It was summer 1999. I ventured out from the grotty pensione for my first evening ‘solo‘. A surly, paunchy waiter with impressive sweat patches under his arms slammed a clay pot down on the wobbly table and barked ‘caldo’ at me with paternal gruffness. The fish looked aghast at their predicament. I stirred my spoon through abundant heads that bobbed around helplessly in sea-laced pomodoro. I took another generous sip of red wine while summoning the courage to swallow something that would ordinarily beat me in a staring competition, when poised with glassy-eyed head on fork, I noticed a faint glow in the night sky. On this hot Sicilian September night Mount Etna erupted and emblazoned on my memory its magnificent, molten sight.