Dancin’, Drivin’ and Helensburgh – 7 May 2022

That was the day in three words. Sorry about the last sweary word, Jamie!

Drove to Brookfield today and found that instead of the quickstep we’d been practising, we were dancing a Foxtrot, a Tango Serida, a <spit> Cha-Cha, a ‘Baby’ Waltz and as many sequence dances as they could cram in. I actually enjoyed the Foxtrot. Quite an elegant dance. The tango serida was just a bit of meaningless fluff. Instantly forgettable. The cha-cha I almost managed and the ‘baby’ waltz is just a waltz we’ve been messing about with for weeks now. Could be useful for dances if nobody knows what it should REALLY look like! Thankfully there weren’t too many sequence dances to fit in as time was tight. All in all, not as bad as it could have been.

<Warning DON’T read this Jamie>
It had been a 20mph drag getting through the roadworks on the M8 this morning and I’d no intention of facing them again on the way back, so I suggested we go for a drive to Helensburgh. When we got there, OH NO! The carpark was gone. The big carpark with a million space and no charge for parking was gone. In its place was a steel and glass featureless lump. Apparently it is a Leisure Centre. A Leisure Centre in Helensburgh is a bit pointless. Most of the inhabitants are well over 80 and the rest are sailors who work at the naval base a few miles up the estuary and who have their own free (I guess) leisure centre at the base. Finally found a place to park, and had to pay! For the first time in Helensburgh, we had to pay! What is the world coming to. Even worse, the pizza shop was closed. We walked along the esplanade and I took a few photos of wee dinghies sailing and trying to race in an almost complete calm. Had a coffee and a panini each in a busy little Costa off the main road. Scamp found another clothes shop and bought a dress. Further on she found a matching fascinator that didn’t look like a black widow spider! My purchases of the day were a few slices of black pudding, two lamb and sausage meat patties and two Italian sausages that smelled strongly of garlic. We drove back home with out touching the roadworks on the M8.
<OK Jamie. It’s safe to come back>

That was about it for the day. A photo of the wee dinghies trying to race became PoD. Dinner was Chicken Pasta in a Tomato Ragu. More a Monday dinner than a Saturday, but it filled a wee space.

Tomorrow I must go out and take some meaningful photos. I just feel I’m treading water these days and need to get out and take photos of things that interest me. Also I really need to do something about my phone. It’s beginning to fail in quite a few ways. Any suggestions or recommendations would be welcome.

At Sea – Lovely Jubbly – 9 August 2019

A sea day again.

At lunchtime we got to test out the skills of the new dance teachers. What could they teach us. They had big boots to fill. First off, they were English and had a totally different style. The bloke spoke very fast and gave the impression of being a bit nervous. The woman was much more self-assured and was obviously the brains of the operation. He did the talking, she did the thinking. They taught us the Social Foxtrot which we’d learned a long number of years ago and for some reason it had stuck in my mind. Something few dance steps do, so it was either memorable or simple! We didn’t go in the afternoon, already missing the dry humour of Stuart and Jane! Also the bloke’s constant repetition of “Lovely Jubbly” was becoming irritating.

Although there’s usually a lot to do on sea days, there’s not a lot to photograph. So, today’s PoD was a Royal Caribbean ship following us for a while.

Dinner was in the ‘council’ restaurant and although it was a ‘black tie’ affair with everyone dressed up, we had to wait for about half an hour for a table and then service was extra slow. Something is wrong with P&O. We think they have cut the staff and it’s beginning to cause problems. Lots of people are complaining about the time it takes to serve food. Lots of people are complaining about the difficulty in getting drinks in the bars, because waiter don’t seem to be interested in serving. Scamp thinks it’s linked to the drinks packages they sell. If they’ve sold a drinks package, the company already has your money in the bank, so they don’t need to work trying to sell you drinks. Makes sense. Also people are complaining about grumpy looking waiters and workers on the ship. If P&O are indeed cutting staff, then the remaining staff need to work longer hours for presumably the same wages. That leads to an unhappy workforce and an unhappy customer base. It’s a downward slope from there.

We danced for a while at night, but it wasn’t the same atmosphere and not the same music either. It sounded to me like midi tracks, or ‘Elevator Music’ as Scamp described it.

Never mind, tomorrow we’re in Dubrovnik.

At Sea – Dancing with the Australians – 7 August 2019

Today was a sea day. Not a lot to see. Lots to do though.

We’d given up on the salsa class, it was just rubbish, below even beginners level. Did the dance class and enjoyed it as much as the last one. I went to a talk about the planet (or not the planet) Pluto by the astronomer again. Fascinating, and I’m not being facetious either. When someone who knows their stuff and is totally immersed in their topic gives a talk, their enthusiasm just draws you in. I could have listened to this bloke all day.

Dinner tonight for me was Chicken Cafreal with Pulau Rice and Goan Bread. Must ask Delia how authentic it was, but I don’t really care. It was great food but  the service was slooooow in the ‘cooncil’ restaurant.

Dancing with the Australian crowd who tried to teach us the Cowboy Cha Cha. I’m still not sure we got it right, but we had a go at it.

PoD was a shot of a Royal Caribbean ship that was keeping pace with us for a while.

Tomorrow we return to Malta, mid-cruise.

All At Sea

P1010698Today was a sea day.  Nothing much happens on a sea day.  Sometimes there are interesting talks to go to or hobby classes, but generally it’s a smash ‘n’ grab to get a sunbed.  Today was much like all the rest.

Sunbeds were all taken early on the sunny side of the ship and there were very few on the shady side too.  We finally found a couple together with a bit of a view out to sea.  The were a couple sitting next to us, but they folded down their sunbed and headed off for elevenses.  They were hardly gone 30 minutes when some pompous wee bastard and his girlfriend came along shouting the odds about the sunbeds having been left unattended for over two hours and then headed off to see the captain, or possibly the owner of Thomson to have the beds cleared so he could have them.  I think he heard the comment “Dickhead” coming from a Scottish person nearby  I tried to make sure it was loud enough to sink into his thick english skull.  He came back with a waiter, apparently neither the captain or Mr Thomson were available to listen to his rant and proceeded to turf the towels and books from the bed.  The Scottish person changed his estimation to “Dobber”.  We headed for an early lunch, but before we went, I photographed our beds with my phone to make sure they weren’t tampered with and the evidence of our departure time would be the date stamped photo.  When we got back, another couple had replaced Mr D and friend.  The woman claimed to be his mother.  Why anyone would lay claim to that, I do not know.  Don’t know what the masquerade was about.

P1010710The rest of the day was a joyous whirl of eating snoozing and blog writing.  Too soon it was time for the Captain’s Reception and Gala Dinner (in Capitals).  It was a dressed up do.  Kilt, black tie, knee length sox, brogues etc.  Scamp too was in her posh dress.  We had to wait in three queues for photos before we got to the captain, had two photos taken with him, then another photo of just us, before we got to go for the reception.  The captain’s speech was very good.  Funny and concise which makes it the shortest and best one we’ve ever been to.  Dinner was nothing very special.

Afterwards we danced a couple of times to a singing group and watched the cheesiest, slimiest, probably drunkest dancer ever. I’m sure he left a slimy trail behind him!  I have a video.  We finished off the night ‘bad dad dancing’.  I do NOT have a video.

Late, late to bed, too late.  Koper tomorrow.  Hope the weather is better than today.  It was a bit dull after a good morning.

This post was brought to you by Koper Wi-Free.

The Glorious Twelfth – 12 July 2017

The weather was glorious today. Better than the forecast had promised. Now, I don’t often say that!

Scamp was out early to get her eyebrows done. I had intended getting mine done, but feared I’d be told “Hopeless cases not accepted.” When she came back we dithered about for a while before deciding that we’d go out for lunch. Somewhere nice, was Scamp’s request. She’d thought about going to South Queensferry, but I don’t think either of us fancied the long drive, so we settled for a slightly shorter drive to The Stables, just outside Kirkintilloch. The food is usually good and there’s also a pleasant wee walk along the canal. The Stables won.

Got parked easily and followed the path on to the towpath and along towards Bishopbriggs. Walked for about a mile or so and then came back the same way, avoiding cyclists be-helmeted and the others who live dangerously. They’re the ones who are immortal (so far).

Lunch for Scamp was her usual Fish ’n’ Chips and mine was Southern fried chicken on the bone. Both were deemed decent enough food. Scamp had a glass of wine and I had a Becks Blue. The first mouthful of the ‘beer’ was ok, but after that I sensed a chemical tinge to it that I didn’t like. However, you could almost convince yourself that you were drinking beer.

Came home and Scamp went to cut the grass while I almost managed a snooze.

Salsa tonight was a great laugh. With even numbers it was inevitable that we’d be doing rueda moves, and so it was. Great fun was had by all.

Today’s PoD is of a piece of artwork on the side of a barge on the canal. Saw this and thought of you Hazy!

Deteriorating weather conditions tomorrow, but at least we had a scorcher today. Scamp even had her sun cream on!

A life on the ocean wave – 18 June 2016

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother day at sea.  This time we are sailing down the south coast of France and then Spain aiming to pass the straits of Gibraltar at around 4.30am tomorrow and no I don’t intend getting up to see it happen.  I’ll rely on the captain and his minions to do it all by themselves and without my help.  Hopefully we will arrive in Cadiz tomorrow morning.  We’ve already been warned by the excursion staff that all the shops will be shut, so we might as well book one of their visits to Seville instead.  Why?  Will the shops be open there?  I’m sure there will be restaurants open in Cadiz, anyway, who chose to have sea days on Saturdays and Mondays and port days on the Sundays when all the shops will be shut?  P&O you are becoming a pain in the arse.  We hear more and more people becoming dissatisfied with the service they are getting from this company.  However, there are the fanboys who are counting up the days they’re accruing from this old fashioned, out of touch company.  I know I’ve said it before and reneged, but this time I’m sure.  I won’t be back.

What of the day?  It dawned cloudy with the chance of the sun breaking through.  By 11am that promise had been confirmed, and it was hot.  I had gone to the watercolour class and managed a reasonable likeness of the sunset we were asked to paint.  It turned out a bit dark and I messed up with scraping the side of the round brush across the paper, but that’s just down to lack of practise.  Others in the class were happy to suck up to the teacher, but of course I put my foot in it when she asked me what make of paint I favoured and I said “The cheapest”.  She definitely has Scamp’s disease.  NSOH.  No Sense Of Humour.  Very po faced she is.

Sunbathing on the deck then lunch in Smash & Grab and it was very tasty, but again, very little info as to what is in front of you in the buffet.  “Assorted Fish” or “Assorted Meat” doesn’t instil much confidence.  After lunch Scamp went to her class, I went for a snooze, got lost trying to find Scamp, she then couldn’t find me and finally we both met up again in the cabin.  Scamp went for a quick spot of sunbathing and I went looking for the mysterious deck 19, the highest point on the ship.  It was pretty breezy up there.

Tonight was a Black Tie night again so I wore my kilt.  We were at a table with an ex farmer and his wife, a market gardener and his wife and a single lady.  Conversation was lively with the farmer.  The market gardener asked questions, but didn’t listen to the answers.  Perhaps we bored him.  The old single lady it seemed couldn’t read.  I don’t know if it was a sight or a mental problem, but I felt really sorry for her.

After dinner we watched the sun set and Scamp thinks she got a few photos of a pod of dolphins passing by.  Drinks in Metropolis Deck 18 and then it was time for bed.

This little Windows 10 tablet/computer is great for typing up these blog notes, but I really need to find a way of disabling the touch pad.  It just seems to fire the cursor anywhere it feels like and before you know it you’ve typed a whole line of nonsense.  Nothing new for me, but unintentional drivel is different to my usual nonsense and should be avoided.  The other stuff cannot be avoided!

Cadiz tomorrow.  A walk around the city walls is in order.  My memory of Cadiz is this graffiti on them:  “My life is shit … And you?”