Friday, 6 February 2009

Day Twenty Seven: A day indoors

When we received the programme of activities for today we realised that a lot was going on and that if we were to do it all we would not have a lot of time for sunbathing, to start with it was question and answer time in the theatre for the captain of the ship at 10.00am and this was followed by a new series from the ITV producer at 11.15am, then the Radio 1 producer was giving a new talk about the Beatles at 2.00pm followed by a comedian in the theatre at 3.15pm.

The captain was absolutely brilliant; it was just him and the Entertainments Officer in armchairs talking about the captain’s career. He started as a deck hand at age 16 and has worked his way up over the past 26 years to his current position and he was been with P & O for all that time. He discussed some of the bad weather he had been through, the P & O fleet and where it was heading, his favourite ports, his working conditions and then he took questions from the floor. His hour was far more entertaining than the one we subsequently attended with Guy Caplin from ITV who made the topic of his discussion “How Anne Robinson changed my life,” which was just a blatant “look how clever I am” talk about a device he had a hand in developing to improve the quality of TV programmes made in the USA but broadcast in the UK. At least he has given us 40 more TV programme theme tunes to think about and hopefully his last talk will show us how he relates to those.

We took a break outside, on the starboard sheltered from the sun side, for a couple of hours while we waited for our next lecture. Here I was finally able to start Barack Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope” that he wrote in 2005. I am always a bit daunted by reading political books but the first two chapters have been very readable and some of the issues that he discusses need to be brought to light. It will be interesting to see how much of his philosophy he can introduce now that he is in the ultimate position of power. We did skip lunch as such but I was forced to go to the cabin and bring out the big bag of Lays potato chips that we bought in San Francisco, I promised just to eat one but I noticed that by the time I rolled the top down that the bag is already half empty. Now that the seal is broken they will go soft if they are not eaten soon so I have an excuse to finish them off. Between us we did do the ship’s crossword today but sadly to say I screwed up today’s Sudoku and blew my winning streak of one.

Then it was back into the freezing temperature of the Pacific Lounge (why it has to be that cold is a mystery to us) to listen to Johnny Deering the ex-producer of Radio One who spent the best part of 1971 and 1972 putting together a detailed history of the Beatles. It was well done actually and he could easily have made two talks out of it, he included lots of interview clips, not only from the Beatles themselves, but with their colleagues, fans, agents and general hangers on. When he finished it was time to rush to the far end of the ship (the Pacific Lounge is aft and the Theatre Royal forward) to listen to a wonderful comedian called Nicky Martyn. Like Ken Dodd he overran the end of his show and he had the audience in stitches; he has spent just about his entire career working on cruise ships as a drummer, a singer, a dancer and a comedian and has a wonderful fund of true stories about things that have happened to him over the years. His descriptions of the goings on for funerals at sea need to be told not just on stage but would make a wonderful book or even a TV series. I wasn’t keen on spending so much of a warm sunny day (81F) indoors but the last hour with that comedian made it all very worth while. Because we are late in starting the blog today I am going to make it a short one but I will hand you over to Hilary to add her comments.

I will leave you with just one little observation about the sun seekers on board this ship. As you will have realised by now Hilary and I are trying to get a little exercise by walking around the promenade deck for at least a mile a day, as we walk around we have noticed that in the morning all the chairs and loungers on the port side, where the sun is before noon, are fully occupied and if not actually occupied are reserved with towels or books. This changes however when the sun goes over the ship around noon because we are heading roughly due south and the sun now shines on the starboard side, in a matter of minutes all the chairs and loungers on the port side are abandoned and all the chairs and loungers on the starboard side are filled. Quite often Hilary and I have been in the loungers on the starboard side because we like to be in the shade and we have witnessed the scramble for chairs on the starboard rail as the sun comes over. Some folks get quite shirty if they can’t get a chair when they have been used to sitting in one on the port side, we have even witnessed them going back to the port side and dragging chairs back to starboard and these are not fit young people, some of these are little old brown berry ladies – maybe they are worried that their tan will fade if they are out of the sun for 10 minutes.

Tiz I. Well I have had a brilliant day. ITV man was not at his best but all the others were really good. Yesterday I got a little burned on my wrists and forearms (everywhere else was covered). In fact, I was the only fully dressed person on the upper deck watching the ‘crossing the line’ ceremony. We had to stand for the complete hour in the sun because we had got there only half an hour before the ceremony started – much too late to get a seat in the shade! Today it has been a lovely day outside but if you come into the ship it is freezing. When it was this cold at home I lit the fire! Why do they have the air conditioning so low?
Oh, I must tell you, this is amazing. A few days ago I lost one of the skeins of embroidery thread and decided that I would just have to redesign part of the picture. Well today, when we went outside to sit and watch the waves and read and sew a little and do the crossword, we sat on the only available loungers and found ourselves next to a man doing some cross stitch embroidery. A lady, who was walking the decks, came to the man and asked him if he had lost any thread as she had found a skein on the deck during her walk and had had it in her pocket for the last few days. It was the one I had lost on a deck at least three tiers up! I showed the embroidery so far and showed her where I needed that skein to finish the design. There are approximately 1500 passengers on this ship and I was sitting next to the one person she asked! Thank you Angels. Now if they can just locate my watch – I took it off when my wrist was a bit sore from the sunburn. Liz, help please. My hair has turned to grey straw even though I am putting masses of conditioner on it – any suggestions would be great. Maybe a big hat will cure the problem. Well must go – its dinner time again and I have to tame the straw somehow before frightening the other diners with my wild look! Take care, God bless.

Last summary, we have just got back from the theatre where we saw the Headliners in their Award show, they really are a fantastic young group and all three male vocalists have very powerful voices; they did a super rendition of some of the songs in Miss Saigon which were quite moving and they closed with Les Miserables, absolutely brilliant and I was amazed that the evening went so quickly.


Pat said...

Thought I would give you an update on the weather here at the moment. Last night (Thursday) about 8.30 him up there decided to empty his collection of snow on us. The day had been good so the gritters hadn't been out so you can imagine the chaos. 100 cars got stuck on Holden Hill and the poor devils had to spend the night at the Race Course. Sarah and boys are stuck at home even though they hadn't any snow but all roads leading to Exeter were closed, much to Jack's delight. Now we are waiting for James to make his way home from Bristol without too much hassel. M5 was closed earlier but weather has improved at the moment.
Loved the pictures of crew in the pool. As you loose Sunday does that mean you can claim your money back for a lost day.
Glad you got your silk back, incedible that you were at the right place at the right time. Your Mum's there looking after you.
I saw Marti Webb in London many years ago she was performing Song and Dance with Wayne Sleep. During her performance whilst singing she swallowed a fly (ew) but after a short break came back on. Hope she is as good as she was then.
Will stop waffling now.
Love to you both

Marlene and Tara said...

Hiya its me!
I thought I would tell you about my interesting day. We have not had the second lot of snow, but the wind is biting cold. I felt sorry for Tara because I had to leave her for several hours yesterday and decided she needed a treat of a run at Sennen beach. We all love Sennen don't we? Well, today I have gone off it slightly.
The sun was shining and it was not until I was outside that I realised how bitingly cold it was. We got to Sennen and fortunately I had jogging trousers on as well as thick waterproofs and several layers on top, but it was still freezing.
I took some coffee but it was to cold to sit and drink it, so after what I thought was a reasonably long enough time throwing stones and getting Tara to run around, I decided to go back to the car and watch the waves from there while drinking my coffee.
We ambled back slowly and got to the car, when even Tara was keen to get in, only to find that I had lost my keys - somewhere on Sennen! We retraced our steps to no avail and by now Tara was not impressed and neither was I.
I went into the pub to check if they had been handed in and to leave a number and then the only thing I could do was to ring my neighbour. Fortunately she has a key to my house so she went in and found a spare car key and came to our rescue. We were both freezing, my head aches badly and I want to come home!!! Still, at least I am now safe and sound at home and in the warm. Could have been worse.
Lovely to read your blog - it is so funny and really cheers us all up. Take care and lots of love xxx

Hayley said...

Hello again,

Just to answer your questions, my work colleagues are helping me eat the chocolates that I am taking in because its so cold in our office we need to regularly stock up our fuel levels! All will be gone dont worry! the snow i think is anchoring down the plastic on the veg garden, and I have been very warm, although the electric blanket has been my best friend!

I'm loving how...even tho you are the other side of the world, you are still managing to unite the family as you do at home with this blog! its a fab way for everyone to keep in touch and keep posted on what everyone is up to. Fab! :)

Sheila and Graham said...

Hi Aunty Hilary and Uncle Sam,

Tiz I, Sharon.

Just opened account for mum and dad. Mum will write her own message soon. Love to you both. x

samw7 said...

Hi There

The crossing the equator ceremony sounds like fun. Glad you are still having a good time and enjoying all that the boat has to offer.

We arrived at Jess's apartment this morning and will be here for almost a week. While the travelling has been fabulous, it will be nice to settle for a while. Harbin was amazing. We went to all three ice and snow festivals and the tiger sanctuary. It was wonderful to watch the tigers wandering around in a semi-natural state. Jess and I avoided watching the feeding of a live chicken to them. I've discovered that I like the soft sleeper trains, which are compartments of four beds, two on top and two on the bottom. They are comfortable and I get decent sleep. I may take one back to Shanghai before I fly out. Oh and on our 90 minute flight between Harbin and Beijing, they brought us two drinks and a small meal, so much more than on an American flight (and the service was great).
Love to you both