Betwixt the Interim 1: Passing Waters #1-4
FIRST POST: JANUARY 2017
“Thing is”, said Sue, “thing is, you up for a fag, young man?”. D and I were circumnavigating the deck after downing an entire chilled bottle of Codorniu 1551 (recall the Sitges post Cava Tour shop JP, and Richard?) on our cabin balcony (cabin 5151) in the glorious sun, contemplating the merits of a delicate cucumber finger (D had plumped for the tomato, oh Alan Bennett, you have so much to answer for).
Anyway, we’d decided to Post Bubble by way of allowing me a smoke on Deck Seven, when our first confidante, Sue (and Mum) of Suffolk, but previously Post the Most o’ The Costa Del Crime Marbella style (she remembers the Back End of Mile End too), had offered some outdoor company halting us in our rotational travels.
“Well” I continued, “It’s Different Needs for Different Situations, Sue. Let’s face it, hon” (I’d become a shade less formal after an additional half of San Miguel), “hon, when a 747 pilot is asked to circle, he just looks down at the M25 and turns left for a few more minutes, whereas Captain Kevin of the QM2 gets requested a bit of 360 degrees by his pilot, yet his takes 118 days, if you see what I mean.”
“Darling, you’ve been on the wacky backy,” retorted Sue, passing the well fingered packet of Marlboro Red to Mum in the wheelchair. “Well,” I said, “not quite, but I do think a week in the spa may help at this stage.” We’d both encountered the pristine Phillipino Debbie at Canyon Ranch reception earlier in the day, so when she offered me 7 days for the price of 3 in Aqua Therapy (an indoor pool with Sauna and Steam thrown in), I decided, eventually, to jump at the chance. Especially after my efforts at amusing Antonio our equally Philippino lovely waiter were finally being met with some success, particularly as suggestions for disposal of any Remains of The Day from our plates to be sent to his mythical cat (“She likes Ice Cream”) have now led to a daily update on said feline’s health and happiness.
Only downside, despite being inaugurated as a Gold Member of the Cunard World Club, Captain Kev still hasn’t engaged with myself and D, despite being gorgeously glittery (herself) and delightfully Dickied and DJ’d (yours truly) during two VIP champagne receptions. Hardly as if his humour scores Oceans Eleven is it?
I’d been considering my options, namely, whether or not to dip my completed cigarette into the Ashtray Of A Thousand Butts when Ponytail Man arrived. Mid 60s, white and all trussed up, his ponytail dangled precariously secured by a Cunard Elastic Band. “Hi” he said. “Out for your late night smoke are you?” he enquired. “Yes indeed, though just finished mine, thanks…don’t like to overdo it…if you know what mean…” I replied, suspicious of his stance, stiff as if he retained an entire explosive hedge fund between his buttocks, about to blow. Inconsequential Wife sat down. “Hello there. Are you truly inconsequential?” I requested. “Oh yes.” she replied. “Ah,” I summarised.
There were stars in night sky. Orion was still wearing his belt, though not for long, I considered, as it was about to become Pollywog Day.
Pollywog Day (I kid you not) is a “messy celebration” whereby all those who have not as yet crossed the equator thereby do so, and become “Shellbacks”. Or stay in the Golden Lion, do their 4th Pub Quiz of the day and guess David Essex’s middle name. Pollywog Day involves having spaghetti thrown at you, apparently. Sue mentioned this under her breath during my second Singapore Sling, kind of risotto voce…..
Meanwhile, D successfully managed a breakfast conversation with a Man from Yorkshire with An Offended Wife, who seemed to have been putting up with his exciting insights (“there’s nothing quite like having a bicycle assembled before your very eyes” or “get off at Walvis Bay and taste the salt” to which wife replied “not very exciting really”.) I struggled through a plate of something thinking that gym, YES GYM, and All Bran will be this week’s Morning Treats.
Tonight sees the arrival of the Rhubarb Daiquiri into our lives, courtesy Commodore Club with Sue (and Mum).
On board life continues apace with D & I largely down to some Cruise Control and some heavy duty onboard entertainment…"could be a good one tomorrow then” says D, “what with the Juggling”, “oh, and embroidery classes” I add. Think I’ve already tired out some of the gang back home with two emailed literary masterpieces so I’m letting RG enjoy his six consecutive nursing shifts in peace, and G & J transform my old kitchen into an Italian Cafe.
We’ve sadly missed Katie Clarke, piano maestro. So too the dual female fiddling of the World Renowned String Idols. Still, we cross the equator in half an hour, I’m having a San Miguel to celebrate (informal style, our Rhubarb Daiquiris last night left me with a bout of depression) while D’s just had her first swim in the Minnows Pool. She’ll need a wine with our buffet supper. I’ve decided we should boycott the Formal Dinners occasionally as the ship’s medic doesn’t stock milk of magnesia or Andrews Liver Salts.
Had a Tottyboost this evening with members of the squad (team, crew?) dinjng close by all uniformed up. One was eating Epaulettes of Lamb and another was a Rum Babe. Btw G may wish to know our Rhubarb Daiquiris contained rather a lot of Bacardi.
The following day, while D was adding a rollmop herring on to her starter plate of Steak and Kidney Mousse, stir fry bratwurst and chill con carne, I mused that the swell emanating from the galley was indeed banana crumble/creme anglaise served with a Whale Delice. That’d be due to the “themed” nature of Cunard life, as we approached Walvis Bay in Namibia, indeed, the Bay of Whales. I’m sure the Captain said there was an iPod of them yesterday. The former South West Africa is renowned for its flamingoes, orcas and huge piles of dust, or “sand” as they’re called in the brochure. The currency we will use as we potter off the ship tomorrow morn is the South African Rand, NOT the Namibian Sauerkraut, the old financial note established by Norman Schwarzkopf during the German Occupation in 1874, during the Haer War.
Our US Expert, onboard juggler John Nations (sic) stated whilst rotating three skittles skyward, that though Namibia was a country with which to be reckoned, he’s staying on board to spend time with his three admiring girls, the String Quartet.
Finally, let it be said Matt H that you’d be devastated and ashamed that I didn’t get Charlize Theron in the Oscars Pub Quiz, though I did manage to spot that the inspiration for Zombies: Dawn of the Dead 4 is the Morning Haphazard OAP stickladen stagger around the deck.
Roll on Table Mountain. More in a week.
Dear Reader, am keen to purchase a World Tour 2017 Top from the Cunard Shop Opp Cartier City on Deck Three. D says a Cotton Polo would suit but I think it costs a mint (Ha!), so am waiting til I (hopefully) get to the end of my trip in June to see if there’s any Ship Specials…meanwhile, the delightful Daniel (Sommelier) has been reposted two floors up with the Queens Grill (should suit him) so after a wild wacky and truly wonderful two days in Cape Town (largely with Rob and Rich, we thank you deeply), we now have Ranjith our new and slightly camp wineflogger, though Antonio remains schtum about his pussycat but also reveals that the new Captain “Chris” likes to talk. A lot. We’ll be meeting him at yet ANOTHER champagne reception tonight as we speed to Reunion and Mauritius this week….much of Cape Town was a blur but twas astonishingly beautiful and we did have dinner on an Ocean Boulevard (Beach Road) almost as stunning as Miami’s, though there are also lingering memories of being dropped back by the lovely Claudia (aka Sharon) while she explained the price and consequences of her exploding breasts, without missing a turn.
Yesterday, we saw elephant(s), on an afternoon “excursion” in Port Elizabeth….Eileen a fellow guest noted that some of these trips are “a bit too expensive, largely due to their cost…”, whereas Jo our increasingly unlistenable “Entertainments Director” (Ruth Madoc, hi-de-hi no charm, big smarm plus some greatly unpredictable teeth) actually stated at the end of a quite hilarious piano/standup cabaret show: “Well which brings us to tomorrow morning where after our talk at 11am, the rest of the day will indeed follow.”
We also have had Burns Night (Haggis starter for dinner, but sadly no First Aid demonstrations), New Intake Night (1600 off, 1600 on, average age reduced now to 68.4) and tonight it’s the African Ball, where my new red dickie will no doubt complement D’s Zulu and Ostrich Three-Piece. One so tires of bubbles. OK, maybe not.
Disappointingly, 20 days gone and still haven’t seen any fish type Ocean activity apart from the regular sighting of White Bit. (That’s NEARLY a fish). Having made my karaoke QM2 debut (video wiped upon request), “Pete” (the other decent singer) and myself may do a little piano/vocal duet later, and though it’s hard to make out his face (sunbed addiction), he’s a game chap, and “done time in the biz”.
Finally, tabloid story of the week was that I witnessed a mobility scooter pile up on deck 6 by stairwell C. No (further) injuries, but there’s a 1mph speed limit now after dusk on aft.