Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Not Exactly Plain Sailing

Tuesday Dec 16

At 2am my driver Mark turned up - on the dot - to drive me to Gatwick airport.  I had checked and double checked all the things I'm meant to do before leaving the house, now it was up to God and Alastair to watch over it for me.

Dylan - my ship mate from the first cruise - and I had arranged to meet in the waiting area at the airport.  He was going to Heathrow on the Monday to meet his grand son from Canada.  They would then go to Gatwick and spend the night in a hotel.  To make it easier I told Dylan I would be in red, and I had to look for Dylan plus a 6' 2" fifteen year old boy.

Although it had been a long foggy drive and Mark had to go as soon as he dropped me I found a really helpful porter who actually said
"No that's enough," as I scrabbled in my purse for a tip.

OK so I'm here where the hell is Dylan?  The course of true platonic friendship is never smooth I reflected.

I had the great good fortune to be seated next to Valerie and her husband.  Absolute strangers with the sort of warmth you feel at home with.  Before long I had told Valerie my worries and she insisted on searching the plane for a man with 15 year old boy.  No joy but we had a drink together and chatted happily.

Reunited with my luggage in my cabin there was no time to fret and I had just about unpacked by dinner time.  We were in Santa Cruz, Tenerife and about to sail to Las Palmas Gran Canaria.
Feeling a little bereft I arrived at the Thistle restaurant and gave my name to the head waiter.
He beamed and said,
" Ah you are with Sir Dylan."  They are very generous with their knight hoods and I was often Lady Patricia.  Beaming myself now I caught sight of Dylan rising from the table next to lovely curly haired Bubbles.

Seems there had been three flights and Dylan had had a team of people looking for a lady in red.
For the next few days we would be greeted with:
"Oh you have found her!"

Bubbles (his chosen pseudonym) was a joy and I suspect a lot of people were a bit in love with him.
"Hello Bubbles we were in the same hotel as you," was a common greeting from all ages.  He played all the games available and was easily the most popular boy on board.  I didn't mind at all being mistaken for his grandmother.

Wednesday Dec 17th
We were doing Dolphin Watching today and the three of us mustered at 9am on a coach to take us to the south of the island.  Our guide was very proud of the fact that though the north of the island could be grey and cloudy the south was always bathed in beautiful sunshine - and so it was.
We boarded a catamaran in Puerto Rico and ensconced ourselves on the upper deck whilst Bubbles ran hither and yon like a young puppy.

It was all very pleasant - perfect weather, perfect scenery.  I did get a couple of shots of the reclusive dolphins but I had ben spoilt previously by visiting The Moray Firth some years  back with dolphins who really wanted to lark about and show off.  Then we re-joined the ship for a late lunch.
BTW I have managed to get my photos transferred from the camera to the computer - the next step is more difficult and I am a little handicapped just now but shall get there in the end.
I learned that it is useful to mutter "Trade winds," when trying to answer some problem in this area.

Thursday DEC 18th
We arrived in San Sebastian, La Gomera.
There are two sittings for dinner and you choose when booking and it affects the people you see regularly.  I knew Valerie and her husband were second sitting so warned her we may not see each other again - but in a different restaurant for breakfast I recognised her husband and was able to introduce them both to the boys.
I went to a lecture and learned about Enterprise of the Indies, beating, praying for success, Silver Laurel, Pixies - these disparate notes were made due to the atmosphere in the Neptune lounge - which I always call Jupiter- which induces nodding off in day time lectures although the evening's entertainment is more stimulating.  I did remember El Silbo which is a piecing whistle  with which the natives communicate and later Bubbles and I heard it.

Formal night - had my hair done and we had a pleasant evening after an aperitif in the pub.
Dylan and I agreed not to bother with presents but I wanted to get something for Bubbles.  One of the charming Philippino girls persuaded me to buy a commemorative mug filled with gourmet chocs.
'Oh Madam you must taste one,'  she entreated, burbling with mirth.  It was an extraordinary outlay of divine sounding chocs so to humour her I chose one.
' Oh Madam did you like that?
'Yes it was lovely.'
I thought she was having hysterics she laughed so much then suddenly presented me with a bill 90p.
I had already paid for the present.  Of course my companions thought this was hilarious and every single time we passed her domain they would tease me.

We had to put our clocks back one hour.  Dylan told me he had been scolded by Bubbles for not escorting me to my cabin at night.  I though this was very sweet and laudable so henceforth that is what he did.

I noticed in the daily 'What's on', there was a class for beginners to learn the Slow Foxtrot and thought I may give it  go.  What could possibly go wrong?


The Cloudcutter said...

Lovely! Can't wait for the rest :)

Rog said...

Haha! Sounds like a very nice time though Pat.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a grand time, thus far......but I feel more is to come?!

Pat said...

CC: I'll try to get on with it:)

Rog: From the comfort and peace of my home - yes it was.

John: astute as ever:)

Z said...

You're such a tease!

Pat said...

Z: what? Why? How?

Kim Ayres said...

Glad you made it back safe and sound with stories aplenty to tell us :)

Daffers said...

Ah this reminds me of the last cruise saga I read, from Banjo. Did you have a celebrity on board? Waiting with baited breath for the next instalment (and photo of Bubbles).

Pat said...

Kim: safe and getting sounder by the day.

Daffers: no celebrity that I noticed. Bubbles won't disappoint:)

Ms Scarlet said...

Did the fox trot lead to a fox trip?
Looking forward to the rest of your stories.

Pat said...

Scarlet: ha ha! All will be revealed:)

angryparsnip said...

Wonderful !
I can not wait to read the next part.
I am in love with Bubbles just from your description.
Happy to read your back home.

cheers, parsnip

Pat said...

Parsnip; no place like it and after a longer absence than planned I'm thankful all is well.
Thank you for the beautiful card:)

FrenchSon said...

Does it involve an iceberg?

Pat said...

French son: heureusement non:)
ma dictionare Francaise est dans l'attic - je crois. Excusez les fautes.

Exile on Pain Street said...

I love the idea that Alistair was watching over you. That moved me more than the pedestrian idea that God was watching.

You've always been Lady Patricia to me. Always will be.

I wish I had the wherewithal to jet out there and help you with the photos. I'm looking forward to them. Nice report, dear. Happy New Year. It's nice to see you.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh, I have been looking forward to reading all about your trip, dear Pat....! Bubbles sounds a pure delight, and so far, everything is going swimmingly....I wait with fingers crosses and holding my breath for the next chapter!
What a perfect thing to do for these Holidays, my dear Pat!

Anonymous said...

It's lovely to have you back 'me lady'

it sounds like you have a wonderful adventure, can't wait to hear the rest.


Guyana-Gyal said...

This morning, as I looked out through the window at the ocean, I wondered how you were doing, were you back from the sea?

Hooray, you're back!

We're all living vicariously, happily, via your travel tale...what could possible go wrong?

Mage said...

Dear Lady Patricia, it's so good to see you and begin to read about your adventures. :)

Pat said...

Exile: of course Alastair watches over me. That's the deal.
I'd love you to pop over but slowly I'm getting there re photos.
Naomi: here comes the fall:)

Helen: your wish is my command.

GG: I didn't want to keep you in suspenders too long.

Mage: I wonder if you ever do British cruises?