Saturday 29 December 2012


I did cover some of the cruise whilst on the ship but Internet access is slow and extremely expensive so I was limited to what I could write. 

This is the story. The day before we sailed I received a txt message to say that embarkation had been delayed from 10 am to 1 pm.  No explanation.  OK, I was travelling by coach from Nottingham so I 'phoned the coach company to ask if the coach would also be delayed.  They claimed to know nothing about the delay and said I was to join the coach at 8.30 am as scheduled.

Our clue to the delay came from our coach driver who dropped the nugget "you are about to join a ship that is being deep cleaned because of Norovirus".  Help!  Your read of this and it's not something that you would wish at any time, let alone Christmas.

He said he was going to sansy doodle along the route and make an unscheduled stop at a service station because it was better to spend time there than at the docks.  He wasn't kidding. When we finally had clearance to enter the departure terminal it was absolutely chaotic. Information was minimal, announcements indecipherable, no refreshments unless we paid exorbitant prices at a coffee concession and not enough seats.  In these modern times the "jobs worths'" become even more surley and determined to make every ones life a misery!

3+ hours later we eventually battled our way onto the ship which was an oasis of tranquillity.  Everything was calm and well ordered.  No hint of the mania going on in the terminal.  Quite surreal! 

Amazingly enough we did sail on schedule and after the safety muster the Captain explained that they had had and outbreak of Norovirus but the ship had, indeed, been deep cleaned and if we followed recommended procedures regarding frequent hand washing etc. things should be fine. 

We then sailed into a force 9 gale with 8 mtr high waves resulting in the ship rocking and rolling for 3 days!  We were later informed by the Captain that these were the worse sea conditions he had encountered in 20 years of sailing, but the upside was that it helped to contain another outbreak of the virus because instead of spreading it around we were mostly confined to our cabins throwing up! Cheers.

I thought things were pretty serious when the Captain announced that the "Captain's welcome aboard champagne reception" was to be cancelled because "I'm sure you would prefer that the Officers were on the Bridge keeping you all safe".  What!!

Apart from that it was a great trip.  I met some lovely people, eat far too well, enjoyed the shows and entertainment, and finally felt the warmth of the sun again.  But, by gum, it was good to be home again. 

Oh! and before I went I had this premonition that I was going to leave something behind.  I did.  My camera! 

King Ozymandias of Assyria was running low on cash after years of war with the Hittites. His last great possession was the Star of the Euphrates,  the most valuable diamond in the ancient world. Desperate, he went to Croesus, the pawnbroker, to ask for a loan. Croesus said, "I'll give you 100,000 dinars for it". "But I paid a million dinars for it," the King protested. "Don't you know who I am? I am the king!" Croesus replied, "When you wish to pawn a Star, makes no difference who you are."


Monday 24 December 2012


I was speaking to a couple at dinner last night who said they had been cruising the world for over 30 years and the 3 days we spent in the Atlantic storm coming out of Southampton was the worse they had ever known.  They said that ship felt as though it was going to break up at times.  And I thought it was just me being panicky!   I know when we went through rough seas in the North Pacific coming into Alaska the waves were much higher but the motion wasn’t nearly so bad. The worrying thing is that we have to go through those waters again on the way back!  Let’s hope that God is not in such a bad mood this time.

So, that’s the Canary Isles done. Tick. Next stop Lisbon. Yesterday we went on a Tapas &Wine tour which sounded fun, but the motion of the coach navigating steep inclines and tights corners coupled with extra soft suspension made me feel queasy and I spent the rest of afternoon wanting to throw up on my fellow passengers who were getting progressively paralytic and sillier by the minute. 

On our 2nd day at sea we had to book our table for Christmas dinner.  When we met our new friends John and Julie we wished that we had met before we made the reservations so that we could have had Christmas dinner together and then we found out that we are actually on the same take anyway!  How odd is that?.

We did” Gran Canaria in a taxi with another couple we have met up with.  We negotiated the price down from Eu100 to Eu80 for a 3 hour tour and had a great time.  The taxi driver spoke little English but was a bundle of fun and between us we learnt a little Spanish and he learnt how to pronounce Islands.  He was saying Icelands!  It took us a while to figure that one out. 

He turned out to be a football fan (now there’s a surprise) whose forte was to recite the players, clubs and managers of English foot teams.  Oh! How we laughed!  We enjoyed it so much that we are now going to "do" Lisbon in a taxi too.  It will probably turn out to be a nightmare.

Blogger is being a real pain at the moment, so I will have to cut this short.  I'll catch up when I get home. 

Wednesday 19 December 2012


Here I sit on the P&O Azura having spent the, day in Madeira fulfilling one of the wishes on my “bucket list” – cocktails at Reeds Hotel, Madeira.  How mad is that?  Last week I was in England trying to keep warm and here I am 6 days later in sunshine.
The cocktail was good, the hotel was snooty, the view was spectacular, been there, done that, move on.  Petra next?  Who knows!

I never thought that I would take to cruising, and to tell you the truth I’m still not sure about it.  But all I can say is that there is never any need to feel bored or lonely.  Plenty to do, masses of people to talk to, some interesting who have the potential of becoming lifelong friends and some maddening who I would never wish to see again. The interesting ones I seek out and the boring ones I avoid (easily done amongst 3100 passengers and 1200 crew.

Speaking of crew, our Captain is really good looking and really young!    I suspect that he is even younger than most of my grandchildren.  He is probably a naughty little boy really.  I wonder if his mother knows he is in charge of this big ship?

What do you think of this joke?  I was told by entertainment staff  at our dinner table last night:-

An Englishman, Scotsman and Irishman were discussing what the fastest thing in the world was.  The Englishman said he thought that electricity was the fastest because you flick a switch and on comes the light.  The Scotsman disagreed, he thought that the mind was the fastest thing in the world because your body reacts to thought instantly.  The Irishman said “Oh no, I think that diarrhoea is the fastest thing in the world”.  The other two looked at him in amazement.  “Diarrhoea?  How can you possibly think that?” “Well yesterday I had diarrhoea and I didn’t have time to switch on the light or even think about it!”  Boom, boom!

Funny or what?

Friday 14 December 2012



 A system of Government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

And there you have it my friends, the Brave New World in a word, ineptocracy. Worrying isn't it? 

But am I bothered?  Does this face look bothered? I intend to lay back and enjoy my Christmas cruise to Madeira via the Canary Isles and Portugal.  They are going to find it hard to confiscate my meagre wealth if I've already spent it!!  Or will this be considred a form of tax avoidance?. 

So if you read that a crazy 72 year old great grandmother has been banged up for the heinous crime of enjoying herself, that will be me! 

Sunday 2 December 2012


Some time ago (about 5 years ago to be vaguely precise!) we started the arduous process of applying for planning permission to build a  new house to replace the monstrosity of a black corrogated building nextdoor to where I live.

At the moment I'm too traumatised to go into detail about unhelpfullness of the local planning department. Suffice to say that I ended up putting in an official complaint which was NOT upheld (now there's a surprise). With the country in such a perilous financial state you would think they would ease the process and get money moving, but no, they are bunch of total tossers.

When I feel in a "safer" place, as in I don't want to piss them off too much until the house has been built, I'll tell the full story.  Warts and all. 

The new house will be home for my granddaughter and her delightful family.  It will be wonderful to have them living nearby. 

In the meantime, life goes on.  Well it does for me anyway, but not my poor car!  It got sick this week and I have reluctantly decided that it's not worth spending £2000 to fix her up when she is only worth £4000!  Poor old girl. I loved her to bits.  But unfortunately cars, like pets, don 't live forever.  So this week I take delivery of a beautiful glossy black Audi A4 saloon with only 14,000 miles on the clock and a host of bells and whistles.  I freaked out the salesman by saying that it would probably last longer than me.  He didn't know how to respond and dealt with it by saying nothing. I wish I could learn that skill.  In my case, what goes through the head comes out the mouth. and unfortunately it's usually total bilge.

And I'm writing this total bilge because I can't be bothered to do my christmas cards.  But, hey ho, I'd best crack on.  But before I go tell me this and tell me no more, why does Christmas come so early each year now? And, while I'm on the subject,  where have the long  hot summers gone to? OK! OK!  I'll shut up.  I'm off now - TaTa xxxx.