Before I get into the doings of today let me tell you about our breakfast the day before yesterday as it is one that I will remember for all the wrong reasons for at least the rest of this trip. We decided that it would be a good idea to have a “proper breakfast” in the Peninsular Restaurant in preparation for the day ahead, we do this occasionally as a change from the self service Al Fresco, and in the Peninsular you have waiters, a full breakfast menu and someone to bring it to you and constantly refresh your tea or coffee. Usually very nice but you do take pot luck on whom you are seated with, most of the tables are for 4, 6 or 8 and we have met some good travelling companions at breakfast time. This time was a nightmare and I knew it as soon as we sat down opposite a lady who was surrounded by two boxes of Amoxycillin, a large bottle of Benylin Cough Syrup and enough pills to fill a pharmacy. As the meal progressed this lady managed to continually sneeze and cough into her table napkin, constantly rasped her way through ordering her breakfast and frightened me stiff when I had to take the salt from her to put some on my omelette. I found myself taking the salt cellar gingerly by its very base so as not to touch anywhere where her hands had been, now every time that I sneeze or feel a headache coming on I think that I am about to come down with her lurgi. I ate as rapidly as my digestion would let me and left as quickly as possible but during our brief breakfast we did learn that they were concerned about their daughter who was having visitation rights problems after a divorce, that her business (which had once been theirs) was in trouble because of the weak pound and that they were flying home after Sydney. Who said “Hooray”?
Today we did the Al Fresco breakfast, muesli, prunes, nuts and fruit for me and just fresh fruit for Hilary and then I was determined to get to the sun loungers in the shade before they were all gone and I rapidly bagged a couple, organised them as we like them with a little table between and settled in for a day by the pool. While I lay around, sometimes reading a snippet from Obama’s book, having a go at the Sudoku (yes I finished it again) or having a quick swim (I had already completed my first 12 laps by 9.15am and managed three trips to the pool in total today), Hilary was slaving away in the laundrette – serious shortage of knickers today. I am sure that she will tell you more about her adventures when it comes to her bit. We both decided to give the ITV lecture guy a miss today as he had been such rubbish yesterday although we contemplated going to the Tour Talk about Auckland and then thought “do we want to sit in a cold theatre listening to a lady drone on about tours that we are not going to do, or do we want to sit outside on deck.” The deck won.
While Hilary was doing the laundry and I was doing damn all I made a couple of observations that I will share with you. Our old lecher is still doing the rounds looking for easy prey, he has lost his favourite lady who got off at San Francisco and to the best of our knowledge hasn’t found another. I noticed that he has taken to wearing wide striped Speedos and also noticed that he wears his rather battered Panama hat when he is swimming in the pool. Perhaps it is his lucky pulling hat? Whatever, it doesn’t seem to be working at the moment. My second observation is that concern about skin cancer is just not on the agenda for 80% of the people on the ship; only a rare few of us stay in the shade most of the day and make no effort to get bronzed all over, the vast majority sit in the full sun, sometimes putting on some sun cream but usually just getting burnt day after day – and they don’t seem to care. It worries me that they are setting themselves up for problems later on in life – mind you some of them don’t have much longer to go anyway, Keiko told us over dinner last night that there are eight people over 100 years old on the Round the World voyage. Many of the sun worshippers also seem to be fly catchers if their sleeping posture is anything to go by. It’s not just the fat bellied men who do it as I have seen several women in the same position as if they are having a visit to the dentist. Flat on their backs, mouths wide open, all the fillings and missing teeth on show and snoring their heads off, luckily there are no flies on this ship or one or two would soon be Hoovered up just like a Venus Fly Trap. One final observation is that Norris from Coronation Street is on our cruise – well his twin double is – and today he was sitting not far from us doing the crossword. He has the same hair style i.e. not very much on top, the same glasses, the same round face and I bet that he wears a sleeveless pullover when he is in his cabin. I haven’t seen a female companion, perhaps Rita or Emily Bishop is tucked away some where….
We had lunch today, well sort of, first of all we had another dig into the bag of Lays Potato Chips, one more go and the bag will be finished, I hope that we can get some in New Zealand or Australia; then we took ourselves off to the Conservatory where Hilary had found that they make sandwiches on request. She had a prawn and lettuce while I pigged out with two, one prawn and one tuna. There were a couple of people in front of us in the queue and both of them asked for their crusts to be cut off, now these weren’t little old ladies with no teeth looking for cucumber sandwiches these were big hulky men having cold beef and turkey and chicken but they couldn’t eat their crusts. Poor diddums. I confess that an hour or so later when I needed a cup of tea I went back to the Conservatory and succumbed to mini fruit tartlets for both of us. And that is it for this part of the day; it is 4.45pm, temperature around 85F, clear blue skies, a few fluffy white clouds above a calm blue sea. Jealous yet? Tonight we leap from Saturday to Monday so while we thought that we had two days at sea between American Samoa and Fiji we actually have only one as we have crossed the International Date Line and tonight we play catch up and jump from Saturday night to Monday morning – hope you enjoyed your Sunday more than we did. Tonight is formal and we are hoping to have another photo taken with us as a couple and then have that photo incorporated into a nice looking Crossing the Line photo record, don’t worry you will see it when we get home. Yes you will even if we have to show it to you several times before you acknowledge it, we will make sure that you know we have been in the Southern Hemisphere whether you want to know it or not. After dinner we are going to see a top vocalist called Elaine Delmar, I have heard her before and she is in the Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan style – sorry for you young readers who may not have heard of either of those but believe me Elaine Delmar is good.
Tiz I. What a grumpy old man he can be! I really liked the lady in the restaurant and felt so sorry that she is going through the same trauma that we all did for Sharon. It seemed such a shame that they had cut short their round the world trip of a lifetime but I quite understand why they decided to get back to support their daughter. While Sam was sitting outside on deck I met Elaine Delmar on one of the numerous set of stairs that I was negotiating with the laundry. She was lovely, in a mad rush to get to the theatre and floating along in a world of her own. She almost ran into me and apologised for not paying attention! She has a smile to die for! So there you are – I’m name dropping! We are sitting in our cabin surrounded by damp laundry. After chasing down a launderette with a washing machine that was available, I settled down to read for 20 minutes while it went through the wash cycle. Only to find the reason the machine was available was that the programme sticks and it had been on rinse for 10 minutes. So moving it along with the control I waited for it to finish… but I had missed my slot with the dryer, someone with some damp clothes had beaten me to it and it seemed that every machine in there had about 45 minutes to run! By then I had lost my interest in the laundry so when the washer stopped I bagged it all up and took it back to the cabin. We are festooned with damp cotton clothes, but all the nylon stuff and the shirts have dried so that’s good. By the morning it will all be dry and ready for ironing - that can be optional.
Tonight is a formal night which means I will have to do something with my hair so I’d better get on with it. We have nagged the photographers so much that when they turn up this evening I need to be ready! The clipping about the weather that Pat sent is pretty scary, you really have had some cold weather down there, I wish you were all here with us. Take care, God bless.
Well Elaine Delmar was every bit as good as I expected, she only sang works from Gershwin and Cole Porter and deserved a standing ovation, she has an incredible vocal range, maybe not as big as Cleo Laine at her best but very powerful indeed and we get to see her once more before we get to Sydney. A very good end to a very good day. Tomorrow (Monday – remember) we are in Lautoka Fiji and our tour starts at 8.30am for 4 hours – it is a tour and a Fijian welcome and something to do with orchids, we will tell you all about it tomorrow when we are 12 hours ahead of GMT instead of 12 hours behind it. Confusing isn’t it? At dinner everyone who has a birthday gets balloons on the table and the waiters sing Happy Birthday, for those whose birthday it is tomorrow they have produced a special edition of the daily news sheet with their photographs on it and with the headline “The birthday that never was”, just imagine being able to stay 69 for another year! A couple of items heard at our dinner table tonight.
The average age of the passengers on board is 69
The lecher with the Panama hat has been overheard confessing to two other single men on board that if he doesn’t land a bride on this trip that has money then he will be bankrupt when he gets home.