Monday, October 29, 2018

Here we are, a fortnight ago, about to leave Reggio Calabria for Catania, on Sicily:
16th October:

Now we have a long wait for our taxi to Villa S. Giovanni. Better than wandering about that place, however. At least we’re sitting down peacefully.

Excitement since I last wrote. I tripped on some anfractuosity of the pavement on our way to supper last night, and fell headlong. {A bystander sprang forward out of the shadows and helped Archie haul me to my feet. I would have preferred a moment or two to lie there and take stock.} Some bruises and scrapes, but no structural damage to self. I felt shaken, and still do. However the left lens flew out of my spectacles on impact — that WAS serious.

{How I missed Radio Four/World Service that night!  In Edinburgh, I sleep with the radio on. I sleep well. I don’t hear much. But that night I would so have welcomed calm British voices talking about Brazilian politics or Brexit or Mohammad bin Salman.}

But this morning, after checking out, we proceeded along the Corso Garibaldi towards an oculist recommended by the hotel and passed another one long before we got there. Two mafiosi were standing about inside, quite unoccupied, so we went in and they reinstated the lens (it’s plastic, and scratched — I’ll have to see my man in Edinburgh) and tightened things up and took no payment. Then we went on and got your nduja, C. I was glad to have purchased some at Valvona and Crolla recently and thereby to have learned how to pronounce it. The “j” comes out “y”.

And here we are in Catania. It has been a long, hard day.  After the long morning’s wait, we got on the train at Villa S. Giovanni and sat on it for an hour, right there. Finally it started off for the ferry boat. “Eppure! Si muove!”  cried the nice man sitting opposite. This may be a joke that Italians make all the time, but it delighted me. 

No food at all, on that one. Archie has chosen a near-by restaurant and we will set off soon. The train kept announcing that it was going to Palermo and caused much anxiety thereby.

{Neither Greek Helen nor her husband David, both expensively educated, understood the reference above, so I will risk explaining it. When Galileo spread the news among his friends that the earth went around the sun, he got into trouble with the church authorities. He was called in, and recanted, and was heard to mutter as he left the room – “But it does move” – “Eppure si muove”}


  1. Anonymous2:06 AM

    I greatly appreciate your notes along the road.
    Thanks for sharing them.
    Yes the Galileo line is very funny!
    I hope you are starting to feel better as the new week begins.

  2. Hilde in Germany4:53 AM

    I am very proud of me because I understood the reference to Galilei! Maybe it has something to do with my husband and my son both being physicists.

  3. As usual, my husband got the Galileo reference and I didn't.
    The fall sounds very unpleasant. Thank goodness you had Archie with you and no bones were broken.

  4. I’m glad you were able to continue on after your fall. I have gone down a time or three and been quite shaken up for longer afterwards than I considered reasonable.
    I had to share the Galileo reference with my husband who was very impressed with the caliber of my on-line reading.

  5. Anonymous10:59 AM

    Thank for this wonderful post, Jean! Sorry about your fall, though! Chloe

  6. So glad to read these notes. A great way to share with us your wonderful latest adventure.

    Next time you can listen to radio 4 via your iPhone. Just use the iPlayer app. I listen to 3 4 and 4 extra all the time here n the states.

  7. I did enjoy the Galileo joke. Once you explained it, of course!

  8. Anonymous2:06 PM

    Galileo went right over my head.
    So dense.
    I am concerned with your falls. I had that propensity to beout and about and moving - the WHAM and I was

    Shakes you right down to your toes - doesn't it??? that falling business. I believe you are on a quest to regain your balance and equilibrium. You will need a sassy trainer at first who isn't afraid of the shiver and shake of bending over to pick something off the floor or of standing on one foot. This is probably not a notification of pending death....after all, we're all headed in that direction anyhow. I think your body may be saying "Hey , you want to live a balanced life or trip your way to heaven?
    Do not disregard this letter.

  9. Anonymous3:13 PM

    I've known the Galileo quote since childhood - love its application here.

    Glad that your fall wasn't too painful, but yes, falls are nerve-rattling even when they produce no physical injury. I hope you're getting back into your stride now.
    -- Gretchen (aka stashdragon)

  10. =Tamar6:19 PM

    I love the Galileo joke. But seriously, what are they teaching them in schools these days? Even if it seems doubtful, it's a great cultural myth.