Category Archives: sorrento

Pompeii Farm

Having had to stop painting the back of the house due to the rain, I have been playing around with some shots from earlier this year. I have stumbled across a setting on my scanner that seems to deliver decent scans from Kodak Portra 160 colour print film.

Initially, I liked this in colour, but having played with it for half an hour this afternoon, I actually prefer it in black and white.

Maybe, if I were to buy a new camera (as I have been thinking about…) it should be a Monochrom. Maybe…


The final word on the BA flight issue

As expected, there was, apparently, “nothing wrong with the service” we received from BA back in March (it took 2 months to get a resolution from the CAA). Of course there was nothing wrong – I have gone to all this effort to bring this to the authorities’ attention because there is nothing wrong.

Here is the email that I received from them recently.

Further to my email of 14 April 2014, we are now in a position to respond to your concerns about your flight with British Airways (BA), having now received a response back from BA in relation to this flight and the seating allocation.   The matters you raise in points 1 and 2 of your letter, as I am sure you can appreciate, are customer service issues for BA to respond to separately.

Turning to your matter 3 and our response from BA, notwithstanding your concerns about your safety in terms of being ‘trapped’ in your seats by what you describe as a ‘severely disabled’ and ‘large’ lady, the crew on this particular flight were satisfied with the passenger’s ability to evacuate the aircraft, as required in accordance with BA’s Standard Operating Procedures. As such, whilst the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) do appreciate that having persons with reduced mobility (PRM’s) on flights can have an impact on other passengers, it does not therefore believe the safety of this flight, or the passengers was compromised.

BA, along with all UK operators, takes their responsibility towards the carriage of persons with reduced mobility seriously.  Operators in general cannot discriminate towards those who are not fully mobile, but do have provisions based upon the individual’s ability to evacuate themselves from an aircraft, either aided by someone who is accompanying them or unaided if they are able to do so. 

The CAA is therefore satisfied with BA’s response to this enquiry, but does understand your need to look into this matter.  I do apologise that is has taken longer than expected for us to be in a position to respond fully to your concerns on this occasion. 

Yours sincerely

Now, I didn’t expect anything more than this, to be honest. A lesson learned.


The sun was out first thing so we decided that we would brave the ferry to Capri. They seem to run a random service – one puff of a breeze 300 miles away and the hydrofoil stays in port – but the hotel reception checked and confirmed that they were sailing today.

We got there with 5 minutes to spare and got on board quite a decent catamaran for the 20 minute crossing.

25 minutes, and the catamaran would have had my breakfast on its carpet. The last time I was on a ferry that made me feel so ill was actually the hovercraft Princess Anne in 1979. That was a serious white-knuckle, gripping the armrest journey and this morning I was very close to letting the side down. Still, I just about managed to get there intact, but it took me a couple of hours to feel better.

We walked up to the town of Capri, on the cliffs above the port. There is usually a funicular railway to transport people up the (alleged) 750m, but it wasn’t working today. Instead they had a bus replacement that seriously didn’t appeal, especially when we saw the driving skills on offer… So we walked…

That took about 20 minutes and you knew you’d walked up a mountain by the time you got to the top. I can feel myself getting fitter by the minute this week. Capri town is a nice enough place. Not very big, we managed to walk just about every street. Full of shops that were closed, from Prada to Ferrari, and more fancy sunglasses shops than seems really necessary. In fact, every Italian town down here seems to be obsessed with sunglasses. Have they never heard of mobile phone shops?

Had a decent enough cappuccino in the square in very warm sunshine and then eventually walked back down to the port where we had a light lunch in one of the quayside pavement cafés. For good or ill, I had decided by this time that a beer and a panini might be a good idea prior to the journey back to the mainland. We now have a friend for life in the waitress and are welcome to use her toilet anytime we like, apparently, which is worth bearing in mind. Drop my name if ever you are passing…

We caught the normal ferry back instead of the hydrofoil. Half an hour late, it was amazing to see them load and unload lorries on a quay no bigger than that at Lyme Regis, and once on board the thing was absolutely filthy. For a place that has apartments at €1m+, Capri has some serious transport problems.

Now, it’s the last night of the holiday. Looking forward to Friday and picking up an award, with a bit of luck, and then some serious removal tasks on Sunday when back at home.

If you have ever wondered what Capri looks like, wonder no more.


Sorrento carnivale

I think I’ve worked out what’s going on now.

It’s Mardi Gras. The town has a half day holiday. The kids get dressed up as Superman, Zorro, the devil or a princess, as do some of the adults. They have actors on stilts.

They close off the town square and throw confetti at each other. They blow up huge balloons and chase each other about the street in a massive inflatable translucent cube. There’s a green snake involved somewhere too, but that might be a caterpillar.

At the end, they inflate more huge, long, thin balloons from which more confetti spews forth.


OK. So I haven’t worked out what’s going on, but I’m sure that Freud would have something to say.

Lent begins tomorrow.

Amalfi coast

The weather looked a bit iffy, so decided to take the bus down to Amalfi and stop off at Positano on the way back. An hour and a half each way with a return fare of under a fiver and some of the most spectacular views anywhere, on the way. We had thought about hiring a car to do the trip, but having taken advice before hand, in think that the bus was definitely the better option.

The road is narrow at the best of times and less than single lane at the worst. Our bus met another in a small village and it was touch and go for a while – literally.

Amalfi is a pretty small city, with a beautiful duomo and a fabulous coffee/pastry shop next door. Frequented by bus loads of Chinese tourists who just seem to want to use the loo, rather than eat pastries, the coffee, canolli and lemon cake were the best we have had this trip. Mind you, at €20, they should be.

With the mixed weather today, we headed back via Positano, a nice seaside resort town. It’s out of season at the moment, so half of it is closed, but it’s easy to see how busy it might get in the summer. It’s a bit like Portmerion, but with real buildings and people.


The bus journey got me thinking about “living every day is if it’s your last”. Again. I was thinking that the use of the bus could be seen as a dry run for hiring a car and driving the road myself, but realised that I would probably never come back this way again. Life is not a rehearsal, so they say, and a little bit of me wishes that I’d been braver, found that Arbarth 500 for hire, and just driven down there myself. Yes, I’d have to have been careful on the corners in the villages. Yes, I will have seen much more of the scenery from the bus window as opposed to behind the wheel. But… Oh well, I will just have to drive it in that parallel universe, or that other life.

Back in Sorrento and the sun is out. It’s Mardi Gras today and part of the town is closed to traffic and there is some kind of kids’ festival today where they all dress up as devils, or cartoon and fairy tale characters in readiness for not being able to do so during Lent, presumably.

Rather than surmise, let’s go and find out…

Oh, and most of this fountain works…