Sunday, July 30, 2006

Revenge is so sweet

Yesterday on our way back from the paper shop we met up with our neighbours Sandra and Alan. They too live next door to the noisy neighbours.

Sandra commented on how quiet ‘Bob the Builder’ had been this week. It turns out that Alan had had a quiet word with him - ‘if you don’t stop this bloody noise, I’ll wrap your power tools around your bloody neck’. You do not want to get on the wrong side of Sandra and Alan ! ! !

Sandra also happened to mention that our new neighbours were having a BBQ this weekend. As it rained last night (shame it wasn’t during the day so the air show could have been cancelled…) it was postponed until today.

This weekend John was installing the new doors in the kitchen while I was busy putting white undercoat on the red bits in our hall. Yes, we’re finally getting rid of our red, gold and yellow hallway.

One of the new doors needed to be made smaller so John popped into the garage to saw a bit off. Seeing as the new neighbours were busy with their BBQ, he decided to make as much noise as possible with his power tools.

Nothing like a taste of their own medicine….


Monday, July 24, 2006

A round up of the news

We spent the weekend doing phase two of the kitchen - putting in new worktops and sink. Next weekend (airshow weekend) will be phase three – the new doors.

It’s taking some getting used to the new worktops as they are black. I always said I’d never had dark worktops as I thought they would be unhygienic because you can’t see any dirt. However having seen how well it went with the new doors in B&Q’s showroom I changed my mind. I have a feeling though that I might become obsessive with cleaning them for a while – until the novelty wears off ! ! !

Sadly we had a little blip in our diet on Saturday. As the kitchen was a mess, there was no water and we were both knackered (well John actually. All I did was supervise…), I decided it would be quicker and easier if we had a takeaway. Macdonalds large BigMac meals have never tasted so good…

We also had another blip in the diet today but it was for a very good reason. It’s John’s birthday today. After he finished work this morning - he normally takes the whole day off but had to go in for a couple of hours - we went to the best Chinese restaurant in the entire universe for lunch.

I mentioned a couple of days that even though we live by the seaside we don’t get good weather, well today was one of those rare occasions when the sun does actually shine. The Chinese restaurant is right opposite the seafront and probably for the first time this year, there were people on the beach.

There were even a couple of very brave souls who ventured into the sea...


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Living by the seaside….

Isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Today was supposed to be the hottest day on record. There were fears about people getting badly sun burnt (though what do you expect if the latest scaremongers claim sunscreens don’t work); schools closing because of the heat; roads melting; the national grid might go into overload so there could be power cuts etc, etc.

We live less than 800 yards from the sea and in seaside places such as Scarborough, Blackpool, Brighton our street would filled with guest houses. It isn’t.

Whilst the rest of the country enjoyed beautiful sunshine, here in Fulwell we had sea fret*. The fog horns have been sounding all day and it was rather depressing looking out of the window to see grey sky and fret blowing past the window.

The sun did eventually come out but not until late afternoon. Now it’s back to dull grey.

This happens quite regularly but still catches quite a lot of people out. Go five miles inland and it’s a glorious day. People suddenly decide to flock to the beach only to be extremely disappointed.

About one or twice a year we do have lovely weather so it can make for a pleasant stroll along the sea front. However everyone else has the same idea so it can get quite busy…

I will however, be praying that the fret comes again not this weekend but next (29th/30th) as it’s the Sunderland International Airshow. It’s the largest free airshow in Europe so one million people descend on us every day. It’s hell on Earth ! ! !

For two days we’re virtual prisoners in our own home as we can’t get in or out because of the traffic. The aircraft noise is horrendous and the vibrations are so bad that it sets off car and house alarms. Normally we go away but this year we’re doing some DIY in the kitchen.

I just hope we don’t need any thing urgent at B&Q. One year it took John two hours to drive two miles to do an errand for his mam. I think it might be quicker if he’d walked ! ! !


* Local term for fog/mist

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

No more swaying

I’m pleased to report that I’ve got my dry land legs back so the swaying and feeling sick have gone. It was a rather strange experience suffering from seasickness while on dry land.

In other news. We’ve started our diet again so our nine o’clock glass(s..) of wine have stopped.

So has the large hunk of cheese and crackers on Wednesday night washed down with a bottle of wine; the packet of crisps on a Thursday night; the free packet of prawn crackers with our Chinese on Friday night.

If you can think of anything else we’ve missed please let us know.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Holiday Pics !!!

Yes - they're finally here.

Take a look at the links in the sidebar on the right and click on Holiday Pictures.


ps for those of you who were wondering why it took so long, I had mixed case in the filenames and the B***** unix server that hosts the site couldn't cope. Give me VMS any day ...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I see no ships

We’re back on dry land but Marie is suffering from seasickness !!!

At least that’s what the doctor said. Thinking it was an ear infection Marie went to see the doctor and was told that there’s no infection but she’s got a sort of “dry land” seasickness. No problems at all on the ship but now she’s swaying whenever she stands up, and suffers nausea then she tries to read, type, look at a computer screen etc.

Personally I think she’s sea sick in the same sense as home sick. Missing the sea and wants to go back.

Sorry no gallery yet. It’s coming, but as I’ve said before, I hate HTML …


Monday, July 10, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Yes – we’re back, safe and sound. Well safe anyway.

If you have ever been on a ship before you will know that for a few hours after you leave you continue to sway a little as you sit, stand and walk. Well, Marie is still swaying. Looks like a bit of vertigo brought on by two flights on Saturday and the after affects of her cold.

You’ll be pleased to know that our luggage made it home safe and sound. You don’t know how pleased we were to see it at Newcastle Airport.

We’re currently putting a link to some pictures in the sidebar on the right, and a full “back home” blog will follow soon.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Stormy Weather

Today is Friday - this must be Bonifacio, right. WRONG - this is Portevecchia !

You'll be pleased to know that the Captain calmed down after his swimming pool rant yesterday. However, as we were about to leave Genoa he came on the PA to say that the weather in Bonifacio was bad. Force 6 winds and rough seas. As we were to anchor and get the tender ashore this was bad news. So we diverted. Not that it bothered us. Corsica is Corsica.

We went to dinner last night expecting a quite table for two but were turned away !!

They told us to come back in fifteen minutes as we were to eat with the officers. The Hotel Director who is in charge of accommodation, food and drink on the ship invited us and two other couple to dine with him at the Captains table. OK, the Captain wasn't actually there, but hey, it's still pretty good.

No blog tomorrow as we vacate the ship at 9:30 for the flights home. Roundup to follow on Sunday, plus a link to some pictures.

Marie and John

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Italian Job

... or - I want my MTV

Today we docked at Genoa. A lot of people thought we ought to have docked in PortoFino next door as it's much prettier. It turns out that Genoa has ship repair facilities and the docking was to replace the satellite television dish.

This is in a sort of "golfball" about ten feet across. Anyway, the workmen started to remove the old one with an angle grinder, sending clouds of dust across the pool deck and all five people sitting around it.

Enter the Captain, incandescent with rage. He points to the pool, then points to the workmen, then lays in to their boss. Boss then points to the pool and lays in to the workmen. Hoses are produced to damp down the dust and the pool is drained. An uneasy truce was declared, but being Italians this was done with much hand waving and shouting.

Other than this it's been a lazy day, sitting by the pool and watching our next door neighbour in port. It's called the Costa Concordia and it's reputed to be the biggest cruise ship operating in Europe (4000 passengers against our ship's 295). Today is it's maiden voyage so the quayside has been a bit busy.

We're off to Corsica tonight at 6 pm and even though we don't leave the ship until Saturday morning, tonight is the Captains farewell party. Let's hope he's calmed down ...

Marie and John

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Monte Carlo Or Bust !!!

We're blogging a bit later today as there are no needlework classes so Marie has an afternoon off.

We spent this morning walking the Grand Prix circuit.

Wow - what a difference. It's great to see Monte Carlo when the streets aren't lined with stalls selling tat and the bars aren't full of Italians celebrating the purchase of yet another Ferrari badged piece of tat.

It's also interesting to look over the waterfront and not have to look through a grey-blue haze that smells of burnt rubber and Castrol-R. The Castrol reference was especially for those who remember a bygone age of motor racing.

They say that where there's muck there's money so how can somewhere so clean be so wealthy. The place is dripping in ostentatious wealth, but there's no obvious sign of wealth creation.

It's a remarkable place. We spent the morning looking around the city centre and then after a fortifying lunch back on board, we took a trip round the Grand Prix circuit.

Beginning at the start line it was off to Ste Devote and then up the hill. Past the location of Rosies Bar (where in the good old days mechanics used to drink all night) and the Tip-Top bar, then a brief rest at the top of the hill, by the Hotel De Paris. Magnificent. Next was casino square. What can you say about such a place. The history, the architecture.

But no time to waste if we're to get back to the ship in time for afternoon tea. So it’s down to the Mirabeau, round the hairpins and into the tunnel under the Grand Hotel. Out of the tunnel, and a quick left-right flick round the “new” chicane, hard left at tabac and past the swimming pool. Never seen it with water in before.

Now for the final sector, round the back of the pits, the scene of the original pitlane, then round Rascasse, which used to be the town gasworks but is now a fine restaurant, and on to the last corner, and the most difficult on the circuit, the virage Anthony Noghes, with it’s adverse camber before heading back to the start line.

Off for afternoon tea now, then tonight we set sail for Genoa

Marie and John

ps spent yesterday afternoon watching dolphins from our veranda !!!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

That Riviera Touch

... or ... Feeling Hot Hot Hot

Today we anchored off St Tropez and took the tender ashore. Boy, was it hot. The place is fine if you like (expensive) shops but it does have a lot of tat on sale along the waterfront. We bought a picture. It cost 15 euros. Guess where we bought it ...

Other than that it's been a lazy day. Back to the ship, several cold drinks by the pool then a nice lunch (with wine !!).

Nothing to do now except laze around until we get to Monte Carlo tonight.

John and Marie

ps Marie has been conscripted to help teach needlework classes !!

Monday, July 03, 2006

We Are Sailing !!!

Great News !!!

When we got back to our suite the luggage fairy had made a delivery. Our suitcases had arrived.

We were going to title this blog “all at sea”, which is true. We’re en route from Barcelona to St Tropez, leaving Barcelona 11pm Sunday and arriving St Tropez 8 am Tuesday.

The ship doesn’t really go that slowly, all Silversea cruises spend an entire day at sea.. Normally during the day people are either out exploring, shopping or on organised trips (a bit like HBA conferences) so the ship can be a bit empty. Not that this bothers us, but during the day at sea, it’s a great way to get to know people, after all, everyone has to be there.

You’ll be pleased to know that the food is of it’s usual standard, as is the wine. Service is six star and the staff are very friendly. I think it’s because tipping is not allowed. They’re not in competition with one another and have the time to talk to you. One think that comes over is that all the staff genuinely seem to enjoy being there.

Off to visit the on-board shops next ...

Marie and John

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Important blog information

The ships computer system thinks it's Thursday 29th June so please ignore the dates and times on blog entries. It's really Sunday 2nd July right now.

John & Marie