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Published: October 27th 2018
Wild winter weather on the QM2!
To use Susan's phrase: not so much. And, no, the jacket is not part of her pajamas, although it is over her pajamas. I claim artistic licence!
This is ridiculous. It is 813 a.m ship’s time and Susan and I are sitting outside on our south-facing balcony in brilliant sunlight. It is so warm in our protected little spot that we are only wearing our pajamas!!! For your sake, there will be no pictures of the event.
(Well, maybe one or two. The sensitive among you might want to avert your eyes now.)
I mean, really? In the North Atlantic on October 27? Unbelievable. I just had to write this while sitting out here because I doubt I will ever have this sort of chance in this sort of weather at this time of year ever again. But I am going to stop now as my eyes are watering from the light and when I put my sun glasses on, the polarizing effect renders the screen invisible!
And now, I can resume, having accomplished breakfast. Shows how far my standards sink on a crossing when just getting to the dining room to eat feels like doing something! Ahh, lovely. Oh, we also went through our British immigration check afterwards. So we did accomplish something. Huh. Takes away from the
Distinguished guy getting sunlight
Distinguished FROM Brad Pitt, distinguished FROM George Clooney, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, etc., etc., etc.
rosy mood of a moment ago. I can see I am going to have to work much harder now at being idle.
You will be relieved to know that we have finally, after considerable trial and error, perfected the champagne cocktail. The trick is to add nothing more than a single cube of sugar with a drop or two of Angostura bitters on it! after the glass is full of champagne. You will be delighted to know that we do not intend to rest upon our laurels but will be vigorously monitoring quality control in that area for the rest of our voyage. Hard at it, that’s us. (BTW, a more time-consuming but delicious variation is the strawberry champagne cocktail. Take one perfect, ripe strawberry with stem still attached. Leaving the stem end carefully intact, cut through the strawberry several times as if you were trying to make a fan. This opens more surface area of the berry which is important in step three. Step two, put the berry in a champagne flute large enough for it to reach the bottom of the glass. Step three, pour in as much champagne as you safely can. Wait 15
What's that bright thing up in the sky?
The winner of today's celestial object quiz will receive a new Rolex! To enter, leave an envelope stuffed full of used, unmarked $20 bills in my mailbox. Anyone could win!
Sure they could.
minutes or until the drink turns a shade of pink.
Consume. Repeat as necessary or until slicing the strawberry becomes a risky business.
And for those interested in such things, there is also the Hubbard Glacier champagne cocktail (invented by me on our Alaskan cruise), which is achieved by putting a tablespoon of blue Curaçao in the bottom of the glass before adding the champagne. This turns the wine about the blue color of the glacial ice. To imitate the effect of icebergs calving off the glacier, drop in the bitters-flavoured sugar cube after pouring the champagne in. That particular recipe took several hours and a premium drinks package to get right. Labor, labor, labor, that’s what I do on these cruises.
Now, where did I leave you yesterday? Lemme check. Ah, right, we were heading out on the sunny deck. Which we reached then promptly went back to the cabin. The sunlight was so blindingly intense, reflected off the sea and the immense stretches of white ship’s paint, that we had to go back to the cabin for hats, sunglasses and, in my case, sunblock. Naturally, by the time we
As usual, looking in the wrong direction for his wife.
were back on deck it was gone. We went up to the top deck where hardly anyone ever goes. Another place on this ship where we can be virtually by ourselves, an important break since we spend pretty much the rest of our time chatting with complete strangers.We have heard a great deal about brilliant and accomplished children, and even more brilliant and accomplished grandchildren, which is lovely because it means we do not have to carry the conversational ball EVER. And, because we only have a brief period of time with whoever is telling us the stories, we usually get their best material. Only yesterday at breakfast did things get ugly for a moment as two, I regret, Canadians at the breakfast table (elderly mother, senior son) were less than pleasant. She wanted to criticize Donald Trump to the three Americans sitting with us. Some pushy loudmouth who had the sheer effrontery to be wearing my clothes suggested that the breakfast table with new friends might not be the best place to pursue her (shared, admittedly) political convictions. Then her son, a very loud man, attempted to dominate the conversation by knowing everything about everything. Fortunately for the rest
of us, he was cut off by, of all things, a discussion of “narrow boats.” Narrow boats are English canal boats, which are now coming back into fashion. One of the Americans, a retired naval officer from Tennessee, told us one reason he and his wife are going to Britain was so he could buy a narrow boat. When he said the words the eyes of the British man next to him positively lit up. The Brit is a narrow boat enthusiast who has had several of the beasts, and travelled on many more. In less time than it takes for a know-it-all to start his next sentence (thank God), the two of them were into it in a big way. And I do not know if the rest of us (bar two) shared their enthusiasm a little bit, or were just looking for a distraction, but us none-narrow-boat types became converts to the cause in record time.
There is a lovely little library on board. Right forward with a view over the bows, it holds 8,000 volumes in several languages. What could be better? Books and book people, a great view, it has it all. And
is the scene of some of the bitterest sniping among the wealthy, the privileged and the entitled who are the passengers. When I first read about it, I thought being the librarian on the QM2 would be a dream job.
Nope, no way. The passengers question the two book per day limit and the selection of books; they complain about who sits where and if told no by one staff member hang on grimly until they can make the same demand of the next staff member. Yesterday, one rather tottery old gent (aided and abetted by his dreadful adult son) held up the checkout line for 20 minutes while he made two successive staff members search the data base for a book AFTER they had both told him they did not have a copy. And, by the way, he did not know how to spell the name of the author.
I’ll bet he’s having a good time. Oh, and just to complete the comedy, when he finally took no for an answer, he had one final request (in a library where books are filed by alphabetically by authors’ last name). “Okay, fine,” he says in final defeat. “So, do you have any Jane Austen?”
“Austen?,” says the librarian.
“Yes,” he says impatiently. “Austen. Jane Austen.”
She looks at him in genuine incomprehension. “How do you spell that?,” says she.
More from the Less-Than-Divine Comedy later.
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