Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Day Eighty: We did it our way….

So this is it, the final curtain, we went around the world and we did it our way. Our heaviest bags are packed (all five of them) and are outside our cabin door waiting for someone to collect them any minute and take them to the bag Valhalla or wherever bags go to when they are in limbo between being on board ship and in the terminal at Southampton. Our wardrobe contains nothing but a shirt that I intend to wear tonight, two sets of underwear and our two coats that we will wear when we leave the ship. I still have to work out how I am going to carry the following down the gangway:

1. the laptop and its associated peripherals

2. the camera bag and its associated peripherals

3. a holdall with two bottles of wine, a bottle of rum and two bags of Lays

4. a backpack with toiletries, umbrella and miscellaneous items


I think that Hilary has the easier task but I am sure that she would not agree; we are praying for a very large estate car to pick us up.

Speaking of praying, your thoughts for a calm crossing of the Bay of Biscay have been answered as we are experiencing seas as flat as a mill pond and far calmer than they were yesterday as we proceeded north up the coast of Portugal and when both of us feared that we could be sick.

As you can probably tell from the waffle we have done just about nothing today except pack, we did take an hour away from it to attend Diane Simpson the profiler’s last talk and pick up her handouts for the last couple of lectures. Today was about how to conquer the fear of public speaking and she gave some good tips which I could have made use of some years ago, but then it has never bothered me too much as I am a natural big ‘ead. I did miss the first part of the lecture as I needed to get something to eat and popped along to the Conservatory, Hilary is still feeling a little queasy but I did bring back a couple of croissants and a Danish pastry and she has made a stab at one of those – I will probably eat her leftovers! At the moment she is sitting on the bed in our cabin putting the finishing touches to her scrapbook – that girl is determined to finish it before we dock. We also put the last photos into the photo album today and they were taken last night at my birthday dinner where I posed with the Elvis bear in my top pocket! Stupid really but it will give us something to talk about whenever we open the album up.

I really have nothing more to add so I will pass you over to Hilary for her closing comments..

Tiz I. Well most of the cases are so heavy that we can hardly lift them off the ground! I have been ruthlessly going through all my leaflets, extra postcards, and other memorabilia to reduce the weight on the hand luggage but it is still very heavy. We can have two stabs at getting the stuff down to the ships lobby but we still have to carry it ashore! I have every faith that we will manage it all somehow! Roll on tomorrow afternoon when the journey home will be over and we can relax again. The unpacking will take several days as most of the stuff in the suitcases has no place to be when it is liberated from the suitcases. I will have to clear our some of the storage spaces at home to accommodate the new stuff. Our cabin is a complete tip and Geraldine had made it look quite tidy – how that girl cleaned in here with everything everywhere is amazing. Tonight is tips night and I have our envelope ready for our waiters. I did all that stuff when I was stuck in the cabin. Tomorrow we will be up and about early so we can get off the ship on time – at least we hope we can, with almost everyone else on the ship expecting to meet their taxi’s at 9.30am. We e-mailed our taxi and suggested that he meets us at 10.00am instead of 9.30am since we learned just how many others have that time scheduled. It will take us some time to wend our way through the throngs of people on the harbour-side, they will be trying to collect their luggage from the huge terminus hall and we will have a huge amount of hand luggage making us quite a wide target. I am so looking forward to seeing all our family and friends again – and catching up with all the news and gossip! Sam, the quiz night sounds as if it will be great fun, I hope that you get lots of music and sports and celebrities lives questions. I will be able to go on line myself when we get home – I have not had the opportunity on board, Sam has been very protective of his internet minutes.

I did mean to tell you earlier but Hilary’s note jogged my memory when she was talking about how stuffed the cases are, I started to count how many new shirts that I bought during the cruise and I lost count when I got to fifteen! All of them are lightweight summer shirts so we better have some good weather this summer or I am in deep trouble, quite a few of them are silk as well and that of course means washing and ironing difficulties. I will have to be totally ruthless when I get back to the wardrobe at home!

Final note – we have just come back from the Final Extravaganza which featured all the performers that are currently on the ship including a fantastic stand up comedian, a magician, a lady violinist and two male singers the last of whom was Darren Day (sad to say that once again he chose entirely the wrong song for a group of people whose average age is 70) but it was more than made up for by the final act The Headliners. They did a rendition of a medley of wartime songs and ended with Land of Hope and Glory which earned them a standing ovation. It’s sad that we will see them no more.

Our night ended with saying goodbye to all the waiters who have served us and then to Bill and Alison and finally Peter and Christine, we have all promised to keep in touch and let’s hope that we do. A final thank you to all the readers who have stuck with us since day one, without your comments this nightly blog could have been a chore but that hasn’t been the case and we have both enjoyed writing it and reading all your comments. So it is good night from me and goodnight and God bless from Hilary. With a bit of luck we will be back home early afternoon tomorrow and we can have a ‘nice cup of tea’.

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