Sunday, March 01, 2015

Ahoy there!

Dylan always says:

"When you stay in a hotel people say 'Good morning ' at breakfast and 'Good evening at dinner' and that's it.'
That 's why he is such a fan of cruising.  For a start it is never obvious that you are travelling alone.
On my first cruise there was a drinks party for single people and there were over a hundred there - all ages - none of whom had seemed to be alone.

Each night the ship's newspaper is put through your cabin door with the next day's highlights for you to peruse and plan your day - or not - if you are feeling idle and just want to go with the flow.

There'll be a choice of - say - a guest speaker in the Neptune lounge describing the origins of WW1
up to the Armistice in 1918, an Intermediate Bridge Class as well as Absolute Beginners Bridge Class, a Drinks party to hear about the other ships of the line and their various cruises, Beginner's Dance Class (I'm saying nothing!) Craft Class , Classical Concerts etc, etc, etc.

The paper is very handy to have on one's person because it reminds you on which deck the seven bars are situated as well as the four restaurants and their times.  I made a point of using the stairs rather than the lift and didn't put on weight on either cruise.  The ready availability of all kinds of food makes it easy to make the right choices and still relish the cuisine.  You are consigned to a particular restaurant for dinner but for lunch and breakfast the choice is yours and should you not feel like dressing up on a formal night you can get  a perfectly good meal in the Café.

One night there was a formal protest from a man who insisted on appearing for the formal night tieless and in an anorak.  He refused the waiter's offer of a jacket and tie but it  was all a bit silly as he could have eaten in the less formal café without changing.

When the ship is docked there are usually at least four different excursions which you are told about and book before the holiday.  If people just want to wander ashore but would like some company they muster in one of the named public rooms and everybody is taken care of.

When you join the ship initially you are given what looks like a credit card made out with your details and this is a vital piece of equipment.  It identifies you and pays for everything you may need on board.  It's so nice whilst on the ship not to have to use filthy lucre and it is very easy to check what you are spending by looking at your cabin details on the TV.

Apart from the various evening entertainments there is always very pleasant music in the various lounges and bars.  A particular favourite was the Rosario String Trio and we were delighted to see them again on the last cruise.

One lunch time I was eating alone because the 'boys' had gone ashore in the tender  and I didn't want to risk banging my arm so I decided to be adventurous and try the restaurant on the top deck.  It was beautifully lit from the large windows and I saw a woman alone with a brave, bright smile on her face which reminded me of myself - the first time dining alone.  I was all set to keep her company but the head waiter had other ideas and I was whisked to another table.
The boys liked this restaurant as they discovered they could get Eggs Bendict for breakfast there and  when Dylan and I meet again in October we have chosen it for our main restaurant.

A great bonus of cruise life is the charming waiters and waitresses - predominantly Filipino.  They are kind and loving to the elderly and frail.  It is no rare sight to see a tiny waitress kneeling at the feet of an elderly person as if with a beloved grandparent whilst taking their drink order.  Whilst I found it difficult to remember precisely the drink I had chosen as a regular aperitif- my waitress would remind  me - or Lady Patricia as she insisted on addressing me.

A very sad moment on the plane from Tenerife was when  I was eavesdropping on two really old ladies.  One of them had still a beauty about her with loose tendrils of silver hair straying from the ancient hairpins.
In her gentle quavery voice she said:

"And then my little girl gave me such a lovely hug.  Such a lovely hug."

A few moments reflexion and then she said:

"Then she went through the door and I never saw her again.  Never saw her again."

P.S.  It's just dawned on me that my recent reluctance to do a post was probably because typing - although my arm is very much better - uses quite different muscles and tendons and is subsequently not quite back to normal.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The sound of Cape Verde

I was introduced to this singer - the late Cesaria Evora by Vagabonde only to discover she is a favourite of Guyana Gal and Cloudcutter.  The song Sodade means longing.
Everything about this recording including the décor and the men - they all seem fit as fleas in the good health sense - takes me back to the islands and they are all so cool.  Enjoy.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

More Photies - 'Oh are you the lady who fell backwards?'

We  visited Mindelo, Cape Verde Islands and bussed up the mountains contrasting the white sands dunes with the arid landscape.  One of the island volcanoes had been erupting for a month so there was a dusty horizon.

 Can you see the taxi driver who was doing backward somersaults on the dunes?
 We visited Praia Grande Beach for a 'taste' of the island.  This lady is a member of the Capoeira Dance Group.  She was adjusting her fantastic dress in the only loo and at one stage fell over and had the greatest difficulty getting up again.  Everybody had to squeeze past her.
 The little girl sitting on stage was enchanted by the dancers and ignored her mother's pleas to move..
 This couple were the star dancers and did a dance full of sex and gusto.
 Then the pros invited us to dance with them.  No prizesfor guessing my reaction

  Isn't she lovely?
 Now we are in Praia another  island doing and historical excursion which was once a major slave trading post.
 Alberto in the orange top was an excellent guide.  everybody could hear him and ha was passionate about the islands and hoped eventually to get into politics to help bring about necessary changes.
 Vasco de Gama on his way to India,  Christopher Columbus during his third voyage to the Americas and Darwin on his remarkable journey all stopped off at the port.

 The Municipal Market.  I ventured in but it was so crowded my arm was at risk and the ladies had heavy copper bowls on their heads which could have toppled over in the crowds

 Looking down from the Real de Sao Filipe Fort.  There's Bubbles in yellow.
 These boys live in a delightful village Cidade Velha -the oldest settlement in the Islands
 The village church which had an enormous bell outside attached to a rope.  Bubbles persuaded Roberto to pull on the rope when there was an enormous clang.  Then Bubbles had a go - then Roberto.  Goodness knows what message they were sending out.  I was quite restrained.
 The stone structure was the village hanging place.  We were offered a taste of the local grog and some of us partook.  Medicinal you understand.  Cor!!
 I\ bought a picture from her.  Isn't she splendid?

 Back in the Canaries

 Great pavements.

This is my idea of a nightmare pavement.  Anyone, over 65 with Vari Lux glasses will understand. 

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

A Special Moon tonight.

They said there would be a special moon tonight and just one star - Jupiter I think.  Do click on it
and tell me if you see it.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A few Photies - something for the week-end.

My cabin - should have tidied it first.

 Looking the other way the bathroom is on the left and on the right a very generous wardrobe - even for me.
One of the Cape Verde island's volcanoes had been erupting for a week - you can see the dust in the atmosphere which was difficult for passengers with breathing problems.

The tender being raised outside my cabin.  It was only necessary to use it once to get ashore- the day after my accident so Dylan advised me to stay on board, which I did.

 The crew having a race.  Sadly they moved a few inches at a time.  The officer in the centre looked just like an older Stanley Baker in the flesh.
 People did bathe as it got hotter.  Pas moi:)

 I think looking left there is no land between us and South America - unless it is the other way round.
 Dear Bubbles looking pensive on Christmas Day.
 Our evening restaurant - the Thistle.  We patronised the others during the day.
 The fish market in ? Madeira.  The photies have rearranged themselves and I have learned not to interfere
 Through the glass darkly.
My first view of Braemar which should be at the top of the page.
Just off the plane at Tenerife