A Life in the Slow Lane

Tom and Jerry go to Italy

We set off from the pretty Calabrian town of Montano Calabro, in bright sunshine, to complete our two day journey north to Paestum. We continued on the excellent, free, A3 motorway. Our voyage was initially accompanied by the almost alpine scenery of the Pollino National Park.

As we preceded further north the landscape became more gentle, but still with very prominent hills, often with small, pantile roofed villages huddled around the peak. Italy was the subject of wars between feuding rulers much later than was the case in Britain and so effective defensive positions for settlements continued to be of importance until relatively recently. For instance last night’s stopping place, Montano Calabro, was the scene of a battle between Napoleonic French troops and soldiers of the Kingdom of Naples in 1806.

We exited the motorway onto the broad plain adjacent to the mediterranean which is the location of Paestum. Although we were still south of Naples, the surroundings immediately looked more prosperous than the villages of Calabria, where we have spent the last week or so. Shops and restaurants were all open and there was much activity.

We are now in one of the Italian areas permitted to produced buffalo mozzarella and there were signs everywhere for the product, but we could not see any buffaloes. I am curious because I am not sure what type of buffalo is milked for this cheese, so we will keep our eyes open and try to get a photograph. I imagine they will be like the water buffalo so widely domesticated in India, but time will tell.

Basil’s new spot at Villaggio dei Pini

We arrived at our ACSI campsite, Villaggio dei Pini (40.413557, 14.990383) in the early afternoon. It is the busiest campsite so far, with probably 20 or more motorhomes, mostly German. All its facilities are open, so we may eat in their restaurant tonight. It is set in a pine forest next the best beach we have yet seen on this trip. Very soft sand and for some reason no sign of the driftwood and plastic detritus which have been a feature of most other beaches in Italy.

Best beach so far. Some people have even been swimming today!

The dogs have already been in trouble in what, from a distance, looked like a chase from a silent movie or a Tom and Jerry cartoon. When the weather is nice we tie them up outside Basil on a long webbing strap. That way if a passing cat or lizard catches Mabel’s attention she can only go so far before being pulled up short.

As Sarah and I relaxed in our chairs outside I saw a ginger cat walk in front of Basil. Mabel at first did not notice, but for once Melek showed unusual interest. He set off after the cat at his top, not very fast, speed. Mabel soon saw what was happening and within half a second had overtaken Melek. I was just waiting for her to reach the end of her tether and come to a jerking stop, when it became apparent that the knot in the dog’s tether must have come undone because Mabel, followed by Melek, were in hot pursuit of the poor, now panicked cat. Sarah was quickly out of her seat following all three.

They first all disappeared into some bushes to my right, with Sarah shouting Mabel’s name. She didn’t need to bother calling Melek, because he was never going to get near the cat. Then after a second or two the cat ran out of the bushes and off into a part of the campsite to my left and then a moment later Mabel, but Mabel only followed. This time I set off in hot pursuit of Mabel, only to find that she had already lost site of the ginger cat and consequently her interest had dissipated. Sarah re-emerged with Melek and both dogs were put back on their tether with a triple knot. Lesson learned.

The weather for the next few days looks, as British weather forecasters’ would say, changeable. We hope it will be nice enough for us to walk to the Greek and Roman remains of Paestum tomorrow.