Thursday, 26 November 2015

Noto A&E- and a huge thank you to Roberto and Giusi.

Wednesday 25th November

Right now I am sitting in the waiting room of Noto osipidale A&E while Gill is somewhere in the X-ray dept. Fortunately we are not having a major emergency, but what you realise as that even simple accidents can be problematic when you are travelling. 

Xray bound...

Last night we stayed at the lovely Agricampeggio Maccari near Pacino in the far southeastern corner of Sicily. Roberto and Guisi have been fantastic hosts, inviting us to eat with them, a typical local dish of smoked herring with orange salad. It was delicious. The campsite is based on a small farm growing organic fruit and vegetables. Everything on the table, apart from the fish, was from their gardens and fields. I am going to post separately about Agricampeggio Maccari as it somewhere really special. However, their Facebook page does give a flavour of the place's unique ambiance: https://www.facebook.com/agrimaccari/

At Agricampeggio Maccari you get a real taste of rural Sicily

Parked among the Olive trees

Brand new sanitary block

The place has bungalows as well as camping pitches - if it was England, this would be 'glamping'

Smoked herring on the grill
Pete and Roberto in the outside kitchen
Roberto and Giusi - gave us a wonderful welcome.
What we did not appreciate yesterday evening was that circumstances were about to transform Roberto and Guisi from kind hosts into guardian angels. Overnight we had a hefty thunderstorm. Rain on the van is loud enough, but for five minutes or so the hailstones bouncing off the roof sounded like a downpour of pebbles. As we peeked out of the bedroom window, the olive trees, illuminated momentarily by lightening flashes, writhed madly in the gusty wind. By morning all was calm, and the only sign of the tempest - a power cut. 

On the way out we stopped for a moment by the farm house to say goodbye. Gill, as ever had been directing me past low tree branches when I heard a yelp of surprise. I jumped out of the van to find Gill sitting in a patch of mud being helped by Roberto. The overnight rain had made the side of the road greasy, and Gill had slipped. It soon became clear that this was not a case of dented dignity. Gill's knee was beginning to swell and she was unable to stand unaided. Kindly Guisi returned from work and gave us a lift to Noto hospital. 

So after a bit of a wait in the X-Ray Dept, and another bit of a wait for the doctor, by mid afternoon Gill was diagnosed as having 'distorted' (sprained) her knee and was duly bandaged up and instructed to buy a surgical support in three days time from a pharmacy.

We are staying one more night here at Agricampeggio Maccari, and thinking through how we need to reorganise the last 9 days of the trip to cope with one of us being non-ambulant. It affects everything from shopping to losing Gill's invaluable help as director of traffic. At the moment she cannot walk at all without assistance. It does strike you how important being fit and well is when you are travelling long term. The other issue is the fact that I do all of the driving, if I had injured my knee we would have been 'becalmed' entirely. On the homeward stretch in February Gill is going to have to think about driving the van, sometimes, perhaps starting with main roads and motorways. Having just one driver does not really make sense, especially as Gill is a really good car driver anyway, so there is no reason at all for her not to drive Maisy. It's just a habit we have developed.

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