Wednesday, January 17, 2018

So, Monday morning, we went to the Cathedral of Monreale – a splendid end to the week. The website says that only 350 people are allowed in at a time, and visits are restricted to half an hour. It wasn’t like that. There were perhaps as many as four dozen people there – and seats were available for sitting on. And it is gloriously, astonishingly beautiful. I wondered if Hagia Sophia in Constantinople had once been like that, a whole golden space.

This is, I am afraid, the only picture I took the whole time we were there, as Archie and I sat in a café waiting for the time we had assigned to the taxi driver. Those are oranges on those clipped trees. Archie took lots of pictures, and I will soon post (I hope) the one I signalled to him to take, of me and Tancred at lunch in the Palazzo Lanzi Tomasi. It’s not a very good picture, but there we both are.

Our plane left late on Tuesday afternoon – EasyJet does one round-trip per day, and turns around on a dime. Archie pointed out that we had been there a whole week and hadn’t been to a museum or art gallery, so we went to the Museum of Sicilian Art. We’d have done better with Archaeology, but it isn’t as conveniently located. Sicilian Art has one beautiful Antonello, and is located in an old palazzo. Otherwise little to recommend.

BUT, by good luck rather than good management, we happened upon the best meal we’d had all week (except for the one we cooked ourselves) at the Ristorantino Palazzo Sambuca nearby. I had a Sicilian version of a prawn cocktail/salad – the prawns (those little ones) were raw, and they were delicious.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the homeward journey – smooth – and the reunion with my dear cats.

I enjoyed the new Fruity Knitting, although not the best; and I have done a row and a half, perhaps, on the shawl. I had forgotten how long those rows are, all four borders. And here we are in ’18 and the baby is due in April, so I had better keep my nose to the grindstone.

Snow, today. Helen turned up at 7:30, still pitch dark, me dozing to the Today programme, my happiest hour of the day. She cleared the steps and the car and told me to stay in. Alexander came over from Glasgow and reiterated the advice. More snow is forecast for tonight.


  1. And we have snow in North Carolina! I am enjoying your trip, Jean. You have the very best travel companion! Your grandchildren are very lucky to know you as adults and to be able to enjoy your company as an adult. I lost the 3 I knew as a child, and in reading about your adventures with Archie I am realizing how much I missed.

  2. You have snow and we are expecting two days of 39C in Melbourne. Want to send me a bucketful please?

  3. I have told the Senior Cat (aka as my father) he is to stay in too - because it is currently 42'C here. If Moorecat doesn't need all that snow then we would greatly appreciate some. It will last about 5 seconds but it might water at least one plant!

  4. Your trip was wonderful. I may go to Palermo just to cook with the Duchess!
    Could Archie be enticed to do a blog entry to accompany some of his photos?

  5. Anonymous11:26 AM

    Sensible advice to stay indoors. Keep warm and admire the view from the windows!
    Helen (anon)

  6. So glad you are back, Jean - yes, I'm always late with my comments:)! Travel can take a lot out of you. My bet is a few days of taking it easy and hopefully some fresh air and sunshine when you can get it will ultimately bring back your strength. Knitting doesn't hurt either:)! Welcome back and thank you for posting.

  7. I've just had an email re the Vintage Shetland project, checking my mailing address. We may see our books this year!

  8. I'd love to hear how the cats welcomed you home and also how your Italian fared in Sicily. Yes do listen to your wonderful children and stay indoors till the conditions are better.

  9. Yes! A guest travel blog post from Archie.