Sunday, 16 April 2023

When an Itsu curry calls

You know when you've got an itch to get out and about with the desire for an udon katsu curry, that itch has to be scratched.
I drove into Tonbridge, parked up and bought a Senior Rail Card. The last one I bought was literally two weeks before we went into lockdown and having cost me £30 I was loathed to buy another until the bulk of the strikes and railtrack repairs had been completed.
Today was the day and I headed up to Charing Cross for lunch at Itsu.

The picture is not the cleanest in the world, blame BR for dirty windows, but I was really struck by the enormous "play" button which graced the top of one of the new buildings Canary Warf way. It was really bright in the sunlight so come the summer I suspect it'll really stand out.
Following Itsu and yes it was as lovely as my memory had told me, I wandered off in the vague direction of Foyles. 
Being a Sunday I wasn't that sure if it would be open but it was, so a happy perusing of books ensued.
Yes, I did succumb and bought the first in the series Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation
Happy bunny, its a book I'll enjoy curling up with.
The wander continued and it took me around Piccadilly, Leicester Square and up to Tottenham Court Road. I wandered up Oxford street stopping only at the Samsung show rooms. Interesting, they seem to be teaming up with Smarty.
I must admit I was getting weary so headed along Regent Street, passed Trafalgar Square and then back to Charing Cross. 
One thing which did make me smile was a toaster. Not just any toaster but one giant one in the shop window of Smeg I think.

This thing was at least the height of an American fridge.
So that's it, my first foray back on the trains. 
Next stop Hastings. Now they've repaired the embankment collapse at Robertsbridge it's worth a day out. 
I wonder how much has changed?

Thursday, 8 December 2022

And now, the day is done....

I spent the night waking and checking the clock; what time is it? Is it time to get up? 
I was having dreadful dreams about losing things, forgetting things. How I hate the night before travelling, it has an awful effect on me.
I met Shirley for breakfast in The Grill then I went to the Britannia Lounge to sit and wait for the call to disembark. Shirley joined me and we happily chatted away until I was called. She was number 25 so her group would be leaving about 15 mins after me. I hope she had a good journey back to Wales.
I was number 20 so was about a third of the way through the regular passengers. 
Numbers 1 through 12 were for those with some form of disability so were in need of chairs, assistance, or just a very slow at walking with someone carrying their hand luggage etc. 
I shared a car with a couple from Tunbridge Wells and although she was in a chatty mood she eventually stopped and nodded off. The partner hardly spoke.
I was really glad to be let off first so I walked into the house just before midday and was able to get the bed stripped after Ann had stayed and remade ready for me.
I did get the sheets washed and hung outside but the chances of them drying was low. I brought them in and they are upstairs drying off with windows ajar.
Now I'm tired. I've cooked for myself which was a shock after being looked after for the last three weeks,  but it did taste good even if I say so myself.
Thank goodness for freezers!!
So that's it, the end of the trip.
Was it worth it?
Oh yes, every second.
Would I do it again?
Yep, in a heart beat but I wouldn't bother with trips, I'd do each centre on foot. I know I wouldn't get out of the port city or town but I am certain I would see things the rest would have missed.
last night in The Grill

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

As a final gift from the crew

My cabin steward opened my door last night and as I went in he smiled that beautiful smile of his and said, "Happy Birthday Madam Marianne"
I could have cried when I saw the bed festooned with chocolates and the 3 tier 'cake'.
I received the box of chocolates and a card from Saga.
How lovely.
This morning the 'cake' sits in my side table with my three cards.
What a lovely thing to see when I woke this morning.

The final full day at sea

The Bay of Biscay has been kind and I slept well.
I did most of my packing last night and am taking very little washing home. Just the stuff for today and tomorrow morning and that's it.
Cases have to be outside the door tonight and then one more sleep, one more breakfast then home.
Am I sad?
Yes and no. Yes because I've enjoyed being away for three weeks and would happily stay away much longer.
No, because the air conditioning plays havoc with my sinuses.
If I won some money I would book a trip to Canada and USA for their Fall because the colours are just breathtaking. I would also do two trips back to back and join a growing band of winter travellers who avoid the UK during December to March.
The sunrise was lovely this morning but more impressive was the moon which hung over the sea like a jewel.
I wish I could have photographed it but it was shy and hid behind a cloud before I had the chance.
It's a clearing up day today around the ship, preparing for a major handover.
A large proportion of the crew have come to the end of their contracts and are heading home for two maybe three months before they are back on either this ship or the sister ship.
They're getting really excited as you can imagine but tell me it's tough getting the work visas to get back on board! Crazy. Seems our bureaucracy causes no ends of problems for them and Saga, trying to get their staff back on board.
The Christmas trees are out and all decks have some form of decorations embellishing them.
The Christmas tree on the main deck now has a complete "gingerbread" village surrounding it and the restaurants have their own trees.
The pool on the top deck is partially filled in anticipation of the Caribbean passengers and everywhere is getting that extra clean in preparation. 
I suspect a third of passengers are not getting the laundry is busy.

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Happy Birthday to me

We are at sea today and waking up I opened the three cards I'd been sent to take with me. It was so nice opening them, looking at the sunrise, smiling and enjoying a giggle to myself.
I'm 69 today 🥳
Never dreamt I'd make it that far!!
So, what's happening today?
The executive chef, Raj, is doing a demo at 10.30am which I'm keen to see and later at midday those fellow travellers who have been learning the ukulele will be doing a short concert with some other guests who have formed a choir. Should be good.
Then its definitely my last Hydrotherapy visit for the trip, the Library and then it'll be the evening. 
Sounds a bit mundane but I'll enjoy it.
At some point there's a piano recital and, oh bugger, it a formal night!
Tomorrow will be bitter sweet as it's the last full day sailing, packing and preparing to leave. But as I said to myself this morning, we have to finish one trip before we can start looking forward to the next.....
.....and that's  Greenland 😊 

Monday, 5 December 2022

An afternoon sightseeing the outskirts of Lisbon

😳 a note to self: do not do two sight seeing trips back to back. 
Seriously, I have been talked at all day by two women who have a great deal to say at express speed. So much so I have no idea anymore.
Basically we drove along the coast road to Cascais where we stopped for a quick loo stop, then drove round the point to join one of the numerous motorways and then back to the ship.
It was interesting and I'm glad I did it but no, not again, too much being talked at and now I long for that quiet which, incidentally, I have on deck 6, listening to a chamber quartet, writing this and enjoying sparkling water.
Easily pleased.
Next time, I will resort to walking myself about and seeing what I see and tasting what I manage to get my teeth around 😊 like one of those egg custard tarts I still haven't enjoyed yet.

Last Leg; Lisbon

It was a far less choppy night and although I slept poorly (it was the disembarking info which set it off) the night was less eventful than expected.
We arrived in Lisbon harbour at around 8:30am and the first tours were out the door by 8:45am.
I was on the second wave which left thirty minutes later and we did a lightening trip round the important landmarks in the city.
Sadly, for me, the tour guide launched into talking and failed to draw breath for two hours. Her register was just at that pitch which asails the ears and I was delighted when we got to the end.
There were some spectacular monuments and buildings but it was just a panoramic tour so we got out of the bus once for the all important tower.
I have no idea how many coaches were there at the time but there were 3 from our ship alone. This is their famous tower which defended the spices worth so much money to the traders.
We came back and had to go through a full customs check, first one in fact.
I go out again shortly; I'll be going through it once more. 
The delights of Brexit indeed.
Ok, quick lunch and then back out again.....