Day 4: Thursday 16 August

Plans change. Given second thoughts Janet had decided her Peugeot 206 might be a little small for four people and two dogs so we belayed the trip to the golden circle. Instead, after a leisurely breakfast Janet took us down to see Signý and Noí in their new flat. Noí is very cute, and very strong – he would stand on our laps and really grip our fingers.

Signý served us a wickedly delicious Hairy Bikers chocolate cake and showed us around their new flat – so bright and airy. The kitchen is very similar to ours with the same oiled oak worktops and I recognised immediately one of Grandpa’s old oak coffee tables that he made, and that Signý is attached to, possibly, more than anything else. The other thing I notice about Signý’s and Níls’ flat is that, like all the houses in Iceland, even the smaller places – they still have generous utility/wet rooms and lots of storage. I guess they need them with the sometimes harsher conditions in the winter but its still 100% more storage than it is usual to find in UK houses where instead there is always precious little storage even for the vacuum cleaner or the ironing board.

After our visit to see Signý, Janet dropped us at the BSí bus terminal so that we could catch the tour out to the Blue Lagoon. Getting there was swift enough along the long, straight, main road that lead us almost back to Keflavik airport to the Spa built next to and using the waste water from a power station. I have a family connection to the Blue Lagoon in that it was my uncle’s father who managed the power station when they realised that the waste water and the silica mud that it created had restorative properties. There is now a sister spa up in the north near Mývatn which I remember bathing in ten years ago almost to the day when it was like this was in the beginning – a lake on the edge of the road where we parked the van and changed, girls to one side, boys to the other before wandering down and in.

Not now with the Blue Lagoon with a £25 or 5000 IKR entrance fee. It’s worth it though and we spent a good hour and a half lounging in the warm, slightly salty, sulphurous waters – even if the wristband-operated lockers do provide a bit of a challenge. The journey takes us out of Reykjavik under clear skies and we can see the rolling, tumbling expanse of an old lava field with old and new building perched in amongst it all. Out across the water we can clearly see Snaefellsness Peninsular and the glacier at its tip.

I’ve been to the Blue Lagoon once before – I guess twice in 8 years isn’t too bad for a frequency rate. There is a comfortableness in that, although there has been more development like the new ‘Lava Restaurant’ and a neighbouring clinic where you can stay. It is otherwise exactly the same as it always was. I’m sure the locker system has changed though as I don’t remember the system of electronic bracelets to set and lock the catches.

We lounge about in the warm, milky-blue waters, plaster the white silica mud onto our upper bodies and faces, try the steam bath in the lava cave, and then a waterfall massage – pummelled in the shoulders by heavy cold water.

Our return bus journey is almost twice as long as it ought to have been as the driver takes us to virtually any hotel in Reykjavik dropping off people after people until there are only four people, including us, left and we are a full half hour later for Drífa who has been waiting in the car for us with little Melkorka – only two years and very smiley.

Drífa and Melkorka stay for dinner – yummy smoked salmon filled fajitas and salad. Our earlier plans to do the golden circle are revived for tomorrow – Drífa and Kjartan would like to take us.

After dinner we play with Kelkorka and her toys and I give her her present – which she loves instantly. Its Mr Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham. I read it to her, adding the odd translation for the animals and she loves the illustrations. Kjartan has been wanting a copy of my book and so I give them a slightly battered copy of my own which I inscribe for them and draw their attention to the illustration on page 200. I tell them that they can have this battered copy so long as they download a Kindle version…

When Drífa leaves we decide that the throaty, sports car sound of Drífa’s exhaust as not as loud as she feared. She just needs a ‘Robin’ to bolt the ends back together.

Day 4: Þingvellir, Geysir, and Gullfoss…