Today has been a day of waiting. I'm still not sure what has happened but a corner has been turned. Apparently I'm no longer here. Or even there. Wherever I am, it's a happy patient place of absolutely no stress. If I didn't know better, I would say it's paradise.
On Thursday I left my little home in Split with a cheery wave, and wished my landlord a Sretan Uskrs. I'd feverishly been checking the weather since I'd woken up at 7.30; the storm in the night had scared me. Not because I'm a wimp, but because I assumed a small seaplane would have a issues with high waves. I checked my messages and thankfully there was nothing telling me that the flight had been cancelled. So off I went.
An hour earlier than was required for my earliest check in obviously as I may have been a bit excited.
It was starting to clear and the day was promising to be a sunny one. It was however still rather windy with a choppy sea; the portacabin windsock was exuberantly erect. I headed off through the park to the nearest beach in search of a coffee but got carried away playing tag with the waves. I won and only they stayed wet.
By 10.30 I was back at the port and was eating free chocolate biscuits and drinking the usual excellent coffee with hot milk. The capacity for sugar here never fails to astonish me - the 'large' cups require about 4 sachets if you're a local, it seems. I say large, they are marginally bigger than an espresso. Perfect sized, and nothing like the bitter nauseating stuff in London.
At the appointed time I presented myself at the check in. Small problem. I should have been at Split main airport which is about 20 miles around the coast. The office had left messages for me but I'd never received them.
After a frantic conversation between the two lady officers, a trainee airport person, the cafe manager, and an unknown at the end of the phone, I was told that they would attempt a landing on the sea here to pick me up. The flight's ultimate destination was Pescara, so I had visions of angry Italians being buffeted across the Adriatic just because one Brit didn't have her phone on.
I was told to go find a cafe to sit in and wait for an hour or so. The flight had already been delayed and, the trainee chap told me, I was extremely lucky that the storm had cleared. He was being trained in decision making apparently...So off I went, dodging the cafe manager who had now decided to clean the cafe decking. The rain from the south overnight had left a very dusty residue.
Having tried and failed to find the library the previous day, I decided to try again as the main building is on this side of town. The lettering on the side is huge - one could say 'large print' - so there would have been no helping me if I'd have missed it. The library is a real learning and exhibition focal point. I need to go back and look at the lace and the art, in the meantime I managed to become a member successfully. There was mild consternation that I didn't have an ID card, and only a passport. Not quite sure what the problem was because in the UK my lack of proof of address would have been more of an issue!
Still, he was happy to take my 150kuna and give me a card. My main reason for joining is nothing to do with the books but finding a quiet distraction-free place to work. As I wandered round two of the 5 floors, there were many hiding places in which I could sit and write. This may be the solution to my concentration issues. I had an idle flick through Time and Nation Geographic and then headed out towards the port again.
This time there was a definite buzz of activity around the portacabin. People, police, men with ear protectors, even the cafe lady was wearing a smarter jacket. After another consultation with the office staff I obtained 3 boarding passes - no I wasn't Silvjia or Diana, nor was I going to Dubrovnik and neither was my rucksack - but at least the planes were able to land. Despite the still rather tumescent windsock.
Thoroughly amused by the chaos and it now being after midday, I decided it was time for a beer. I heard the engines first, but when the little plane headed into the harbour, it was thoroughly spectacular. I'm not particularly fussed by methods of transport and rarely charmed by airports but this was special. Ever since reading Enid Blyton and her adventurous four stories with their mention of seaplanes, they've held a certain mystery for me. Childish but a transport which can take you quickly to remote places, need no landing strip... And be used by criminal rascals, what's not to like?
Ahem. After that excursion into my childhood reading... The trip was even more exciting than I imagined. The taxiing out of the harbour, watching all the knobs and dials, the throb of the engines, the sexy combination of uniform, sun glasses, and headphones of the gentlemen pilots, as well as the coloured navigation screens may have made me feel a bit peculiar. I may have grinned and fidgeted and glowed the entire 20 minute flight.
Brač, Hvar, Korčula spread out, demonstrating their perfect blue and green contours; tranquil sea birds soared beneath us; and as we descended into Uble bay, it made down town Split look like Heathrow on a bad day. Five passengers clambered out and the pine scent of a freshly washed island greeted us.
My landlady had been waiting for us and we headed up towards the main town of Lastovo for supplies! The local shop has weird hours so even pasta and sauce are rare commodities. After getting some bits, we also picked up some children, and headed home. And what a home it is. The steps went up and up and then...
I'd booked this place purely because it faced west, overlooking the sea. And after I demolished a bowl of pesto fusilli, I sipped the local Konobar's palatable red (morello cherries with a hefty punch), I sat there and waited. And waited. From about 4pm I was simply waiting for the sun to go down. And like everything that day, it didn't disappoint.