Tag Archives: Writing

Weirdo….

29th November 2014

A Sea Day

download

For us, this cruise has been one of the strangest. Don’t get me wrong we’ve been to some really interesting places and had a very enjoyable time away….the foods been ok, the weather great and the ship and the crew are good as usual. But some of the folk we’ve shared this holiday with are seriously strange. I can’t quite put my finger on any one particular reason for thinking this because there are many. There has been an excess of moaning, far more than the average cruise, and we’ve seen an unprecedented amount of ignorance and bad manners, mainly aimed in the direction of the lovely staff. And if you ever thought I was opinionated…well compared to some of these I’m a rank amateur.

Because of this I’ve been wandering around the ship singing the following which I’d like to share with you all……

“Weirdo” (to the tune Hero-Maria Carey)

There are weirdoes
When you look around this ship
You won’t have to search too far
To find another.
They’re all over
If you wander to the bar
In the restaurant or on tour
They will be there.

And when the weirdo comes along
You’ll lose the will to carry on,
As you cast your eyes on high
And you know you can’t deny,
Now you feel like hope is gone
Look around you and be strong.
But you’ll finally see the truth
As a weirdo stands by you.

It’s a long cruise
When you take this trip alone
Someone reaches out a hand
For you to hold.
Then you face them
And you realise with fear
That a morons sitting near
With scary eyes.

And when the weirdo comes along
You’ll lose the will to carry on,
As you cast your eyes on high
And you know you can’t deny,
Now you feel like hope is gone
Look around you and be strong.
But you’ll finally see the truth
As a weirdo stands by you

Lord knows
Escape is quite unlikely
But don’t let anyone
Talk you to death.
Hold on
There may be tomorrow,
In time
You’ll find the way,

But then the weirdo comes along
You’ll lose the will to carry on,
As you cast your eyes on high
And you know you can’t deny,
Now you feel like hope is gone
Look around you and be strong.
But you’ll finally see the truth
As a weirdo stands by you.

Club Tropicana drinks aren’t free, but they are good

21st – 22nd November 2014

Havana – Cuba

P1030766

It would be wrong of me to say I’m totally relaxed and looking forward to today’s visit to the city of Havana in Cuba, but I have no rational reason for feeling the way I do, so I intend trying to keep an open mind.

First impressions are, once again, a little mixed as the place we’re berthed at is quite dirty and dishevelled. I must remind myself of my previous comments about not expecting things to be the same here as in other places.

This is a country which is growing and improving, yes the revolution was some time ago but rebuilding takes time…and many boatloads of money.

We have to wait a while for immigration clearance and there’s a huge queue to change money into Cuban Convertible Pesos, but once that’s done we’re off. It’s a hot and sticky day and like many places there is the gauntlet of horse-drawn carriage owners and taxi drivers to negotiate. But to be fair they’re not as pushy as some of the ones we’re encountered on previous trips, so the first good point of the day is awarded.

We walked along the harbour front but a lot of care is needed here. The pavements are quite bad and are very uneven with huge holes here and there. But the people appear genuinely pleased to welcome us to their city with many an ‘Ola’ handed out along with big smiles. All seems friendly so far.

Some of the streets and buildings are seriously depressing though and there is a lot of construction and renovation happening. Unfortunately our first wanderings led us into a less salubrious area of the city and within a short time we quickly get lost in all the backstreet alleyways. I wouldn’t say we felt in any danger but elderly men urinating against the wall is never a good sign.

P1030769Much is made of the old American cars which dominate this city, and it’s true there are so many of them around the average car enthusiast could spend hours here and look at nothing else.

 

But be careful if you decide to ride….be absolutely clear in your negotiations as we heard many a story of a price being agreed but the passengers not realising the price quoted to them was per hour and/or per passenger and not a total for a tour. We heard one couple saying that as they’d had insufficient money when the time came to pay, the driver had demanded the man go off in search of cash while his terrified wife remained in the sweltering confines of the back of his car.

There are a lot of ‘dead’ railway engines around the streets as well, not all are accessible to look around but seeing the scatterings of ‘open air’ museums was interesting.

Anyway, by the evening of the first day I’m still not totally convinced, but the highlight of this tour was about to happen….we’d booked to go to ‘Club Tropicana’ to see this world famous show.

Well what can I say? It was very spectacular and with half a litre of Havana Club rum between the two of us it got better by the minute. Then to be fair we were quite lucky as we were directed to seats which gave us a decent view of the stage. Others were not quite so fortunate. The members of the audience are packed around oblong tables and this poses a big problem, a lot of folk are facing the wrong way….and it’s nigh on impossible to rotate your chair for a better look as the person behind is so close.

Overall we were both quite pleasantly surprised by the entertainment on offer although I would say that some parts became quite repetitive. This is a high-energy dance show with lots of fast salsa drum beats, so don’t expect too much variety. But it was very lively and colourful, what more can you wish from a show?

And so closed our first day here….dare I say with a smile….but was Havana or Havana Club responsible?

Day two was just as hot and sticky and there’s a load more to see and do, so off we go again. The one inescapable fact about this place is it’s cheap…very cheap.

We bought a number of presents to take home and food and drink is very reasonable…for example lobster for two with several mojitos to wash it down will cost around £20, and we bought two litres of Cubans finest rum for around £8!

We visit the the usual tourist haunts such as the Cathedral, the government buildings, revolution square, the armoury museum, etc and it was all very interesting. There is an awful lot of renovation going on so the future potential of this city appears to be a really good place to visit.

P1030807We end up having lunch in some back street café, which turns out to be the owner’s front yard with chickens and children running around, and a pile of colourful laundry drying on the washing line overhead. This for me was one of the highlight of this trip so far and demonstrated how friendly the people are here, as well as how desperate they are to earn a living, however they can. Needless to say the food was as good as the hospitality…..

And that was Havana. Much better than we’d expected and certainly different but I’m not sure we’ll come back….why?….probably because I wonder if the major renovation of this city which is happening at the moment will have a huge impact on the people and spoil the atmosphere and attitude that you feel in these somewhat chaotic streets. And as for those fantastic American cars….we all know what happened to the old buses in Malta once outside agencies put money into the local economy. Losing them would just be disastrous….oh well, I suppose we should come back in a few years time to find out what’s happened.

ADIOS CUBAP1030799

 

A good reason for rain….

6th November 2014

Oh look……it’s a sea day!

It’s been a little bit rough over the last 24 hours and today the sky is full of billowing clouds……I feel a poem coming on.

God lifts the water from the sea
To paint his sky majestically,
With candy floss of every shape
From smiling face to swinging ape.
A bird, a bear, or just a ball
Then building, swirling, growing tall

As veiled in grey dark mists surround
With thunder, lightning, raining down.
Uniquely formed each quickly dies
It’s tears to empty from the skies.
And so my friend don’t curse the rain
God clears his sky to start again.

J Arthur Gray Nov 14

Madeira tomorrow, let’s hope the weather improves.

Remember Remember

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)

Race Y’all……

4th November 2014

Race Y’all!!

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.

How arrogant.

Well that’s what I think anyway!!!

All Aboard…….

3rd November 2014

All Aboard!

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.

Unpacking done…….check

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.

The Other Side of Me

10.15 pm – Even though it was quite late by the time Freddie got back to the Dog he was hoping his friend would still be there waiting for him.
“She’s not been in at all tonight Freddie.” John picked a clean glass off the rack. “Stopping for a drink?”
“No thanks, bit strapped for cash tonight.”
“Is everything alright Freddie?” John sounded genuinely concerned.
“I think so. Things are just mixed up in my head at the moment, that’s all.”
As Freddie turned to leave John called him back.
“Isn’t it strange,” he said, “That when you get up in the morning some things seem very simple, but as soon as you get into bed they become so complicated it ruins the rest of your day.” He put a pint of bitter down on the counter. “There’s a lesson there for everyone I think, and this one’s on the house.”

cover draft6

 

 

Now available as a paperback or for Kindle at Amazon

 

 

 

Oh the Joys………

cover draft6

 

Their bedroom had finally become a battlefield, it was literally ‘load up and charge’ but in the heat of this conflict Freddie was out of ammunition and the ensuing fight had dared to question the ownership and quality of the gun.

Improve your chances……………..

cover draft6“We’ve been following all the usual tried and tested advice given by the ‘how to get pregnant’ experts and magazine gurus and she’s always keen to try all the different ideas she’s read about.”
“Lisa reads a lot by the sound of it.”
“To be fair doc it’s her job, as is putting me through the torture of cold baths, loose underwear and high fibre diets. Three items that definitely never made it onto Julie Andrews list of favourite things. But then neither did men, sex or chocolate so go figure.”

 

Now available for Kindle from Amazon

One Lovely Blog Award

Apparently I’ve been nominated for an award………WOW an award how lovely 🙂

I was nominated by The Bella Travelista, so thank you, I’m really grateful that you enjoy my nonsense to the point you feel I deserve a mention…….it is very much appreciated.

Ok, so according to The Bella Travelista, the rules for the One Lovely Blog award are:
The conditions for the award are:

1. Thank the blogger who gives it and link back to the blog.
2. Tell the person who nominated you, 7 things about yourself.
3. Nominate 15 bloggers and let them know about the award.

About Me

1 Well firstly I don’t think I’m that interesting so thinking of seven things may take it’s toll on my imagination.

2 I was a stay at home Dad to my two wonderful boys at a time when being a male home-maker was just starting to become acceptable.

3 I spent the majority of my working life in the dark…….working backstage in the theatre

4 I love cruising.

5 I hope to become an appreciated author some time before I leave this mortal existence.

6 I’m a big softy at heart and love a happy ending.

7 My first novel ‘The Other Side of Me’ has just been released (sorry but I just had to get that in somehow 🙂 )

 

Now My Nominations

These guys and gals make me laugh, give good advice or generally brighten my day.

Ronovan Writes
The Author Who Supports
The Hardy Traveller
Pamo’s World
KrisKaria
Darkyblue
Cristian Mihai
Storytime with John
Clothed with Joy
Dream, Play, Write
Cheryl M Gray Art
Chris Martin Writes
my two sentences
Veraiconica’s Blog
Simply Beautiful

There are many more I love to read, so if I missed you I’m sorry, but if I follow you I think you’re great 🙂

cover draft6

 

%d bloggers like this: