12th March

Last night at duskMarch 12th 7am

Forgot to say the clocks went back 2 hours from Qld time when we arrived in Fremantle.

Just realised we can see the top of our cruise ship from our balcony – see the flags. Tried the zoom on our new camerathat’s the chimneys!!!!!

Time to board – having picked up Ollie’s new DJ – taxi to the port.

A group of “Happy Chappies” whisked away our luggage. Then came the “Terminal” wait – it seemed a bit Terminal and took forever.

On board – the photos on the internet do not do the cabin justice – amazing space with loads of storage area.

After a search of the ship Ollie managed to find our 3 lost suitcases in “Security” – seems a multi tool, camera pole and golf clubs are a security issue!!! Still all sorted

Leaving Fremantle at sunset.

March 13th

All about finding our way around the ship and meeting other lost souls. Signed up to try some watercolour painting. Met our group for dinner. Ross and Aleana from New Zealand, Mignon from Bury in SA and Margaret from Gin Gin (almost a neighbour we thought). Clocks change by one hour.

Sat by the outdoor pool. It’s only small – as a matter of fact it’s about the size of the pool in “The Shape of Water”. Come to think of it the drain sounds like the monster. Déjà Vu moment – did the writer sit on this self same boat and hear the pool to get the idea ?!!!

Exercise = 2 x round the boat plus always walk up & down stairs – we’re on the 4th floor and the restaurants are on 6th & 7th (wonder how long this will last?)

March 14th

Don’t think we’ll be using the outdoor pool – kinda chilly and not sure what might be in the deep!!

Went for a pedicure and a manicure whilst Ollie went off to lecture on shore excursions and a writing course.

Formal evening – wow just about everyone has scrubbed up well. The Captain’s reception was a bit of fun and the Abba show was full of the old favourites.

Had a kinda weird chat with Margaret – asked her if she went to Tairo for the wonderful butchers – she queried where was Tairo ???? Surely she knew – oh poops I didn’t know that there was a Gin Gin in Western Australia!!!!!! As well as down the road from us in Qld.

Sea photos – tried to get the birds!!! Can’t believe there are birds miles from anywhere.

3 x round the deck plus the stairs.

Clocks went back one hour

March 15th

Another day at sea. More painting and a demonstration on fruit & veg carving. Some people are just soooooo talented.

Do you remember “Days of our Lives” – I missed that part of my education !!! Well they did a show about it. The cruise shows are so full of energy and different every night – how do they keep it up.

Again an hours clock change

Thought I’d do a kinda snapshot of our traveling companions

Starting with Margaret. What a lovely lady. Apparently she was born 12 years before me and she lived in Newport in S Wales. She went to art college and studied dress making and tailoring & design ( now I see why we are drawn to each other quite apart from being put on the same dinner table – all my favourite things as well).

She married in 1961 and lived in N London – it may not sound so exciting now but she travelled to Turkey in 1964 – quite an adventure in those days. Children arrived in 1965 and 1967 followed by a move to Liverpool and then Essex. Her youngest emigrated to Australia. Divorce happened in 1979. Then after working as an instructor for handicapped children and spending most summer holidays visiting Oz she emigrated. That was 7 years ago – leaving behind an upset twin sister ( I keep bumping into twins on this trip! Is it the air?)

She is so excited to be coming back to the UK to see her grandchildren in Ely Cambridgeshire. We are having a real giggle.

4 x round the deck plus stairs

March 16th

Wow what a different day

I have got on with my heirloom bed cover in crochet – I’m on the 2nd of 11 x 240 cm strips (add photo)

Today let’s talk about Mignone – what a life. I loved listening to her tell me. She kept apologising ’cause it was so complicated.

Mignone was born 10 years before me. She was the 5th of 7 children born to May. The first 4 had 1 father. The last 2 another and Mignon had no Fathers name on her Birth certificate – her given name was also different.

Her mother took all 7 children hop picking in Kent from Petticoat Lane in London to earn money. After a fire in the hop pickers huts “Mignon” was taken into care with her younger siblings.

She spent from 4 to 10 in Sevenoaks Kent with Mrs Scott. Then she returned to May’s care and worked either as a waitress or ice cream sales girl – her mother made out she was older. This helped Mother buy items on “tick” – which then created debt.

Thank goodness for Mrs Scott – thereafter known as Mother. She arranged for Mignone to go to France to Oleon and Nancy for 3 1/2 years. Then back to UK to work in Foyles book shop, as an usherette in the cinema and at Barnhams ( the circus people’s) Carnival. She also helped create the wigs for Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra. She worked for British Rail at another time.

Having become a £10 Pom and moved to Broome in WA she found love. She was as she said ” a late starter” and got married for the first time to Trevor aged 26.

Things did not work out and on meeting Patrick she had Sean ( who unfortunately died of a heroin overdose aged 26 in the UK) in 1974, then Daniel in 1975 & Sonya in 1977. Again life wasn’t smooth sailing and she parted company ( but remained friends) with Patrick.

This amazing lady has conquered all that life has thrown at her – including 2 new hips, 2 new knees, 2 corneas and the removal of 1/3rd of her lung for cancer in Nov 2016.

She is returning to the UK – with a large donation from Sonya & Daniel – to walk around as much of England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland as she can in the next 6 to 18 months. What an adventure in the next chapter of her life

5 x round deck plus stairs – if I keep this up I should be doing 39 circuits – (roughly 220m per circuit – 8.5K!!!!!)

Clocks went back one hour again.

March 17th

In case anyone has intolerances and shies away from a cruise because of diet problems – don’t. They cater for everyone and nothing is too much trouble. I was delighted to find they make their own bread – delicious – and none of it contains soy. Whooped!,,

Another beautiful day.

St Patrick’s Day. Busy day on the boat with face painting, dancing, singing and markets. Also green beer and coffee!!!!!

Unfortunately Ollie has picked up a cold – if he dares share it there will be trouble.

I did some more watercolour – better show you.

We took an early bed today. Only managed 4 times round the deck with the stairs today – they blocked the deck off for scrubbing!!!! Honest

I still did my “Up, Up, Up” and my “Down, Down, Down”.

The clocks went back again

18th March

Ollie is still full of cold

I did my 7 laps without stopping around the boat and have done my Up, Up, Up & Down, Down, Down of the stairs. Still must be eating too much though! The food is absolutely delicious – damn it!

Very humid today with loads of rain at 5am

Today was Astor – alia Day on the ship. Fun & games on deck again. Australian night with Peter Allan at the show tonight.biscuit chewed into shape of Oz. Silly games

I have now completed 2 strips of my bedspread – only 9 more to go

Haven’t been able to post my blog because the satellite seems to have gone AWAL.

19th March

Tried to reduce the breakfast – lovely smoked fish, ham & cheese with fruit.

Walked the decks early cause the sun is out & it is getting warm. Did 8 laps – that’s 1.76K without stopping

I can’t believe how fast the day goes – mainly chatting to people.

Time to introduce Peter Donovan – an ex copper who spent a lot of time in witness protection and safe houses. He’s a true Ozzie. He was born & raised in Como Perth. He has a son & daughter from his first marriage to another police officer. He has 2 grandchildren. 20 years ago he was pensioned out of the force having been injured at work – someone twisted his arm – but he continued to resist too many times – rotator cuff injury. And I thought it was going to be more exciting – like a shooting or stabbing!!!!!!

Since enforced retirement he’s thrown himself into Bed & Breakfast ( not dissimilar to his job in witness protection really – just a different type of clientele.) In fact it was his clientele who’d been on the Astor that persuaded him to come aboard.

Peter is a larger than life character who adores his Sally.

Ollie is beginning to feel better. Hopefully I will miss the bug. Art was fun but I almost made another mud puddle.

The 6 of us on our dining table played Sequence before dinner – we now have 4 new converts to the game. They had never heard of it but very quickly picked it up. The “uncompetitive” Mignon being uncharacteristically competitive!

Feeling really tired tonight. Reckon it is because if we were still in Queensland 9 pm would be 2am.

20th March

I’m going to try to “launch” my blog today – let’s hope the satellite will play ball.

But let me tell you about Peter’s Sally. What a lovely lady and very clever with the figures. She is Ozzie but was born in the UK. She trained as a maths teacher but progressed into Real Estate and then running her own capital lending or finance company.

She separated from her first husband after having an affair with Peter. She felt guilty for her first hubby till she found much later that he had been cheating on her for years ! B……..R. Her son is a social worker who has a lovely “partner” who drives buses. When her Sister in law found that Sally’s son like her son was in a gay relationship she said – well we won’t get any of those “B” daughters in law

(She doesn’t know what she is missing my daughters in law are great they keep our sons in order wonderfully). I digress.

Now the main reason Sally & Peter are going to the UK – which to be honest Peter didn’t seem to know (not surprising when you read the explanation).

They went on a cruise last year, after Sally’s Mum died, with friends. It was from Rome to the Baltic to Oslo & Bergen – not that enjoyable as the husband of the friend complained all cruise. It was decided that they go again on a longer cruise with these friends (!!??) – then fortunately or unfortunately the friends couldn’t make it.

Still it’s great ’cause they are going to Sally’s Nieces wedding ( niece has 2 sisters – one in Oz & the other in UK) Unfortunately both parents are dead so Aunt Sally will be there to help with the wedding in July. Not a bit of it – niece rings a week before they leave – she’s pregnant and coming to Oz on 20th March – today – no wedding.

No wonder Peter was scratching his head. They have fortunately not spent a fortune on accommodation as they are doing “House Swaps” (might try this sometime). http://www.lovehousematch.com (I think). They have 2 or 3 places on Isle of Wight, a place in Kensington and somewhere in France. Mind you they have B&B accom making it a bit easier to swap.

I guess Sally will buy a house on Isle of Wight this time – keep watching this space – see if my fortune telling is correct.

Just done my 9 laps – we’ll to be precise – I walked 100m then up 2 flights stairs. Stopped for breakfast. 3 more flights stairs, 9 x around deck, 5 flights down, 100m to cabin (treated Edison, our cabin steward who has a hair follicle boil on his neck, with Aloe) followed by 100 metres to back of ship, up 3 flights to a well earned coffee – all without stopping. Sun is shining and soon it will time for a swim – in the “Shape of Water ” pool not the sea.

Tomorrow we land in Mauritius and then next day Reunion Island. Next posting in a few days. Enjoy

20th March

Forgot to say – watched a great sugar art demonstration (pics)

Also realised we’d booked the wrong tour for tomorrow and we hadn’t got any foreign exchange

21st March

Docked in Mauritius. First thing Ollie managed to change tour and get some American $’s. Phew.

Thought from the talks and info that Mauritius was just an Island with not a lot on it – what a load of rubbish – it has everything and everyone was so friendly & helpful.

It was Mignone’s birthday today so we gave her my bird painting as a card.

Had a lovely day around town

Watched boats leaving and nearly got drowned with downpour. Cyclone last week dropped loads of water but no damage.

5 thoughts on “12th March

  1. Anneke

    Really enjoy reading your blog. 🙂 Great to read that you have a great time. Hope Ollie got rid of his cold. You are doing well with your exercise. I don’t like going up and down stairs as my knees don’t like it at all. Enjoy Mauritius and Reunion Island. I look forward to the next chapter of your journey. 🙂

  2. Zena

    Lovely to read your blog. You have some really interesting travelling companions, don’t you. Sounds like you are having a most enjoyable time with all the activities on board. I remember playing that board game with both of you, we leave for Fiji today. Hope Ollie is better by now. Take care. Much love. Zena xxx

  3. Ro Koenig

    Very entertaining blog Liz. Hope Ollie has rid himself of the cold. Sounds like a wonderful trip so far. Didn’t manage to catch up with you before we all left home. Thinking of you today as we spend tonight at Border Village on the Nullabor plain with hole six on the Nullabor Links behind us. We are expecting our first Grandchild in 3 weeks as we make our way to our daughter in Mandurah. Rented our house out for a year (at least), stay in WA for a few months then begin travels in the U.S., similar to our European adventure!
    Keep in good health and have a fabulous time with your family, they will be so excited awaiting your arrival.
    Love Ro and Colin xx


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