March arrived and it felt like time was suddenly racing on and we needed to crack on with some boat jobs. New covers for the cockpit seats, finishing the solar water heater (read about that here), lighting for the back deck and numerous other little jobs.
Bar Stella Marina has been the venue for many social activities this winter, hosting two happy hours (more like at least three hours) a week, the Open Mike nights, rugby and Siinterklassavond. It is owned by a local family and they have been very good to us. It was also the venue for the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Over the years we have collected a good number of Paddy Day hats and when we were deciding what we should keep on the boat and what should go, the hats became keepers, squashed up in a Packmate roll up storage bag. They proved their worth when we brought them out for the party, along with hats and decorations brought by others, to really set the night off. We started the afternoon on Emerald with Black Velvets (Guinness and Prosecco) and green coloured snacks. Then off to the bar where food colouring was used to turn our white wines green!
The Irish contingent had another reason to celebrate the following weekend with an excellent last day of the Six Nations watched at Bar Stella on their TV. The rugby weekends were very sociable afternoons, and having a mix of nationalities watching added to the fun with plenty of friendly banter to go around. On the last day of the tournament I had my three changes of clothes – starting with my Italia T-shirt, then into Irish and rounding off with an England shirt. I reckon that last day came close to being one of the best days of rugby I’ve watched, it was hard to keep looking at the TV at times, the games were so close and tense.
San Giuseppe (Joseph) is a patron saint of this region of Sicily and the 22nd March was his day. They celebrate with a votive dinner where people’s homes are used for the display of tablefulls of homemade food. In the evening San Giuseppe was paraded through the streets, although they went for the easier option of a wheeled cart rather than carrying the float around. The main square and side streets were decorated with lights and the procession set off from the church led by children holding candles, followed by a band, the wheeled cart and then the townsfolk. We followed along for a while but it was slow going so took a tactical decision to head back to the square for a drink. We were waiting for the fireworks but in true Italian style no one was able to give us a definate time for when they were being set off. We arrived at the firework site a little early and very nearly gave up on waiting when the sound of the band could be heard getting closer. San Giuseppe was parked in a prime viewing spot and for such a little town they knew how to make a big bang.