Tag Archives: delight

Sicilian Delight

Earlier this year I had my first European trip. I went to Sicily and fell in love. Swallows described their joy in the Spring sky. Wildflowers bloomed lavishly in fields, beside roads and in any available spot. No self-indulgent romance this. I fell in love with the natural beauty, the baroque towns, heritage, culture – food to live for – and the wonderful people.

I went with my best friend C and her octogenarian (young at heart) mother, to see my late father’s homeland. I went with C because, besides being a great person, she’s superbly, utterly fluently bi-lingual. I’ve only ever had a smattering of Italian. (We spoke English at home.)

C and her mother were going to visit extended family, which I don’t really have in Sicily.  My uncles and aunts emigrated. My grandparents are long dead. BUT, I couldn’t have begged, prayed or hoped for a better experience of Sicily. C’s extended family embraced me and treated me as their own. As did friends of her family. Such warmth, kindness, generosity!

We were taken to so many beautiful towns – Ibla – the old part of Ragusa, Modica, Scicli, Noto, Caltogirone – all part of the UNESCO World Heritage listed circle of Baroque towns. All are lovely and each has its own particular baroque character and qualities and its arts and crafts. We went to Syracusa and the Santa Lucia church, where you can see original pillars from the temple of Diana! The history and heritage is amazing.

Sicilians love their country and want to share that love of heritage and culture – without arrogance, but with enthusiasm. And then there’s the FOOD. From the simplest – absolutely the BEST ricotta you will ever taste – through the luscious regional specialties – delicious seafood in coastal towns, special pasta sauces, dolce,  to the resfreshing, reviving spremuta of blood orange. Feeling a bit tired from all the walking and looking at historic sites? Have a freshly squeezed blood orange juice and be reinvigrated.  Family meals were a particluar delight.

And yes, I had to speak Italian. I wanted to learn and I did, although C often had to translate for me. But because I tried to speak Italian, even haltingly,  Sicilians were appreciative and supportive. By the end of the fortnight I was speaking Italian, I would say, like  a four year old Sicilian – una ragazza. Although intelligent four year olds were more fluent and had a larger vocabulary. I’m still studying and learning.

We also went to where they film that great Inspector Montalbano series. We saw the Commissario’s house and other locations. Sicilians love Montalbano – justifiably. Some years ago, I found Montalbano via the films on SBS (Australia) then went in search of the novels by Andrea Camilleri superbly translated by Stephen Sartarelli.

I returned home, with a great love of things Sicilian and of the wonderful people. I’m so grateful to my best friend and her family and friends.  I’m a member of the newly formed Sicilian Association of Australia. The love affair continues.


I prepare and present a radio programme – Best Medicine – on Southern FM Melbourne. After returning from Sicily I had the opportunity to interview Stephen Sartarelli (who was visiting Australia). If you want you can hear that interview. It’s available as a podcast.

Go to www.southernfm.com.au then go to podcasts and go to Best Medicine and select the Sartarelli podcast

Radio Pleasures (2)

Radio Pleasures – Some More

It’s always a delight to talk with Robert Rabbin. He walks the ‘high wire’ net free. In any sentence he can range from playful through ironic/self-deprecating to thoughtful and earnest. No bull, no mask. The man lives what he teaches: he is authentic, open, vulnerable and passionate about many things, including helping others to free themselves to live and be truly, joyously, who they are.

In March 2009 I interviewed him about his E-book Sound Bites From Silence (downloadable from his website www.robertrabbin.com) The hour sped by and I read a Sound Bite (a brief prose poem about/invocation to enter Silence/Meditation). Robert asked me to turn the work into an audiobook. Yes, I was remunerated for my professional work; but that’s not why I’m writing about him or the book.

I worked with a friend – Kenny Layhe, sound engineer extraordinaire, brilliant collaborator, delightful colleague to work with and much more. When we had a version ready for Robert to listen to and critique I contacted him. Robert said he would accept what we gave him – version unheard! An honour, humbling and scary.  Kenny and I had various people listen and give us feedback, before delivering the final version.

Then because Sound Bites From Silence is so important to him, Robert made the audiobook a free download for the first few months. It’s now $9.95 from his website. He’s just not doing it for the money.  Good man.

Robert, Kenny, my dear friend Shirley Randles (Write Now 88.3FM Thursdays 7-8pm)  and I discussed the making of the audiobook on my programme The Best Medicine (88.3FM Tuesdays 11am-noon, also streaming on www.southernfm.com.au) in December ’09. I’ll be replaying the programme soon.

You can find out more about Robert, his books, many articles, work and much more at:    www.robertrabbin.com.

Kenny Layhe can be contacted at:   klayhe@mac.com

Happy New Year and may it be a good, healthful, productive and happy one for you.



Radio Pleasures

Radio Pleasures

What do a Shoe Princess, a Rotarian passionate about Men’s Health issues, a young woman living with a debilitating chronic pain syndrome, the CEO of Ardoch Youth Foundation, an adventure racer/personal trainer, a vision impaired IT expert, a man diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 2 years of age, a Meditation guru and a New South Wales Woman of the Year have in common?

Answer: My radio programme. They and many more have been guests on my health & wellbeing programme The Best Medicine on 88.3FM (Melbourne, Tuesdays, 11am – noon AEST).

Preparing & presenting my programme is demanding, time consuming, fascinating and so often humbling – as when guests share their personal experiences of illness, pain or chronic conditions. I’m humbled and also inspired by how they cope – often with humour and/or helping others, how they find meaning and how they just get through each day.

I do community radio, so I can give a whole programme to certain topics: Alzheimers, Chronic Pain etc which I think people want to know about, or a whole programme to an author – as I’ve done so many times this year and in previous years.  No one limits me to superficial brief chats. I like depth and detail and I think a lot of listeners do too.

Here’s a selection:

Emma Bowd wrote The Shoe Princess’ Guide to the Galaxy – a novel about a shoe lover, corporate high flyer and new mum adjusting to a world no longer under her control.

I talked with Liane Moriarty author of What Alice Forgot – an engaging, engrossing, funny novel about amnesia and second chances.

Basia Bonkowski shared with us her experience of having to let go of her remarkable elderly mother in her moving work Shimmer.

The ever amazing Sandy Jeffs talked about her memoir Flying with Paper Wings , in which she explores her distressing, troubled family life and her ‘madness’ – schizophrenia; her saviours: two friends and writing. It’s insightful, intelligent, cogent, humane, searingly honest, lyrical and at times humorous – and transforming. Read it and start to understand the hellish suffering of those with a mental illness. Gain insight and compassion.

And then there was Steven Amsterdam, the author of the Age Book of the Year 2009Things We Didn’t See Coming. He’s an amazing person and a skilled writer. His dystopian vision of a not-too-distant future of social and environmental breakdown is a timely warning, but much more it is an affirmation of the need to connect and to be true to self despite terrible circumstances. The ending is deeply moving. If you want to listen to an MP3 version of the interview it’s on my website: www.gaytana-adorna.com under radio programmes. I plan to add some more in a while.

Steven was sent to me by the wonderful Christine Darcas author of Dancing Backward in High Heels, who asked me to be in conversation with her for her author talk during the Bayside Literary Festival this year. I interviewed her on my programme  in 2008.

For Anzac Day I awoke VERY early and was part of the team associated with the broadcast of the Dawn Service from Hampton RSL and then had the privilege of  interviewing some returned servicemen. Listening to Vietnam Vets talking about PTSD and the effects on their families and themelves and old diggers from WW2 still haunted by memories is another humbling reality check. I think I’ll be back for more next year if the team wants me.

I love doing radio.