Well, what a night! I am glad we are on such a huge ship and the decision by the Captain to deviate some 250 miles south of our intended route to avoid a Force 10 storm. Even so, the rock and roll of the ship with random thuds made for a restless night. Around 1am I ventured onto the balcony to have a look at the storm. Mistake, whether is was the rain or the spume from the crashing waves that was whipping across the deck was irrelevant, compared with the bitter buffeting of the wind. I beat a hasty retreat to the comfort of my pillow. Sue, curious as to my little balcony escapade inquired as to what I could see and mischievously I replied from the warmth and comfort of my bolster of heaven, “It’s great, have a look.” Like a fish to the hook she bit. After a cry of “Whoooooa,” she too rapidly retreated to the bathroom (to repair what the wind had left of her hair). Some 10 minutes later I heard a faint cry. Sue couldn’t find the door handle or the light switch to exit our en-suite. Heroically, I left my linen comfort and switched the light on. The rest of the night proved equally difficult to sleep as the changing tilt of the boat gave our bodies the urge to roll to the right and roll to left, with our left leg in, then our left leg out, we played the hokey-cokey all night long.
At 8am prompt (from a very deep sleep) I heard Sue open the balcony door again. Still rocking and rolling, but not so violently, we both dressed and made our way to breakfast. Not surprisingly, not many other souls were present. We sat at a table with 3 gentlemen from the north-east and chatted about the weather. Our table was next to the window at the rear of the ship, and though much calmer now we could see that the waves were mountainous.

With breakfast finished, we made our way back to the cabin and read todays programme of events to decide on how to fill the day. First idea was to take a bracing walk along the deck. The decks had been roped off as unsafe. We stepped over the flimsy tape barring our way. If the crew had been really serious about preventing our passage onto deck they would have done better than that. Oh, it was bitter and windy up there. After a few photographs, a major adjustment to Sue’s hairdo and loss of feeling to extremities we forced our way back into the warmth and haven of the inner decks.

After a warming coffee and feeling chuffed that I had resisted the temptation of the piles of food that surrounded us we had a look at the photographs that had been taken of us while on board. After purchasing one with both of us smiling and having it framed, I bought a new dickie-bow as my extended neck-girth had snapped my favourite one.

Our first activity was to attend a lecture on the Dutch influence on Manhattan. Surprisingly interesting and after another warming coffee we attended another one which was a sequel to yesterdays ‘Whales and dolphins’. Again, very interesting and particularly so as we had been one of the few people to witness yesterdays sighting of dolphins.

Lunch was taken in the Golden Lion Pub. Sue had fish and chips and I had steak and ale pie washed down with ‘Speckled Hen’ that I reckon was Lager. I watched Man. City v Newcastle on the screen in the bar and Sue went to watch ‘Whitehouse Down’, which I had seen last week and wasn’t interested in witnessing the President saving the civilized world again! After wards I retired to our cabin to keep my pillow company.

around 3.30pm I trotted down to the theatre to catch Sue so that we could have coffee together, but as luck would have it, she had shot off to another gemstone seminar and I missed her. Not knowing this I assumed she had made her way to the Lido for tea and cake (a favourite pastime of hers) so went to surprise her. She wasn’t there so I made myself a coffee which because Sue was absent, turned into a plate of pasties and quite a few side dishes that guilt prevents me from itemising. Fully satisfied I made my way back to the cabin to find her there. The film was rubbish but the seminar was wonderful (her very words). With that established, I accompanied her for coffee and we searched for whales and dolphins among the ever-increasing waves and watched the sky darken.

On return to the cabin we watched BBC News 24 then changed into formal gear in readiness for dinner. The sea became increasingly rougher to the extent that I haven’t staggered so much, this side of half a dozen pints of strong beer.

During the evening meal we chatted again to our fellow table partners, but it soon became evident that Sue was feeling the worse for wear. She managed a soup starter and part of her main course but had to return to the cabin to lie down before matters became worse. I joined her soon after the cheese course. By then the waiters were beginning to struggle and the other passengers were attempting to look dignified, dressed as penguins and waddling from side to side bouncing off corridor walls. As last night I was glad we were not on the 9.30pm sitting for dinner.


The evening performance of ‘Vanity Fair’ had been cancelled in favour of a stand-up comedian, oh yeah? The Entertainment Director obviously has a sense of humour.

Sue felt well enough to rise from her bucking bronco of a bed and join me in an equally amusing and wizard pinball walk to the theatre. The comedian was excellent, despite the violent lurching of the ship he managed to continue with his impromptu repertoire of English style jokes, in other words he playfully sent up the other nationalities in the audience. By the time the show ended, the erratic motion of the ship ensured that rails and banisters were gripped firmly by all leaving the theatre. We spurned the idea of another coffee and other delights as the restaurants were situated at the other end of the ship and Sue wasn’t sure she could hold onto what she already had on board on the perilous journey there. We made it back to our cabin and sanctuary.

I do believe my pillow was pleased to see me. The clocks go back again tonight and tomorrow we have been promised to pass the Azores and turn right (so the Captain says).

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