Archive for February, 2015

Yet More Hospital Visits!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 27, 2015 by David Palmer

WP_20150216_002

Back from our Oceanic lap of luxury and now quite accustomed to grazing our way from one culinary delight to another, Charlotte, recognising the withdrawal symptoms one suffers when faced once again with beans on toast, took us out with her family to Zizzi’s for Sunday lunch. I was surprised to see the place so full, with many stomachs being filled with pasta and pesto on such a traditional English day. Has the modern family turned its back on roasted pleasures? None-the-less we had a lovely time and to continue that ‘having just been pampered’ feeling we visited the ice-cream parlour afterwards. That evening I watched Jamie play soccer in a Sunday night tournament at the Leisure Centre. They drew 2:2.

The following day was when Nan’s tenancy on her flat expired. After having a last look around and a little weep I gave the keys and fobs to the warden and then had a chat with some of the inmates. The renovations and updating had all been completed and I must confess it looked fabulous, such a shame that Nan isn’t here to see it. I am sure she would have loved it.

On the 11th Sue, Charlotte and I went to the Kettering Odeon’s Silver Screen and watched a film, as usual it was packed, we were fortunate that I had pre-booked the tickets on-line.

The following Sunday Jamie texted me and told me that he had ‘done’ his knee in at footy. Not good, as the following week he was going skiing. We saw him the next day on crutches. It was also the day that our rather poorly central heating boiler had a another visit from the engineer. This time the poltergeist inside had not done a runner and was merrily banging away. The spook was successfully tracked down to having created a blockage in one of the pipes and was exorcised! Hopefully never to return. As a precaution we have deposited a copy of the bible next to the controls. During the afternoon Sue and I gave Charlotte some time to catch up on housework and took Lucas and Ellis to see ‘Shaun the Sheep’. Though there was a brief reference to ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ I don’t think I can recommend it, too childish. The boys enjoyed it. And I think Sue did too.

On the Friday we met for Curry Night and I showed the video I had made of our cruise.

That Sunday Charlotte cooked a lovely Sunday lunch for the family and afterwards we went to Harrington to take part in the snowdrop walk. What a lovely day and we finished it off with sampling some Harrington Gin at the farm it is made.

11001930_10153580443491258_1017536245549463226_n 10968236_10153580951186258_1587722549498915817_n

A couple of days later the phone rang at 6.30am. It was Jamie and he sounded very ill. I drove round, picked him up and brought him back to a warm bed and a hot water bottle prepared by Sue. Later I took him to the cottage hospital, but they told him it was a virus and go to bed. Which he did. While I was attending to Jamie, Sue met Lynne for coffee and afterwards showed me her ‘sprained’ wrist. It didn’t look right and I again went to the cottage hospital where she had an x-ray, confirming that it was broken. They rang through to Leicester and an appointment was made for straight away. We drove to The Royal and saw the specialist. The bone had started healing but was out of alignment. So with pain-killers they pushed it back into place. We returned home (after £8 parking charges) to a cold and shivering Jamie, still in bed and not looking good.

The following day Sue and I had organised to take the boys to York on the train. However, with Sue having to stay home in case the hospital rang and wanted her back, Charlotte and I took the boys. Weather wise it wasn’t the best of days, but we made the best of it. We had reserved seats on the three trains there and also on the return, fortunate as some of the carriages were full and a couple of times we had to kick passengers out of our seats.

On arriving we set off in the drizzle to the Jorvik Viking Museum. As in the last time we had visited there was a very long queue outside, standing cold and wet nearly all the way around the square. We went straight in as I had booked the tickets on-line, oh how we must have been hated! The boys were genuinely excited and interested in the all of the exhibits we passed on our own little mobile settee and of course afterwards in the shop fruitlessly desired swords and shield etc.

IMG_0357

We had a packed lunch with us, optimistically hoping to eat it in a pleasant park near the river, but wet benches and constant drizzle put paid to that idea. The solution was to board a river boat cruise and dine in the warmth as York’s riverside scenery drifted by and the history and geography of what we were looking at in between sandwiches was explained.

Next port of call was the National Railway Museum, much expanded and improved since I was last there. Of course the boys really did enjoy this. Especially the simulation of the Mallard on its record-breaking run. Next adventure was a walk along the city walls. Both Charlotte and I thought that this would bore them, but we were wrong. They raced ahead and had to be called back at regular intervals as they disappeared down steps, in turrets etc.

IMG_0359 IMG_0361

With time running out we had some food in a little cafe and then returned to the station. Thinking the boys would be tired out and sleep all the way home, we again were wrong. Ellis succumbed to the heavy eyes as the train drew into Harborough Station. It seemed prudent to catch a taxi home as the drizzle had given way to a torrential downpour. Walking back as we had done first thing that morning, was not on.

IMG_0374 IMG_0379 IMG_0382

The following day I got a phone call to see the Doctor, the appointment was made for the following day which I duly attended. Previously, while Nan was in Hospital I had a very nasty flare up of my Cystitis and when passing water got too frequent and too painful I left Nan’s bedside and drove to the Harborough Surgery demanding to see a doctor there and then. Which sympathetically they did. A nurse on the ward had advised me that the waiting time in Kettering casualty was in excess of 6 hours on that day and suggested I go to my own GP. I took the caution of briefly stopping at home to provide the required evidence/specimen, that I knew would be asked for. I was quite shocked when my sample was bright red. The GP provided me with antibiotics and miraculously 2 hours later I was fine.

Wondering why the my GP wanted to see me, it transpired that he was concerned about the sample I had provided back in January. Worryingly he set up a battery of tests and even escorted me to the appointments desk and made the arrangements himself. Worryingly he shook my hand and told me he would see me again. I thanked him and said that I thought that I was ok and it was just the cystitis. The secretary informed me that the hospital would send me a confirmation letter. That afternoon the hospital rang and two appointments were made for the 25th.

Jamie moved from the bedroom to the settee downstairs as he felt quite lonely at the other end of the house. Charlotte took him back to the Cottage Hospital in an attempt to acquire some medication when Sue and I were otherwise occupied with hospital runs of our own. A couple of days later Sue took him to the Doctors and savaged them into giving him antibiotics. On the 22nd he flew off to Andorra with his friend to ski. The photos on his Facebook show a lots of snow. I do hope it is very, very, very soft snow.

11001848_10153633241492571_7568109562514682797_n

That Saturday was a Council walk to Billsdon, but we cancelled as Sue couldn’t manage the stiles.

On the Tuesday I drove Sue to the Royal to see the specialist. It was a lovely sunny day. She was x-rayed and things appeared to be going ok and they opted not to give any more manipulation. Appointment in another three weeks. On the way home I took the rural scenic route back and we decided to stop off in Gumley for a very pleasant lunch.

The following day I attended my two appointments at the Leicester General. After Ultrasound and an X-ray for the first appointment I then walked the full length of the hospital for the next examination. A Cystoscopy is not a pleasant experience. They warn you that it will sting, that his hospital speak for it will bloody hurt, a lot. Stoical as ever I smiled sweetly, lay back and thought of England. Afterwards I was seen by the specialist who had all the results. Liver, kidneys, prostrate and bladder all normal. Some evidence of inflammation of the bladder. Cystitis he said and gave me two weeks of antibiotics to take. On the news we repeatedly keep hearing we are having severe problems with the NHS, I haven’t seen any evidence for this. Tests, appointments, consultations etc. all seem very quick and efficient to me. I have another appointment on the 10th of March to hear the results from a sigmoidoscopy I was sent for during December to have a look at my small and large intestine. Optimistically I can already guess the results. I think the brain is the only organ not looked at yet. Don’t hold your breath, I am sure they won’t find anything there! He, he!

Yesterday Sue and I went to See the film ‘Imitation Game’, a biopic of the life of Alan Turing. Brilliant, well worth seeing and a great travesty of justice ignored for too long and at last rectified. we called in to see Charlotte on the way there and Roger on the way home. He had Fran staying and they were off to Northern Cyprus (again) on Monday for a month. Politics, rugby and Sepp Blatter were all discussed.

Today I noticed on Jamie’s Facebook that his knee has gone. I am thinking that on Saturday when he flies back we are going to have a one-legged son. We shall see.

We haven’t seen a great deal of Sarah since we have been back, she and Lee are busy sorting out the paperwork and finances for their house. Our garage is beginning to creak with the number of furniture and white goods items stored in there and both our cars. Sarah was offered a job in Leicester the other week, but had to turn it down as they couldn’t be 100% sure it was permanent until after September as it was Government funded.

And Home

Posted in Uncategorized on February 8, 2015 by David Palmer

We woke around 6am but didn’t get up until another 50mins. The bill for our on-board expenditure had arrived and it was quite a lot less than anticipated. What a good start to the day.

As most were disembarking today,  breakfast was rammed when we eventually made our way up to Deck 14 and the Plaza Restaurant. We found a table with the couple from Wiltshire and chatted to them while we ate. I broke my promise to eat healthily for the first time and had a full English!

Returning to the cabin we picked up the rest of our belongings and made our way to the Casino Lounge which was our designated departure point and waited. We were due off at 9.30am but there was a medical emergency at the departure point and we all were delayed by 1 hour. I would guess that one of the passengers who was unsteady on their feet took a bad tumble on the ramp down to the quay. I spent the time reading my book and Sue read the Daily Mail she had picked up.

100_6243

When we were called to disembark, we quickly located our suitcases on the way through to the exit. The car had already been brought through to the car park next to the ship and I soon had the cases safely stowed away and we were quickly on our journey home. An uneventful journey.

Sarah was at home and we had coffee and a chat with her and then Jamie turned up, wash bag tucked under his arm. Welcome home mum! I had a couple of phone calls concerning the Internationals on that TV afternoon and Jamie gave me a lift to the Angel on his way home. Sue as ever was eager to renew her relationship with the Bosch and Sarah went off to work. We won’t be seeing her for another week as she is off to Newcastle with Lee for a bit of a Spa holiday. Jamie jets off to Andorra in a couple of weeks to ski.

As you will guess, Sue and I had a very early night. Ooooooo it was chilly!!!!!

Oceana 11

Posted in Uncategorized on February 6, 2015 by David Palmer

We had quite a comfortable night, but captain announced that we were behind schedule due
to an adverse current and a force 8 gale. Yes, there was movement of the ship but due to the wonders of technology the ship’ s stabilisers had been deployed and were smoothing the effect of the mountainous waves we could see through the window. A similar effect to that of Quells, which are no doubt being taken by many passengers. In the past Sue would have to only look at a wave and be ill, it seems her sprained wrist has a stabilising effect similar to that of the ships’.

100_7361

Despite being in breakfast about an hour later than usual we were still only the third couple in. Afterwards, Sue fancied a walk around the deck???? Kitted out for this little adventure we began our survival march. Reaching the bow we found the starboard side blocked off, retracing our steps to the stern we found a similar blockage. It was at the stern that we came across one sole passenger fool hardy enough to venture out. He was well wrapped in many layers and leaning over the rail. We didn’t investigate closely what he was doing. Hurrying back inside we returned to the cabin to drop off our arctic gear and pick up the ship’s news paper. It was around 20 minutes later that the feeling in my ears returned!

We attended a lecture titled, ‘How England Won the World Cup’. It was a chance to reminisce, I was surprised it appealed to Sue and she remembered that she missed the match because was on a bus returning from a sports meeting when it took place. I watched it at home with my mum.

Sue later attended a short seminar on how to use the launderette on Deck 8. She said she found it fascinating. I was returning from a fruitless search for vacant eats in the atrium in order to read my book! When we met up again, we found a cosy place near the art gallery to read. Incidentally, the ship’s newspaper advertised that there is a 50% flash sale today on all paintings, not good news for Tom and Jerry. Now, how do I broach the subject at dinner tonight?

A rather substantial lunch (more than planned) was taken in the Ligurian, we sat with two other pleasant couples who had as usual been on hundreds of ships and were only going to be home for a week or so and before catching another. It seems that the rumour that for £99 you can stay on board for the Oceania’s next destination to the Caribbean may be true, due mainly to there being a shortage of passengers for the trip.

100_7384

After lunch I caught 40 winks while Sue went to a seminar on feet. She returned with two sheets of paper with an outline of her feet. Apparently her feet at OK, it must be the rest of the body that is causing problems, I look forward to the seminar on bottoms and the associated print. I am intrigued as to what she is going to do with her pictures, colour them in and scatter glitter over them? I suppose I will have to blu-tac them to the cabin wall and draw a smiley face on.

We read our books outside the Compass bar and listened to a quiz going on inside for much of the rest of the afternoon. The sea outside the window next to us looked mountainous, the stabilisers were doing a really good job, my beer and Sue’s cocktail didn’t slop over once!

We took another foolhardy turn around the deck, with the same result for my poor ears! Then as they warmed up we packed in the cabin and then changed. Having stuffed everything into our suitcases we then watched the Headliners in the Footlights Theatre perform the Blues, excellent. On return to the cabin we placed the cases in the corridor in readiness for the crew to disappear them.

100_6375

We dined with Daphne and Colin as Tom and Jerry were eating elsewhere. Afterwards we watched the passenger talent show and each of the acts received tremendous applause. Much of it well deserved.

Returning to the cabin we noticed the cases had gone. We put the clock back one hour and set the alarm appropriately. In bed for 12.30am.

Oceana 10

Posted in Uncategorized on February 5, 2015 by David Palmer

Breakfasted at 7.45am then went on deck to check where we were, the ship was slowly edging itself alongside the dock in La Coruna and it was still dark.

By the time we had changed into our gear for the predicted weather (9 degrees and showers) and disembarked, the sun was up, it had gone past 9am and it looked like it was going to be a nice day. As we passed through the passenger terminal we had expected to pick up a city map, but there wasn’t any, we would just have to use the rather featureless one provided by the ship.

100_6425 100_6427 100_6429100_7371

We headed right along the port road to take some photos of the building frontage that the city is famous for, they call it the ‘Crystal City’. From there we continued to very nice harbour park and took some photos of the ship. Continuing on again we came across the fortifications that protect the harbour. It was this that Francis Drake attacked in revenge for the Armada which set off from the port of LA Carina. Apparently he was repulsed by the town’s heroine Maria Pita who is commemorated everywhere in statues and paintings. Away ties are always notoriously difficult, but we won the home leg by such a large margin that we eventually went on to rule the world!

The fort itself is well-preserved and a must see for any visit, the internal exhibits trace the history of the location right back to the Romans and beyond. We were accompanied by a large party of teenage students and teachers, though noisy, when the teacher stopped to do some explaining, they all were quiet and attentive.

100_7372100_6439 100_6440

We moved on and found General John Moore’s grave in a small picturesque garden. He was in charge of a 30 000 strong contingent of British troops and was being chased by Napoleon with 80 000 soldiers. Like Dunkirk, he managed to evacuate the majority of his men onto ships and back to England with the loss of only 900 men and himself. His wish was to be buried where he fell, and he was.

We moved across the road to the Military Museum. Another must visit place, especially for those that enjoy militaria, it has a superb collection of pistols and rifles, with General Moore’s battle depicted in little toy soldiers. It brought out the little boy in me, I would have loved to played with them, though probably in my scenario ‘Boney’ would be the one legging it home.

The sun was getting a little fierce so we ambled down to the shore to catch the cooling breeze before climbing up into the town to visit the oldest church in the area and a place of pilgrimage, even to this day. There was not a lot to see inside though I found that quite refreshing as I am about bombed out with glittering, elaborate Spanish and Portuguese Catholic churches! Some where in there was the sacred bones of some saint, but we didn’t find them. There was a rather contented dog sitting outside.

100_6445 100_6446 100_6457

Shunning all other churches, and there were many, we set to meandering the pleasant flagged streets of La Coruna. While we were popping in and out of shops there was a brief shower, then as quick it came, it disappeared and was replaced by sun. We eventually worked our way all the way to the other side of the port, had a sit down and then worked our way back along streets we hadn’t before. When we were parallel to the ship, we reboarded. It was 2pm.

100_6432 100_6460

Lunch was taken in the Plaza then back down the gangplank to visit the port shop for Sue to purchase a few items that she filed to find I the city. Returning to the ship we got out our books headed for the Atrium and settled down to read with beer and cocktail. We were still there when the ship slowly eased out of port. We watched from the comfort of our seats as the ancient Lighthouse of Hercules slid by and then we nosed our way through an increasingly turbulent sea towards the Bay of Biscay. We traversed this body of water on the way south without noticing, but I fear on the way back we will be experiencing its other face. We have a sea day tomorrow. In preparation, as soon as the coast slipped towards the horizon Sue and I feeling a little weary, returned to the cabin to catch a few zzzzzzzz’s.

We dressed informally for dinner, both of us choosing the special Marco Pierre menu, and it wasn’t bad. The following entertainment was the Irish comedian, again he was very funny and at times my sides hurt. Just after midnight as we settled in our cabin for the night the sea began to make its presence felt.

Oceana 9

Posted in Uncategorized on February 4, 2015 by David Palmer

We encountered rough seas during the night. The lurching of the cabin in random directions was exaggerated because we are located at the front of the ship and high up on deck 8. Great for access to all the ship’s facilities but not good in poor weather. I find these random movements relaxing and generally sleep well, though when the bow crashes through a very large wave it does it with a bang and a lot of juddering, we had four of those in the night! Sue slept well and the obligatory seasickness did not manifest itself. We were both in breakfast for 8.15am and tucking into the usual fare, we did not have many fellow passengers as company, and none with walking sticks had made an appearance yet.

When I had switched on the TV this morning the headlines was the rather spectacular crash of an aircraft into a bridge in Taipei. It had only been four hours since the incident and the footage that was being broadcast was a testament to today’s technology in getting the news out to the world. Amazingly there have been survivors.

Afterwards I sat in the atrium, next to the window and read my book, occasionally looking out when we passed through a particularly large wave. Yarrrrr, there she blows!

First lecture of the day was a run through the 60’s year by year and an outline of the significant events that took place. It was mildly interesting and an easy way to spend a rocky morning, sat down. Not surprisingly the deck competitions had been abandoned for the day.

100_6417 100_6418

I had a minor panic when I went on deck to take some photographs of the rather dramatic sea. When I clicked on the camera it didn’t work, the I remembered I had taken the battery out to charge it last night and not replaced it doh! Walking back to the cabin to get it I somehow lost the retaining cover that held the battery in the camera. Quickly retracing my steps I couldn’t find it anywhere. Perhaps it fell out in the cabin? Back I went. No! So it was back to the deck to check there. Resigned to buying a new camera on board I returned to the cabin to be greeted by Sue gleefully holding the cover, old Pocahontas had spotted it in the corridor, she had been returning from having a coffee.

Back to the deck and I think I took a pretty good photo of the conditions, perhaps every good shot needs adrenaline? I met Sue in the Theatre to watch the film Jersey Boys. Lunch was taken in the Plaza at a window seat to watch the white-topped waves rush by from our safe perch way up high. We shared our table with a couple of ladies from Shropshire who Sue struck up a conversation with. Afterwards we took a stretch around the deck, as the bow section was taped off we had to traverse this through the ship itself. On our last circuit we spent some time sitting at the stern enjoying the sun, watching the white froth spewed by the propellers disappear rapidly towards the horizon.

We didn’t fancy the piano recital, bingo, table tennis competition, talent show or photography lecture on offer and sat in the atrium reading and sewing. It just seemed the sensible thing to do. After a while Sue’s wrist began hurting so she returned to the cabin for a rest and I had ‘Old Thumper’ as company. Presently I too joined her, to be greeted by our cabin steward who gave me a questionnaire and seemed most anxious we would give him an excellent report. I assured him we would.

It was a formal night so we donned our glad rags for the last time on this cruise and then picked up a photo from the photo desk that had been taken at the table a few nights prior. We had a full complement of fellows at the table and the conversation centred on how bad last night’s singer had been. As we left the table Jerry caught us was keen to show us a photo on her mobile of the painting they had just bought on the ship. By a weird coincidence we had stopped and looked at the same painting when we were picking up our photo. We had thought it was crudely done and the over large frame made the painting of a prostitute rather ugly. It was titled Red on Blue and cost £6490.00. We have been asked to take a photo of our painting to show her. Hmmmm.

tonight’s show was such a contrast to that of last night. A tribute to Queen by the Headliners, absolutely wonderful. I spoke to the lead singer afterwards and told her that her song, ‘The Show Must Go On’ was spine tinglingly good.

In bed for midnight and still choppy.

Oceana 8

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2015 by David Palmer

Breakfast at 7.15 and we were already secure in harbour having arrived in Gibraltar just before 7am. It was still dark and all we could see from deck 7 was the lights of the town twinkling away on our starboard side. We disembarked with sun just having risen at around 8.30am. We were due to depart the port by 1.30pm, so there was a mass exodus of passengers from the ship.

Some had already left on their tour buses while others queued for the shuttle buses into town, but we joined the line of fit walkers and briskly completed our 15 minute journey to the beginning of Main Street under brightening skies and a stiff breeze. We had mingled with children of various ages making their chatty iPod way to school and they like us had to run the gauntlet of commuter traffic at each junction.

100_6383 100_6384 100_6386 100_6387

Passing under the arch of Casemate’s Square we stopped awhile and took photos then watched the citizens of Gibraltar hurrying to work, it wasn’t yet 9am and some were settling themselves down for a quick breakfast at the many little cafes around us. We slowly wandered up the principal shopping street, Main Street. We took our time looking through windows at the merchandise inside as most were closed. The shopkeepers knew that the Oceana was in port as many windows displayed various discounts on the production of our boarding card so we were confident that they would be opening today.

We stopped to take photos of the Governor’s house and the marching British soldier outside. We didnt’ take photos of the red telephone boxes, the British Bobbies on the beat or the traditional British pubs scattered along our route. Reaching the end of the street, we looked at the map and thought where to next? If the cable car had been working to today we may have ventured up the Rock, of course we had the option of walking or taxiing there, but as we have already been up their a couple of times on previous trips we wanted something new. Consulting the map I remembered that Rosia Bay was where the pickled body of Lord Nelson came ashore after the Battle of Trafalgar and nearby was a 100 tonne cannon. That would do.

100_6393 100_6394

The route there was relatively uninteresting and took about half an hour of leisurely walking. We saw no other intrepid passengers. We found the cannon quite easily but opted to visit it on the way back. We found Rosario Bay without too much trouble and descended a very steep slipway to the water’s edge. It was in a very sad condition, much of the concrete quayside had cracked and slipped, though you could tell that at one time it had been a very impressive anchorage, though not for today’s large modern ships. The waters were crystal clear and there was a group of divers suiting up to test the waters. While we clambered over and along the tangled mass of rocks that had once been the harbour wall a couple of the divers submerged and we took photos of the surroundings. We could find no trace of a commemorative plaque. Disappointed we returned to street level via a small narrow door set in the wall that spiralled upwards through a urinary air blanket, passing another small door set in the confined passage labelled Military Distillery! Well I never, so all those tots of Navy Rum issued to our brave sailors over the centuries pass through the body without losing their potency. And we modern guys just dribble it all while looking blankly at a tiled wall!!!!

100_6398 100_6399

As we were about to retrace our steps we met another couple from the ship who were on their way to Europa Point and its lighthouse. We followed them for a while through a couple of tunnels before coming to the picturesque Camp Bay. We spoke again and they told us it was about another 10-15 minutes away. Spotting the lighthouse cliffs I gauged it to be in excess of half an hour, so we took a some photos and turned around.

Presently we came to the cannon emplacement and to our surprise found the Lord Nelson’s plaque we had been searching for. Paying the lordly sum of £1 each we entered the 100 tonne Cannon Museum and explored. The information boards were well done and packed with just the right amount of information, sufficient to keep the topic relevant and exciting but not too much to induce a state of comatose in avid Coronation Street watchers and the like.

100_6403 100_6404 100_6405 100_6406

Making our way back to Main Street we were please to see that all the shops were open. Luckily most of our fellow passengers had elected to patronise those establishments that sold alcohol or tobacco, so Sue’s search for a Christmas tree decoration went unhindered. She eventually found one right at the very start of the street.

About halfway down Main Street (after we had visited a quaint 15C church) Sue spotted and art gallery up a side street (divine intervention). We both took a liking to a painting by a local artist of Rosia Bay. The ticket price was £90 but on asking, this was reduced to £80. Sue inquired as to a discount and there was a further reduction to £75. Somehow during the wrapping, the artist was phoned and the price came down to £50. Now we have the problem of where to display it.

100_6410 100_6411 100_6415

We returned to the ship and we re back on board for 1pm. Lunch was taken in Ligurian Restaurant. I sat next to an Irishman who I guess was a member of the Travellers. He had been in the UK for 19 years, I suspected that he was a Gang Master in the vegetable fields in Boston though he did mention prawns as well. He certainly worked his way through the menu. He mentioned that at rhe moment his wife was elsewhere on the ship, not doubt selling lucky heather to the crew after a morning tarmacing Gibraltar runway. You meet all sorts on a boat.

Afterwards we returned to our cabin, Sue to do a crossword and a sleep and me to read my book. When she woke we moved to the Atrium and I supplemented a chapter or two with London Pride.

To blow out the cobwebs we took a turn around the deck as the light began to fade, we met one other soul on our windswept journey, one of the dance troupe, probably toning up before the show as she was purposefully stretching out. Returning to the cabin we changed for dinner, it is a 60’s theme night for the attire, but like most other passengers we didn’t bother.

Prior to the evening meal we sat in the atrium and listened to some piano music before joining a full complement of fellow diners at the table. Sue fancied watching a blues singer in the Footlights Theatre, I fancied listening to the flautist of the other evening in the Starlight Theatre. We hot-footed it to Sue’s choice . To be fair some people in the audience were quite enthusiastic about the ladies performance, but I am afraid that having to admit that you couldn’t remember the words to the second verse of a song after you have sung it, or remember the names or order of the songs in your set and having to peer down a scrap of paper in the footlights to read it, smacks of poor preparation. The range of her voice wasn’t vast and several songs began in the wrong key. However, it summed the performance up when she fell down the steps twice at the end of her final song. Watching a bumbling performance such as this was quite endearing to many in the audience, but this lady appeared on the Voice! Unlike others who only clapped politely to show their disapproval I should have left to watch the flute player who had talent.

It is a sea-day tomorrow.

100_6381

Oceana 7

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2015 by David Palmer

We has already arrived and docked Cadiz by the time we awoke and quite a few passengers had disembarked and ventured into the town or boarded their tour buses and left. We had snaffled down our first meal of the new day, donned our stepping out gear, shuffled through disembarkation and were standing at the port exit having waved away expectant taxi drivers and tour reps by 9am.

100_6333 100_6335

Having picked up a city guide from a pretty customer services operative who explained that the roads had coloured lines painted on them that matched those of our map and so made getting about the city easy, she then suggested the purple route in the morning and the orange route in the afternoon. That sounded nice and easy, and as it turned out, it was. A lovely simple idea that should be taken up by all popular tourist venues that are suitable for its implementation. However, even though all you have to do is follow the line in the pavement, deviate into shops, squares, churches etc. and then return to the spot that you left the line and then carry on, some people did have difficulty, More than several times we were approached by fellow cruisers, who having recognised us, enquired as to where they were and which way to go. And, towards the end of our purple adventure we followed a road sweeper that was spraying the pavement with water and scrubbing the surface, also removing most of our purple line! I reckon that one more scrubbing run and the line will have disappeared. I do hope they authorities have a regular painting regime.

100_6341100_7326 100_7330100_6345

Our morning wander through the narrow streets of Cadiz was lovely, if not a little chilly at times when standing in squares that allowed the breeze to enter. I lost count of the churches and shops that we had a look round, but in one beautiful square there was a flower market going on and Sue stopped awhile and purchased a present. Everywhere was so clean and tidy, such a contrast to Agadir.
We returned to the ship exactly at midday and took lunch in the Plaza. I varied from my usual salad and had Thai Green Curry and then followed that up with some fiery fajita, of which I went and had seconds.

We were back dock side just after 1pm, this time following the orange line that circumnavigated the city. We had been told that it would take one and a half hours to complete, but we intended to take our time and explore as we did have seven and a half hours to spare.

100_6353   100_6366 100_6370100_6351

This time we spurned the churches (you can have so many!) and concentrated on vistas as this route had the sea always to our right. We wandered through some pretty parks, one in particular that had a small mountain feature was a delight. I was obviously a route popular with photographers as we can across quite a few sizing up various shots of one sort or another.

At one point near a beach section we were hit by a brief shower, so we ducked into a pleasant cafe and I practised my now very poor Spanish and ordered us a chocolate and tea: chocolate y te y leche por favor. It got the message over and we sipped our drinks and watched the shower splutter its way across the city leaving calm and clear blue skies behind. We didnt’ t hurry as we were intrigued by the many paintings hung on the walls, trying to guess which ones had been brushed by the same artist as there were quite a few differing styles and techniques. We would never know of course, but it passed the time.

100_6363100_6365

We carried on, having decided to risk the causeway over to Castillo San Sebastian that could be seen from the comfort of our rain shelter. We expected the passage over the ancient narrow castellated roadway to be exposed and cold as we had observed very few people tracking across it during the 40 minutes that we had observed. However, we were surprised, the sun had indeed warmed things up and we took our time and took photos all the way over. The Castillo itself was a little disappointing. Obviously of great strategic importance in the past but for so long uncared for that it really was quite dilapidated. However, work was being done to renovate the battlements and buildings as there was a few workers engaged in the work, though in Spanish style, slowly. I guess in a year or three, tourists will be asked to pay a few Euros at the entrance to the causeway to pay for the work.

100_6376

Returning to the mainland we were met by a lone Welshman from the ship who asked us whether we had been sleeping well on the ship? Apparently he drank too much in the evenings and constantly woke up to go to the loo. He seemed disappointed that we didn’t have the same problem. I resisted the temptation to give some advice.

We continued our way along the orange brick road until we came to the Cathedral we had visited during our route along the purple brick road and then cut through the an on a short cut back to the ship. We had commpleted three quarters of the route, the rest can wait for another day. We were so impressed with Cadiz that we are thinking that there might be another visit.

We were back on board by 6pm. I had a much-needed nap while Sue did some needlework. When I awoke she had fallen asleep so I went onto deck and took some photos of the city from the ship. I returned later to the top deck to take a few more shots of the sunset. Unfortunately, the better photographs would have been with the sun setting behind the Cathedral on the horizon, but the ship was in the wrong place. I dismissed the idea of asking to move the ship on the grounds that by the time the captain would have completed the manoeuvre I would have missed the best shot anyway.

We changed for dinner (informal) and made our way to the restaurant. Tom and Jerry were absent, we had met Tom during lunch and he had told us that Jerry was ill and may not make dinner.