The sun is blazing hot. Military jets practice overhead. Vespas splutter, spewing fumes into the air. A holiday in the deep south of Italy is strangely evocative of a Fellini film. Life goes on as if nothing has happened – except a lot has.

The fishermen mend their nets by the pier. They sell their catch from the boats, in small pop-up shacks in the fish market, ‘crudo’ or ‘ alla griglia’. You can buy the fish in the open-air restaurants that appear as if from everyone’s front room. You’ll pay more. The wine flows and the church bells ring.

Could be Dunbar on a sunny Sunday? The thing is, there’s not much between us. In Dunbar, we too have a working fishing fleet. We can buy the fish from the harbour or in excellent restaurants, and Bisset’s pop up shacks prepare freshest crab and lobster, pizzas and fried fish a step away on High Street.

The fishermen in Italy are heard complaining at the price of lobsters. 120 euros a kilo? Is that 10 times more than buying it at home? Is this the effects of Brexit and fuel prices preventing our East Coast catch making its way to southern shores?

The thing is, life is upside down everywhere, not just at home.

In East Lothian, we hear all the time about shortages of personnel to run our restaurant kitchens and front of house. It is extremely difficult to supply good food and service if we don’t have the help.

In Italy, the problem is different. The birth rate is so low, whole villages are becoming at risk as young people move away.

The other problem in Italy that is discussed on the news is the shortage of help to harvest the crops. Sound familiar? Fields of watermelons are left to rot as Eastern European itinerant workers are caught up by the conflict in the east.

So my first time away for three years leaves a sobering thought. We see we have problems at home, but so do our European friends. We think we should pay less tax and have more freedoms – same in Italy.

Are we innovative and hard-working and can adapt and survive? You bet. And the best ice cream is in Italy? The jury’s out!