So it’s day 7 of the Covid-19 lockdown. Our medical community is braced for an influx of virus sufferers and I’m ensconced in the safety of my home. What could possibly go wrong?
Quite a bit it seems.
It only took 7 days but I’ve done it – produced a sequel to the “nail through the foot” incident of last year. All it took was a blown lightbulb and a step ladder – well a kitchen step ladder to be honest.
Yes, another foot injury. This time it’s torn ligaments along the side of my left foot, swelling, pain and embarrassment – in equal measures.
I fell from the bottom step of the ladder and managed to sprain my foot to such an extent the doctor was impressed. “The bottom step? Really? The bottom step, are you sure?”, were his words while examining my swollen and rapidly blackening foot.
One x-ray later and I’m in a moon-boot with enough pain killers and steroids to treat a horse. Easy.
I’ll be spending the next week with my foot elevated, garnering as much sympathy and as many cups of tea as I can.
Top Tip: If you do something silly like this, now is an oddly good time to do it. When Jean called my doctor as I lay groaning on the ground she advised me to visit the after hours clinic (in Newtown for me) as they are “very quiet”. Apparently all the usual maladies that fill the clinic’s waiting room have mysteriously been cured. At 1pm I was the only person in the waiting room and when I had my x-ray I was the radiographers second customer – that day.
We live in extraordinary times. In the next 24 hours we will give up our freedom willingly (for at least 4 weeks and possibly longer) and retreat to the relative safety of our homes, isolated, socially impotent and very likely bored out of our minds.
Today and tomorrow are the days to tidy things up – to sort all that life admin that needs to be done for a month in isolation. Not wanting to appear shallow, but top of my list was to purchase some of the delicious SmokeHouse Salmon Pate that New World stock. Ok, not earth shattering but just something that seemed important at the time.
Of course if I’d thought for another moment I’d have realised that it was possibly the least important thing I could have done in the day. But my brain ended up fixated on this damn pate.
So off I went to Chaffers New World to buy my limit of 2 pots. A llimit we can blame on all those who panic bought toilet paper, hand sanitiser, coffee, chocolate, baked beans and whatever else was panic buy of the day over the last few weeks.
I was expecting the supermarket to be chaos, queues out the door, police in attendance, possibly some tear gas being fired around but – no. It was quieter than any time I’ve been there recently – from a certain angle the store almost seemed empty.
Never one to miss an opportunity, I went in for some good old fashioned panic buying – well as much as you can do with a two item limit. When Jean saw my purchases she said I’d missed the point.
Poor women, she’s now stuck with me for 4 weeks – alone, together.
Our girls have been in a kennel for over two weeks. For both of them this is a whole new experience. We were a bit concerned how they would react and whether they would settle in.
We have been missing them so we asked the team at Waglands Dogs’ Holiday Retreat – seriously that is the name – to send us some photos of the girls. They arrived today and it seems we had nothing to worry about.
We suspect they’ve just had a bath as they look a bit too clean and fluffy for over two weeks on holiday in the country.
For the uninitiated, it’s Ellie on the left and Bella on the right.
View from our villa – hazy weather means Capri is shrouded in the distance
Yesterday we travelled from Camogli (south of Genova) to Positano (just south of Napoli). The 2 hour drive to Firenze to catch the train south was negotiated successfully – including the Firenze one way system which is always a challenge.
It felt like it was going to be a good day.
As it was Saturday the rental car office was frantic (most villa rentals run for a week from Saturday to Saturday) with tourist picking up cars. The queue went out of the office and down the street – quite hard work for those waiting in the 32 degree heat.
We drove past all this chaos, into the garage, was met by a lovely Avis rep who checked the car (no dents this time), helped with our bags, ordered a taxi for us and handed me a receipt in about 3 minutes flat.
It was really looking like a good day.
The taxi dropped us at the organised chaos that is Firenze train station with time to spare for our train. Luckily we could escape the chaos as our tickets included access to the Frecciarossa lounge – an air-conditioned haven of peace, tranquility, free beverages and snacks.
Jean discovered the shopping mall under the station and disappeared for a few minutes returning successfully with “that t-shirt top she’d been looking for” and “something to wear by the pool”.
The train trip south was 3 hours. We arrived in Napoli at 5pm and were greeted by our driver Enzo on the platform. An hour later we were in a warm and slightly muggy Positano being greeted by the Eden Roc team.
Today we leave Camogli and head south to Positano. We have thoroughly enjoyed both our time here at Cenobio Dei Dogi and our time exploring the village.
Would we come back – like a shot.
As always it’s about the place but also the people you meet. After 6 days of turning up at the same places for meals and drinks, exploring the village on foot (it’s not a big village so there’s not much walking involved) and generally settling in we are starting to be recognised. The fact that we are from New Zealand is a surprise and the start of a conversation. And that’s what it’s all about.
Getting around Italy by high speed train is easy and relaxing. We have regularly used it between Rome, Florence and Naples in the past and this trip is no exception.
The one thing we haven’t done before is try out Trenitalia’s premium class. This is half a carriage of luxury seating – 8 seats in all – right at the front of the train. It costs a bit more but comes with a meal service, a cabin crew member to look after you and your luggage and more legroom than you could want. There is even a conference room in the carriage if a quick meeting is needed en route.
On this leg of our journey from Rome to Florence we treated ourselves and booked seats 2A and 2B.
When visiting Matera we discovered that it was a town obsessed with beer – craft beer to be precise. Every bar and restaurant had a range of craft beers which were proudly displayed on its menu.
The task of finding a simple Peroni or a Nastro Azzurro at our hotel was impossible – but they could supply three types of wheat beer and a gaggle of obscure IPAs.
One beer that we were surprised to find was “New Zealand” IPA from Motueka. Who would have thought you could find a kiwi beer in, of all places, Matera. And of course, once we spotted it, we had to try it.
That night we drank Matera’s entire supply of New Zealand IPA dry – both bottles. So, gentle travellers, if you are looking for a taste of home in Matera – you’re too late. Cheers.
Last Saturday morning life at the villa ground to a halt as we watched the All Blacks play Australia in the first Bledisloe Cup rugby match.
We found the broadcast on Sky Italia with the only downside being a choice of Italian or Australian commentary. Sadly no Justin Marshall for us, just Aussie commentators who became more depressed as the first half developed. Even they were struggling to find anything good to say about their local team until after the 50 minute mark. In the end of the game the best they could do was talk up the second half which, apparently, the Australian team won.
Tonight there was an earthquake centred on the island of Ischia. This is about 60 kms from Positano on the other side of the Bay of Naples. There has clearly been damage and tragically some loss of life.
In Positano we felt no shaking at all.
But as residents of our own “shaky isles”, our thoughts are with all those affected.
Last Saturday we travelled from Chianti to Positano. A journey that involved driving to Firenze and dropping off our rental car, cabbing to Santa Maria Novella train station, taking the high speed train to Napoli and then being driven over the hill to Positano.
A long day, but well rewarded when we arrived at Eden Roc Hotel’s reception and were greeted by Lorenzo, Pascale and the rest of the team.
For those who don’t know, we stay at a villa (Casetta Arienzo) owned by the hotel which is located about 800 metres down the road. It means we can use the hotel facilities – pool, restaurant, breakfast – but be self contained in a villa with a kitchen, laundry, etc. The best of both worlds really.
We also got the chance to catch up with kiwi friends who were visiting Positano. They had been staying in Casetta Arienzo but moved to the hotel for a short stay when we arrived.
Sunday was spent on the water with them – slowly working our way down the coast towards Amalfi – swimming in the ocean and lunching at a restaurant on the beach. A great day out – despite a choppy return to Positano in the evening as the wind and waves had got up a bit. Our Captain Enzo was an absolute master steering the boat using his left leg against the tiller as he stood proudly looking ahead – like Ahab searching for the white whale.
Speaking of seafood, we dined with our friends on Monday night at Ristorante Da Constantino high above Positano on the road to Nochelle – a view to die for.
Positano from the sea
Positano from the sea
Positano from the sea
Patriotic red, white and green pots
The high diving bridge at Furore
Swimming in the ocean
Swimming in the ocean
The lunchtime view
The lunchtime view
Passing merman sampling Limoncello provided by our skipper Enzo