Saturday, 29 December 2012

Sometimes the worst happens

Yesterday, I prepared lunch for us all after a late start, and afterwards we visited Taormina's Greek Theatre together. Fortunately the weather was kind during our visit, but changed during the evening when we went out to a restaurant to sample the joys of traditional Sicilian fare. But the time we'd finished the rain started. By the time we reached home there was rain, wind and thunder, for two hours we were just spectators to a dramatic storm over the bay to the north of us. In the end Rhiannon bedded down with us, and after the storm abated, Kath and Anto returned  to the hotel without her.

After a first breakast with us, Clare went off with Rhiannon back the the hotel for a second breakfast with Mum and Dad, just as they were surfacing after another late night. I stayed behind as I had some writing tasks to complete.

Half an hour later I was shocked to receive a text message from Anto to say that Clare had been robbed of her bag, with all her cash, bank card, phone and identity documents just at the bottom of the steps leading down to the SS114 coast road, at ten twenty in bright daylight. This threw us into chaos until we were able to organise ourselves to contact the bank card insurance company to get her cards blocked, then Orange to get her phone disabled, then finally with more difficulty to get hold of the British consular service to sort out emergency travel documents. The problem was that the Catania consular  answering service wasn't working, probably due to the holidays, so we had to call London.

Clare and I were booked to attend an ecumenical event at the convent at six, and finally were able to go. It was a splendid event with a full chapel. As we came out afterwards the phone rang and it was the local honorary Consul Richard Brown. The signal was so bad I had to return to the church house to phone on the landline so we could talk intelligibly, and a rendezvous was arranged for tomorrow to carry out the necessary procedures to obtain a temporary travel document. Earlier Clare had obtained new passport photos, and Owain had visited Meadow Street to find Clare's birth certificate and email us a copy, in case needed for verification purposes.

With as much in place as possible over the weekend, we went to a post celebration dinner at the Hotel Diodoro with others who had attended, including Lutheran Pastor Andreas and two of the Sisters. It was an amazing experience of Sicilian fish cuisine, plus cross-table talk in a mix of Italian, French, German and English. This sophisticated yet essentially simple fellowship was a great comfort after the kind of day nobody would ever want to repeat.

No comments:

Post a Comment