The last time I wrote on this blog it was a cold and dark November day. I stopped ostensibly for my Italian exams (taken and passed) and then work and winter happened and before I knew it six months had passed and I as I am writing this we are in the midst of a beautiful Sicilian summer. And life is good (not least because the day temperatures are set to hit 37° is a Sunday and I have NO intention of leaving the house). This year will be my seventh Sicilian summer and I think I’ve finally cracked it. In the best Sicilian style I can now drink two Espressos (what is the plural of Espresso?) without breaking into a sweat, cook a fantastic pasta with tomatoes and fresh basil and perhaps the most difficult thing of all – look normal and (almost) presentable after two hours on the beach (no sand in hair, no white suncream smears over red hot sweaty face, no squelchy wet feet). This takes practice. Years ago I taught an English teacher who turned up to her lessons perfectly coiffed despite coming straight from the beach. Oooh the envy. Then one day a lovely chemist suggested I tried La Roche-Posay suncream. Factor 50, matte finish. Face no longer like a two day-old frying pan. Job’s a good’un. In Italy the one thing you must avoid above all else is “la brutta figura” – looking a like a fool. I always suspected that I looked like a hot and sweaty fool during the summer months, I hope I now cut a bit of a “bella figura” on the beach. I say a bit – unfortunately Italian poise cannot be bought in a chemists but if anyone knows where you can buy a bottle of Italian glide, I would gladly swap it for English stomp. Another seven years…..