Monday, June 29, 2015

Wonderful Copenhagen

 Rather a dull day - to the right is the bow of our ship The Braemar and central is Queen Margrethe's yacht which she uses quite often.

 The Little Mermaid who has to sit on her rock for 300 years before she can become human.  She has been there since 1913.  I'll leave you to 'do the math!'
 This coach was our transport for the day.  Our captain always managed to get us an excellent berth so we avoided long trips into the town.
 The summer residence - Rosenborg Castle which houses the Crown jewels.  Now those I would have liked to see.

 I suppose he is guarding the jewels.
 A city of bicycles
 Just a drive-by view of the Tivoli Gardens.
 This seemed to be a covered trike for Mum and child.. 
 Here is where the Royal Family live so they are much more accessible than ours.  The Crown Prince has four children and one can see them going to school etc.  Sadly we didn't  but the band was a bonus
 The courtyard of the Amalienborg Palace  I put this link on Face Book and as far as I can see no-one has read it.
I hope you will.  It is relevant to us all and you may find it reassuring.  Thank you.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Meet Oscar!

My new sweetheart and his Mum Gail.  I promise you he is just as adorable as he looks.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

So this is Germany.

We docked at Travemunde - which means mouth of the Trave - our first port of call in Germany.  Most of us had already chosen the excursion for our brief stay - not an easy task when you are unfamiliar with the area and there are usually half a dozen to choose from.  In the end I opted for Lubeck.  I remember the boys' father had been there when he was in the navy in WW2 and chose to see it by boat.  Lubeck is a UNESCO heritage town and we travelled the 20 kilometres  from the ship by coach.  Below is our boat.
Lubeck is a city of spires including the twin towered Holstein Gate, St Mary's and St Peter's churches

We floated past merchant homes, historic granaries, salt storages and warehouses of this once world leading trade city.

Malerwinkel or artist's corner is a peaceful spot

It was always a joy to get back to Braemar for a delicious meal. 
In fact the only fly in the ointment was I couldn't use my tablet as the ship - at the time - couldn't access wifi and at one time I was texting our French son in Paris to text
my DIL in UK to text me - as a helpful passenger had deleted her details on my phone.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Strange times.

 Here today- looking not too bad considering the gardener disappeared over a month ago.  Saint Mick mowed the lawn for me and he is on the last leg of the kitchen now.  Then its Brian for the floor and one of his relatives for the windows.  Meanwhile I have the plumbers. The constant 'brewing up' keeps me busy and today it is quite hazardous as we have five man holes and they are all open.  I long to be straight again with all the extraneous rubbish disappeared.
 Yesterday was weird - One of the plumbers/engineers - young Charles was left here whilst his mate drove down to Plymouth for a replacement camera.  Suddenly I heard an unfamiliar rasping noise.  Nothing to do with Charles - he was sitting disconsolately by one of the drains with his hood up waiting for his mate.  As I walked in the direction of the unfamiliar sound I wondered what strange creatures may have been disturbed by all the probing and swooshing in drains almost a hundred years old.  As I got nearer the source I found the sound - now increased in volume - came from the lions guarding the fountain.  For some years it had been a delight - sparkling water gushing from the large pineapple at the top and from the noble lion's mouths.  Then one day - some years back it gave up the ghost.  Alastair said we would have to get an electrician to find where we had buried the pump
and repair it.  For one reason and another this never happened and it seemed indulgent to use electricity so I could hear the sound of running water.  One old friend said I had ideas above my station.   I got Mick to make a hole in the basin to let rain water out and planned to fill it with stones - preferably brought from friends far and wide.  I have all manner of stones from France(French son)to bonny Scotland (Kim).
Then the many wild flowers in the garden would seed themselves and it would be a natural delight.
I hadn't realised just how many stones it would take and so far no flowers appeared but a little stagnant moss.
I digress.  I ran to get Mick and before he reached the fountain he said,
 "That's your pump."
"It can't be - it hasn't worked for years."
"Well it's working now!"
Mick always knows what to do and he firmly switched the derelict switch off.
Alastair never was really sold on the fountain so I have quashed thoughts that I might fill it up with water - stones and all - and give it another go.
Best let it lie.

I should try Nina's idea of putting jasmine petals in a glass dish.
Wish me luck - I'm going to give the lawn a go when I can reach the shed.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Our Table in theThistle Rastaurant

 Hazel who was butted by her prize ram and Maurice - a prize giggler.
 The irrepressible Fay and Ian my chocolate supplier.
Jean my aperitif companion with Maurice.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

A Few Photies

 The beautiful Kiel canal - a short cut to the Baltic sea

 Everyone gets excited as we near the lock that will let us enter the Baltic
 We are going up in the world

 Can you see the 2 orange clad men?  They were walking pulling on a rope and appearing to pull us along with them.  The white things are not barrels of  beer but life rafts

The Baltic at last.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Ship mates matter.

One can choose whether one has dinner at sixish pm  or eightish pm and which out of four restaurants and what size table - seating two, four, six or more.  Ultimately it is up to the Maitre' d to make the final decisions.
So far I have been lucky with my dining companions - it can really affect your cruise.

One ship mate was in tears as she told me just one person was spoiling dinner for their table.  The culprit was an elderly lady who habitually turned up half an hour late which interfered with the smooth running of service, wearing the same less than pristine clothes (to put it politely) and with an unpleasant, aggressive manner.  Eventually my S.M. spoke to the Maitre 'd who handled it with the utmost tact and the culprit was seated elsewhere.  We never discovered where.

Apparently my ship mate was told that although the Maitre 'd  couldn't control  people's behaviour he could control the seating arrangements.  The next evening she was invited to dine at our very dishy Finnish Captain's table  and ironically had a day of angst deciding what to wear:)

Alone again -  on this cruise - I really looked forward to seeing my five dining companions for a delicious dinner and convivial chat.
Sometimes Jean and I would meet for an aperitif before dinner and Hazel and I were often doing the same excursions and got into the habit of meeting in the Observatory bar watching the sunset over a digestif.  Fay was a delight - my senior -  and graciously used her second name as she also was Patricia.  She had some mobility problems but men were charmed by her and she was never allowed to struggle alone.

Hazel and I became  friends.  She told me her mobile had saved her life.  She was a farmer in Wales  and had a prize ram which she had trained.  One day in the fields he butted her -  he was a bad tempered beast - and she couldn't get up (she has had knee and hip surgery, has difficulty rising from a chair and is also diabetic)  Thank Heaven she had her mobile so was able to summon help.
Like myself she chose her excursions carefully but would always leave the coach to brave  the cobbles to see what there was to see.

One of the excursions I had booked - the Hermitage seemed to have endless very wide staircases which could mean me teetering up the middle with no handrail teetering backwards and taking the group with me. Remembering my promises to the boys (be careful and no dancing) I exchanged it for the ballet which in the event had the same type of staircases but it was only going down that was discombobulating and one of the pretty dancers  (one of ours - not the ballet) gave me her arm and all was well.

Maurice was  a lovely bachelor with a delightful giggle and Ian was a widower and an ex fire chief. 
Some of the girls found him a bit grumpy because he always found fault with the food - quite unfairly.  Each night we would find on our pillow the next day's events and reminders about if we had to adjust our watches for instance- and a chocolate.  I grumbled that as I had 2 beds I should get two chocolates.  Ian said he had his in one long row as he never ate them and a couple of nights later brought then to dinner for me and I finished them off at bedtime.  So I forgave him his grumps.

I have spent most of the morning trying to down load the relevant photos - with no success but life is hectic just now with phone calls, two workers to be looked after and all the ground floor in  utter chaos, the groceries delivered and nowhere to put them,  Sawdust up my nose and every where.
I'll try again later.