Monday, 30 March 2009

Day Seventy Nine: A very happy birthday….

Today is so much a better day than yesterday when we spent very few hours awake at the same time but I am glad to report that Hilary is pretty well recovered from whatever it was that got to her and has been released from the confines of our cabin. She woke me with a card that she has been carrying all the way round from Julian and his family and I have been proudly wearing my “World’s Greatest 70 Year Old” badge all day long and I have every intention of pinning it to my dinner jacket tonight. I even got a card signed personally by Captain Chris Wells himself and I have 3 balloons Sellotaped to our cabin door so that everyone in our corridor knows that one of the passengers inside is having a birthday.

Today is actually the very first one of the whole cruise where I genuinely thought that I was about to be sea-sick and we haven’t even reached the Bay of Biscay yet! I slept through all the Force 8 winds and heavy seas OK last night and was even fine when I first got up and had a shave and shower but the action of bending down to retrieve the suitcases from under the bed so that we can start packing was the start of bringing me out in cold sweats and wobbly tummy. I immediately rushed to put on my SeaBands and took an anti-sickness pill and slowly over the course of the day the nausea has subsided, although I am noticing a bit of it now when I look at the keyboard or screen so thank goodness that I can do most of it by touch typing – thank you Mavis Beacon – and I can look at the horizon instead of looking down.

We were expecting Hilary to be released from the cabin at 9.00am this morning but when the phone call came we were told that as she too was a bit nauseous she should stay in the cabin until 12.00am. As soon as she was released we headed for Chaplin’s Cinema to see Slum Dog Millionaire, arriving just after it had started but while some of the credits were still appearing on screen. Quite a different film than the one that I was expecting but brilliantly told all the same, a touch more violent than I normally like but it didn’t detract from the essentially good triumphs over evil theme. I would definitely like to see it again from the beginning so we may look out for a DVD of it when it comes out.

The fact that we were in the cabin for the noon announcement enabled us to hear my Headliners Tribute poem being read out over the Tannoy by the third officer, he didn’t make a bad fist of it but he got some of the scans wrong, something I was able to correct for myself just a short time ago. While I was off doing other stuff the cabin phone rang and Michelle, the lead dancer of the Headliners, called and spoke to Hilary asking if I would like to read it to them before rehearsal this afternoon and that is where we have just come from. At 4.00pm the cast of the Headliners all sat in the plush red seats of the stalls of the Theatre Royal while I sat on the stage steps and performed for them. I should just explain that the poem uses the names of each cast member in turn with a little rhyming couplet and it was just a bit of made up fun to show our appreciation of each cast member. They did sing Happy Birthday back to me and we left wishing them every success in their careers and we added that we would look for their names on credit lists as they rolled across our TV screens. It does seem strange that in a few days time the whole cast will break up and go their separate ways and will have to re-audition for any new P & O shows, but at least it gives them some variety and as Michelle the head dancer said “We are getting great experience when so many other dancers and singers leaving college are still looking for work.”

I haven’t mentioned food much today and that’s because we have had so little of it, some of it because of the enforced cabin stay but also because we chose not to eat. We skipped breakfast because we were waiting for the nurse’s call and when it came it was too late for breakfast and too early for lunch. Then we were in the cinema for 2 hours, had a long wait at the photographers and at Reception before finally at 3.00pm we were able to grab a couple of small sandwiches at the Conservatory. Roll on the Captain’s Farwell drinks party at 6.00pm followed by our evening Peninsular dinner and then we can go back to the Theatre Royal to see the last Headliners show “True Brit.” Should be fun and we will get the chance to shake their hands once more as they will be at the doors as we leave the show. I will blog again after dinner and then you have only one more to come when we will be halfway across the infamous Bay of Biscay, no doubt with half packed suitcases rolling around the floor. Bye for now here’s Hilary……

Tiz I. Apart from feeling a bit queasy from the food I ate at late lunch, I am OK now and looking forward to the Headliners show tonight. I am not looking forward to drinks with the captain or dinner! Sam has had a really good birthday although it seemed to start out slowly with me being stuck in the cabin til mid-day. I told him that he could now be officially a ‘grumpy old man’. He thoroughly enjoyed being on the stage and reading his poem to the Headliners. He was in his element. The card from the captain was a nice touch too, it will make a good souvenir for the scrapbook along with all the invitations to the various ‘do’s’ and the photographs we have gathered together. We are still waiting for the last of the little photos to add to the scrapbook so it can be completed and I might have to stick them into the book after I get home! When Sam opened the top drawer on the chest of drawers he was amazed at how much paper memorabilia I have collected and he even suggested that it would be difficult to find space in the suitcases for it all. I have been saying for a few days that we need another bag – now he realizes why! Must go, take care, God bless.

At dinner tonight our dinner companions gave me a nice birthday card, then a Beanie Baby Bear with an Elvis haircut and sunglasses and finally Bill bought me a glass of champagne and then at the end of the meal all the waiters came around to sing their special version of Happy Birthday. If that wasn’t enough for one day we then went into the theatre to see the Headliners show True Brit and at the end of that show the cast were all outside the exit doors to wish us good bye and good luck. They all said that they hoped that I had had an enjoyable birthday and I wished them every success in their chosen career. A nice way to end the day especially as Hilary is feeling so much better. Our disembarkation cards at the moment are Orange and show us leaving the ship at 9.50am which will mean that we will miss our 9.30am taxi so I will try and get that changed tomorrow (along with about 700 others I shouldn’t wonder! That’s it only one more blog to go and we are done with this one, take care all of you and thanks for your support.

ps I may have given you the same picture twicce but never mind enjoy these three.


samw7 said...

I still love the photos and am so glad that Dad had a good birthday. I hope the reading of the poem was recorded. What a nice tribute that it was also read out over the airwaves. So glad to hear that Mum is feeling better, and I hope that the sea bands work for the rest of the trip. A new bag is definitely in order. As you know I always think new luggage is in order. Just too bad that you can't buy a lovely Longhorn bag like mine. Enjoy your last day of what sounds like has been a truly special trip.
Love to you both, Sam

samw7 said...

Oh one more thing. Tomorrow night Jeff and I are joining Shirley's son and the young woman who works for me, Jessie, as part of a team entered into a trivia contest at a downtown Irish pub. I think they just want some people who can remember back further than the 1990's and if they want the writer of some obscure song then Jeff is the man!
i'll let you know how it goes.
Love you both, Sam

Pat said...

Glad Sam had such a great day and that you were able to celebrate it together outside the cabin.
Just can't believe you are just round the corner and on the last run home, where did the last two and a half months dissapear to.
The article Jess is talking about is about the P&O ship Auroa. ON it's round the world trip it had engine trouble and was stuck in New Zealand waiting for repairs which ment it had to miss out several stops and the ship was at sea for 22 days without stopping much to the passengers discuss and they are now revolting and kicking up hell.
Somebody was certainly looking out for you becuase it sounds as if you have had a wonderful time and met some good people.
Love Pat

Hayley said...

See you tomorow! yippeeeeee

Glad you had wonderful birthday uncle!

love Hayles xxx (and Mum/liz)xxx