Saturday, 30 October 2010

Another 3 days

Sorry everyone - no photos til we get back to New York!

Wednesday Oct 28th

We had a day onboard, and although we were in Boston, the small legs had had enough and refused to walk anymore!

There is so much to do aboard this ocean liner (in the hallowed halls of the QM2 she is only known as an Ocean Liner, and NOT a cruise ship!), and for the first time, I let the young members of the group go to formal dinner the restaurant alone, and I took myself off to Deck 12 to one of the five swimming pools, and had a decadent hot tub followed by a long and almost solitary swim, which was blissful.

I even ordered myself a non alcoholic cocktail called a Banana Mama ! It was fresh banana, coconut cream, mango nectar and crushed ice with elegant slices of banana delicately balanced around the edge of the hour glass shaped glass. For the duration of the evening wallow I felt distinctly ’rich’.

I was dragged uncompromisingly out of my reverie when they rolled back to the cabin and insisted I went to the show in the Royal Court Theatre. I knew it would be a mistake of magnificent proportions, and I was right.

A one man show with much indifferent tenor squawking of Andrew Lloyd Webber, proved to be too much for moi, and I managed 3 songs performed with much affectation and ‘split register’ (well ok, ripped apart register!) singing, then quietly, and with a dropping tear in my eye, left the theatre somewhat despondently, and spent the time from there to the quiet cabin retreat, making up excuses to give C as to why Seanmhair could not make it to the old war wound perhaps, or a potential heart murmer brought on by a surfeit of his Lordship Andy !
At that moment the thought of a Gin and Tonic ran like a white water rapid through my mind !

Thursday October 29th

We docked at St John’s New Brunswick, our first stop in Canada, and the sun shone, the colours were glorious and the ship was brought to rest right at the harbour road, so near to the town centre that the prow was almost ordering a latte in nearby coffee shop. For such an enormous liner she certainly gets close in to many of the ports.

The children love the tender boats best however, they like being ‘supermanned’ on to the writhing lifeboats, which are rising and falling at quite remarkable rate, and only the bravest of the brave step off and on without the helping hand of a cheery deck hand!

We wandered through the St John’s Harbour Market, and then after a small discipline problem S headed back onboard full of ‘swimming is cancelled’ statements, to the moans and groans of the children who needed to flex the badly behaved muscles today!
I like this unassuming but historically important little town in the far flung New Brunswick stat of Canada. The folk are friendly, quite ordinary, but born of the of the sea, and the landscape is sort of Aberdeenshire with moose ! Come on, use your imagination!

The clapboard houses are cheerful and individual, and the shops are not touristy and overpriced, or full of tat. It is a place where real people live, and once in awhile we foreigners land and add a bit of excitement and income, and then drift off into the sunset, quite literally, never to be seen again.

As I write this we are leaving harbour, and the ship’s horn sounded loudly and with a Baritone resonance which would have made Bryn Terfel proud ! The lights of the town are fading into the distance, and we face the open sea.

The Commodore is called Bernard Warner, and he is a solid Yorkshireman who is fond of repeating himself. He has not the colour of the Italian captain I had on my first cruise, but his rather flat Yorkshire vowels definitely give one the feeling of being in strong (if a little unimaginative, and what my father would call ‘belt and braces’) hands. In the Daily Paper, his outside QM2 life was wholesomely staid and seemed to revolve around his allotment near Whitby!

Up the White Rose!

Saturday October 30th

The children did a 3 hour stint in The Playzone this morning. What a marvellous invention that is – 1 year – 17 years all have areas and rooms according to needs, and there are 9 nannies to take the punishment! Today, the excitement is building to a frenzy as it is Halloween tomorrow, so the children are Trick or Treating around the ship and playing tricks on the crew – apparently – does that mean we will end up sailing through the Panama Canal I wonder, or does it mean that the usually high standard cuisine will be changed to Pizza and Chips in every restaurant ?
Anyhow my 2 are raring for the morning, as I suspect is Mummy who will get to go to the gym in peace, and maybe sleep a little!

We are in Halifax Nova Scotia, and the saltires with the gold centre are in every nook and cranny, and flying from every ship in the harbour!
We braved a taxi to a large shopping mall to try to find Halloween costumes for tomorrow, and found a Dollar Store (identical in every way to a Poundshop incidentally, then high on E numbers we got back to her majesty the QM2 with an hour to go before sailing.

Halifax is a bustling town, and like Newport, the colours of the leaves were radiant and glowing in all shades of gold, red and orange. It has been a wonderful trip for the New England in the Fall classic trip. Last year when I came it was 3 weeks earlier, and the colours were only just changing. This year it is riotous and beautiful.

Titanic features a good deal of course, but as we did not go on a ship’s tour today it was interesting to explore the other Halifax, with the stories of immigrants, and the great fire of 1937 (I think), when so many died.

I am sitting in the Winter Garden writing this, a peaceful room decorated like a tropical conservatory in calming greens and creams. I had another n.a. cocktail with a profusion of fruits and redolent of a beach in St Kitts, without the heat!
A sea day tomorrow, more swimming, more decadence and more relaxing. It’s tough, but some poor soul has to do it!

1 comment:

  1. We see the ships come and go a lot round here. We know when because all the fancy taxis and limos come out to play :)

    Cruise ship season has just started. They will end sometime in April. In between I hope to sell the odd hand made hoodacky and make some sort of a living (well maybe pocket money :).

    viv in nz