Sicilian Almonds

[Attempt two]

It took a full day of travelling to cross Sicily: a falling apart car, three trains, and then a yellow van.

I’m still a fan of the Italian trains. One of the three was a tiny train up through the hills across Sicily. It was beautiful. The scenery reminded me of the North of England for reasons I cannot explain. Maybe I was just thinking too much about home. In another train, I stared out of the window, as we followed the stunning Mediterranean coastline. No train arrived on time, but all of them had enough room that I could keep my suitcase close by. I panic about leaving my suitcase out of sight.

Then there was the yellow van. By the time I was strapped in the van seat, my suitcase safely tucked in the back beneath some large sheets of wood, I was tired.

We took a detour to the house of Maria’s mother. Maria, a Sicilian craftsman, is my current host.

I exchanged pleasantries in a British fashion with her mother, a wonderful Italian nonna (grandmother) who insisted on giving me a pomegranate.

“My mother,” Maria explained.

An enormous pomegranate filled the fruit bowl and I admired it as was pointed out. You could have played football with it. Maria’s mother and I discussed the wonder of the night’s sky. Her father turned up fully dressed, with the addition of a dressing-gown, holding a pair of binoculars.

Leonardo, Maria’s partner, and I got ready to go; Maria’s mother disappeared to find me a plastic bag for my own small pomegranate. Maria shook her head despairing affectionately.

“The house of my mother – perfect, mine no.”

This not so perfect house – which I’d describe as lively – is where I’m living for a little while. Lively is an understatement.