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Rest Day

Our relaxing day was taken up almost entirely by the trip into Calacuccia, the nearest small town, to replenish the medicine cabinet. Some of us also dreamed of upgrading our poncho's. Mine looked like the regimental flag after the battle has been lost and won--more an act of faith than a cohesive piece of material. It would certainly never see another battle. The most useful part of it had proved to be the length of string they supplied with it (masking tape would have been a better idea), which was holding up well as part of my rucksack repair.

But I digress. It was agreed that we would hitch in, in pairs, and meet at the Post Office, where we could make some telephone calls to let the world know about our change of schedule. By the time we got on the road there was no traffic. But after twenty minutes or so, we flagged down a young berger in an ancient van. Instead of seats in the back there was one of those primary school desks with a built-in bench. Claudia, seeing all the space, managed to persuade him to wait while she ran back for the rest of the team.

Unfortunately, he was only going to Casamaccioli, a village within three or four kilometers of our destination. He offered to set us down on the main road some eight kilometers from Calacuccia, and based on the amount of traffic we had seen, I made the instant decision to stay in the van: at least we would be able to walk to town from the village, here we were in the middle of nowhere. No one objected until we eventually got out. They were right, it was the back of beyond, but we were here now and stuck with it. Martha and Alfie set off at their usual pace and soon left us a good distance behind. We were about halfway there by the time a pick-up stopped, and we rode standing up in the back, like two gladiators in a dilapidated mechanical chariot. We passed the two walkers close enough to town that we had just enough time to make a foray into the chemist and then return to the Post Office before they arrived. As usual, the PO had just shut, and wouldn't reopen for two and a half hours.

Alf and Martha poked around in the chemist's bag and picked over our purchases. They were clearly not very impressed. They expected (not unreasonably I suppose) that we would have bought exactly the same things as we had run out of. The trouble was they had been supplied on prescription, and the chemist was not prepared to supply more without same. Since we had got there just as he was closing, we were hardly in a position to fix that. We resolved to stay for lunch. It was an easy decision, since we also needed to use the Post Office to deliver our messages, and to investigate new ferry options. By that time, one of the local doctor's surgery would be open, and we could have a second attempt at the pill problem. I was not too happy about the way the day was being eaten up by this errand, and being twenty kilometers from the hotel without transport, so was not the life and soul of the party, but all things considered, we passed a fairly agreeable couple of hours in a pizzeria.

The time passed, we made the calls to the PO, the doctor, and back to the Chemist. The doctor had diagnosed the problem before Claudia had got half a sentence out, and after the customary advice about resting for a week and to lighten her rucksack, he had duly filled in the forms we needed for the Chemist. So now we were ready for the return. Claudia and I resolved not to leave the town, and just stuck our thumbs out. Alf and Martha set off as usual. An hour went by, but nothing else did. Another half hour, and a couple of people drove out of town, and then drove back in again a few minutes later. This was a waste of our precious rest day, which I had dreamed of spending lying in bed reading, or propping up the bar drinking. Finally we admitted defeat, returned to the local café, and ordered a taxi. Alf and Martha had got a surprising long way, and indeed had managed to get one short lift, but they were still probably only half way back by the time we caught up with them. By the time we got back the afternoon was nearly over, but there was time for a short nap, and then we dragged ourselves down to the restaurant for a repeat of the previous evening's delightful fare.

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