Friday, May 14


Went to the Isle of Ischia, to stay in an apartment in my flatmates mansion overlooking one of the islands aquamarine water ports built around the rim of a submerged secondary crater cone and several of the islands beaches of powdered volcanic rock. Know as the Viridian Isle for its many trees and gardens (the former planted by the French three centuries ago to build a navy) and combined with its many 'thermic' spring therapeutic water resorts, the place is a cone of luxury with a generous dollop of fresh greenery overflowing down its sides.

I took the opportunity to visit a tropical English garden planted into the side of a cliff complete with equatorial climate greenhouses for humming birds and carnivorous plants, birdhouses with parrots, many intertwining and frog populated water features and a general sense of tranquillity enhanced by the faint harmonies rising from the intimate on site renowned classical music venue, all planted by an inspired Argentinian Lady in honour of her deceased composer husband.

Following this, time was spent wandering one of the secondary volcanic cones, its black rock sides turned green and spongy by the ankle deep moss covering every boulder and stone, from between which gape dark arm sized holes (that should you gather the courage to plunge your hand into) vent either ice-cube cool air as from a freezer or humidity rich warmth as from the breath of a monstrous subterranean horse, all dappled in the shade of oak, beech, ash, birch and other varied deciduous trees ripe for clambering.

Then back. To the overflowing streets. Dust dried cracking lips. Hoots and horns. Rushing traffic, pedestrians, work, school, children. The calm was ephemeral yet addictive like fresh fruit juice on a Summers day after hard work.


Imagine trying to explain through sign language that your kidneys hurt, that its uncomfortable to urinate and that the colour is wrong. Failing that, call in your flatmate to help you translate, but take into account that he has no medical or body parts vocabulary and that his girlfriend is required to help gesticulate and explain the explanations. Now realise that you are talking to very junior practitioner and that he needs to call for support. By this time your private examination room is getting fairly crowded, so the addition of a greybeard who is grumpy from being disturbed mid fag with the security guard might hinder your improvisations. Finally allow yourself to be karate chopped in the kidneys and poked with a stick, your kidney infection declared and your antibiotics prescribed to your flatmate (requires less paperwork)... and you might get an idea of why writing this account of my trip to the doctors doesn't rank very high on my embarrassment scale.