Posted by sean on September 22, 2019 at 10:00 pm in Holiday with No Comments

As warned by our Horizon newsletter, we experienced a disturbed night, as the ship swade from side to side in the swell.

We were never in any doubt of our safety, but it was certainly eerie to hear the walls and ceiling of the cabin creek at every turn of the ship, along with the coat hooks clanging in the wardrobe.

I did think to myself, that should things get worse, we would be heading for the open deck, fighting for a place on a lifeboat, while the ship’s entertainment team play Nearer My God To Thee on the violin.

In all seriousness, I wasn’t concerned, despite not having a clue how I would even start to put on a life jacket – I have enough difficulty getting dressed into a t-shirt!

Breakfast was in the cabin this morning. Giving the ongoing weather, we were in no way prepared to add to any stress and nerves, by visiting the buffet.

Like it or not, we had to leave our cabin, to allow Laurence to clean up and present our cabin in his usual fantastic manner.

I love cruising and could happily do it every year, forsaking any other type of holiday. However, there is one small issue which puts a slight dampener on things – the fact that we are strongly encouraged and expected, to vacate our cabin twice a day, to provide the ship’s stewards with access.

This is not the fault of the stewards. They do a thankless task, which is very hard work and low paid.

It doesn’t take away from the fact that should we wish to spend an entire morning in the cabin; or retire early to our quarters for the evening and enjoy a meal courtesy of room service, we would be disturbed by a well-meaning steward, presumably under strict instruction, asking if everything is ok and are there any reasons as to why we were forsaking a cabin clean.

All of that said, it is a credit to the entire P&O crew, that I am hard-fought to find anything of fault in the service provided, besides a minor niggle involving at what time our cabin is cleaned and bed made up.

Return to the lower decks, starting by paying a visit to the reception. Claire had bought a gift from a tabletop sale a few days earlier, thinking that a rather generous discount would be applied. Upon checking a list, detailing our onboard spending, we discovered that the full price had been applied to our account, with no discount. The ever-helpful receptionist assured me that our account would be amended.

Feeling happy with ourselves, for taking on and beating the mighty P&O, we visited their onboard shops to spend the money we had been awarded, plus a bit more.

The highlight of our purchases was a large bottle of Bailey’s Salted Caramel liqueur. With Christmas almost two months away, it seems only fair to treat ourselves! I, for one, can’t wait to enjoy a glass with ice, while watching I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!

While Claire stands in one of the many elevator lobbies, a well-dressed, familiar looking man appears from a corridor. He briefly looks at me, as if I should be approaching him to ask questions and hold a conversation. When it becomes clear that I haven’t realised who this gentleman is, he proceeds up the stairs, only to be stopped and accosted by another cruiser.

I then realise who the man was. Captain Martin Allen. Of course, Claire missed the entire thing, as she had her back to the once mystery figure. I tell her, “I think I’ve just seen the Captain”. She doesn’t appear interested.

Returned to find our cabin beautifully made up. Despite my earlier gripes about making way for the cleaning to be done, it is always wonderful to return to our temporary home,

An onboard announcement informs us that we should be prepared to expect further choppy weather during the remainder of the day and overnight. Great.

Sunbathing of any kind is well out of the question this afternoon. Therefore, we spend an afternoon in our cabin, watching West Ham hilariously beating Manchester United.

Decide to pay another visit to the Beach House restaurant, followed by the Metropolis bar, located high in the upper reaches of the ship. Make a telephone reservation, to ensure that we get a table.

Captain Allen makes his daily evening announcement, shortly before 6 o’clock. Tells us some welcome news, that despite entering the famously rough Bay of Biscay, the wind and swell will not be quite as strong as first thought.

He tells us a heart warming story. I will try to recall it as best I can…

A tourist approaches a Norwegian fisherman. The fisherman has a modest selection of some of the finest fish that the tourist has ever seen.

“You have some wonderful fish there”, the impressed tourist tells the fisherman, “Why don’t you catch more?”.

“I catch all the fish that I need”, the fisherman replies. “Plus, in only catching a limited amount, I am able to spend a siesta with my wife, spend time with my children, before going out and meeting my friends in the evening”.

The surprised tourist tells the fisherman, “I have a business degree. I can advise you how you can catch more fish and make more money ”

The fisherman thanks the tourist for his kind offer of help, but assures him that he is happy as he is now.

The tourist persists “You could buy a bigger boat. That will allow you to catch more fish. Then, in a couple of years, buy another boat. You will then have a great business.”

He continues, “Your business will grow and allow you to expand overseas. You will then be able to sell your business to a company in America for millions.”

“You’ll then be able to retire, move back home. You’ll have time to spend with your wife, see your children and socialise with friends. You’ll even be able to get yourself a small boat and go fishing.”

With Jackanory over, we began to get ready to go out for our penultimate night on Ventura. As we had planned, we visited the Beach House.

Our visit to the restaurant was so enjoyable the last time we went, that we had high expectations of our return visit.

Last time, I ordered a very filling of Nachos. As I had filled up on this starter, I was only able to make a feeble attempt at my main course.

For this evening’s visit, I decided to ask for Nachos again, but this time, as a main course.

This caused confusion with the waiter from the start, especially when he asked what I would like to eat as a real starter.

My suggestion of bread went down like a lead balloon. I could tell that the warm and welcoming service Claire and I had both received on our first visit, was not going to be repeated tonight.

The surly waiter suggested I have garlic bread, which I gratefully accepted. Our meals were enjoyable and we could have no complaints over the food.

Once we had eaten, we realised that fatigue had once again beaten us and we would have to visit the Metropolis bar on the final night of the cruise. It’ll be a nice way to finish the holiday.

With Ventura rocking in the swell of the sea, we returned to our cabin once more, for a penultimate night’s sleep.

Lay in bed with Claire and talked about what a wonderful cruise we had experienced together; but how, unlike on previous holidays together, we are looking forward to getting back to Bath.

This time, we are returning to a property which we own – a house which, over almost two years, we have made a home.

More importantly than that, we are beyond excited about going home, as we are aware that we will have a special little man waiting for us. A man with big ears and a funny nose. A furry face and long whiskers. Four legs and a fluffy tail. I am, of course, talking about our boy – Roman.

Our adorable little house rabbit has been the hot topic of conversation while we have been away. Whenever we arrive at a new port and can get internet access, the first thing I do is get online to check the webcam we have pointing at his run, as well as read the messages and photos, which our parents have kindly sent us through WhatsApp on a daily basis.

Even when talking on the phone to my parents, I am told how Roman has been doing. My Dad tells me that the first time he attempted to feed our bunny, Roman growled and lunged at him. Considering he is one of the most docile rabbits I have ever owned, I found this hilarious. Luckily by Day 2, Roman was enjoying my Dad tickling his ears and stroking his head. This is after my Dad fed him a few carrot treats. Roman is so easily turned!

Posted by sean on September 21, 2019 at 10:00 pm in Holiday with No Comments

Claire was awake early this morning. She wanted to watch us arrive at Lisbon and sail underneath the famous 25th April Suspension Bridge, as well as pass by the Sanctuary of Christ the King monument.

Another interesting fact for bridge fans – the 25th April featured in the 1969 James Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

At 70 meters tall and almost one and half meters in length, the bridge, which serves motor vehicles and trains, is an impressive piece of engineering. A loud eerie echo emanates around the ship as we sail underneath.

Visit the buffet for breakfast. It was rather quite, which is always welcome – probably because we were rather late in leaving the cabin, as a result of us watching our arrival.

The majority of the passengers had left the ship. We decided to remain on board. We visited Lisbon on our honeymoon in 2015. It was the only port where it rained. True to form, it was raining today – the first time we had seen rain since being home in England

Accompanied Claire to the games arcade, where she returned to her favourite game – the claw machine. Two such machines were available to rob, I mean “entertain”, gamers.

The first machine guaranteed a prize every time. Except the prize was a few sweets. As I said to my wife, as long as you’re having fun, it doesn’t matter if the prizes are of poor value.

The other claw machine is of the more traditional variety, that you would expect to find at the seaside – a large tank full of cuddly toys. Claire had played the machine earlier into our cruise, with nothing to show for her time and money.

After she had spent a similar amount of time controlling the claw again, I thought today was only going to be lucky for Micky Arison, the billionaire CEO of Carnival, the company who own P&O; although Claire’s luck was about to change…

As the mechanical claw was lowered once again, into the mountain of apparently unwinnable prizes, it reappeared collecting a large red, soft toy, which was then dropped down a chute, allowing Claire to retrieve her much deserved prize of a cross between a parrot and a raccoon.

Neither of us are experienced gamblers, but we know that these arcade machines only pay out once in a blue moon. We therefore took our prize and ran, safe in the knowledge that there will be no more winners before the return to Southampton on Tuesday.

Considering the weather, plus the fact that there were no attractions besides a busy A road and numerous cruise terminals, close to where our ship breathed; it was mutually decided that we would stay on the ship for the final destination of the cruise.

Claire lay on the balcony, trying to beckon the sun from behind the clouds where it had been hiding since our arrival. It appeared to be a pointless task, which would yield no result.

I kept myself relaxed by staying within in cabin and watching the ship’s information television channel, as well as checking the webcam situated at the front of the ship. Guess what? It was raining there too!

I discovered that I could watch the lunchtime football match between Leeds United and Derby County. I was aware that my Sky Go application would outside of the UK, but using a geeky tool called a VPN, I managed to trick Sky that I was watching from London.

The inevitable disadvantage of being able to watch the Leeds game, was that any relaxation I was experiencing, immediately evaporated upon the match starting.

Leeds thrashed Derby, but only had one goal to show for their efforts. An own goal at that. Did I mention that they also missed a penalty? As a supporter of the most unlucky football club on the planet, I was as unsurprised as I was angry, when Derby equalised with just two minutes left.

The weather remained poor all afternoon. Unsurprisingly, there were no callouts over the tannoy, ahead of leaving Lisbon, for missing cruisers. Presumably everyone couldn’t wait to get back onboard and out of the horrible weather.

It is for P&O cruises to hold a Great British Sailaway, after leaving the final port and returning home. This normally involves a large congregation on the top deck, British music being blasted out the speakers, Union Jack flags… all very Brexit.

Due to the now heavy rain and increasing winds, the sailaway was cancelled; instead being replaced by a “sailalong” sometime before our arrival back in England…

Had our evening meal in the buffet again. Since leaving Lisbon, the swell of the sea had increased, making for another rocky meal. As with our previous meal during such weather, the dining area surrounding the poolside was very sparce, which is unusual for peak time on a Saturday evening. I can only assume our fellow cruisers are missing their sea legs!

Despite now being, what you could call “seasoned cruisers”, we did find the ship’s movement unusual and thought the best way to spend what was left of our evening in the comfort of our cabin.

We were both pleased to discover that the excellent Laurence had made up our cabin for the night – something that couldn’t have been more welcome!

The daily newsletter, Horizon, warned of strong winds at sea for the next 24 hours. A spell of weather which had clearly already started.

I attempted to update my blog, while Claire enjoyed a rerun of Dr Who on the only BBC channel available to us.

Settled down for the night, expecting it to be a rough one…

Posted by sean on September 20, 2019 at 10:00 pm in Holiday with No Comments

Woke up early, following a good night’s sleep. Despite the rest, it was still an effort to haul myself from our comfortable bed, pre-8am, in order get a table at the restaurant for breakfast.

Claire enjoyed a selection of cooked food, while I went all continental with croissant, yoghurt and that famous Mediterranean dish – toast.

Looked around some of Ventura’s many shops, purchasing the final few presents we had planned on buying for our loved ones back in England.

Spent the remainder of the morning and most of the afternoon in our cabin, while Claire attempted to sunbathe from our balcony. She became a little disappointed at the sun, as it timidly peaked out from behind the clouds.

Advised my wife to enjoy the weather on offer, as even though the sun wasn’t out in it’s full, slow-burning force, it was still worth enjoying. It’ll be autumn on Saturday, meaning we won’t experience such warm weather back home for at least six months.

Our cabin steward, Laurence, visited our cabin this afternoon. He had received a report that we were unhappy with the cleanliness of our bed sheets and wanted them changed.

He looked concerned. We reassured him that we certainly did not make any such report and if we did want our bedding changed, would approach him directly.

With Claire now happily sunbathing on the balcony, I returned to my own relaxation. Attempted to watch Quinton Tarantino’s western movie, The Magnificent Seven, from the somewhat poor selection of films available to stream into the cabin.

Screams and the frequent sound of gunshots emanate from the television and I hope that Claire and other cruisers on their own balconies are in no way disturbed, or worse, think Somalian pirates have invaded Ventura and are having a shootout on our very deck.

A few hours later and we have both been well rested. I gave up on the movie, after just 38 minutes. It’s a good film, but rather heavy for a slow afternoon. I’ll probably watch it once I have arrived back home.

We are still hopeful that the rest of the day will remain restful, but are very much aware that Laurence will require access to our cabin, to make up our bed for the night. It would be rude to tell him that we don’t require his services, and also unfair not to give him adequate time to do so.

We will therefore head to the buffet for our evening meal. Tonight’s theme is Spanish. Shamefully, my knowledge of such cuisine is limited to tapas, which I am not a huge fan of – this evening’s visit will certainly be interesting!

Returned to the cabin, rather early for us. As I worried, the selection of food at the buffet wasn’t great. A mix of bread, rolls and salad primarily made up my meal.

Approached again by the Leeds fan I met a few days ago. We agreed that Sunday’s victory over Barnsley was fantastic and that it is a shame tomorrow’s lunchtime game against Derby County is not on the sport channel available within our cabin.

Watched last week’s episode of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, with Claire on my mobile phone, having downloaded it a few days ago while in port.

Three contestants left with just £1,000 each, while another managed just four grand.

A football match between Southampton and Bournemouth is on the tetelevision, while I write this blog. We haven’t been paying much attention to the game, but I did notice that play keeps being stopped, in order for the referee to check with VAR technology. I am against the use of this added assistance to the game. It slows the match down and has often been shown to cause mistakes anyway.

We are aiming to get an early night. We arrive in Lisbon tomorrow morning and Claire is keen to see the famous suspension bridge, as we sail under it on our way to the cruise terminal.

The sea feels slightly choppy this evening, but the wind speed is just 13 knots. Perhaps the rocking has something to do with the speed in which we are travelling – over 20 knots. Either way, I won’t be complaining if the rocking motion remains, considering that I find it relaxing and will probably fall asleep quickly as a result.

Our fellow cruisers were certainly affected by the rocking and stayed away.

Posted by sean on September 19, 2019 at 10:00 pm in Holiday with No Comments

Probably the port which I have been most looking forward to visiting. Have breakfast in the cabin, which allows us to disembark quickly.

A very warm day, with the mercury reaching the mid-twenties. Choose to make our own way to the city centre, as opposed to trying to wait for a shuttle bus, which would accommodate my scooter.

There are advantages of avoiding the bus. The views of the mountains surrounding the city are spectacular and there are finally some interesting souvanier shops, which we promise ourselves we will visit on our return to the ship.

The city is busy, clearly visited by many tourists, but also a jostling home to business men and women – all certainly a lot more modern than Maderia.

Take photos of the local attractions, including an impressively tall fountain and a large SANTA CRUZ sign. This last photo opportunity poses difficult, as some of our fellow tourists are a little self-centered and refuse to move on after taking their own pictures; instead happy to photobomb any snaps we make.

Notice a local Spar supermarket and take the opportunity to stock up on provisions. The ship offers more food and drink than you will ever need in your entire life. However, certain items, such as bottled water, can be hard to come by. There were also a few more Spanish gifts we found for people back home.

Claire had been worrying all day that I would cause an accident on my scooter while ashore. She continued with her concerns, despite me reassuring her that I would be careful. It was therefore inevitable that something would happen, in one of the worst possible locations – a Spanish supermarket.

Some teenage boys were walking up and down the aisles. It is clear that Spanish teenagers are as oblivious to everyone else around them, as British teenagers. As I made my way up one particularly narrow aisle, one of the lads wandered out in front of me. I slowly made room for him, but in doing so, hit a tall cardboard box which was freestanding on the floor.

It all happened in slow motion. The box began to fall. Believing that it was empty of any contents, I reached out to catch it. I then noticed its weight and realised that the box was anything but empty. The box came crashing to the shop floor, along with its contents – mops and brushes. A kind lady helped by picking up the box and placing all of its original contents back inside.

Not for the first time this holiday, I feel the need to defend myself from any wrongdoing. Firstly, had the youths not forced me to make room, the entire accident would have been avoided. Secondly, the tall, slender box, with heavy contents was placed in a precarious position. Had this happened back in England, I would be ringing one of those ‘No win, no fee’ lawyers, as well as calling the teenagers a pair of arseholes.

I turned the corner to find Claire. “Please tell me that wasn’t you”. Following yesterday’s incidents in the restaurant, it that I had embarrassed my wife for the second time in under 24 hours. To be fair to my significant other, she was understanding once I had told her my full tale of woe.

We soon paid for our items and left the supermarket, before I could run into any further trouble.

Slowly made a return to the ship, stopping in the cruise terminal at the duty free and souvanier outlets, we had promised ourselves we would visit, earlier that morning.

Picked up some nice gifts for loved ones and ourselves, including a truly gorgeous soft toy camel, which I have already mentally allocated a home on a shelf back home.

Indeed, we had purchased so much on land that Claire and I were beginning to feel like a pair of camels, weighed down with excessive cargo.

After recovering from the stresses of life on solid ground, we went to the lower decks and treated ourselves to a Costa coffee.

Passed through Ventura’s very own art gallery and marveled at the impressive paintings and sculptures.

A beautiful painting of two magnificent lions particularly caught my eye, as did the price – £3,400. I made do by taking photographs instead. I guess that could be seen as piracy. Well I am at sea, which is where pirates originate from, so when in Rome, and all that…

Another impressive sailaway, later in the afternoon, as our ship pulled out of the Canary Island and returned to the open waters, passing mountains along the way.

Choose to take a trip to the buffet for our evening meal. The entire deck where the buffet is located, along with the two swimming pools and bars, was virtually deserted. The ship had entered some choppy waters, and while the ships crew had not deployed the sick bags or closed the open decks – a clear indicator that the conditions were rough – the rocking motion was clearly too much for most, who presumably hid away in their cabins.

I wasn’t going to complain. I enjoyed a very peaceful evening meal, and despite my lengthy list of health-related conditions, it would appear that sea sickness is not one of them. Claire felt a little queasy, so it was mutually decided that we would return to our cabin, to ride this great storm out.

We had both been feeling tired anyway, so were grateful of the early retreat. Claire’s nausea began to pass, as we lay on the bed. The winds also dropped, leading to a clear, pleasant night’s sleep.

Posted by sean on September 18, 2019 at 10:00 pm in Holiday with No Comments

Made the decision with Claire in advance that we would be staying onboard Ventura for this port. Again, it is a lengthy trip to the local amenities and lots of cobbled pavements to deal with.

Got up fairly late, following a beautiful night’s sleep, before taking the lift up three floors to the buffet. Another accident involving my scooter, the lift and another cruiser was narrowly avoided when, upon reaching our destination of the fifteenth floor, a man with an enormous stomach walked into the full lift, before any of its current occupants had chance to vacate. The man’s wife realised his error and remained stood back, looking embarrassed.

The buffet was rammed and I mean rammed! One could be forgiven for thinking they had entered a famine-ravaged Ethiopia, following a food drop by The Red Cross. Taking one look at the madness, Claire and I made a joint decision to skip the buffet and find an alternate source of brekkie.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That may or may not be the case. One thing that is certain, is that coffee is the most important part of any breakfast. There was only one place we could go – Costa.

A short while later, I was enjoying a white Americano, with a complimentary croissant. We sat at a table, instead of returning to our cabin like yesterday.

By staying downstairs, we were able to watch the world go by, including hoards of stressed-looking people passing through, on their way to the gangways. As Claire and I enjoyed our relaxing hot beverages, I felt sorry for my fellow cruisers – but only for a millisecond.

The ship’s entire crew were involved in a training session throughout the entire morning. You would frequently hear the emergency alarm, followed by the message “FOR EXERCISE! FOR EXERCISE! MAN OVERBOARD!” – “FIRE” – or “ICEBERG RIGHT AHEAD!” OK, that last one may have been made up.

Returning to our cabin, we discovered it hadn’t been made up as normal. Entirely our fault. We left for breakfast far too late, forgetting everyone, including our steward, Laurens, was on ‘man overboard duty’ all morning.

Spent most of the afternoon just relaxing by the sea and enjoying the warm Canary Island climate. I find it fascinating how we are as far south as Africa. In fact the Sahara Desert.

I have recently listened to the audiobook of Michael Palin’s trek across the desert, hearing how unbearably hot and hostile the weather was. We are just a few hundred miles from this harsh, barren landscape; yet have been enjoying warm, spring-like conditions, surrounded by lush hills and vegetation.

The man in the next door cabin is making a telephone call to a child back home – presumably his granddaughter. I am not prying into his private conversation, although at times, due to his loud Scottish tones, it is difficult not to hear what’s going on. The other day, he let out a bellowing yawn, before being told by his wife to shut up. Today he is singing happy birthday. Every single word, of each and every verse.

The toilet flush stopped working again today. I reported the issue and asked why it kept happening. I was reliability informed that somebody had been using too much toilet paper. I don’t know who the guilty party is, but will state that it is just a coincidence that it always becomes blocked after I use the facilities.

Off to the restaurant tonight. For the first time on our cruise, this evening’s menu is something we would both enjoy. The only problem is going to be getting past the greedy masses to the restaurant itself!

Returned back from the restaurant with the ship still in port. This is the first time Claire or I have ever been on a cruise where there has been a late evening sail away.

Our first evening meal in the restaurant was a good one, despite all my best unintended efforts to cause mayhem…

There was trouble from the start – having been shown to our table, there was great miscommunication as to whether I was going to be sat on my scooter or a chair. When it had eventually been established that I would be dining while seated on the latter, there was further chaos trying to tell the poor restaurant staff how I would like to place my scooter cushion on the restaurant chair. Then the scooter had to be moved out of the way, to somewhere safe, where nobody will trip over it. By this point, Claire had her head in her hands.

I was eventually seated, but there was further trouble to come. I was offered the standard pre-dinner appetiser from the bread basket. I tried to explain how I would really like one of the small blocks of soft white bread. Instead, I was handed a tough-looking white bap. Not wanting to cause another scene, after the seating incident, just moments earlier, I smiled and thanked the man for my bread.

Cutting into the bap was predictably tough. I didn’t want to bite straight into it, as it was my intention to add butter to it. Plus I chipped one of my front teeth as a child, resulting in it being capped. I did not want this cap falling off, as it has in the past when biting into particularly hard foods.

I therefore stabbed and saw at the roll with my knife, as if I was a clumsy carpenter, attempting to cut a branch of a tree. A waiter approached, presumably concerned and perturbed by my strange table habits. I was asked if I would prefer a softer roll. I don’t know what would have happened if I replied “no” – possibly asked politely to leave without causing further trouble. I played it safe and accepted the kind offer.

The replacement roll arrived and once it had been buttered up, it was very nice.

It was time to order our starter and main. I had already decided what I would like – the same as Claire – tomato soup and gnocchi. After my wife had told the waiter, I piped up “I’ll have exactly the same please!” feeling rather smug that I had made the order somehow easier for the restaurant staff and therefore made partial amends for the seating and bread roll incidents.

Our starter arrived. Soup. Except this didn’t look like fresh tomato soup with basil. I whispered to Claire that I had been given the incorrect dish. “But you ordered the same as me”, I was told by my wife, “cauliflower soup”.

Sometimes all you can do is hold your hands up and admit that you have messed up. When Claire placed her order, I wasn’t fully listening to what she told the waiter. All I remember hearing was “soup”.

“Please tell me that you at least ordered gnocchi, as your main course” I begged. Thankfully, Claire confirmed that she had.

My wife, like me, is a vegetarian, but she does have a fondness for goats cheese. Personally, I would rather eat one of my own sweaty feet than anything containing gosts cheese – it would certainly be less smelly. I had fears that Claire had ordered a tart made from the most ghastly cheese known to man – actually, make that “second most ghastly” – cottage cheese is by far the most repulsive. Even my good lady won’t touch that!

The cauliflower soup was actually delicious. I do like the vegetable and often have it as a meal baked with cheese (not from a bloody goat!). I did not expect it to be this great though.

One of the small number of foods that I miss, since turning veggie over a year ago, is cream of chicken soup. This cauliflower soup tasted almost identical. If somebody had told me it was chicken soup, my only question to them would be ‘where’s the feathers?”.

The waiter must have seen how much I was enjoying the soup, so gave me another soft white roll. Prepare for Chaos No.3…

I don’t sit well at dining tables. I do have a genuine excuse for this. Due to my scoliosis, I lean to the left. This can make getting close to the table more difficult for me than it would for most other people. This inevitably resulted in spilt soup. Not much – just a few blobs, but enough to make my wife and I think “here we go again”.

The main course and dessert – lemon sorbet for me, naturally – passed without event. The waiter appeared towards the end of our meal to clean the once clean, white table cloth of my soup spillage. As if by magic, a couple of quick flicks with a knife removed the offending mess.

Returned to our cabin, satisfied that we had eaten a good meal and also caused enough mischief that would make Dennis the Menace and Minnie the Minx proud.

I lay on the bed, tired and sleepy, while Claire stood on our balcony, looking into the now dark, evening sky at the bright lights of La Palma. It all looked rather beautiful.

I did have to remind Claire that it would be wise to keep the balcony door closed, to prevent moths from flying in. We are not far from Africa, so the moths are probably the size of large bats – we certainly wouldn’t want one of them in our cabin – a moth or a bat!

It would be like an Indiana Jones movie, except instead of Harrison Ford, I would be the stereotypical, screaming woman, from sexist 1980s Hollywood.

No creatures did fly in and Ventura successfully navigated away from La Palma. Next stop, Tenerife the next day.

As I continued to relax on our bed, I heard Claire, who was still looking out from beyond the balcony, repeating saying “I can still see La Palma”, as we sailed further and further away from the Spanish island, and the lights got smaller and smaller.

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