This is the latest start we have made to our annual burst of adventure, though last year we spent much of the time before now dodging rain and heavy seas. What is more I have bypassed all the start of season jobs. John and Lara came out a couple of weeks ago and accomplished marvels.
When they arrived Marina Stabia was very quiet. They called me from the bar, morose over their Peronis. The yard had done the polishing well and completed the engine service, but had forgotten to fasten the backstay. John was not looking forward to tackling it next day. Even worse, the posh restaurant was not open, the shuttle service into town was not running and the marina bar was not doing food. They had explored the boat stores and the prospects for the first nights meal were not great, even with their joint culinary inventiveness.
The next evening when I spoke to them they were jubilant. They had found a shop just a short walk away, not very promising on the outside, but glorious within, offering not only store cupboard fare but also very fresh vegetables and a vast selection of bread, cheeses and hams. The two ladies inside had fallen over themselves to be helpful and the Signorina had been in her element and had soon filled the shopping trolley. That night they had feasted on smoked buffalo mozzarella, sooty from the inside of someone’s chimney and delicious and pasta carbonara, made by Lara using the slivers of rich pancetta. News from the list of daunting tasks was also good. Lara had proved an engineering wizard when it came to attaching the back stay and had scrubbed the decks back to their tawny glory. I was glad she planned to come back out with us for our first voyage or John could feel very bereft.
Now all three of us are here, the bar is doing sandwiches and salads, but the shuttle does not start till June. I have been introduced to the joys of the shop. At the time the older lady was very busy making sandwiches for a long queue of young men, many of whom had driven there specially. We wandered about picking things up, there are no baskets, but as soon as our hands were full, the younger woman came out with bags and took our packages to the till. She then served Lara fresh goods, alternating with the sandwich maker for time on the bacon slicer, large hams flying through the air and settling back on the pile. When we came to leave they both smiled broadly and called out goodbyes. Back on Lyra, there was more cleaning to be done as the rain had deposited a film of red Vesuvius dust on the decks. Encouraged by the news that a party of women on the boat next door had been visited by the electrician, we headed off up to the office and once more reported our broken service column. So far we have not been as lucky as our neighbours, maybe we should send Lara next. The only task left for me to do was the laundry, which is mainly a ferrying job. John has been busy with the chart plotter and we are booked in to Ischia tomorrow after a night in our lovely clean bedding.