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Friday, 6 November 2009


Well, finally I did disappear (see Going, going, gone 20/10/09). We disappeared, Doreen and I, more in the way we had hoped and less in the way that I'd feared. We had, long ago, I can now reveal, booked ourselves on a cruise to coincide with the refurbishing and alterations to chez nous. The reason that I would not speak of it before was a fear amounting almost to a certainty that it would not take place. Almost from the time we booked it, we each had a series of health issues any one of wish could have put the kibosh on the holiday. I told myself it would not happen ad quietly hoped that it would. Other events overtook us which began to seem like omens. And then a few days before we were due to sail, the ship, docking in Manhattan, had a disagreement with a concrete bollard and came off second-best. The trip seemed off, then on, then off and eventually on but delayed a day or two. It was in fact delayed two days

And so finally we left the house to the tender mercies of the decorators, electricians and others, to make our way to Southampton, to the Saga Ruby. We had cruised before , but on her sister ship, the Saga Rose. Two very rough days in the channel and across the Bay of Biscay left us wondering what perversity in our natures had led us to choose to cross Biscay at the end of October. (A word of advise: don't.) On the second day we ordered toast and coffee from room service. The ship decided at that point to do a double skip sideways. The tray sailed through the air and crashed to the floor. It gave a whole new meaning to the phrase half a cup of coffee. Not one piece of crockery escaped. The wind by then was gale force 8/9.

As if to compensate us for the rigours of those two days, The Mediterranean gave us ten glorious days of sunshine and cloudless skies, at times a little too hot.

At Cadiz we were taken to a winery and treated to a display of genuine Flamenco Dancing. The dancing was breathtaking. Partly, no doubt, because we were inches from the stage and had just finished the first tasting. I took numerous photographs - you can imaging - which no doubt would not have been technically brilliant, though far superior to those I took after the second tasting. Unfortunately, the memory card developed a fault (nothing to do with the tasting, I assure you!) and I have been unable to access them. Does any good soul out there know of a method to retrieve such images?

The sting was in the tail, though: returning across Biscay, the wind a mere force 7, but the sea feeling much rougher than the previous 8/9, Doreen was quite ill and had to spend all of Tuesday in bed. The final (nearly!) "highlight" came at 4 am when we were hit by a huge wave (shades of Hokusai!) which lifted the bows of the ship (where, as it so happened, yours truly was sleeping), stopping it dead in its tracks and doing - we were told - a great deal of damage around the ship. Not, though, to yours truly, the worst that happened to us was that a larg(ish) and very heavy safe mounted just below eye-level in one of the wardrobes crashed through the doors of said wardrobe and landed upside down inches from the foot of my bed - and feet, of course! It quite woke me up.

Other highlights were meeting up with the Saga Rose on its last journey and a day of celebrations beginning with a church service, led by Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, and culminating in a spectacular firework display.

We made it home on Wednesday. The workmen had long gone, the boxes and the innumerable layers of dust were undisturbed. For the most part they remain so. I still feel like a monk, but now in a cardboard cell.

Of course there were others, not least the gastronomic delights, the chef's ice sculptures (shown in accompanying photographs - no more than snaps, really)and the various ports of call.

What a lovely homecoming, though, to discover that so many of you had thought it worthwhile to comment in my absence. So far beyond my expectations, that. Thank you all so much. I have posted replies, though not as personal as I would wish, time being at a premium at present with all these boxes now to unpack and much to be done before I can access my books.


Rachel Cotterill said...

That sounds like quite the adventure! I hope it was enjoyable despite the extra excitement :)

Shadow said...

you sneak you! well, i can understand all the reasonings you've given here, so all's forgiven, heee heee heee. glad you had a good time, and in such stormy weather...

Tabor said...

Adventure is correct! I cannot imagine how hard it was that after looking forward to getting away from it all and then facing the many challenges that you did. I had also been away for a number of days and didn't even think about reading blogs!

Kat Mortensen said...

You won't be doing any ad campaigns for the cruise line, will you?
I have really poor sea-legs and your account of the sea-voyage has done little to encourage my ever getting on a ship again. (I did tour the "Mary Rose" once, but of course she was docked.)

Sounds as if you had a wonderful trip in the long run. I do hope someone can help with that memory card issue, so we can see the snaps of the Flamenco dancers.

I also hope whatever has ailed you both has been resolved and that your refurbished home lives up to your expectations.


P.S. I haven't stopped by for a while, so I didn't realize you had gone. (Sorry, no comment from me in your absence.)

Caio Fern said...

who cares for what time is it ....
it was what i said when i was in the midle of it , reading , and remembered that i had to run for do not get late .
a real pleasure !!!
thank you !!

ArtistUnplugged said...

Oh my! That was quite the sea (un)faring adventure!!!!! Glad to hear that your health issues didn't keep you from making your trip. You two have certainly have tales of this trip! Hope your abode is awesome! Stay well.

Unknown said...

Hi Dave,

Glad you survived all that the Bay of Biscay could throw at you! Hope your house work is all that you hoped for and that you managed to get straight soon. As always seems to be the case on cruises, the food spreads look impressive; more photographers than diners by the looks!

Tara McClendon said...

I'm glad you got to get away. It sounds like it was an adventure for the records.

The Weaver of Grass said...

What you have omitted to say Dave, is how much your waistlines have increased with all that delicious food. Sorry about Biscay - shall heed your warning. Have only once been on a cruise (Hurtigruten Bergen to Russian border and back) and on the one day we were really out at sea there was a gale and I was sick for every moment of it. So I do sympathise with Doreen.
Glad you are both back intact - now the fun of putting your house straight again. Nice to have you back in blogland.

gleaner said...

Adventures on the high seas - an enjoyable read. Hope you are both well and can finally enjoy your new abode.

Karen said...

Well, ten glorious days sandwiched by four foul days...I guess it depends on how much seasickness one can stand! I'm glad you were able to get away, though, and I wish you good luck in getting your house put back together.

Ronda Laveen said...

Don't think I ever seen so much or such large food in all of my nearly 60 years.

Friko said...

glad to have you back; did you at any time wish you hadn't gone?

Elisabeth said...

Well, you've convinced me - those cruises are not for me, nor is house renovating, not any more. I'd rather blog.

Dave King said...

Thank you. Yes, very enjoyable. I so wouldn't believe it might happen that everything was a bonus.

Yup, have to say I felt pretty sneaky, but it was my chosen defense against expected disappointment.

I must admit that I didn't think of reading blogs either, not once I was away! The good thing is that the negatives are now a distant memory; the positives live on vividly.

I don't think much of it was down to the cruise line, the accident in New York, I assume was down to the pilot. The rest was weather. Don't cross Biscay in the Autumn, seems to be the advice.

And thank you - and much welcome.

Artist Unplugged
(Un)faring? I like it! The abode is just ti our liking - or will be, all in good time! Thanks for the good wishes.

100% photographers. They opened the dining hall 15 minutes early to allow photographs. An unbelievable crush!

Thanks, yes. It was, as I said, memorable - both for the right things and the wrong.

Thanks for the good wishes. Not sure about the waistline. Doreen's seems okay. I wouldn't be at all surprised, though, to dixcover that I have lost weight - I have that sort of metabalism!

Thank you. Yes, we are both in very good health just now - though Doreen is vowing never to darken a gangplank again!

I look at it this way: we got what we went for - and a little bit more besides.

Mmm, we have cruised before, but I would have to say Here, here!

Nope, never did - though I suspect Doreen did. (I did once wish we could go back home - is that the same thing?)

I'm not put off cruising. I was never really on hose renovation!

Unknown said...

I am not a person who enjoys a cruise. My dad was in the navy, my mom has been on cruises all over the world, but I have had major difficulties on a cruise of the harbour and on a docked riverboat restaurant. My legs I'm afraid, like land underneath them.
It looks like you had a grand time though (except for the safe... is there compensation coming?) It's good you were able to soak up some sun and Flamenco Dancing is always a treat. Glad the reno is done. Welcome back! =D

Rosaria Williams said...

Glad you had mostly a good time and are back home. You did it correctly, leave the work behind and escape to the Mediterrenean. Sorry about the first and last legs of your journey.

Conda Douglas said...

My goodness, Dave, I gained weight just looking at those photos! And I too have "left home" for a remodel. It's the only way to survive.

Madame DeFarge said...

Glad to have you back and even more so in the circumstances. All sounds very exciting. Especially the safe falling down bit. The things people do for entertainment these days.

LR Photography said...

I hope was enjoyable, that is the most important.

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Such adventure dear Dave - happy for the delights enjoyed, the thrills encountered, and the safe return to your new and improved abode. Do stop by, you have been missed.

Cloudia said...

My you had quite an adventure at sea!

Glad you are home with us safely.

Aloha, my Salty Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Dave King said...

Yes, I have no doubt given the impression that it was something of a cruise from hell, but it actually wasn't like that at all. The biggest disappointment was in the changes to the itinerary that resulting from the delayed start. They caused the removal of two of the places we most wanted to see. Theup-side was that had we left on the intended date we would have had a calm voyage out, but would then have encountered the rough weather in the Med'. I would have preferred it as it we had it, I think! Thanks for your good wishes.

Especially the last! But eleven good days - not a bad average for the timje of year! And yes, I think I did do it correctly.

Yup, I do believe that's true.

Madame DeFarge
Well, you feel you have to, don't you? Thanks for the kind thought.

It is the most important and it was so. Thanks.

Rose Marie
Many thanks for the thought.

Good to be back. Thanks.

Dick said...

Welcome home, both. I've never fancied cruise holidays and, whilst the brighter moments of yours offer temptation, the accounts of hard times before the mast restore my certainty that it's not for me! Fabulous cuisine pictures, but I imagine that the onboard chefs must prepare the platters somewhat gloomily, knowing that one rough day or night is going to mean a depleted dining room the next.

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