Sunday, May 30, 2010

I am in Disarray!!

Yesterday Carl came home from University and he doesn't need to return until October, the end of the first year has arrived. This week I have been trying so hard to declutter the house, I have been clearing out cupboards and getting rid of stuff. So when he came in last night it was soul destroying to see the whole place covered in boxes and bags and the general 'stuff' he has accumulated over the past year.

We have also decided that we are going to have some work carried out in the bedrooms to change the sizes a bit which will mean even more hassle while the work is carried out. I hate living in a mess and I really think by the end of this I will be going mad. I have told Carl and Beth that as its for their benefit I will be expecting some work out of them, particularly Carl. Once the rooms have been altered they will need redecorating and his room will need new flooring and some new furniture. I plan to try and sell his bed on Ebay, they are still selling it in Ikea, so fingers crossed. I just feel a bit miffed that this has happened at a time where things could be looking a whole lot better!!

Today is my friend Madeline's 51st Birthday, so we popped over to see her and give her her presents. She looks fabulous and I am so lucky to count her as one of my close friends. I have known the old girl for ages and ages, I hope that we end up together in the same old peoples home!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A New Life Guard!

Beth is following in her brothers footsteps. She started last year to train as a lifeguard and on Tuesday evening she passed her Bronze Medallion and Life Support 1 award. We are so pleased for her. She had left primary school as a very strong swimmer and one of the few in her class who failed to gain the Silver waterman ship award. This was due to her failure to dive down and pick a brick off of the bottom of the pool. This past year she has worked hard and over come that problem.
So now with the Bronze Medallion firmly in her hand, she will be able to work a few hours down at the school pool. Carl used to do this and still occasionally helps out. Beth is so excited that she will be able to do the same!! I think she already has plans for any money she earns.
She is continuing with her training and will practice for her award of merit.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

On the way home - last days..

Today has been unbelievably hot, I sat in the garden for an hour but it was all too much!! I decided to come in and try and sort out a list of jobs that I wanted to tackle. Its mainly clearing out things and putting 'stuff' on eBay. It was too hot to do any of that in the afternoon so I settled for a laze on the sofa in front of the fan reading my book.
I have this evening cleared out two kitchen cupboards and thrown out a load of rubbish, I am going to clear out a cupboard a day until I have made space.
Carl is due to finish his first year at University next Friday I can't believe how quickly that has flown by. He has done well and worked hard. He is looking forward to his summer holiday. He has also decided that he is going to return home to live as living in halls is so expensive, So we have been and looked at trying to find a way of making his bedroom a bit bigger. (he is in the smallest room) We think by moving a wall around 18 inches will give him flexibility to change the bed position and its won't make too much difference to Beth's room. I need to find a man that can now!!

The top photo was taken of us all at the Fiesta dinner evening, we all had balloons and flowers and a very nice meal. I really like the photo, I think they must have airbrushed it to make me look so nice!!!
On the last few days I took a few shots around the ship. There were hundreds of sun beds, all lined up with military precision.

Early one morning I got up and took a few shots of the sun and lido deck. The brown structure in the centre of the photo housed a full sized tennis court!

Tomorrow will be an early start, dad has an appointment at Harefield for angioplasty. He has to be there at 7.45am. He has to phone at 6 to see if there is a bed available. So fingers crossed for it to go ahead and for it to go well.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


When you take a trip on a ship, most of the time you are surrounded by water. Lots and lots of water, so that leads to lots of photos of water. The other fact is that arrival at a new port is usually in the early morning when the sun is rising and departure is in the early evening when the sun is setting. So I have lots of photos of sunrises and sunsets!
The photo above was taken as we were coming into 'dock' in Cannes. I love the look of the mist rolling off of the hills.

All the above photos are of sunsets as we left various port. I particularly like the last photo it seems to sum up the lazy life aboard a cruise ship.
I am looking forward to this weekend, we have friends coming over for dinner on Saturday and I am going to attempt to decided which photos I want to print for scrapping, Happy Days!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


The first port of call on holiday was Gibraltar, that land of apes and English money!! We arrived on a beautiful sunny morning. Dad and I went ashore with a mission to find a charger for mums scooter. That task caused me a lot of problems.
Mums scooter did not appear to be charging, it was clear that we could not have managed without a charger or scooter so we had been told that there was a shop in the main street that had electrical items and sold disability scooters, we had been told it was near to BHS. So I set off looking for it after installing dad in a cafe in the main square.
The weather was getting hotter by the minute, I was on a time limit, and I did the whole length of the main street without any luck. I went back to dad and tried the tourist info centre who gave me a leaflet that confirmed it was at the other end of Main street , so off I went again, this time I got to where it was supposed to be only to find a gas show room. The lady in there was very helpful and she called the place I was looking for, the man said he no longer had a shop Grrrrrr.
It later turned out that the charger was fine and working there was a glitch with the display on the scooter!

This is a view from the ship of a very built up Gibraltar, the famous rock is there in all its glory. They seem to be building loads of flats. Just to the left there is a runway, so all forms of transport are catered for!

This is one of the few shots of the Oceana that I have showing the 'pointy' end!! All of the ports had different arrival halls, this one was little more than a large shed!

This shot was taken just after we arrived, to me it feels like a scene from the film Pearl harbour!!
It was beautiful in an industrial sort of way!

Finally as well left Gibraltar we were treated to a fantastic sunset, one of many that we saw at sea on this trip. I love the colours and the way that little cloud is illuminated against the sky.
Good by Gibraltar.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Back to Work :0(

Today I started back to work. It seems like I have never been away. Its amazing how quickly a holiday starts to fade into the past! While on board the cost of using the Internet was a huge 50p a minute, so I prepared all my blog entries before going online and then I copied and paste them into blogger, I was usually able to post for a pound!!
Those of you that know me won't be surprised to learn that I took a fair few photos!! I am now sorting them out and will post a few each day now I have the time to explain them without using the whole of my bank balance to do so!!
The picture above was taken looking along the hand rail on deck 7, the promenade deck. This deck ran all around the ship and quite often you would see people walking around and around and around the deck, for their daily exercise. I did walk around it a fair few times, but quite often the wind was so strong and chilly it took my breath away!! (it got warmer once we got into the Med!)

This is a picture of the corridor outside my cabin. Its scary how the carpet disappears into infinity!!! One night I paced out how far it was from my cabin to the forward lifts which is where we had to go to get the lifts for the restaurant. It was 272 of my steps! What was amazing was that there was very little noise pollution from neighbouring cabins. The two old girls next door to me did have a problem getting their card key to work, but as they were going to bed generally at 10pm, it never caused too much of a problem!!

This is a picture of my cabin, although this was taken on the last morning and the steward had been in and changed the double bed into two singles. There was a bunk bed above the left hand bed. In the mirror you can see the cupboard that held the TV , the safe and the fridge. The door next to the cupboard is to the en suite loo and shower room. I found the cabin to be quite spacious, there was also a dressing table and a huge wardrobe. Every morning I switched on the TV to see what the weather was like on the on board web cam!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Diary Entry - Was unable to post on board, so catching up!!

12:25 13/05/2010

Today we are on the final leg of our journey, we left Cadiz at 5pm yesterday and are now heading for Southampton. Already the water is choppier and the wind stronger than we had grown used to in the Med.
We arrived in Cadiz early Wednesday morning, its a much smaller port than the others that we had been to. The city was originally built by African Moors so there were lots of domed temples with beautiful bright colours and lots of pale coloured walls, most places were white and pale pink,very pretty!

Dad and I decided to get off and take an open topped bus ride, the bus left from just outside the port gates, but there was quite a walk to the gates. It was a bit of a worry because the ground was very uneven and I was worried that dad would trip. there wasn't anywhere to stop and rest so the more tired he got the more likely he was to trip. Any how we got to the bus, had a 5 minute breather on the wall waiting for it to arrive. Once on board we went upstairs, the driver was great and waited for us to get settled before starting off. We had been on board for about 10 minutes when we had a light shower and it was a light shower a few spots. Dad said he wanted to go down, so at the next stop we went down and the only available seat was behind a solid wall so we could see very little, while transferring I had managed to pull one of the earpieces off of my headphones so couldn't hear where we were!! I went back upstairs and left dad downstairs in the front seat so he could see. I had only been back up there for 5 minutes when we came to the end of the trip!!! It had been very labour intensive and I don't feel I learned anything.Today dad feels exhausted so I think it was the walking he did yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon there was a chocoholics afternoon tea, we didn't really know what to expect, so I took mum down where we were greeted with an afternoon tea consisting entirely of chocolate based nibbles.There was a spectacular 6 tier chocolate fountain and trays and trays and trays of chocolate goodies. I am afraid that Mum rather over did the chocolate and felt sick for the rest of the day. She wasn't even able to eat dinner as a result!!!

Last night we had an after dinner speaker, Tony Gubba who used to present Grandstand and is now the voice of dancing on ice. He was quite amusing and made a change from the singing and dancing we have had on previous nights.

Tonight we have another formal night, the final formal night. (thank goodness) It does seem like a right faff around and its such a hang over from a previous era. Its funny to watch peoples antics so many people think that they are more than they are!! We have over the past two weeks met loads of very nice people including our dinner table partners. There are an awful load of snobs on board as well. They initially seem like 'ordinary' people and then they say something that shows their true colours. This is usually about the ethnic origins of the staff, their very out spoken opinions on the rights of Gay people and how cruising has gone downhill since the great unwashed can now afford to take part. That I find quite sad. It could be a generation thing as lots of people on here are elderly. They seem to have lost their tolerance (if they had any in the first place) There are only 29 children on board out of the 1900 guests, but some people are moaning because the children are in the swimming pools. How dare they use the swimming pools!! There are 4 pools on board, I am sure with such a small number there must be some child free pools! Cruising is great for people watching you get to see some great sights!!!

So last day tomorrow......

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sailing On

16:04 10/05/2010
This morning we arrived in Barcelona!! (I want to sing Barcelona, like they used to in the 1992 Olympic games!!)I woke up early so I showered and went out to watch the ship docking. When I got up on to the 14th deck it was stunning, early morning mist and the sun starting to rise over Barcelona. There were a few of us up there including Dad who had got up before me!

The sky was blue and it felt like it would be a fantastic day. After breakfast I decided to take a trip into the city, I went in by shuttle bus, when we got the the 'World Trade Centre' I spotted a tourist open top bus tour. So I hopped off of one bus and onto another. I found a seat on the top deck plugged in the head set, tuned it to English and away we went! The talk was a litle confused to start with, but once I had worked out where I was I was able to plan my day. One of the things that Barcelona is famous for is the architecture of Gaudi. I was keen to take a look around the Sagrada Familia. It was stunning completely original and his style still is like Marmite, love or hate it!! I also enjoyed seeing the other buildings that he designed including a block of flats with really unusual balconies and some stunning ceramic mosaics. It was well worth the trip into the city.

Because the weather had been so nice there were a lot of very red people around last night!! We went to see a show in the Starlights theatre and it was positively boiling in there.

15:36 11/05/2010
Today as we are at sea its been a whole lot cooler. Us Brits are made of strong stuff and yet again there are people on the sun deck wrapped up in towels and coats determined to soak up the rays despite the wind chill factor!!

This morning I went to a 'behind the scenes' presentation by the staff, I saw how the bag xray machine works, how they make the beautiful food displays, there was a list of all the food that they use during the two weeks which included 1900kgs of bacon, 12 tons of potatoes, 1000kgs of baked beans, 500kgms of smoked salmon, 5 tons of vegetables, each day people on board use 500 toilet rolls and they wash 2000 towels!! Its hard to comprehend the numbers involved. They also have a fully equipt hospital which includes an intensive care bed, 4 other beds and two treatment rooms. They have a staff of 6, an emergency Consultant, two Doctors and three nurses. It looks like they have everything covered.

Tomorrow we arrive in Cadiz, our last stop before heading home to Southampton. Tonight is another 'formal' night, so I have to go and get dressed up, although I feel knackered and can't really be bothered!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Moving on....Hello Spain!!

16:27 08/05/2010

Today we arrived in Livorno, a very busy port in Italy. Again we arrived at breakfast time we were greeted by a rather dull day in which to explore the beautiful Tuscany region of Italy.

Last night was a 'fiesta' night so the restaurant was festooned with balloons and are were all given flowers to wear around our necks. After dinner there was a dance production. We also learned that we (mum and I) had managed to drink one of the bars dry of Port!! (not bad news in my book!!!)

We decided today to change our routine and dine in a restaurant called 'Cafe Jardin' by Marco Pierre White. We arrived for breakfast and were shown to our seats. They had a very flashy menu but when you boiled it done it was a continental breakfast with some hot items, such as 'smoked bacon,warmed rustic baguette' (bacon buttie!!) 'Pan cooked eggs and smoked salmon' (smoked salmon omellette!) Anyway it was very nice.

We went down to take a trip into town only to find that mum had left her pass back in the room, so dad went on the scooter to get that, but it wasn't where mum said it was, so we had to get a neww one issued, by which time it had started to rain!! We decided to put the visit back and have a game of cards.

We eventually got away around 11am. There were several shuttle buses into town, one was converted for disabled people so mum was able to get her scooter on it. It is on attempting to board the coach that we realise just how selfish and ignorant some people are. It was obvious that there were several people who needed a hand but still people just barged on ahead getting in the way and trying to snatch the few seats that there were. In the end I had to say something, it had a great result 8 people got off the bus and got onto one that they could easily access and we couldn't. I can't fault P and O they provide someone to help at every port, they get people on and off of the ship, they are very efficient.

In town we stopped for a coffee, I set dad up with a day old English paper and mum and I hit the shops! We found a couple of interesting jewelery shops, both mum and I bought a few bits for ourselves and for the folks back home!!

This afternoon the sun came out and we went up to the sun deck to catch a few rays. Dad even managed to grab a few ZZZ's on a sun bed!!

Tomorrow we will be at sea all day, heading for the South of France, Bon Voyage!!!

16:25 09/05/2010

Sunday morning means that we have arrived in Cannes, the itinery said it should be Monte Carlo, but the harbour was too busy so we were redireted to Cannes. So after breakfast I went and collected my ticket to board the tender bound for shore. The tenders are also the life boats so around half of them stayed on the ship and the other half acted as ferries to get us all ashore.

It is my first visit to Cannes, its a very swish resort on the south coast, once I landed I went to the main street and took an hour long trip on the 'little white train'. It was a great way to learn about the history of the place and see the places where the stars hang out. The Cannes film festival is not too far off and there were loads of crews setting up lighting and generally sprucing the place up. After the train trip I took a stroll around the Sunday market which was a mixture of very expensive antiques and a few cheaper arty stalls. There were some beautiful paintings for sale, originals being sold by the artists. Some people have no idea and I cringed when one English woman asked the artist if she had a particular 'original' painting in a different colour? the lady explained that it was an 'original' and the only one. Undaunted the woman pressed on and said she understood it was an 'original' but wasn't there others the same in a different colour!!!! I managed to find some beautiful handmade lavender bags and a zip up bag for spare memory cards in a beautiful fabric.

When I got back I had a bite to eat and went and sat on the sun deck to read my book. We were the only liner anchored in the harbour so we seemed to attract a large number of helicopters who flew over the ship so low that you could see the pilot and passenger. I did wonder if they were Paps who were looking for me, but Mum and dad did't think so!!!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Welcome to Italy!!

Good Morning and Welcome to Italy!!

This morning we arrived in Civitavecchia, a massive port on the western coast of Italy. This was the one place I really wanted to visit as it is the port that serves Rome. We were up early as Dad and I had booked a trip into Rome by coach.

We got on the coach at 9.15am, it left from just outside the ship.Twenty minutes later we made a 'loo' stop at a service station !! I was amazed as we could virtually still see the ship!! (we had travelled up into the hills and could look down on the harbour!) About an hour later we arrived in Rome, on the 'pagan' side of the Tiber river. We were able to take photos without leaving the comfort of the coach. The tour guide gave us a load of interesting information. We stopped on a hill above The Coliseum and I was able to get some great shots. Rome also contains the smallest country in the world, The Vatican, so dad and I visited two countries this morning.

As we were leaving this morning another liner was entering the port and to say it is massive is an understatement. Our ship is huge but this one is possibly twice the size or more that ours. Its called the Splendida. It looks like a ten story block of flats stuck on top of a boat. I am sure it must be safe but I am at a loss as to how it manages to float, its so cumbersome!

I am sad that I have missed the election excitement at home. I like to watch the results as they come in. I did stay up until the first few came in last night but because we are an hour ahead of England I was quite tired by the time the results started to come in. I would like to thank my son for texting me the results of Welwyn Hatfield at 4.14AM !!!!!! Woke me up!!! I wanted to know the result but would have liked them even more at 8am!!!

Tomorrow we head north and arrive at Livorno, which is the port for Pisa and Florence. Not sure if we will be taking any of the trips!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Welcome to day 6. Today we are sailing to Italy, we have a day at sea and so far the weather has been disappointing, wet, raining, rough and really cold!! (sounds like home!)

Yesterday we arrived in Cartegena in Spain, it was a glorious day sunny and warm. We decided to make the most of the sun and sit up on deck and take the rays. We managed to charge up mums scooter with the help of a borrowed charger, so thats a relief!!

It was relaxed day by the afternoon I had had enough of the sun and decided to watch the afternoon 'blockbuster' which was Twilight 2, I have tried to read the books (which everyone seems to rave about) on several occasions, but I have never been able to get into them. I can say hand on heart that this film was awful. All the way through I kept thinking, I'll get up and leave, never quite got around to leaving!!The ending was pure pants as well. I had a good laugh with another lady who it seems was thinking like me throughout the whole process!!!

We were due to leave at 5pm, no big patriotic send off this time. I went to deck 7 and watched people returning and boarding the ship. At five past five there were still 10 people missing !! I would have left them, but they waited and by five twenty they had all crawled back. I watched the beautiful scenery as we slowly left Spain.

Because I had been in the cinema all afternoon I had to survive without lunch, when I got back to the cabin I found that mum and dad had ordered themselves room service, plates of sandwiches, crisps, cakes and tea. I spent the rest of the day telling them how mean they were not to get me anything, I did a really good job of teasing them about it. This morning I had to admit that I had been in a lft chatting to a man who had told me that he had just had a pile of barbeque spare ribs and chinese food. So I had popped into the buffet restaurant before the pictures. The ribs were gorgeous!!!

This morning we went up onto deck 14 to watch a master ice sculpter in action. The guy was brilliant, but we couldn't last the course, it was freezing on the open deck and there were splashes of rain. Because the sea was quite rough it had an effect on the water in the swimming pools, so the people sitting on the edge got soaked when we were through a particularly choppy bit!! We lasted for about three quarters of an hour outside and then gave in and went inside for a cuppa, we were frozen!

I have improved my knowledge on this trip, we went to a quiz where I found out that Frogs blink when they swallow,flies buzz in the key of F and disturbingly if Squid are depressed they comit suicide by consuming their own tentacles!! (who on earth did the research on that one???)

Check back for more thrilling tales from the Med!!!
Tomorrow Dad and I are taking a bus tour of Rome. We leave at 9.30am and should be back for around 2pm. (well you wouldn't want to miss lunch would you???) I hope the weather picks up, I am hoping to get some photos.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Welcome to day 4,
Today we arrived in Gibraltar an outpost of Great Britain. Its a strange place people speak a mixture of English and Spanish, very friendly. Dad and I went into the town by a shuttle 'van' it wasn't too far. I was a woman with a mission. Wew had charged mums scooter two nights running and it was not actually charging, so we had been told that there was a place in the town that had wheel chairs and scooters so we thought that they might be able to help. The only problem was that no one could agree where it was. So I walked the whole length of the high street 4 times. Tonight my foot is playing up and we still don't have the charger repaired!! There are loads of people with scooters on board so we have started to ask around and have managed to borrow one for tomorrow so hopefully that will help!!

This morning before the trip into town we had breakfast, the special of the day was Gammon and Eggs, so I thought I would give that a go. I was presented with a huge plate of gammon and eggs and really didn't need anything else. Once we came back from the town we decided to sit up on deck 14, we have found a bit of a suntrap, near a bar and with a fantastic view of the coast. We dined on hamburger and chips, it was nice to have plain food !! (Its only day four and you'd be surprised at how much you miss tomato sandwiches!!)

We were due to leave Gibraltar at around 5pm, but the wind had changed direction and we were forced to have a couple of tugs tow us into the correct position. (You would have thought that an Important man like the Captain could have sorted that out for himself!!!)

Before leaving the port we were invited up to the Sundeck for a 'sailaway' party. We were all issued with Union Jack Flags and the entertainment crew whipped up the crowd with an assortment of patriotic songs...Land of Hope and Glory, Roll out the barrel, We'll keep a welcome in the hill side and Delilah (???) The whole thing was finished off as we sailed away with a rousing rendition of God Save The Queen!!! It was beyond bizarre. I have no idea what 'non British' people must have thought!!! I expect that the residents of Gibraltar were glad to see the back of us!!!

Tonight I have sat out on the promenade deck on one of those old fashioned wooden loungers and watched the sun go down over the hills of Gibraltar, it was spectactular!!!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Hello from the Med!!

Day one we arrived in Southampton, uneventful journey, easy traffic. At the departure point there were loads of helpful people, particularly helpful for those with limited mobility. so a wheel chair arrived for dad and we put together the scooter for mum. Had a little problem in that mumn couldn't find the tag for the car, but she eventually did. The nice man took the car (hope he was a nice man and not a passing car thief!!)

We were taken into the lounge and whisked through the proceedures. We werer shown aboard and taken to the Plaza restaurant for a help yourself buffet lunch. It was really busy as people didn't know where to go and the cabins were not ready.

Once the cabins were available we made our way down and found that 'most' of our suitcases had arrived. I unpacked mine (if the second one hadn't have arrived I would of been surviving on a collectioon of tee shirts and knickers and nothing else. ) I helped mum and dad unpack their stuff and put it all away. My cabin is an inside ine and is huge. a double and a single bed. I have moved a few bits around and its positively spacious. Mum and dad have a balcony but the lay out of the beds makes it impossible to get the scooter in the room, so I am storing that overnight for them.

The first night I was so exhausted I slept well, I think I had overdosed on food. The food is non stop. The first evening we went for our meal in the Adriatic restaurant it was fantastic, but there were so many courses.
After dinner we had a drink and tried to find our way around, we decided on an early night as we were all exhausted.

Day two still sailing away, very comfortable night. we had a buffet breakfast, decided to look at some of the things going on. We found corsage making and acupuncture, dad found a whist school and mum and I went to a make up demonstration. We lunched in the Adriatic and were faced with another 4 course meal only about 4 hours before the evening meal!!

Last night was formal night so we got togged up in all our finery to go to the Captains champagne reception, folowed by another flash dinner (Oxford gameTerrine, followed by soup, followed by Marco Pierre Whites take on rack of lamb, which really was fantastic, ended with strawberries, cream, almonds and warm chocolate biscuit......Stuffed)Just when we thought it was over they came and told us Port was on special offer, just £1.20 a glass, It would have been rude not to!!!

So what are my feelings about the whole experience??? Its all about food, how to last from one four course meal to another. It feels luxurious and now we have moved down the side of Spain the weather is glorious. We have sat on the balcony and we have had room service and I definately have a rosy glow to my skin!!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

We are OFF!!!!

All aboard the Oceana!! There are Webcams onboard, so if you want to see where we are check it out HERE!!
I can hardly believe it but the day has finally arrived and we will shortly be setting off for Southampton. I have my bags packed and because you don't have to restrict yourself to one bag, I have got a bit wild and I have two suit cases and two carry on bags. I hope to be able to pop onto my blog as we go along.
The weather this morning is looking a bit dodgy, I still can't get over the feeling that I am going to be getting onto a ferry !! I need to set my sights a bit higher!!
I have been up since six, which is a very unusual occurrence for me. I wanted to get the washing sorted before I left, it'll be down to Tom next week to make sure the uniforms are done, I just wanted to make sure that they were done this week!!!
So see you all soon, I'll keep in touch.