Link: Sicily Scene.
That we Blogpowerers have little in common is evident from the most cursory scan of our blogs. However, by undertaking regularly to read and comment on each others output, we have made a neighbourhood in the vastness of the blogosphere. Our self-selecting community makes it all more manageable, more human.
Without Blogpower, I would never have spent any time reading Welshcakes Limoncello's blog, Sicily Scene. To begin with, she's Welsh (as am I, partly). Having grown up in the Principality, I cannot even hear "Wales" or "Welsh" without also hearing "narrow-minded." I had to leave as soon as I could, because village gossip, Socialist envy and "Chapel" judgementalism are just not my things. So I am sorry to say her nom de blog alone would have sent me running.
Then she's a teacher too. So is my wife who feels much the same about teachers, as a group, as I do about the Welsh. In both cases, many are nice enough people. In both, some are intelligent and interesting. One or two even dress well. But, life being short, there's simply no time for the hard work of sifting out the good ones.
Welshcakes blogs about food, mind. That's in her favour. But I am more into eating it than looking at pictures of it. Why a nation which still produces on average arguably the worst meals in Europe (don't talk to me about Gordon Ramsay, check out the motorway services) has such a thing about TV chef shows is beyond me. It's not a spectator sport, people!
Sicily, of course, is also in her favour. The place has dark glamour. Mention Wales, and I think of narrow minded teachers. Mention Sicily and I think of Michael Corleone's wife, Apollonia, played by Simonetta Stefanelli who sadly died last year. I remember the line that "In Sicily, women are more dangerous than shotguns."
Having said all that, Blogpower brought me along and I am now hooked. I read every word Welshcakes writes and enjoy all her photographs of food, cruel though they can be for a native of one culinary desert, residing in another. In everything she writes her personality shines through, in all her teachery Welshness.
Despite my firm belief in the time-saving merits of a good prejudice, I have come to like her. The test of a good blogger, is that you never ask yourself why they do it. It's a bizarre notion, in principle, to put your thoughts out on the Internet for any passerby to shoot down in flames. Many bizarre people, in consequence, take to it. But a good blog can justify itself in many ways.
Some bloggers have political agendas. Some are in a kind of self-therapy and appeal immediately to others with the same issues. Yet others just have something so interesting to say that you are happy to let them, and even join in. Welshcakes is one of those, I think. If she betrayed her Welshness by leaving the Principality and condemning herself to a life of hiraeth*, she does so even more by being frivolous. The Welsh don't do frivolity, as a rule. She does it very well. She also writes well, which is less surprising from a countrywoman of Dylan Thomas. It has always pleased the Welsh part of me that a Swansea man wrote the best English of modern times. Welshcakes is not in that league, of course, but she turns a mean phrase.
Take a look at her blog and give it time. Settle into the rhythm and you will find yourself acquiring real insights into another way of life. Seeing Sicily through the eyes of a Welshy is quite an experience. Watching her blossom into a Siciliana, as through the everyday details she grows into the local way of thinking is fascinating. There is a Welsh saying "Gorau Cymru, Cymro oddi cartref" meaning, roughly, that the further you are from Wales, the more Welsh you become. I think Welshcakes may yet disprove that.
Stick it on your blogroll, paesan, and you won't regret it. One day she will be too Sicilian to blog, and then it will be too late.
*A Welsh word for how much more miserable than usual a Welshy feels when outside Wales.