of being ill Dramatically

Sorry I haven’t written any posts for so long. I’ve been too busy mopping up puke. My little boy has vomited almost every day for the last three months. The house smells like a bleach factory, and I am buying new mops from the local hardware store so often that the cashier there thinks I … More La Traviata and the Italian Art of being ill Dramatically

The Top 5 causes of Death in the Home: Doing Housework

I electrocuted myself yesterday. I was cleaning the toaster and I forgot to unplug it first. That’s what having a seven-year-old with verbal diarrhoea and real diarrhoea, both at once, can do to your mental faculties. Whilst emptying the equivalent of three whole loaves of bread, transformed into burnt offerings, out of the bottom of … More The Top 5 causes of Death in the Home: Doing Housework