Saturday, June 20, 2009

Extract From The Ship's Log 1

Tuesday 2 June 2009
Somewhere in the Bay of Biscay

I am sat on what is known as the Promenade Deck - a wide track that runs the entire perimeter of the ship and which, my friend Harry tells me, is a third of a mile in circumference. Harry knows because he has walked it many times this morning and he is not alone. As I sit here, a whole procession of the frail and elderly walk, limp, stumble and occasionally wheel their way by, making me feel outlandishly lazy and outrageously young. P&O must be glad to have us on board as I strongly suspect that the four of us have brought the cruise APA (average passenger age) down to about 82. We don’t mind the pronounced skew on the overall age profile : Harry can get his choice of machines in the gym at any time without competition, I find the wifi spots are deserted, and if other people are in the queue for the best seats in the theatre in front of us, we just kick their walking sticks from under them.

Looking out from my deck-side seat there is nothing but an almost endless vista of blue waves. But just as I write this there is an announcement over the ships’ loudspeakers that a passing pod of whales can be seen from the starboard bow. I catch a quick glimpse of a spurt of water shooting into the sky and then the deck is over-run with passengers hobbling out from the various coffee rooms and bridge classes. The combined weight of this mass of passengers puts the ships’ stabilisers under considerable pressure. The whales pass and the perambulators resume their perambulations, the bridge players return to their trumping and I nervously check my watch to see if it time for my first drink of the day.


My watch says 11.15 and I know we put the clocks forward last night so I persuade myself that it is legitimate drinking time and settle down in a Piano Bar with a Grolsch. I am lucky to get this as the young waitress initially misunderstands my request and thinks I have ordered a “lunch”. It is only when she returns with a menu amd place setting from the adjacent dining room that the mistake is noticed and - as with all problems on P&O ships - quickly rectified. The pianist - a large gent with vaguely Greek looks - is doing a passable impression of Bill Evans but with extra flowery bits added. Perhaps he has sinus problems because every so often he presses the bridge of his nose with one hand whilst breathing out energetically. This, it must be said, he achieves whilst continuing to play the melody with the other hand, providing his watching audience (me and an elderly couple in the corner), with a polished example of multi-tasking. They are quite strong on multi-tasking on board : you are quite likely to see your evening dining room waiter serving drinks at the pool bar in the morning and the chap who plays the trombone in the theatre orchestra varnishing the lifebelt lockers on the Promenade Deck.

Must go now because I suspect that the waitress is about to return to tell me that my lunch is ready!


  1. Me, of course, fascinated by the underside of the enormous lifeboat.

    Loved the Venice picture....

  2. Have A Nice Time!


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