Arriving under the volcano

Up at ten past three after a despicable night's sleep, and L and stumbled around getting dressed. Out into the heavy rain in Zombie mode and drove off to Gatwick airport's summer special car park. L handed over the key to the car, and correcting the number of our numberplate for their records. Then to the Easy Jet check in, mostly automated. We got to the automated check-in, and the computer said no. Wranging a check in staff member, who allowed us to check in, but said the aircraft that had been supplied was smaller than the original one, and there were too many passengers.This led to hellish scenes standing in queues for hours not sure if we would be able to fly, and then sitting on the plane for hours while they finally got the chosen ones on board, and took all the luggage out of the plane and sorted through it for the bits belonging to the losers.

Lorraine and I were not sat next to one another either, and both in middles of rows. Flight a bit choppy but not too bad. I have a bit of a balance issue where I get a touch of vertigo, and my worst bit was when the plane banked in the cloud we had been flying through, and I felt like the plane was spinning.  Reading, Calypso by David Sedaris, helped. It made me laugh out loud a few times. Landed in Catania, and looked across the woman next to me at Mt Etna which was smoking merrily. Luckily the people of the town weren't obviously fleeing.

Through passport control, fast forwarding past the Russians, as we are still just members of the EU (what has the EU ever done for us? etc.) Our case arrived, and we pushed out into the throng, had a snack, and began the difficult business of finding our hire car walking in the hot sun, we found the office and eventually our oven-like car.

Lorraine nervous about driving on the right in a new car in a new country on the wrong side of the road, but following the directions drove south about 80 km to Noto, the road passing through big tunnels, as speeding Italian drivers whizzed past us, there were parts of the motorway where the lanes hadn't been painted in were tricky for Lorraine too. I was looking for signs, reading the directions on my phone and cross referencing with google maps that said we were on a road with a completely different name.

Turned off for Noto, via several roundabouts, one of which we went around three times, giving me time to sort out the directions. Then the final turning off the main road, down a rough slip road. Here just half a km from our destination we got horribly lost and drove into a neighbouring property. I got out to have a look around and was spoken to by a friendly Sicilian man who owned the property, who gave us the right directions. A hairy long unmade road ascending the hill. As we were doing this a text from Tobs, and we finally turned up a path and saw the extremely welcoming sight of Romy walking towards us waving. We had arrived.

Wonderful to see Romy and the Tobster. The property is stunning, with gorgeous rooms, and a long narrow saltwater pool. Which after dragging our stuff in, we lost little time in plopping into it. Wonderfully warm. The house is on a hill overlooking farmland and in the distance you can see the sea. Toby and Romy had arrived shortly before us, and we caught up for a bit. Then Toby, Romy and I drove about for a bit, Toby at least used to driving on the right, and we off to the Sipiu supermarket on the edge of Noto to buy provisions of various kinds. Always exciting going into new supermarkets.

The housekeeper had left a gorgeous lasagna, which when we ate it later on the terrace with salad bits we had bought and bread and a glass of wine listening to the cicada and a bird we did not recognise with a two note call, which may have been a hoopoe.

In this paradise the tiredness of the day floated over us, and we all went to bed. The beds were amazing too.
Too stressful to take photos during the day. I hope to make amends soon.