We have too many oranges and other citrus fruits. People keep giving them to our boys. So what can we do with all this bounty?
Squeeze into juice.
Apart from making orange juice, we have had a pretty lazy end to the week without Clare. Flirty Meg has still been flirty. Just the sound of another dog causes her ears to prick up and her tail bend into an ‘S’ shape exposing her inflamed bottom.
There’s a dog, thankfully secure, behind those gates.
Fortunately the garden here is sufficiently large to exercise boys and dog without running the gauntlet of Sicily’s numerous strays. We did manage one proper walk in the hills around Old Avola (Avola Antica), destroyed by an earthquake 400 years ago and replaced by a coastal town based on a hexagon. The town’s biggest claim to fame is having a grape variety named after it, Nero d’Avola, but I’ve not noticed extensive viticulture here. Perhaps it is because at this time of year vines are well pruned and so less noticeable.
After five and a half weeks, we have spent longer in Sicily than the whole of Norway, but only now do I feel I’m beginning to have a feel for the island. Sicilians are unbelievably kind and generous. A farmer carting his trailer full of oranges stopped as he passed us and gave each of the boys an orange. In a supermarket in Ragusa a shopkeeper saw Jack crying because he didn’t have a trolley like Ben, so he went to get Jack a trolley – then when we came to check out he gave each boy a (rather large) bag of biscuits. The lady running the horse stables refused payment for Ben riding her horse. And, of course, Sicily is quietly absorbing migrants unwanted in the rest of Europe. Daily we have seen bright yellow helicopters heading south over the Mediterranean Sea, returning north hours later, their mission unknown to us, but we did hear the other day of about 90 migrants drowned after their boat overturned. It must be a truly bleak future in their home country that pushes people onto crammed boats in winter to try to make it over the Mediterranean to Europe.
After returning from Catania Airport with Clare the first thing I did with my freedom from the boys was walk with Meg on the beach and watch the moon rise over the southern Mediterranean. We are very lucky.