Tuesday, October 30, 2018

You won’t believe what I’ve been up to! I’ve resumed work on the Calcutta Cup vest!. Not much so far, beyond counting and calculating. My notes aren’t very good, as so often. But I’m back in the saddle, however uneasily.

Still, for now, back to Italy. We’re nearly finished. Here we are crossing the Strait of Messina, with our train in the bowels of the ferry:

Scylla and Charybdis were having a quiet day/

Our first day in Catania began at the fish market, as recommended by Jamie Oliver:

Wednesday October 17:

We have had a grand morning in Catania. I am sorry to take the afternoon away from Archie in this interesting place, but I must rest. He feels that seeing the Riace bronzes hardly was worth the journey all the way to Reggio. I don’t entirely agree, am glad to have seen them, but Sicily is better. We found a cannabis shop this morning (didn’t go in) but haven’t seen a cannolo yet. They’re very keen on Saint Agatha here.

{Archie outside the cannabis shop. That’s actually a cannabis vending machine:}

Now back from our evening expedition. We took a taxi to a famous cannolo shop and did the rest on foot. Excellent supper again. Yesterday’s tedium was good for me, I think — I felt much less shaken by evening, and slept really well. The bruises are fading and I will have little to show for my adventure when we get back. Tomorrow we will pursue St Agatha; Piazza Armerina on Friday.

Thursday October 18

Another good expedition. We went to the Benedictine monastery, which figures in “I Vicere” by de Roberto which I am laboriously reading. (It’s very long.) it is the second-largest Benedictine monastery anywhere. (Where is the first?) (Answer: Portugal) Archie was impressed — he hadn’t known monks lived like that. We missed bits which could only be seen on the guided tour, but saw plenty. Then we strode off to a series of 3 churches devoted to S. Agatha including the ruins of the late Roman prison in which she was incarcerated, and her actual footprints. Chiuso. We had a poor lunch in a humble taverna, and asked the waitress about getting into the church. “Domenica”. So much for Saint Agatha. She is the Agatha mentioned in the Mass.

{View from grotty café:}

We passed another cannabis shop and this time went in. Archie bought himself a tin of iced tea laced with medicinal cannabis. (Apparently there are two types.) I was tempted to buy you a souvenir cannabis-shop-Catania tee-shirt, G., but Archie said no. 

So tonight Archie has been commissioned to find a super-duper restaurant, a taxi-ride away if need be.

He’s done so. They serve cocktails — rather alarming.


  1. Well done you for picking up the vest again. So long as you have a plain vanilla project to run alongside it for when you are tired. I am proceeding with Geiger. The instructions only seem to make sense when I knit the section for the second or, in some cases, third time. Fortunately the yarn is holding up well to being unravelled each time.

  2. Anonymous10:10 AM

    Gosh, both St. Agatha (the details of her martyrdom kind of traumatized me as a teenager). and cannabis all in one place. Sicily is quite a cultural explosion even without the Mafia. Chloe

  3. Oh yes, like Chloe, Agatha was one of the more traumatizing of the virgin martyrs we studied! There were many Sicilians where I grew up, so lots of St. Agatha.