Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Day Sixty Seven: In the Arabian Sea

Tiz I. First today as I got no time yesterday. It is lovely to have you all back again, those five days were some of the longest of the cruise, I missed having all the messages just before bedtime as I had become used to drifting off to sleep with all your words in my head! I am sorry that you did not get all the messages that I had typed but here are some more up to date ones. First did you get the congratulations Julian? We are both proud of you. Your timings – workwise - should be good, you should be home again around the same time we get back so until then keep in touch with the blog. Sam, The swing in the garden in the lovely cool 70’s sounds just right, we are glad that you are back in the old routine again and that the jet lag has worn off now. Hales, the writing on the sign of the side of the warehouse says (in English) “Notice: spittoons are provided spitting inside sheds – preise is punishable.” Make of it what you will! Marlene, great news about the house, that will put in a much stronger position to choose where your new home will be – whether it will be The Brambles or somewhere else. Liz, we can’t believe that P&O were so unhelpful- hadn’t they noticed that they could not contact one of their ships for 5 days! It was a very strange situation knowing that no-one on board could contact the outside world – even the mobile phones and the ship to shore phones were out of action.

Today we had a message from our Captain over the Tannoy telling us what the procedures will be should we be attacked by pirates. During the night we will be entering the most dangerous passage of sea – as we enter the Red Sea - and we will sail through it all day tomorrow. He was very reassuring and explained what he will expect of all of us should the need arise for the ships security officers to use the LRad and high pressure water hoses. Basically we have to keep our heads down and remain inside the ship – no wandering up onto the outside decks to have a look! Sounds exciting. We might have to do without our beloved Theatre Royal as the stage door is right in the area of deck where the security officers will be and absolutely no-one will be allowed to use this part of the deck. We were warned not to be alarmed at seeing naval ships patrolling and aircraft flying overhead. He also said that there will be legitimate fishing boats in the area and not to panic if we see them! Great isn’t it?

We have started going to a series of lectures by a woman who is a handwriting expert and does ‘profiling’ for the police. She has worked on the Peter Sutcliffe and the Ian Brady cases. She is extremely funny and very informative and addictive. I think I will be making a point of being free at 11am each day so I can go to see her. Today she took us through the left versus right side of the brain and how it influences the way we approach our daily lives. She makes it interesting and fun. She just about exactly described the personality of us all by just a few exercises and handwriting observations, fascinating stuff. Now I will let Sam have his say, I feel that I have had a fair share of time. Take care, God bless.

Unusual for me to be second in anything but Hilary was determined to be first today and being the dutiful husband I deferred to her right to have first crack; actually it was a good thing for me as while she was typing I had another super gluing experience with my glasses as yesterday’s attempt was not the total success that I had hoped for. As Hilary has already explained the time after breakfast was mainly spent listening to this fascinating lady talking not about graphology this time but the left brain/right brain effect and trying to make a determination if we were more practically inclined or more creative. I know that Hilary believes I put all the wrong ticks in all the wrong boxes but the way it worked for me was that in the first part of the test – the tests that even a child could do was the way she put it – I scored well on the creative side. When it came to the more adult tests I was the other way round and she explained this as the result of having to make compromises in your life, so I guess that I am just a crazy mixed up old man. How else do you explain an engineer who likes to write and has a hankering to be Sir Laurence Olivier?

We did have a bit of free time between breakfast and the talk and I took the opportunity to have my first swim of the day. We were a bit naughty and “reserved” two loungers in the shade of the Lido Deck with strategically placed towels after my swim and while we were in the Theatre listening to the profiler. No one moved the towels while we were away so we were able to settle down for a read and in Hilary’s case a snooze and as my swimming trunks had dried out I went in for my second swim, this time in the smaller Crystal Pool which was a tad warmer than the Sapphire Pool. I had it all to myself for a good 20 minutes which was long enough for me to catch the sun just a little bit on my face but at least I might just arrive home with the faint remains of a tan.

I skipped the Concorde talk this afternoon having decided that yesterday’s presentation was not to my taste, I talked to Bill our dining companion over a lunchtime sandwich – he and Alison were enjoying a glass of wine at the time! – and he was of the same opinion as me. We will probably both go when the speaker gives his opinion of how the French reacted after the Concorde crash a few years back. The result of that crash sounded the death knell for Concorde but as everyone knows it was never a commercial success anyway, so BA were probably glad to get rid of it.

We are having unbelievably calm seas and cruising along here at 20+ knots there is no movement in the ship at all, the Oriana under these conditions is truly a floating hotel and we have all the good stuff such as picking up the phone for room service and ordering Hilary’s soya milk to be delivered to the cabin – “Forthwith, my good man. Chop. Chop.” We also get the beds made, free food and drink, we could have our laundry done if we wanted to pay for it and of course the beds are turned down at night and a chocolate left on the pillow. We are going to miss it! Along with the hotel theme of course we also have a live Theatre every night, a cinema (Slum Dog Millionaire is coming!), talks from well known speakers, dancing and painting lessons, deck games and cricket, swimming pools and so on and so on. When we first entered onto the deck one cold miserable January afternoon we had no idea what to expect but this experience has been so good we don’t want it to stop, but we know that it will. So everyone listen up, save your pennies and when you have enough take a World Cruise – you will never regret it.

That’s it for today, a load of waffle but it does bring you up with our day, tonight we will see the Headliner’s show “We’ll meet again” which is a WWII reminiscence and is full of nostalgia. We have seen it before but we will sing along with all the old tunes once again and revel in the performance of the dancers and the singers. Night. Night. All.

One thing that we will both miss when this cruise is over are the performances by the Headliners troupe of performers, this group only got together last October after a pretty rigorous audition and they have performed consistently together for the whole of the cruise. We have never seen a poor performance. Every three or four shows the entire cast are waiting by the exit doors to talk or shake hands with the audience as we file out and I never miss the opportunity to congratulate them and offer words of encouragement. Tonight I even offered to try and get them into the Wharf at Tavistock for a reunion performance; the lead singer told me that if I could book it they would be there. Fantasy I know but I felt good about it. They have four more shows before Southampton and then they are together for another 2 months while Oriana does some short cruises and then they all go their separate ways. Before the cruise is over I need to find a way to get all their autographs for the scrap book and then we can follow their careers. OK that really is it, we get another hours extra sleep tonight and will only be 4 hours ahead of GMT, we are getting closer and closer to home…..


samw7 said...

I'll keep a good thought as you cruise through these challenging seas. It sounds as though you will have alot of protection. Please keep a good thought for Cheryl, Tess's mom. Yesterday she underwent surgery and had her pancreas removed. While they were in there they also found some cancer, but they are pretty sure that they were able to get it all and she won't need further treatment. She went to her doctor for jaundice, and she ended up in surgery. I'm planning to go and see her tomorrow. It sounds as though she is doing well, but it is all a little unexpected (and costly!). Not much here,still beautiful weather and Jack fascinated by the birds. I'm putting out the hummingbird feeder this weekend and will keep you updated on progress.
Love to you both, Sam

Hayley said...

OO arr me mateys! Any pirates yet?!

Can i just say...I will be needing a copy of that sunset photo! How amazing I could stare at that for hours. Will it blow up big do you reckon? I think you should sell it to Athena you'd make big bucks.

Got more of your postcards today, I'm loving the Orangs! so cute! OO and dont know if i mentioned this before but the tax man has written to say he owes you money! Not an experience I can say i've ever had..but congratulations!

See ya soon!
Hayles xxxx

Julian said...

Glad you are still enjoying yourselves. Have just looked up what an LRad is and is seems to be very hi tech and I hope it is worth the money. I see the pirates usually pick on ships with much smaller crews and going a lot slower than a cruise ship, bulk carriers and tankers mostly. I arrived at HMCC Valiant today to find she is broken. The starboard main engine is being stripped down by caterpillar engineers all 16 pistons have to come out and all main bearings and big end bearings checked.Eack main bearing is a 2 man 1 day job! Not the same as stripping the engine on a Landrover. Enjoy the flat calm seas, it is probably where they take the photo's for the brochure.
Love to you both