Sicily – HelpX-ing

Yesterday was the best introduction to Sicily that one could imagine.

With cars breaking down, strangers picking us up from the airport, alcoholic beverages at mid morning and dinner at new friend’s houses, you could not have asked for a better day to sink your teeth into.

We are up by 7:30.

Doug and Anne are up a lot earlier, but I told them that we would be up around 7:30. I’m not so keen on getting up much earlier than that. The first thing on the to-do list is to sort out this shed-kinda thing next to the house.

Doug has to go pick the car up from the mechanics. Turns out that it was the clutch. They literally were just driving along and the car wouldn’t slip into gear. Thats when they had to call Paul and David to go pick us up.

We wake up, and Anne has already got the coffee on the boil and the ingredients for breakfast ready to rock and roll. We hardly say hi to the guys before we are engrossed in the view that they get to wake up to each morning. It literally just looks like a giant painting.

I cannot describe it.

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The only thing I can relate it to was like when we went sky diving. Let me explain… When you are that high up in the sky, nothing visually really makes sense. Trucks that you have always known to be huge, you are seeing for the first time, at the size of only millimetres below you. Nothing makes sense and its genuinely hard to make sense of it all. This was much the same. The scene was so grand and so stunning to wake up to that it was hard to actually processes it.

Its perfect.

People told us we wold love Sicily.

They weren’t wrong.

There is this lake sitting at the bottom of the valley, shimmering and reflecting the mountains above. The mountains are all rugged and we are far enough away to be able to clearly see the shadows of the clouds cast on the mountainside. How unreal is that? I keep stopping to take it in time and time again.

Sicily has not disappointed.

Anne makes us this delicious breakfast and we get stuck into the work. Bec and I are confident that we can knock out everything that Doug has planned for the next few days pretty easily. The first thing that needs to happen is that we need to clear this shed out. Its a bit of a mish-mash, and it needs to become the tool shed/storage area for all the regularly used items. Doug has to head into town to pick up the car, and Paul is coming to pick him up at 10.

This should give us enough time to get the stuff outside and sort through most of it. We kinda need Doug to pick and choose. There are some things that are going to obvious, but then there are going to be some things that we really need Doug to have the final say on. We make the most of having Doug with us, and soon enough, 10am rolls around.

We are pretty much doing everything we can to make sure we get as much done so that when Doug leaves, we still have stuff to do. We keep tucking along, and 10 comes and goes, and Paul still isn’t here. Finally, Anne gets a call from Paul to say that he isn’t going to be there till 10:45. She isn’t surprised at all. 10:45 comes and goes, and Paul isn’t here yet.

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“So, kinda looks like Paul has really adopted Sicilian lifestyle hey?”, I say to Anne.
“Oh yes.”, she replies.

She’s brought us out a fresh pot of hot coffee and a few little nibblies. She’s a gun. Feels like we have hardly even started working, and she’s already bribing us and coaxing us away from work. We down tools for a couple minutes and take in everything that the Sicilian countryside has to offer.


We get back into it, and we’ve got most of the stuff sorted. We jump back inside, and we are into 11am well and truly when Paul finally rocks up. He knows that he is running behind on time, and he’s got these puppy dog eyes going on. Its kinda funny. The lads jump into the car and head off to pick up the wagon. I am thinking that it should be just over an hour to an hour and a half round trip. Anne nearly just laughs out loud. It is going to be at least 2 hours. Its hectic.

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Bec and I start assembling the shelving unit so that we can start moving everything back in. We keep at this for the next roughly hour and a half, and move all the common sense items back in. Anne then calls us both inside for some lunch. She’s just casually got us set up some antipasto with some wine set up on the terrace, looking out across the perfect Sicilian landscape again. Its too good. We got some fresh tomatoes, creamy blue cheese, fresh bread and oil soaked artichokes.

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I have to say that I have never in my life tasted such full flavours and perfectly flavoured produce. Its so rich in flavour that you don’t need to enhance it with anything. Its so perfect. We tuck in and enjoy lunch over a bottle of wine. We chat and laugh and we’re both in our element. Doug gets back and he is already mad impressed with the work we have done already. We’re happy that he’s stoked. We weren’t really going over the top. We were just wanting to get the whole shed done by today.

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We wrap up lunch, and finish sorting all the stuff out, distributing it to the burn pile, keep pile or sort out later pile. I ask Doug what he was doing before he moved to Sicily, and he tells me that he was in the airforce. “Oh wow! What did you do in the airforce?”
“I flew a desk”
Now, I should know better, but my first thought is “What does D.E.S.K. stand for?”


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I look at him blankly for a few seconds, and then it clicks, “Oh right!”, and I start laughing. I had just gone all alpha-charlie on that conversation and completely missed the most obvious statement all week. We get talking more about it all, and he tells me that it takes about 85% of the airforce to only get 15% of the people in the airforce in the sky. That is including the support pilots. The actual aircraft pilots are only 5-10% of the airforce.

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We keep working on sorting out the gear as we chat. We finished that so quickly that we ended up starting on the next shed. We began sorting though all the things that were at our disposal right away, and started moving them upstairs.  Soon enough though, the day comes to and end, and our first day with Anne & Doug has wrapped up. We’ve had our fair share of laughs and Anne whips up this utterly brilliant dinner or pasta, and salads.

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We start telling filling them in on our home town and show them the videos of all the floods that happened the other week. They are both pretty intrigued and we share stories of our home towns. Its pretty cool.

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They ask if we are down for a movie. I am keen for a watch, and Bec is down for it too, but before we commit, we ask what they movies they are keen on. Doug starts telling me how he just got on uTorrent and just downloaded all the movies that were released in 2015, 16 and 17. I’m surprised. Doug seems too much like a nice guy to be going out and full on torrenting boat loads of movies. I’m impressed. He starts telling me that he likes things like the avengers, but also  really likes movies like Snatch and the such.

I am super impressed.

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I quickly realise that we are among some movie heavy weights. These guys have seen more movies and I have, and I am super impressed. We decide to chuck on a movie, and the guys have got a projector and a projector screen that they use for their movies.

I mean, these guys don’t muck around.

If you are watching a movie, you are watching a movie.

Being that it’s our first night with them and everything, they tell us to pick the movie. I see this movie in the list called “Billy Lynn’s Long Half Time Walk”. One of my rules tends to be, If the title of the movie is really long, its cos they are compensating. In recent time, I have had the rule proven wrong. In this case, I should have listened.

We watch the trailer, and Vin Diesel pops up, and Anne & Doug are all over it like hotcakes, so we chuck it on.






Literally the most slow & boring movie that I have seen in the past decade. Everybody is too polite to say anything, but we grind through it anyway. We’re all a little bit relived when it is over, and we thought that the guys were kinda enjoying it, and Anne & Doug thought the same thing, so none of us said anything and we all just kinda sat in silence and suffered for two hours of over one over dramatised, boring fight scene.


I cannot even start.

We go to bed, and I apologise profusely.

They are good sports though, so they kinda just let it slide.

Come back for the next story,


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