Foraging in the Fish Market, Catania, Sicily – Italy.

I had a fun rummage round the fish displays in the morning fish market in Catania, Sicily.  The wares ranged from beautiful to creepy to ‘orrible.

The creatures aren’t labelled because I don’t know what most of them are. Apart from the humans. And they don’t need labelling because it’s obvious which they are – they’re the ones with legs who aren’t dead.

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Pendle Hill – Training for Vesuvius. Sort of.

I’m saving up the airmiles and planning a summer tour of Italy’s volcanoes.

I asked my son if he wanted to come but he said, ‘you must be joking. Volcanoes are dangerous. I might get hurt,’ then went back to shooting zombies on a screen splattered with virtual zombie blood.

Now as everybody knows, volcanoes are made out of mountains (and with a bit of luck, fire), so I’ve got to get fit. Gym. Healthy eating. A complete fitness regime. Or in my case, Scrapheap Challenge.

My friend Sam thinks it’s hilarious. ‘You’ll never get that arse up Vesuvius,’ he said. Then he made me go up Pendle Hill. It’s a bit of a climb – only 55m short of being a mountain. I was huffing and wheezing like a Shetland pony with a heart problem, while gangs of octagenarians in kagoules and bobble hats said ”scuse me,’ as they skipped past with picnic hampers, fold-up tables and small dogs on leads.

But we persevered. Sometimes he dragged me, sometimes he pushed from behind and finally we reached the top where a large wet cloud was waiting for us.

I wish I could say the view was spectacular but there was nothing up there. Just stones and sheep and  the ghostly shapes of picnic tables and dogs frollicking as the bobble-hatted people ate their sandwiches.

It was worth it though, even if it did take 3 days to recover. In the meantime I’m writing to the Italian government to ask if they’d be good enough to install special ski lifts on both Vesuvius and Etna with my name on them.