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My day with the Duke.

My day with the Duke.

Let me tell you about my day with the Duke….IMG_5870

Yesterday I hung out with the Duke, a worldly man, a happy, gentle learned man, this man of the Arts…

We were ushered past tourists at the Royal Palace to the inner sanctums, where Gioacchino once more was delivering a presentation, & then a private tour of the historic Puppet Museum. We dined & we chatted. He drove & we walked. And last night at Teatro Massimo, Palermo’s famous theatre, we went to the opera, & backstage among all the hushed privilege & flowers & key performers….imagine how it all felt!!!IMG_5874

The previous night I went to a book launch in Palermo’s historic puppet museum with the Duke, who was one of the presenters. Obviously all in Italian…:)) I studied body language, personality nuances, the fashions, tried to work out each speech by gestures & a few identified words. It’s all so very unfamiliar, yet interesting & so out of my depth at the same time.

And today we spend much of the time together… Gioacchino must speak at the Royal Palace. One of the few places that avoided being raised to the ground by devastating bombs during Sicily’s many wars, it is immaculately preserved & presented. We are led past the rows of tourists & in through a private door. He arms me with a plan & we part company for a while.IMG_5877

For several fascinating hours I wander around & explore, I go on a guided tour…it is spectacular! Amazing, beautiful & challenging… I must get my head around the language, the instructions, the logistics, the history…. I stand in the gentle spring sun, waiting amid this marvel of architectural genius, this enormous structure of insurmountable talents.

I feel the history, the humanity of ages. I imagine the costumes, the activities, the emotions. I feel insignificant & humbled. I am honoured to be a speck in this grandeur. I pause & be still in this moment.IMG_5879

I am aware of just how fortunate I am… Because I am staying with the Duke & the Duchess I belong to them, & gratefully, a certain respect is afforded me. ย I get to go places, see & do things others may never be able to!! I am speechless & overwhelmed.

Home to the palazzo for lunch & then we are off to a puppet show just around the corner.

My gracious host chats liberally & learnedly, about history, politics & religion, & I enter these conversations with careful reservation. You know, those kinds of topics you are warned never to talk about in polite conversation. Those societal standards like never talk about sex or money. (Never act with children or animals.) Never ask a lady her age…. Not only am I not well versed on these topics of this foreign land, but I also need to keep up with Gioacchino’s often humorous articulation.IMG_5881

He is animated & I am tentative…. Surprisingly, from my perspective anyway, I manage to punctuate our little chats at seemingly appropriate moments. And on we roll!!!

Tonight I check some people in from Brisbane, Australia, just an hour from where I live, neighbours almost. It will be good to hear a familiar tongue I must admit…:))

And then we have tea, a pot of blooming tea, which unfolds gently before our eyes, becoming a work of art, a thing of beauty. The Duchess has taught me the exact maximum temperatures for different types of tea.

She has taught me the appreciation of tea consumption. And I have learnt to be a good student :)) With this particular blooming tea, the watching & the anticipation truly is a joy to behold!IMG_5806

Now, we head off to the opera, where some French, German & Korean guests are performing & conducting. It will be interesting again I am sure. And there you are…my day with the Duke.

Wait, I must go. I hear footsteps across the courtyard…& there he is once more, with his big smile & his charming persona, graciously ringing my bell! What a blessing….IMG_5804


  1. Aaaaahhhhh Roni ๐Ÿ™‚ yr posts are delightful & take me right back there to Butera28 ๐Ÿ™‚ pls keep them & the pics coming… See U soon xxx

  2. Thanks Val, we are so fortunate to have experienced this place & these wonderful people!! I’m so glad someone knows just how amazing it all is…& thanks for letting me know :)) xx love Roni

  3. Another lovely chapter, your life sounds so interesting and educational too!

    • Thanks Fran, it’s so special to experience all this, & just as special to know someone is enjoying the stories…you know i appreciate you :)) love Roni xx

  4. This is just wonderful Roni! How fantastic your journey is! It is so humbling to meet truly cultured people like the Duke and Duchess who take such delight in tradition and heritage. We will all be the better for reading your posts.

    • Oh Caro, how lovely of you to say, thank you! And yes I am certainly both humbled & maybe even a little bit wiser, definitely more educated because of these wonderfully generous & passionate people :)) cheers to you & your exciting new developments xx

  5. Hello neighbour…
    Great blog!!
    I’m waiting for more….

    • lol…thanks for taking the time Mel, glad to see you can appreciate this foreign neighbourhood as well as our local one :)) Ortigia is beautiful, clean & safe too, you guys will love it, cheers xx

  6. It almost seems a shame to devour the tea, destroying the wonderful image…

    • I know Roy…it’s not so much that you destroy the flower, but let me tell you, it is hard to throw it away at the end of the pot :)) ciao Roni xx

  7. Please forgive the indulgence….sharing Lynn Maree’s special words once again :))
    Lynn Maree
    Oh My! each post seems to outshine the last, as if that was even possible-you make me feel as though my arm chair is of the finest velvet, thank you for this inspiring ride…counting my blessings miss Roni, your written voice is exquisite….love from down under x
    What can I say to such humbling words…thankyou Lynn, I am so grateful!
    love Roni xx

  8. love, love, love your posts xoxo

    • lol…thankyou miss gorgeous girl. I love that I can stay in touch with people who care this way :)) big love xx

  9. Hi Roni,

    Just wanted to say congrats for the opening catering you did last week.

    Your client loved the party food you did for my man last June.

    Just wanted to let you know his illness won out and we far welled
    him today with a beautiful service.

    The love of my life is no more. I am shattered but pleased we had this time together.
    Best regards, Joyx

    • Omg Joy! I am so sorry!!! You are so gracious….I will PM you. My warmest loving care is wrapped around you from afar…xx

  10. About time we saw some pics of you in situ ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. You did??? No, sorry Fran, but maybe I will rectify that with a selfie or two :)) what do you reckon…? Xxx

  12. What a fabulous opportunity. You lucky thing! I’m so pleased for you and hope you enjoy every single second!

    • Thanks so much Maureen, I am very lucky indeed! And appreciating all I can absorb…even the hard bits :))
      cheers, love Roni xx

  13. Sounds amazing mumma … Can’t wait to get over there xx

    • Ohhh “squeal” I can’t wait for that either!!! I’m so excited already… can’t wait to throw my arms around you & show you stuff :)) xxx

  14. oh roni sounds like you’ve grown up your a big girl now lol would love to see a pic of you new family xxx

    • lol. thanks old mate :)) let me see what i can do…they are not camera shy so should be no problems :)) big love xx

  15. Absolutely beautiful!!! Your words and images are transportive…it’s sensational the way you describe the experiences, well done you! xxx

    • oh gee, thanks chickie! :)) nice to see you are having a bit of a peek, it is pretty bloody awesome :)) big love, your sister xxx

  16. This story is really evocative and beautiful – love the sculpture of the arabesquing girl and the blooming tea blossom – what an EXPERIENCE and a privilege – thank you for sharing it with us x

    • Oh my goodness Kylie, thank-you for appreciating the awesomeness of the experience. The dancing queen is in a central courtyard of the Kings Palace in Palermo!!! If you ever want to do the same, I am the girl to speak to about the connections….:)) love to you Roni xx

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