I’ve been very remiss as it’s been nearly three years since my last post, not something I’m proud of considering I made a promise to our family and friends to keep them informed whilst we were on our travels. But then sometimes there isn’t enough hours in each day to do everything, especially when you’re on holiday.
Let’s think about this logically (and hopefully I’ll give myself a damn good excuse for my tardiness)
Most of our travels are cruises and one of the main reasons for the drop in posts initially was the increase in the cost of using the internet on a ship. Back in 2015 I was paying, on average, around £30 for a 24 hour pass…that being the total time available to be online split into as many sessions as it would facilitate. A single pass would certainly last for the duration of even cruises of 3 weeks or more, with an hour or two left over to donate to a friendly crew member at the end.
These days though, internet packages have soared in price (on the cruise lines we use that is) and even the simplest packages are so expensive and not really worth it.
But having said that I think I’m offering a bit of a diversionary excuse to be honest, because the real reason for the decline of my blog was probably because of the developing feeling of obligation to post, no matter what.
Back on the ship after a beautiful day out, in some really wonderful places, it’s nice just to relax with a glass of wine, take in a show or movie, indulge in delightful culinary fare or just sit and chill as you watch the sun go down.
But that’s not what I was doing, because I had a task to complete…a piece of writing to compose (with a photo or two) to let the folks back home know what we’d been doing, and that we were okay. The modern day postcard if you like…but with a lot more space to fill and an expectation that daily communication was required. Well that’s how it felt to me…but I was probably mistaken, and it’s extremely likely the obligation I felt was more a matter of my own pride.
Bloggers live to engage readers and collect things such as likes and comments, and I was (am) no exception. We crave that others see what an interesting life we lead…a kind of ‘look at us’ mentality…a desire for that Andy Warhol 10 minutes of fame. Don’t get me wrong, there are many great bloggers out there whose writing deserves an audience…but for me I needed to realise that there is, in fact, a time for every purpose under heaven (as in the great song ‘Turn Turn Turn’)
A time to relax, a time to enjoy. A time to Blog and a time not fret that you haven’t posted for a day or two (or a week, a month or nearly 3 years)
So I’m going to make an effort to recommence this online journal, but maybe a bit in arrears of any actual events…that way I’m free to enjoy every moment I’m fortunate to experience without feeling guilty if I forget to commit it to script immediately.
The Hokey Cokey……….what’s that all about?
Growing old is certainly better than the alternative……dying young
Not sure who should take the credit for this quote……but it’s definitely not me……still a great quote
1st December 2014
Another Sea Day…or just a rumour?
Cruise ships are one of the greatest places in the whole of the civilised world for rumours, which range from the simply obvious to the incredibly and unbelievably ridiculous.
They’re going on all the time, but there’s always a crescendo of some of the more bizarre ideas as the trip draws near to its conclusion.
Early on there were the stories about certain individuals and their status or occupation, and apparently we had a world famous and well respected fashion designer on board as well as a very well known comedienne and even a Nolan sister. Turns out the designer was just an eccentric with strange hair and very little fashion sense, the comedienne was the least funniest person you could ever meet and the Nolan sister hasn’t been seen again as she’s gone into hiding (or maybe she never existed in the first place)
At one point the ship had a crack in the hull, the crew were working to rule and a whole gang of passengers had been arrested for nicking stuff from the shops (now that one I could believe) The weather was going to stop us getting into Cuba, someone was suing because of a splinter and rum had actually been discovered in the free punch served during the sail away party (that’s just silly)
With reference to an earlier post there is now even one tale being distributed about some members of the crew receiving in excess of $2k in gratuities each month. But I can categorically state that from all the whispering and scheming I’ve heard on this subject it’s more likely that they’ll get much less than that from this bunch to share between everyone.
Maybe I should start a rumour that folk who don’t pay their gratuities are going to be put on an international ‘tight wads’ register and are likely to be banned admission into any of the bars or restaurants on any cruise ship.
Anyway the latest rumours are that we won’t get into Ponta Delgado and we’re due to get hit by a force 10 storm as we make a run for home. And when we reach the UK we’ll be greeted with three foot of snow and Christmas (like all Christian festivals) will be cancelled in favour of a more politically correct celebration. But there’s nothing left in the shops anyway because of the black Friday lootings and all the turkeys have had to be destroyed because of deadly bacteria lurking in the skin.
Well I just don’t have enough space to list any more of them as there are so many.
Let’s just wait and see…..this could get even more stupid!!!!!
20th November 2014
A Sea Day
So far I haven’t included many posts during this trip about the numerous sea days we’ve had. Mainly this is because nothing much has been happening to inspire me or worth any particular mention.
After the successful and exceedingly exciting launch of ‘The Other Side of Me’, my first novel, I’ve spent most of the time on sea days trying to concentrate on my next project, or more importantly trying to decide what to do!!
I’m currently considering trying to turn this cruise/holiday blog into a book, something like a cruisers diary with a plot line running through it (a bit like Adrian Mole meets Bridget Jones with a touch of Deputy Dawg thrown in for good measure) Oh well, let’s see.
Tomorrow we reach Cuba and although I feel a certain amount of excitement about the visit, I also feel a little apprehensive.
In the meantime here’s a little ditty.
Yes I know that was awful but what did you expect? 🙂
5th November 2014
Remember Remember the 5th of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot…..well lets all hope there’s no gunpowder involved, but the treason and plot wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
And what the devil, I hear you all cry, are you talking about?
Well…..I’ve already spoken about the competitiveness of this lot, but it’s definitely starting to feel like this is one of the strangest groups of people we’ve ever travelled with (to be honest it’s not the whole group and I’m sure most of them are very nice individuals) But as usual the antics of the minority tend to capture my attention, and surprisingly it seems to be some of the older ones who are taking centre stage.
Only two days in and already there have been quite a number of arguments among the assembled. Fortunately there hasn’t been any full blown ‘toe to toe’ rows, but a few little niggles and the odd spat or two have taken place. There’s definitely a smattering of Victor Meldrews around ready with a terse ‘You can’t do that’ or a less than polite ‘Do you mind?’ turn of phrase.
And what have the miscreants who are attracting these remarks done to deserve a verbal tongue lashing?
Has he/she barged through an orderly queue to reach the last of the tea cakes??? NO
Has he/she shouted obscenities throughout the show company’s moving rendition of ‘Bring him home’??? NO (but frankly they should have done)
Has he/she been caught rummaging through Mrs Smiths racey underwear in the laundrette??? NO…..have you seen Mrs Smith?
The main cause of the disputes is space, or more importantly, how someone has positioned (or is positioning) themselves within a space.
Just like any resort with a swimming pool the whole lido deck is neatly lined with closely packed chairs and sun loungers each morning ready to receive the sun worshippers. The early birds grab the best position and then proceed to clear some personal space around their chosen spot by shoving the surrounding furniture away, and like a long line of shopping trolleys the loungers scrape across the wooden deck until the one at the end hits something fixed. This is then repeated by others and the result is puddles of occupied loungers arranged randomly around the pool with the rest in a cluttered heap up one corner of the deck, resembling a traffic jam on the M25.
Now as the morning progresses more and more of the bronzed gods arrive for a session of tanning (steady now) and this is when the territorial fights break out. The late arrivals carefully untangle a piece of the discarded furniture and attempt to drag it into a free space…..but those already in position have made sure the space around them isn’t big enough to accommodate the newcomers.
And, of course, it’s not the established occupants who are being inconsiderate…….oh no, that would be a preposterous suggestion. Possession is not only 9/10th of the law it also allows the possessor of the said space to be an evil selfish bastard as well. So as you can see….this is how it all starts.
But then this situation continues into the evening because some of these space dominators take possession of a particular seat at their dinner table as well, and woe betide anyone who disrespects that. They certain don’t tolerate anyone who wishes to ‘rotate around’ their ‘table of eight’ in order to get to know their companions a little better, and it’s not unknown for the weak to be reduced to floods of tears if they even try.
Oh and if any other evidence is needed for you the reader to fully understand the type of folk who are lurking among those we share this trip with, then here it is.
There’s a small party of Germans aboard who are definitely here to have fun and enjoy themselves, just like us. Now like any gathering of friends, irrespective of nationality, they are tending to get louder as the alcohol flows. Ok, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that as this is a regular occurrence, again irrespective of nationality, on every cruise we’ve been on.
BUT there are some who are openly affronted by the behaviour of these happy Bavarians, and the fact they are laughing and joking in their own language drives them into the depths of paranoia.
So begins the huddled whispering, the pointing and a determination to be louder just to prove we Brits always know how to have the best time. They even resort to some attempted ‘Basil Fawlty’ mimicry for added effect…..
‘Vot ever you do, don’t mention ze var’
I even heard ‘How dare they’ at one point.
And I want to ask how dare they what?……..speak their own language? Have fun? Be German?
I though the saying was ‘older and wiser’ but just lately I’m not really convinced that’s necessarily right. I just hope that as I get older I don’t become that nasty and cynical.
That’s what I think (TWIT)
4th November 2014
In a very short time one thing has become abundantly clear…….the folk on this cruise are some of the most competitive individuals I’ve ever encountered. I say individuals but it appears that some of them are working in pairs, and even as part of a team, in order to subdue and humiliate their unworthy rivals.
It all started around the lido pool this morning with the obligatory show of ‘one-upmanship’ in the innocent guise of a few t-shirts, caps and sweat shirts. These are clearly meant to demonstrate the wearers past cruising prowess and dares all comers to challenge their right to be the ‘top cruise dog’ on this trip. Usually the basic ‘I’ve been to the Seychelles’ brigade will bow to the more experienced ‘We trekked across the Atacama Desert’ mob, who in turn will humbly bend the knee to the more obscure ‘Machu Pichu by lama’ elite.
But not this time as many posed using the multiple displays from around the globe tactics in an attempt to outflank their strutting opponents, who would not yield under any circumnavigation of the world….no sir!
Anything from Europe and Australasia was dismissed without a second glance and the previously obscure trips to ‘The Real Rural China’ were now considered ‘old hat’ and literally relegated to the bottom of the bragging rights league table with ‘nil point’.
Whilst initially it was considered that ‘Whale Surfing the St Lawrence’ was a very strong contender in the early rounds, the wearer was summarily disqualified from the competition after it was discovered to be a fake.
After many a taunt and several grunts of intimidation, it came down to a direct, one round, winner takes all face off as ‘I’ve herded penguins by helicopter in the Falklands’ met ‘We tracked polar bears in Longyearben’ in the breakfast at Palm’s Café final. After much parading and swaggering the parties involved decided to call it a draw and went off together to compare notes, but in reality this was just an attempt to bore each other to death to decide the true winner.
Now that was just the start of it.
Anyway, maybe more on that another time, back to the story in hand and even more worrying was the behaviour of some of the passengers during the ‘walk a mile around the decks’ activity earlier today. Despite the member of staff, who was in charge of the event, insisting that the walk would be conducted at ‘a gentle pace’ and ‘it was all just a bit of fun’, it transpires that three of the weaker and less ambulant attendees are now receiving treatment in the medical centre for trample injuries, and apparently one poor lady is still missing.
I admit I may have slightly exaggerated the competitiveness of these situations, but trust me this ‘one-upmanship’ happens, and nowhere more so than in a tin box full of bloody-minded people. It all comes down to the fact that we the human race still retain so much of our basic animal instinct and we desperately need to prove that we’re ‘so much better than you’.
Now I can accept this trait in the young, after all it’s quite natural to want to prove yourself to be the best at that age, but in my experience the older generation are just as bad and I find it strange that those who no longer need to prove themselves work so hard to proclaim themselves as the ‘top dog’.
Instead of accepting that ‘we all do what we do the way we want to do it’ there are those who go out of their way to suggest their life has been brilliant and yours?…….well frankly it’s just not good enough.
Well that’s what I think anyway!!!
3rd November 2014
Embarkation was mainly good fun and trouble free as usual, only this time we were known by the few members of the crew who were wandering around the lounge selling dreams and promises (well actually they were pushing the wine, spa treatments and cream teas, but dreams and promises sounds much more exotic and holiday…ish)
Our fellow passengers look like the usual mix of the weird and wonderful, but it noticeable that there are a lot of furtive and suspicious glances being flashed in our direction……..hmmm I wonder what kind of crowd this is?
To be honest we’ve been saying that as we’ve been very fortunate with our travelling companions during the last few trips, then maybe it’s our turn to have a crappy table this time. Looking around the embarkation lounge I was really tempted to get on the phone to the folk from 106 and bribe them to hurry on down to join us…….ah well, let’s see.
The cabin is no too bad, although it’s a lot smaller than the last one despite being the same grade. But a nicer bathroom with a solid shower screen instead of the plastic curtain that sticks to you throughout your ablutions. So all good here.
Muster drill done…….check
Safe mastered………oh dear.
The room safe usually requires a four digit code but this one needs six, what a tricky dilemma….I’m on holiday to relax not fret about two extra bloody numbers.
In the meantime it’s dinner time….cross your fingers and hold your breath.
Well we were wrong and first impressions of our table are good, it all seemed a bit strained at times but I’m sure things will settle down after a day or two.
Ah well let’s see how things go…….and so to bed perchance to dream of white sandy beaches and balmy romantic moonlit nights…..absolutely no chance of that then.