Saturday, June 07, 2008

[prince charles] what if dot dot dot


In October 1996, London's Evening Standard newspaper quoted the Grand Mufti of Cyprus, who claimed that the prince had converted to Islam.

"It happened in Turkey. Oh, yes, he converted all right," the Grand Mufti was quoted as saying. "When you get home, check on how often he travels to Turkey. You'll find that your future king is a Muslim."

This was one of several reports linking Prince Charles and Islam highlighted by authors Ronni L Gordon and David M Stillman in The Middle East Quarterly in 1997.

This report in the Asia Times is in the nature of gossip rag speculation and yet what if? Where would that leave Prince Charles on his accession, particularly if he is to be divorced by a bored Camilla?

[hillary] post for nunyaa

This post is dedicated to Nunyaa.

[l'altro posto] modican style

The thing which strikes you about this part of Sicily straight away is the friendliness of the people. It's a word bandied about by all tourist boards but in the case of Modica, it is most assuredly so.

Take that one step further, in the form of the cafe of choice in the choice main shopping street - via Sacre Cuore - and you have the makings of a delight.

Ten years ago, L'Altro Posto [The Other Place] started up on this street and a little gem it proved to be too. In that time it has become the place to eat for the business community in this area so why should we be any different?

Quite frankly, if I haven't had my cappuccino and choc croissant by eleven from Georgio or Marcella, I start to chafe at the bit and Welshcakes is of a similar mind with her prosciutto and melon lunch which I occasionally join her for.

This could be followed by fruit, gelati, then an espresso of local origin - Caffè MOAK.

One is spoilt for choice really and all I can suggest is that if you make it down this neck of the woods, seek out L'Altro Posto and you'll be assured of the sort of welcome I too received after only a few days - a beaming:


This is cross-posted at Welshcakes Limoncello.

[raffaele's] modican style

As with many of the best businesses in Modica, the approach to Raffaele's salon is inconspicuous but once the lift decants you into the reception area [or alternatively you can mountain climb up the tiled steps if you're quite sportif], a wonderworld awaits you.

There is the chic, the hustle and bustle, the girls who assist him and then there is:


Still some years from 'a certain age', the first thing which strikes you about the man is the warm and open smile, the second thing is his pink polo T and the third the women milling around, planting kisses upon his craggy cheek.

He greets us with enthusiasm then zips away to attend to this lady or that whilst a girl brings us an espresso each and on a plush cushioned divan, we await his attendance upon our cappelli although in my case it's more wishful thinking than any specific style.

Welshcakes is whisked away for the shampoo phase and I take my leave with beaming smiles all round.

Oh, by the way, did I mention the views across the Modican countryside from his large window wall?

This is cross-posted at Welshcakes Limoncello.

[interim report] first two weeks

Pretty boring title and not a lot of time to write.

Thank you so much for your comments - I have not deleted even one of them from my e-mail notification and will get to each of you in turn both on this site and visiting you.

So to Sicily. Well, there is Sicily and Sicily and big city issues are pretty much the province of other bigger cities like Palermo, Catania and so on.

This is a less bustling town and that suits us fine although it can make due process longwinded. The trick is to try not to deal with officialdom - read Welshcakes' post on the election to get an idea.

This town is in three parts - alto, sordo and bassa. Bassa is where the tourists go although I don't particularly think it is better. Modica is on the side of a hill but not running down to the sea - rather it runs down into a valley and the sea is 20km away.

This results in a hot dry climate and it can get into the mid 40s in summer. Today is better - 20 and cloudy but we haven't really started summer yet.

Alto is the higher area where the Church of St George is and I haven't been there yet, still tied up in domestic and official status issues. Here with Welshcakes has proved more than workable and she is one hell of a good chef.

Ellee, I did put on some weight early, then changed to the Sicilian diet and lost some and now am about the same.

Sordo, where we live, is the commercial centre of the town and thus does not hold a place in the people's hearts to the same extent. It is modern in aspect, unlike the really ancient architecture in the other two parts. Still, I particularly like it and it's a hop, skip and jump from Welshcakes' school.

Routines have begun and one of mine is the morning capuccino at L'Altro Posto [The Other Place] cafe in the main boutique street. Not exactly chic but quite elevated in theme, let's say. You want to see a cross-section of Modica - it comes through this cafe and I'm now seen as a regular.

Welshcakes' boss's husband said that in the evening, people do not ask, 'What shall we do?' but rather, 'What shall we eat and where?' and this is true.

Another aspect is the treatment, by the north, of this region as 'Africa' and there is truth in this too, in that Rome does not appear too concerned with the lower tip of Sicily. So they just go about their business in an interesting way. There are problems with African illegal immigration [the boat people] but not so much to this town.

One interesting effect is the 'Lotus Eater' syndrome. A sort of languor comes over a person and as it's necessary for a blogger to have fire in his belly, this has seeped away in my case. We were discussing this last evening and I bemoaned the fact that I've already taken on the feminists, gay mafia, immigration, 'Them', PC and other choice targets so what is there left to get apoplectic about?

You see the problem? Lol.

Anyway, please indicate, in the comments section, what aspects you'd like me to post about as it's difficult to think clearly in this euphoric Welshcakes state. Plus I'm meeting the famous Raffaele at the hairdressers later.


Friday, June 06, 2008

[slow boat to oblivion] your seven reservations

Ever thought of sending out the press gang to round up those seven most obnoxious people in your existence? Well, the long boat is at the ready and you can pack them all on board at a most reasonable charge.

Who would your seven include? You can't include known monsters of yesteryear such as Hitler or Idi Amin but modern pains in the butt such as ... oh ... Greer, Shatner, Hilton and so on

Should make interesting reading.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

[election 2008] down to the wire

Right in the middle of municipal elections here and need all the names we can get so if you're at a bit of a loose end, you might mosey on down our way and sign on. I mean, whom would you rather have, Prodi or this energetic lady above with ideas who seems to be going places fast

While contemplating this, you might toddle on over to L'Altro Posto and we'll discuss it over an espresso or eight, before a guided tour of the lower town. But I have to warn you - election campaigns here get quite frenetic so if you're, say, on a heart pacemaker, well best forget it perhaps.

With a date of June 15/16, this blog will keep you posted on all the highs and lows. Stay tuned.

De ja vue

De ja vue

Remember this? I didn't expect to be revisiting it. However, I came across this video today and it and the article beneath supplements the post nicely. For those too busy to spend almost 9 minutes watching a video, here is a 1 minute audio summary.

[thought for the day] wednesday evening

Slumped in a chair dissolute, this blogger, alas [and everyone loves a lass], has no thought for the day to share save:


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

[quick note] on the way out

Once I can organize access and various systems, I can blog again, thanks to Welshcakes but these are not straightforward just yet. More soon.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

[thought for the day] spoilt rotten in sicily

Now I don't want you to get the idea that this was an easy meal - anything but!

In fact, it was well on for midnight at the point it was served and it was so scrumptious that I dipped into the bowl afterwards whenever Welshcakes wan't looking. The salad was also scrummy and I forgot to mention the pasta butterflies which preceded the course you see in the photo.

All of which brings me to this evening's thought for the day:

A tavola si dimenticano i triboli.

While you sort that one out, we're off to dine again ...

Should you be so inclined.

(another guest post by Harry Haddock. I am assuming James still wants these?)

Ok, so you've fallen in love with Hugh Farnley-Fartypants, and wish to retreat to a rural idyll to raise your own vegetables, rear your own organic, free range meat and grow dope in your greenhouse hope for a better environment for your kids. Jolly good. However, may this country boy, who grew up on a small farm, offer a word of advice?

That word is sheep, and the advice is don't.

I'm sure you are all familiar with the concept of the food chain. You know, stuff at the bottom gets eaten, and we sit at the top getting tubby. However, you are probably unaware that there is also natures intellectual ladder as well. Yes, you've guessed it. At the bottom are single cell organisms who don't even have the capacity to react to their surroundings, and at the top is me, handing out superb advice such as this. As you are all discerning readers, you are probably just a couple of rungs down, gazing up admiringly (which is why I could never wear a Beckham style skirt. I'm far too bashful). Somewhere in the middle are the contestants who make fools of themselves on Big Brother (a new series of which, I understand, is starting soon, consigning me to my study to mumble about how I should be world dictator). Just below them are the people who watch the show and vote. So, you get the general picture.

What you need to understand is that all farm animals fit somewhere on this ladder. At the top, undoubtedly, would be pigs. They are a marvel; more intelligent than most cats and dogs. Well, stupid ones, anyway. Goats are fairly amusing; cows are very dim, I'm afraid. And don't get me started on ducks and geese. Chickens are saved from condemnation by their generally amusing nature and ability to be excellent mothers to un-hatched eggs, which is lucky for the ducks, who have all the maternal instincts of some of todays sink estate mothers. All in all, if you get the balance right, you should all be able to rub along together quite nicely, and your freezer will be the culinary treasure trove it should be.

But please, think thee not of sheep.

You see sheep are the earth's most stupid creatures. Some breeds are worse than others, but they are all a fairly intellectually challenged bunch. I had the pleasure of growing up with a pedigree flock of Lincoln Longwool sheep, who are the worlds most stupid sheep, and would like to take this opportunity to clear your mind of any Ovis aries husbandry with a few examples.

Let us begin with moving sheep. When a field of grass has been munched by our woollen friends, they will let you know it is time to be moved to pastures fresh. They will achieve this by all standing at the gate (usually the wrong gate) and bleating constantly. Passing townies spending a day in the countryside will be so alarmed by this pathetic, ear splitting din that they will assume you are guilty of animal cruelty, and will report you to the RSPCA. You will then enter the field, and drive them up to the correct gate, that you will start to open. This will alarm the sheep, and just enough of them to be annoying will break from the flock and run around the field making an even more pathetic sounding din, at which point a second car load of townies (this time militant vegans) will pass by, and upon hearing the racket, will assume you are slaughtering them all with meat cleavers. They won't report you to the RSPCA, but will return later to firebomb your farmhouse instead.

Eventually, you will herd all but one of the sheep into the adjacent field, with its promise of acres of lush, fresh grass. Except the 'lead sheep' will stop, as soon as his tippy tappy feet touch the new grass, to have a bit of a munch, thus holding up the whole shooting match. A bit of shoving from behind will eventually cause the sheep to spill into the new field, but too slowly for the one remaining sheep, who will panic upon seeing his mates at the other side of the fence. Instead of following them through the gate, this sheep will emit a third, panicked bleat, while he follows the flock down the wrong side of the fence until fear really sets in. Despite the calm reassurance of yourself and your helpers, this sheep will throw itself at the fence, in an agonising attempt to do that which it has never achieved before; too pass through solid objects. At this point, you will catch the sheep (putting your back out), and gently guide it to the gate, and its colleagues. It will run away indignantly, as if you were the idiot.

Thinking you ordeal is over, you will return for some well deserved tea. After putting the remaining animals to bed, a process that will involve no repeat of the afternoons fuss, because all of your other animals aren't as stupid as sheep. Did I mention that sheep were stupid? You see, you have a kind of unspoken deal with the other animals ~ 'I'm going to feed you now', 'Oh, good, we'll turn in for the night then', 'Sweet'.

Arising in the morning, you will look at the field where the sheep should be. Except, only about half of them will still be there. The other half, having spent their whole night looking enviously at the field they have just been moved from, will have escaped. Except the lambs will have escaped via a different route to their mothers. The whole farm will now echo to more wailing and bleating. You will repeat yesterdays farce to get them all back together.

You then realise that you have to go into town for something. The sheep will pick up on your general sense of apprehension at this news. They will stand and watch your land rover disappear from the end of the drive. About six of them will drop dead at this point, for no good reason ~ usually because the wind has changed direction,or something. About another six will introduce you to an essential design flaw in many breeds of sheep ~ if they roll onto their backs, with their legs in the air, they can't get back up, and also die unless rescued. This doesn't stop them doing it, again, and again, and again, and always when you have just left for they day. Often, they will wait until they have an audience, usually a third car load of townies, who will report you to DEFRA, or Bill Oddie, or someone.

The remainder of your sheep will then get foot rot. Instantly. Without warning. They will hobble around like they have been forced to play football with Nobby Styles, until you return and have to deal with it by cutting out the infected part of the foot, applying disinfectant spray (which, in your old age, will turn out to be harmless for sheep, but will give you some horrid medical condition or other). All that is before you have to dag them (don't ask), dip them (ditto) and shear them (thank god for unemployed Aussies).

Seriously folks. Rural idyll if you must. Sheep ~ no.

Public servant or drug dealer?

Public servant or drug dealer?

It all started when Ironside contacted me to ask if I knew what had happened to The Three Aguidos forum. I replied that I didn't, because I had not progressed far enough through my daily reads to discover the server not found message yet. I only knew that there had been an internal row with the administrators over whether a particular poster should be banned. I didn't know whether this led to the plug being pulled. Later, a story circulated that there had been a serious fire at the building hosting the server.

In any event, I thought there would be hell of a lot of internet junkies looking for their fix and rattling on cold turkey. Internet Addiction Disorder is serious, don't you know? Therefore, on the spur of the moment, I decided I would set up a forum and provide shelter for all the waifs and strays. I Googled the question 'How do I set up a forum?', and the first result looked promising. However, the stupid thing kept telling me to use a genuine email address. Of course, I effed and blind at the thing shouting that it was genuine, all to no avail. So, I tried another and this one had no problem accepting my email address. I was up and running in minutes, later I realised I should have learnt to walk first, and announced on my two blogs (here and here) what the forum address is. Very shortly, the place was full of refugees from the 3As forum.

For most it was a port in a storm. However, there were a few very vociferous ones screaming axe-murderer this, that, and the other. And trading insults with each other. I had to delete comments, lock a thread down, warn a few, and banned others. Some left because they found the insults too shocking. Luckily, I have a thick skin. But, I just wish those who sling mud got it right in the first place. Axe-killer or axe-manslaugterer, to be precise. As some pointed out, it's no secret and the info is on my blog, at least I was open and honest whereas how many of those who keep their identity secret on-line have skeletons in their closet?

The stats on both my blogs went through the roof for a couple of days, and there were dozens of posts and thousands of views and hundreds of comments on the forum. I needed to split the first category into sections. Er? I didn't know how to do it. I phoned a blogging mate who has ME, and me with my AS, and we stumbled and bumbled around in the admin section for hours trying to sort it. He tired first around midnight, I poured a whisky and made a spliff and carried on trying to figure it all out. I was reading the bold print and knew it was important, it was stating that I had to allow permissions. But, how? Then I read on a bit and there it was. More info in the manual click here. That was the piece of the jigsaw puzzle I was looking for.

Then the anti-climax. This morning the flock had all gone. I checked to see whether the 3As was up and running again. It was. Relief and yet at the same time disappointment. I had not been king for a day, but for about 3 days. We are a community out there in cyber-space. Its supply and demand. As one drug dealer gets busted by the police another starts to deal, and the junkies are happy. How long I could have maintained the supply I don't know. But, I do feel as though for awhile I was providing a public service.

Monday, June 02, 2008

[thought for the day] monday evening

Just before bedtime, a double espresso is always a winner.

[Courtesy The Little Book of Stress]

[monday quiz] tough one this

Ragusa, courtesy Italy Visits

1. Cicero described Siracusa as the greatest and most beautiful city of all Ancient Greece - on which island is it situated?

2. After the
Expedition of the Thousand led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, which island became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860 as part of the risorgimento

3. The island which owes its reputation as an isle of lemons to the Arabs is ...?

4. The seven Aeolian islands are near to which large Italian island?

5. The 1959 nobel prizewinner for literature, Salvatore Quasimodo, came from which island?


[yuk] is this the new youth?

Sorry but when I read this it was during a nice elevenses on a quiet Day of the Republic in Sicily and nauseated would be a mild adjective. I look at the above pic and two things spring to mind:
1] Was I any better during my drunken youth?
2] Could anyone make love to one of those?
Yes and no. At the risk of alienating half my readership, is it really desirable breeding mindless chavs like this, will you feel secure in your old age with these roaming about [see Kate's post], how did a whole generation go this way? Well done to the forces of darkness which managed to bring about this state of affairs.

Allow me to go further - when the parents and teachers say, 'Oh there's nothing I can do with them anymore,' I am moved to reply, 'Well why don't you just make sure they get home at a reasonable hour, insert the word 'no' in your vocabulary and into their understanding?'

Kids need limits, parameters, generous parameters with a heap of compassion but parameters nonetheless. Parents and teachers need backbones.

Last evening we went down to the local Festa for the Day of the Republic and there were kids everywhere on motorbikes, running around, being cool, making out and so on and that was that. On the hamburger stall were two Catholic icons and everyone was cheerful in a 'mindful' way.

Three nights ago I was coming back home here along an unlit street when a bunch of thuggish youths appeared through the gloom. 'Oh dear,' I thought but not in those words, 'oh well, it was a good life while it lasted.' Thoughts of the BBC news of the two who were shopped by their mother for blinding a man - these thoughts flashed across the mind at that point.

I stepped to one side and as they came at me, one said Grazie and another Buona Sera. They all smiled and continued their argument further along the road. I continued along the road in the other direction, puzzled.

Wonder what would have happened in Britain or Berlin under the same circumstances? Meanwhile, this:
Please. I mean ... really.

[guest post] too much Heaven on their minds

A bizarre six-month standoff came to an end in May, when the last few members of a Russian doomsday cult that had holed themselves up in a cave awaiting the end of the world finally gave themselves up. The cultists had threatened to blow themselves up using gas canisters if the authorities tried to remove them, but during the siege two women had died and the resulting stench eventually drove the remaining holdouts from their lair. The cult leader himself, Pyotr Kuznetsov, had chosen to direct operations from the rather more comfortable environment of a nearby house, before being hospitalised last month after attempting suicide by bashing his head repeatedly against a log. He is currently in a local mental hospital, his condition described as “stable”.

There are plentiful examples of colourful cults from around the world, many of which are harmless (my own favourite hails from the tiny island of Tanna in the South Pacific, whose inhabitants worship our very own Prince Philip as a deity), but in the European media, talks of “cults” normally centres around infamous American examples, from Jonestown through the Branch Davidians to the recent scandal surrounding the Yearning for Zion ranch in Texas. Yet there is little doubt that, when it comes to fringe beliefs, Russia is the market leader.

Depending on who you ask, there are anywhere between 600,000 and a million Russians in the thousands of sects or cults that have sprung up in the country over the last decade in particular. Most of these, like Pyotr Kuznetsov’s True Russian Orthodox Church, have obvious roots in the established state religion. Others are more esoteric, from the Georgian mystic in Lithuania, Lena Lolisvili, who prays to God to energize toilet paper that she then wraps around her patients to “heal” them, to Grigory Grabovoi’s “DRUGG” [“friend”] Party, which claimed to be able to resurrect the children killed in the Beslan massacrefor a fee, naturally.

Grabovoi’s audacious tilt at the Russian presidency had to be shelved, sadly, when he was imprisoned for fraud, which was a shame; his first act upon assuming the reins of power would have been to "immediately issue a law prohibiting to die", which I would have liked to see. But the overlap between charlatanism and politics remains; a small group in Novgorod who style themselves the “Rus’ Resurrecting” sect worship an icon of Vladimir Putin. "We didn't choose Putin," Mother Fontinya told Moskovsky Komsomolets. "It was when Yeltsin was naming him as his successor [during a live New Year's Eve TV broadcast in 1999]. My soul exploded with joy! 'An ubermensch! God himself has chosen him!'" I cried. "Yeltsin was the destroyer, and God replaced him with his creation". Well, I guess he got her vote.

Perhaps the most famous of Russia’s many current Messiahs is Sergei Torop, aka “Vissarion”, a former traffic cop who experienced a spiritual awakening in 1990 and promptly set up a self-sustaining community on a remote mountain in the Siberian wilderness. Now known as – what else? – the “Jesus of Siberia” [for whom, as the photo at the top demonstrates, he is, in fairness, a dead ringer], Vissarion’s network of communes is thousands strong, and the holy one claims up to 100,000 followers worldwide. His “gospel” is at once wildly idiosyncratic yet pretty typical of Russian sects; a fusion of classical Orthodox doctrine and Eastern mysticism, with a hefty sprinkling of environmentalism and New Age nonsense thrown in for good measure. And the man himself is modest but firm when asked whether he is indeed the second coming of, you know, the big guy himself: "It's all very complicated,” he told a Guardian reporter who went to interview him, “but to keep things simple, yes, I am Jesus Christ.”

Vissarion is slightly unusual, in that he does not seem to be fleecing his adherents for every rouble he can get. Salvation, in Russia as elsewhere, rarely comes cheap; many cults demand hefty tithes of their adherents’ incomes, and some are patently nothing more than scams. But that’s not to say there’s nothing in it for the Jesus of Siberia:

"[My wife] was the one woman who would open the whole world of women to me," he says. "Through her, I knew I could understand all women; what women's weaknesses are. There are now lots of women in love with me... For me, all people are equally close and I carry large responsibility for them all. So it is, I need to be free. My wife is now learning how correctly to see and regard me, to understand she's not the only woman in my life. There are a thousand others!"

He may be the Messiah, then, but he’s also a very naughty boy.

Russia’s Vissarions only thrive, though, because there is a burgeoning market for the snake oil he offers. The fall of the Iron Curtain saw Russians assailed by change from all sides; the drab homogeneity of the country’s streets and media quickly became a riot of advertising and information overload, a whirlwind of new products and services competing for the citizens’ attention, and their money. In those chaotic Yeltsin years, kooky sects hardly stuck out as they might do in a more settled society; combined with a general rise in religious observance, it is perhaps unsurprising that not all the spiritual answers on offer in the new Russia are entirely sane. And, predictably, a lot of the blame falls on foreign influences; as the chairman of the Russian Union of Writers puts it, "Russia is cloning the cells of immorality that it grasped from Western culture".

For a long time, Russian authorities have adopted a relaxed attitude towards these groups. Their main response, in typical Russian fashion, has been a bureaucratic one; all religions are required to register with the Ministry of Justice, but sanctions for failing to do so are unevenly enforced. The principal opposition to this explosion in religious diversity, predictably enough, is the Russian Orthodox Church, who fire off angry press releases attacking Jehovah’s Witnesses and Scientologists and help to organise seminars with catchy titles like “Totalitarian Sects as Weapons of Mass Destruction”.

It’s easy to mock the self-interested nature of the Church’s warnings, and charismatic loons like Vissarion always make good copy. But one does not have to be a student of doomsday cults to grasp the problem these sects pose, and the scale on which vulnerable people are – potentially – being abused, not just financially but psychologically and, probably, sexually. As the recently discovered letters of Jim Jones follower Phyllis Alexander to her parents demonstrate with chilling clarity, the complete physical and mental submission that comes with cult membership often bears a heavy price. It will come as no surprise if the next Jonestown takes place in the icy wastes of Siberia.

A version of this post previously appeared in Jewcy magazine.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

[sicily scene] blur of changing images

So, finally accessed my site through "nourishing" in Google and got:

It's looking a little neglected over here at Nourishing Obscurity where there are usually at least four or five posts a day. I don't know what happened to ...

Well, contrary to rumours that Dominatrix Welshcakes had me in bondage, in fact the opposite was true and this week has been packed with incident. After I saw my escort off into the sunset yesterday, I went looking for the bus back to our town [2 hours away to Welshcakes City] and the instructions were - wherever the bus drops you off, that's where you get back on.

Well no, actually - the bus stop for the return bus is cunningly disguised in a shoebox over by another Terminal about 500 metres away and they further disguise its presence by surrounding it with 24 coming and going buses of a similar nature. No matter - I found it by asking the Carabinieri officer, to his surprise and jumped on.

The engine went dead. Yes it did.

Double-decker airconditioned coach with padded seats and it went dead. They tired, the other bus drivers tried, they all tried horn hooting, shouting and gesticulating but the bus was unmoved. For 30 minutes. For 60. For 70.

The mechanic came and tried many clever things before getting into the cabin, looking one moment and kicking the engine cover.

The bus now on the move south into the setting sun, the olive and burnt sienna countryside with the picturesque little stone houses and terracotta roofs perched on craggy outcrops, the romantic Italian crooners through the sound system, the water run-off from the airconditioning dripping in time onto the back seat, we cruised at a leisurely 80 kph back to Modica Bassa, the lower old town where everything happens.

Chock full of the real Sicily [see the photos], this is the tourist mecca or in the case of last evening, around 9 p.m., the street of wild scenes, from a geriatric army pouring over the countryside, scouting men and women in shorts, adorned with scarves and woggles, of sealed off streets making the taking of a bus up the steep 1 in 4 hill to Villa Welshcakes through to wave upon wave of the cities youth, decked out in party gear and all trying desperately to appear cooler or more colourful than the next.

Silly me - knackered from the walk so far on the flat, I called in on Anita's cafe which has one main feature apart from the cuisine - it is situated down an arcade which then turns at the end at right angles and the 'bay' has tables and chairs. Good, I thought, as I shook hands with the proprietors, decent salad in peace.

I asked for a small salad, which doesn't compute in the Sicilian brain and so she brought me a bowl twice the size [30cm across and 15cm deep] ... half full. Then it was up the hill to a Welshcakes' welcome and you really need to be here to fully appreciate these.

Little did I suspect what would happen and since I've run out of room here, this is continued at Welshcakes ...

This is a typical Welshcakes welcome:

Thought for the Week!

Walter de la Mare
When all, and birds, and creeping beasts,
When the dark of night is deep,
From the moving wonder of their lives
Commit themselves to sleep.

Without a thought, or fear, they shut
The narrow gates of sense;
Heedless and quiet, in slumber turn
Their strength to impotence.

The transient strangeness of the earth
Their spirits no more see:
Within a silent gloom withdrawn,
They slumber in secrecy.

Two worlds they have--a globe forgot,
Wheeling from dark to light;
And all the enchanted realm of dream
That burgeons out of night.