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To celebrate the arrival of our new fridge, Mr. Waffle has taken the Princess to the supermarket to buy lots of frozen food, leaving me here all alone. Most thrilling. So let me use this time productively to tell you about our Sicilian odyssey.

Let me group my observations:


Do not for a second assume that by handwashing clothes you can clean them to the same kind of standard as a machine does. After ten days of handwashing, our clothes were filthy and revolting. My father-in-law, the captain of industry, also resorted to handwashing but, somehow, he never looked quite as grubby as us. On the plus side our clothes never blew away (held down by weight of accumulated grime). However, my mother-in-law determined that the capt’s clothes would never dry in the shower and put them on the balcony, from whence “a garment” drifted down into the private area of the guesthouse. A couple of days later I was witness to the exquisitely embarrassing moment when the lady of the house asked my poor mortified father-in-law whether the garment she was holding between outstretched finger and thumb belonged to him.

The Princess

She had the time of her life. There was not a moment when she was not surrounded by adoring admirers. One of our guidebooks said that the Sicilians worship children.  They’re not kidding. And then there were all the relatives. Dutiful grandparents who babysat and obeyed the imperial will. Publishing exec who was perhaps less instantly obedient to the royal will but still did her bidding on most requests.  She was strangely reluctant to fetch the Princess’s ball from wherever it was thrown. She explained, as she tried to catch the ball and missed, that she was never one of those hockey girls. Well no, I can see that, if she thought that you needed to catch the ball, that shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the game.

I regret to say, however, that the Princess was not in her best looks. On the first night she was eaten alive by mosquitos and she has, even now, not entirely recovered her looks. Then she looked like a small pox victim. In fact, someone at the beach asked whether she had chicken pox. This was not great for wedding pics. Oh well, she didn’t care.

And she loved the beach unconditionally. She loved swimming in the sea and playing with sand on the edge of the water. It was wonderful to see her little face light up when she saw the water. Due to her parents’ diligence she was not sun burnt once (smug face). On our last day an Italian lady came up to worship at her shrine and asked, looking at our milky white bodies, whether it was the first day of our holidays. No, I said, the tenth. She called her friends to come and look at us. It is difficult to maintain smugness in these circumstances.

The Food

Inexpressably fabulous. Best part was the wonderful Villa Raino where the food was the best we had in Sicily (and that’s saying something) and the people were fantastic. We may have been assisted by the fact that the bride’s father is a mate of the owner, but really, they were marvellous. The ten year old daughter of the house entertained and looked after the Princess, the mother ironed my going out dress for me. The father whipped up delicious meals at odd times and short notice. And they had a pool. When we go back, and we will be going back, we will spend all our time there.

Sicilians also do ice cream in a brioche bun which I thought was great, others were not so keen. My saintly father-in-law bought me some and then he watched me eat it through gritted teeth (his, not mine, you understand).

The wedding

My new sister-in-law is a very good looking girl and tall and thin and she dresses beautifully. I try not to hold this against her as she is also a really lovely person but you can imagine what a trial it is to me. For her wedding she surpassed herself, she looked unbelievably beautiful. And the church was gorgeous.  And the Italians played with the Princess at the back of the church while Mr. Waffle carried out his best man duties at the front. And the publishing exec sang and her cousin played. It was all lovely.

And then off to the reception. Italian wedding dinners tend to have many courses. The bride’s da wanted 12. She wanted 4. They seem to have settled on 8. My God, what a lot of food. We sat down about 8.30 (having first had some antipasti outside to take the edge off our hunger) and ate solidly until 1.15 in the morning.

Then for the speeches. This took the Italian relatives a bit by surprise as, given the length of dinner, they don’t go in much for speeches. All the speakers spoke in English and Italian. No surprises that the bride and her father spoke Italian, but I think everyone was amazed by Mr. Waffle’s fluency and his father’s. The groom had studied Italian, so less amazement there. In fact, Mr. Waffle is a con artist, he can speak a bit of Italian, but his vocabulary is minimal (he got an Italian colleague to help him with his speech). However, he has a brilliant Italian accent. So even though I speak far better Italian than he does, people always turn to him expectantly given his fabulous pronounciation. Life is full of injustice. Though all the speeches were very good, the big surprise was the groom. Like his brother, when asked to name an emotion, he will usually say something like “hunger, does hunger count?” In fact, more often than not, he will deflect questioners by saying “ah, you know yourself”. This is surprisingly effective. So, it was all the more touching to hear him speak affectionately about his bride in public and enumerate some of her many fabulous qualities. The publishing exec who, like her papa, is “made of reinforced marshmallow” wept copiously and a number of us shed furtive tears.

So then at 2 there was dancing. The brother-in-law used to play in a band and he imported them for the event. The lead singer described how he (b-i-l) had asked would they play at his wedding and they said – of course where is it, Dalkey, Killiney, Dun Laoghaire? No, Sicily. But they were committed by then. And they were a great band. Wedding bands are usually pretty awful. After they finished I told the lead singer that they were the best wedding band I had ever heard. He smiled politely. Mr Waffle hissed in a furious undervoice that they weren’t a wedding band, they were just doing this wedding. Oh well. Thrillingly, the groom joined them on keyboards for a while and we got to see him in action.

At 4.00 the disco started, but secure in the knowledge that the Princess would rise at 7 we reluctantly went to bed. This is officially the latest night we have had since she was born. And, we would have loved to stay later. Fantastic.


on 06 September 2004 at 09:38

Hmm. Pero, non credo che sia giusto…
Liked your post about your cv by the by.


on 06 September 2004 at 10:42

Triste, ma allineare…. đŸ˜‰

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