Thursday, 19 March 2009

Day Sixty Eight: Pirate Country

We actually saw pirates today and had our photos taken with them…. of course they weren’t real, just two of the photographers dressed up in Captain Jack sparrow costumes and if the photo turns out OK we will post it for you to look at. We are approaching the end of our journey through the Arabian Sea and will soon turn the corner of the Horn of Africa up into the Red Sea, for those of you with atlases look it up, you might be as amazed as me to see where we are going. This is definitely the most dangerous stretch of water that we have been in and the Oriana is in a heightened security alert with the back of the Promenade Deck sectioned off for the LRad and other anti-terrorist measures. We have noticed that on Deck 12 the crew have taken the covers off two big searchlights which presumable they can control at night time if anything untoward is seen. The deck pointed out to us over the Tannoy that a passing tanker had dummy men along the rails and also water cannons squirting at intervals just to show other craft that she was prepared for all contingencies.

Hilary decided to get up early today – well it was yet another clock back an hour night – to do the laundry, so while she was away doing that I made up a little booklet and sent a letter to the Cruise Director to see if she could get the cast and crew of the Headliners Theatre Group to autograph the booklet for insertion into Hilary’s scrapbook. We met up later for a quick breakfast (salmon and cream cheese bagel for me, nothing for Hilary except a cup of coffee) and then set off to the Theatre Royal to see our graphologist lady. We arrived on time but unfortunately had to leave early just as it was getting interesting as we had a prior engagement for a special Round the World luncheon. The subject of today’s talk was Signatures and she had us writing them in different ways while she explained how our characters were revealed depending on the circumstances that we were signing under. It was just getting interesting when about a third of the audience had to leave to attend this special luncheon; we are hoping that she will do a recap first thing tomorrow.

The last time we attended a luncheon similar to this one we had a staff member at our table, this time it was just the six dinner companions together again and we were treated royally. Champagne cocktails to start, a good selection of starters (I had the spicy soup, Hilary the smoked salmon), a sorbet to cleanse the palate, a main course (we both had the turban of plaice and salmon), white or red wine with the meal (of course Bill and Alison had both, as well as the champagne), then a choice of desserts, (Hilary photographed hers, I had the cheese and biscuits), to finish we had a selection of chocolates and then coffee or tea. Neither of us can even think about dinner at this stage. As we were leaving lunch we saw another ice sculpture and Hilary took a picture which I have posted tonight, it isn’t the clearest pic that we have made but if you look closely you can see it is a slightly melted dolphin over my shoulder. While I am writing this Hilary is treating herself to a nail manicure and polish, she has been promising herself one for about 3 years now but each time she has been ready she has broken a nail, but this time she has taken the plunge – note it is now 2.35pm and a bang at the door has revealed Hilary with her hands splayed out saying that she can’t touch anything for an hour! Even taking her door key out was apparently not allowed so I had to let her in and she is laid out helpless on the bed (Thinks…. Would this be a good time to take advantage of her? Probably not, the fingers may be out of commission but the hands and elbows could still be used!). While my wife is out of commission for a while I think that I will slip down to the Chaplins Cinema and see the Concorde man – will write again later. Here’s Hilary (well she will be here as soon as the nails are dry).

Tiz I. With manicured nails for the first time in my life! I watched very carefully and now know how to do them myself so I doubt that I will ever pay to get them done again. Good fun though. The profiler lady this morning worked with signatures and the upshot of mine generally means that ‘you get what you see’, I don’t have hidden depths! Wear my principles on my sleeve and am a little eccentric. Do you recognise me from that – I think it is pretty accurate. I can officially be a grumpy old woman because that is what I am! I managed to get the laundry done quite quickly this morning and, without me asking her to do so, a lady saved me a dryer by turning it on to warm up before I had emptied the washing machine! I will have to ask her to give me a ring the next time she has laundry to do, I like the launderette when she is there! I will take a photo of the launderette where I have witnessed so many battles in the past, it will be a good reminder to keep in the scrapbook. Our lunch today was very nice and the restaurant had a huge ice sculpture and cake to commemorate the ‘round the worlders’. I have photos of both. Today I was talking to Geraldine our cabin steward and we were talking about our families, she is one of 12 children – the youngest – she has 6 brothers and 5 sisters and they all live in the Philippines. Her Dad has been ill and has been diagnosed with a tumour on the brain. Geraldine has been trying to get the drugs he needs as she goes around the world, she said that the drugs at home are very expensive and she has been able to get them at various ports on the way without a prescription. She has been saving her money to improve her house and she was very pleased to tell me that the latest improvement was to have cement walls instead of the wooden ones and a new large window. She is excited to get home to see the improvements in May, she is such nice person, and she works really hard and deserves all the good fortune that comes her way. Geraldine is 28 years old and hopes to stop working in May and stay home to look after her parents and start her own family – she will make a lovely gentle Mum. Tonight we should be leaving the Gulf of Aden and moving into the Red Sea. Sharm el Sheik is our next stop and although there is a tour to Mount Sinai and the place where the burning bush stood which is a very holy place, we will be heading for the beach and a glass bottomed boat instead to view the colourful fish. The tour takes about 3 hours to get there and it will be very hot and dusty, I really can’t be asked to sit in a coach for 6 hours. Well that is about it for today, take care, God bless.

Having had such a delicious lunch we decided to skip dinner tonight and went out to read by the light of the setting sun on the aft of deck 9. We did snack on an apple and a packet of two biscuits that are complementary as part of our room service. Did I mention that we are provided with packets of biscuits, sachets of coffee, tea bags, sugar and milk along with a kettle and a couple of mugs? We also get the little chocolates on the pillows at night, all together now aaaahhh…. I’ve come early to the CyberStudy tonight as we are not going to the theatre (lady singer, not interested) or the cinema (been there, seen it) so it could be an early night for the both of us. We will probably lay in bed with the TV on complaining about CNN and all the repeats that they have on the film channels, what a life – or should I say get a life! God willing and the creek don’t rise we will be back her around this time tomorrow, night all.


Marlene and Tara said...

Hiya. Its been lovely and sunny and Cornwall looks even more beautiful. My landlady has taken one option from me - she has decided to let the bungalow again and so I have to be out in 2 months anyway. She never could do the part ownership thing because the money I would have would not be sufficient to pay off her mortgage on this one and so her mortgagees wouldn't agree. That's life isn't it? I am not worried though and am glad really to know that option is gone and its less to think about. The main thing is that I can stay, so I am looking for somewhere nearer to Penzance or even Hayle or may even rent. Exciting isn't it?
My poor mummy is sad because she had to have one of her little dogs put down. It was a bit of a shock and we are very sad because she was our baby.
All is well though and I am happy and excited about the future. Looking forward to seeing you again. Thank you for all the lovely postcards.
Lots of love
Marlene xxx

samw7 said...

Hi There
I checked the news this morning and did not hear that a cruise ship had been taken hostage, so I am assuming that all is well. It is a beautiful day here. Austin is alive with the sound of music as it is the South by Southwest music festival. Downtown is awash in black leather jackets and skinny jeans. Not sure yet whether I'll make it to any shows, but there was a band playing at the coffee house I went to yesterday to do some work between meetings. The Longhorn men won and are through to the second round of the NCAA tournament so all is well. Tomorrow will be a tough test as they'l be going up against powerhouse Duke.
I went to visit Cheryl yesterday. She is waiting to see if she had bile duct or pancreatic cancer. The doctor said she is lucky because generally these cancers are symptomatic in the very late stages, but they caught hers very early. Please keep her and her family in your thoughts.
Love to you both.