More Blogs about Buildings and Food


In which Ken and I spend a week looking at buildings and eating food. Yeah, we went into museums, but that’s really not why we came.

Ken has won at blogging this holiday, and that’s a fact. Over the week he’s blogged about our first encounter with an arancino in Oranges aren’t the only meat, about how we have fabricated an entire cultural history of Palermo based only on talking to each other in A backstory for all of Palermo and our eventual sit down encounter with cake in Winding streets and churches and finally cake. I, on the other hand have posted a couple of photos on friendface and have saved up so many photos I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN.

These students didn’t know that I was from the home of rioting since 1982, but they did a little welcome protest for me. Bless them.

The people from the internet were very keen that we should have cake, but it took us a few days to get around to it.

Ken giving ‘our’ dog some sausage skin.

We watched this dog from our window. He seems to spend his day herding traffic. After enjoying the sausage skin and saying hello to us some guys were pushing a van to get it started and he hared off to ‘help’.

This morning’s weather.

We slept like nuns in our little skinny beds.

The room was nice. And the people looking after us were kind but not in our faces. It was an easygoing scenario.

There was some sort of cooking going on behind this scruffy exterior.

The guy saw me taking a photo and waved and got his friend/brother to get in for another shot, but this one was better, so.. sorry friend/brother, you didn’t make the cut.

These trees are not good for making tree lined avenues. Rogue trees.

I think I read about these trees in Kew magazine years ago. Some city, not Palermo, I think, since they don’t seem to go in for avenues here, decided to use these to line a street. The thing is those ropey tendrils come down from the branches and then take root and grow into trees, so the trees just colonize the space over time. Not good municipal planting.

The puppet museum had a full set of Punch and Judy puppets.

It was the least tempting museum for me, but actually I liked it the best. I don’t suppose anyone comes to Palermo to go to museums, but we felt we should.

A couple of holy fellas.

Ken’s last day we stopped in a tailor’s and had an impromptu jam.

I would have walked past here, but Ken saw the instruments and went in. They made us welcome and we had the best time. And the most interaction we’d had all week with local people. Here’s a piece of advice for you – musicians make good travelling companions. Ken brought his uke out a lot, and played to various people, but even without it, music brought us together.

The guy eating biscotti taught Ken a choon.

Simon, the guy in the red jacket, said it was a ‘magic moment’ which it was. He asked if we had an electronic address, which we did. Hopefully he emails and I can send him the link to this post.

Ken leaves in a couple of hours, then I will have 24 hours on my own before my flight home.

doctor doctor, karl marx credit card, and a little music for you (earworm alert!)


Migraine Awareness Month #20:  “Run, Forrest, Run!” Describe the approach you think is best when it’s time to more on to a new doctor.

generally, in the uk, we now have group surgeries more often than not. a little while ago we had a doctor called sutcliffe who got a little bit murdery and it was thought that it would be a good idea to roll out the group practices. this is great news for anyone with complicated or chronic conditions, because it’s pretty hard to change practices, but easy enough to just start seeing another doc within the group. i recently moved house and had to register with a new doctor. as you might imagine, i have had lots of appointments, yet i have actually never met the doc i was registered with. my main criteria was that i should get some continuity of care and that the doc i stuck with should be clever and up to date. i am pretty pleased with the guy i ended up with.

on the other hand, although you get some initial choice when you go fishing for a specialist, once you get an appointment you are rather stuck with that person. the NHS is changing at the moment. we expect to get more superficial choice but ultimately less quality, so it’s probably an idea to get fixed up asap. due to a quirk in circumstances i could stick with the guy i have now, but i am considering not doing – and in this country that means another random card. but better for me, probably, than sticking with the hand i have been dealt.

it’s a tricky question, really, because on the one hand continuity of care is important to me, and on the other hand things can get a little stale. i’d say you have to sit and consider your needs every so often and ask yourself if you are better off sticking or twisting.

“National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by”

a german bank has issued a marx credit card. seems apposite for the times, no? a complicated mixed message indeed. although it is a fact that economists as well as sociologists study marx.

if you want to know how money works now you could do worse than watching this video. it’s an hour long so i won’t blame you if you don’t.

also, money is COMPLICATED, yo!


if you don’t want to watch that video you could watch this one. i warn you, though, the reason i am even thinking about it is because @thebustocrookes namechecked it in a tweet. i have had it as an earworm for days now and i can’t shake it.

one of the backup singers is a young kirsty maccoll. poor kirsty. she was amazing. i could never really get with the whole lady di’s death drama, but i was horrified when kirsty maccoll died. also john peel. loved john peel. anyway, here’s some kirsty.

drink more water, accepting an award, and a quote


Migraine Awareness Month #11:  “Say What?!” What’s the most ridiculous thing ever said to you about Migraines, who said it, and under what circumstances?

for me, it’s not just the STUPIDNESS of the thing, but also very much the context. a lot of the time i am interested in people’s suggestions, just because it’s usually simple things that are helpful (and i have fibro and possibly? a stand alone mental health condition, so i need all the help i can get) but there are some times when the “helpful suggestion” is just so annoying. and it’s usually when i think someone should know me better.

the time i am thinking of, in particular, was when some helpful soul suggested i drink more water. now, depending on how this is put or the timing of it, this can be a good idea. HOWEVER! in the ten years plus that i have suffered from chronic migraine i do think i have tried drinking more water. really, it’s not an obscure idea.

what pissed me off about this incident was that it was when i was involved with the buddhists in such a way that i was in a close knit group. you’d think that buddhists would be quite mindful and, adding insult to injury, this person had chronic pain issues too. i do understand that people often can’t bear my pain, most especially the fact that it is unlikely to go away. i get it, but the way i was told “drink more water” was so dismissive. as if i were a naughty person who deliberately didn’t drink water in order to give myself constant migraines! I’LL SHOW THEM HAHAHA! – let me be ILL ALL THE TIME! WHAT FUN!

no, it doesn’t work like that. thank you for your input.

“National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by”


and, breathe.

missus tribble offered me this award yesterday. thank god! i thought. not because i was desperate for recognition, although i am a fiend for praise, but because, crikey bongo! isn’t blogging every single day hard?

so having a TASK is a relief. only thing is that this one is a bit un-tasky because it requires me to tell you seven random things about myself, which still leaves a lot to me. however, it does at least let me extemporize in a way in which i might not have felt free to do otherwise. isn’t it weird, we have this space in which we can put pretty much anything, and yet we can still feel some sort of pressure. i don’t know when i became a monkey on a unicycle, i really don’t.

anyway, at the risk of having my precious award whipped away from me, the other half of the award equation is that of passing it on. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH EFFORT I MADE DOING THIS THE LAST TIME? DO YOU? loads, is what, and i think a grand total of zero bloggers accepted the award. so this time i am keeping the damn thing to myself.

so! on with the show!

seven random things. let me see.

1. my dog just grunted. she does that a lot. it’s the sound of contentment.

2. i need new glasses. these are totally wrong for my eyes now. this task involves going to an optician and having an eye test. neither of which mix and match well with this perma migraine i seem to have had the last fortnight or so. but having the wrong glasses on could easily be giving me headaches, so BLAH.

3. i will be 50 this month. i have mostly asked for cake, but my friend lottie asked me what else i wanted, so i sent her a list. mostly of things i wanted someone else to come with me to do. and we are going to do the first thing next friday, which is swimming in my local pool. AND what is more, friday is her day off, AND it is also a women only time at the pool, AND there is a poolside steam and sauna. mixing it UPUPUPUPUP!!!!!

4. ten claimed he found a wart on my side. i said ‘how do you know it’s a wart?’ and he said BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN WATCHING WITCH PORN. reader, it’s just as well i have a sense of humour, is all i can say.

5. i officially resigned from the buddhist things i was doing just after i moved here, in september. i am still more or less a buddhist, but probably in the same way as someone who says they are “C of E” is a christian. for those who are not in the UK, C of E is short for Church of England. saying you are C of E is more or less an admission of being fairly comfortable about not going to church, though might well marry in one.

6. when my mum visited recently she tried to help me hang the laundry. i let her, but it took ALL my restraint. odd thing, perhaps, but i like to hang my laundry myself. it’s not exactly a work of art, but i find it very comforting.

7. i like silence. i hardly ever listen to music. i used to love music. i think it’s the fibro. i especially can’t bear more than one sound source at a time.


My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.

Edith Sitwell
English biographer, critic, novelist, & poet (1887 – 1964)

10 things from cats to grumbles


1. so, i’ve got some cats for ya. pretty much as an apology in advance for some howling i am going to do later on. have them now or save them for later, the choice is yours.

here’s one to be going on with

2. i am having a total nervo about a benefits interview i have to have on thursday. obviously, it is what it is, but in the meantime i am digesting my own intestines with anxiety. there’s not much more to be said about it, really, but i just want to say HELP HELP. send all soothing vibes my way, because buddha skills aren’t cutting it with the screaming in my head.

3. so you see. we need the calming. i don’t actually listen to much music most of the time, but today i was listening to a radio show and billy bragg was on it. he talked about how he wrote a new england in which he says he doesn’t WANT a new england – then spent his writing career disproving that premis. i am not mad on billy bragg’s singing – he says himself he is rather a ‘busker’ but kirsty maccoll made a lovely job of the song.

4. we’ve been having a quiet time on our own the past few days while ten has been elsewhere doing things. i have got precisely bugger all done in his absence except eat a box of chocolates to myself. that doesn’t count as an achievement, does it? thought not…

5. we did see a dead swan on the towpath, though. some neighbours were looking at it and trying to guess how it had met it’s death. because i am a professional pathologist, having watched all of silent witness and lots of csi and the like, i knelt down and examined it. without doing a post mortem i couldn’t comment on lividity, but i was able to point out that the beak was caked in mud, suggesting the daft bugger had met it’s death face first. i blame pigeons, but that is CONJECTURE and very naughty. i observed that the swan was a juvenile and had quite the buzz when my neighbours asked HOW DO YOU KNOW? do you know how i knew? or is it just my neighbours who have led a sheltered non swan studying life?

6. on twitter, @lahikmajoe mentioned he was playing his uke in the park with a friend. this not only led me to send him an hour long documentary link about george formby, but now i am hearing ukes everywhere. here is the ukelele orchestra of great britain doing teenage kicks.

7. what else? well, i am jealous of everyone getting to watch the hunger games, but last night i did get to see wuthering heights finally. it was a lot better than i thought it would be, and the restricted palette of the film was beautiful rather than cloying. i watched it with my neighbour stephen, and he noticed how good the soundscape was. and it was, really good. i have no idea how they captured/created the wind, because wind is notorious for messing up sound recording bigstyle. here’s the trailer;

8. gosh, i didn’t know how i was going to do ten things, and now i am already on 8. i thought that i would want to really gripe about the benefits agency thing, but i guess there’s nothing to say since it hasn’t happened yet. still, kindly vibes, keep ‘em coming.

9. i thought you might like this infographic. the post itself describing how he made it is also good.

10. i have been posting every day lately. i really didn’t think that would be possible what with the life i lead and everything, but i’ve been enjoying rootling around in tumblr finding stuff to show you. i’ve got more, too. STAY TUNED!