Monday, 19 July 2021

Summer cocktails

 No, this blog is not turning into Sue's News and Booze, but "summer cocktails" more in the sense of lots of small ingredients going into making this post. And some literal cocktails, too.


Hello Sweden

I've noticed a couple of thousand hits on this blog in the last week or two from Sweden. It's either one very enthusiastic person reading everything several times, or a lot of you have tuned in at once. Hi there, välkommen, I hope you find it interesting. 

Vaccine due

The vaccination programme where I live in Italy is continuing apace, but has been carefully and rightly targeted on the old, the vulnerable, and key workers in the front line first. Being none of these, I've become entitled to one since late June but it's taken me a while to navigate the complicated booking system. I hope to have my first jab at the end of the month and this should (assuming the certification system works) give me freedom of movement as well as keeping me protected. Why everything has to be done using poor quality computer systems that governments buy on the cheap rather than a doctor just giving you a certificate when you are vaccinated is anyone's guess.

Trans rights - never trust politicians

There has been a bill working its way painfully through the Italian parliament. It is just about alive in the Senate. What many people don't realise is that politics is not so much about making laws as providing opportunities for politicians to boost their egos and careers when they horse trade and argue on bits of proposed legislation. It may involve  people's lives and rights but massive egos don't care about that.

Very briefly, there are good legal protections for trans people here but only if they are transitioning or have transitioned. As part of a bill against discrimination against women, the disabled and the gay community, there are better protections proposed against all trans discrimination. But the trans community is the poor cousin as ever and many parties want to take the trans bit out. They realise that women can not longer be subdued and the gay community is too 'out' now so targeting the smaller trans community is deemed easier by those who love to divide and rule, show who's boss and generally enjoy holding power over people. It would be easy for the larger gay and disabled communities, and women, to throw trans people under the bus as long as that gets the rest of the bill passed to help them, but I'm glad to say this hasn't happened and the proposers insist trans protections should stay in, too. That means the whole bill may fail. Italy has never lost its fascist party, although it has another name now, nor (like any other country) does it lack politicians who are happy to play with lives and rights simply so they can make a mark in parliament, get on TV and further their careers. I can't say how this will end but it's not looking good right now. Fingers crossed.

Weight loss

My weight loss is still going well and last week I lost a further three pounds (1.3 kg) and I could at last see and feel a difference. Wish me luck. Although I am being conscious of what I eat, and I swim every day, I find the best weight loss activity is to carry my groceries home up the very steep lane that runs directly along the mountain crest at the back of the house. It's very pretty, with beautiful views and some gorgeous plants, like this purple bush that the bees and butterfies love. I don't know what it is, but there's lots of it around here and it's very striking.

Summer coolers

It's hot in most places and so far this year we've seen how Vancouver has broiled and Germany has suffered what here is called a "water bomb". I experienced one of those in Milan two years ago and it was terrifying, precipitation so intense it was like being under the sea. I feel very upset for the people killed, missing and made homeless. I visit Germany frequently and the very first place I ever visited in Germany, in 1983, was Bad Neuenahr in the Rhine Valley that has been badly damaged. So it feels close to home. One feels helpless these days with news like this yet being able to do nothing about it. I hope the devastation can be repaired swiftly and life can return to normal.


As for fending off the heat, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am perfecting the art of making summer cocktails. Just one a week, mind, as I am keen to lose weight and alcohol is uniquely fattening.

This week's item (see the image at the top of the page) is a take on margarita, with lime juice, Cointreau, prosecco, soda water, sugar and lots of ice.

Last week's masterpiece was a melon Malibu sgroppino

A sgroppino is a drink originating in Venice where it's usually lemon sorbet, vodka and prosecco. 

Here, though, we have home-made melon sorbet (which, if I say so myself, is fabulous), Malibu or other coconut rum, lime, and prosecco or similar light fizzy wine (here I used sparkling pinot). Totally refreshing, it's ideal after a meal on a hot day.

To make sorbet, make sugar syrup by boiling an equal amount of sugar and water (e.g. 200 ml or water and 200 g of sugar, or 8 fl oz water and 8 oz sugar) and let it cool. Add a third such measure of melon juice. You could whizz chunks of fresh melon in a liquidiser/blender but I prefer to grate it as this reduces the chance of fibrous parts getting into the juice. Put the mix in the freezer, preferably in a metal bowl as this freezes faster. Ideally you should stir it every hour or two as this prevents water separating out and freezing separately. You can get sorbet machines that will do this labour for you but I think them an excessive luxury. 

Other juices that work well for sorbet are orange, lemon and lime, green apple (which doesn't turn brown). Soft fruits can work, like strawberries, but they can go brown fast so work quickly.

If you want to make a sgroppino like mine, add a measure of Malibu and two of prosecco, with lime slices. It is an original recipe of mine (I've checked and there's no other online) and I share it here as a a philanthropic gesture for the benefit of all mankind on hot days! Cheers!

A dip in the archives

I was going through my Sparkle photos when I was writing my last but one post and the points above remind me of the very hot summer of 2013. I had a particularly cool and floaty dress at Sparkle that was perfect for the weather. Not so fitted and shapely as the others I wore in previous years, but that was for the best in the heat!

I am determined to get back into these little dresses!

Sue x

Cari lettori italiani

Secondo le statistiche create da questo sito, ho pochi visitatori dall'Italia anche se adesso ci abito. Però continuerò a scrivere per voi in italiano, che mi sembra giusto. Questa settimana ho avuto tanti lettori dalla Svezia. Se conoscessi lo svedese scriverei anche per loro! 

Ho prenotato il mio vaccino. Devo farlo in Lombardia (mi trovo in Liguria) e spero che questa variante Delta non chiuda le regioni di nuovo prima che io possa farlo e prendermi il green pass.

Chi sa cosa succederà con questa legge Zan? Ho spiegato in breve per lettori di lingua madre inglese cosa sta succedendo.

L'altro ieri ho letto un articolo interessante sul film Transamerica uscito nel 2006. Un ottimo film, a mio avviso. L'articolo è qui: Transamerica

Sue x


  1. I do look in from time time and you seem to be keeping well. Enjoy reading some of your thoughts too. Latest image of you, I seem to recognize someone in the background! :-)))) Please take care and may be one day, see you again. Hugs. K.D. xx

    1. Hi KD, good to hear from you. When this pandemic is all over I will be able to get to the North West again and let's see if we can meet in Manchester or Chester.

      As for the photo, that's the nice one. There's another from the same occasion with all my 'friends' cocking a snook at me!

      Sue x