"This bread salad is ingenious," Pops says, pulling the stale crumb out of yesterday's loaf. She's making panzanella for lunch. No shortage of tomatoes or good oil here. The coffee's not bad either, and Pops already has her preferred gelateria, and gelato flavour (rock melon).
Pops is with us for five days only, and she won't be going anywhere on Enki. Not out to the islands, not even around the Milazzo harbour. It's desperately disappointing - a bit like going on a ski-ing holiday and there being no snow, we've agreed, or going to the Bay of Islands and it raining all week. But we loved that holiday! We spent it watching the Australian Open on television, playing cards, cooking, fooling around. Who's to say that a week in Milazzo can't be just as memorable?
We have a few little routines. Pops and I go out in the morning, before the heat really sets in. One day we checked out all the clothes shops. Nothing for us there. Yesterday, after our usual coffee stop, we hired a couple of bicycles and rode to the end of the road, at Capo Milazzo.
After lunch we turn on the fans, pull curtains across the windows and read. In the late afternoon we walk across town for a swim at the beach. We've bought a beach umbrella and we mark our spot like any other family. We are part of the throng. No-one notices us, yet we are very different from everyone else. We don't scream or cuddle or caress or natter. We watch. There's so much to watch.
We love the array of bodies. Women of all ages, shapes and size wear bikinis. No-one seems particularly self-conscious or show-offy, except perhaps the teenage boys, like teenage boys anywhere. The old claim their place on the beach like anyone else, and with no sense of being out of place. It makes a nonsense of the body worship on Australian beaches, or at least the ones we know, like Bondi where there is zero tolerance for imperfection. In Milazzo, there is true democracy on the beach.