Ship Happens

When we woke up at 8.00am this morning and turned on the TV to catch the morning Sky news, we were shocked to learn that, in London’s grey and very foggy skies, a helicopter had crashed into a crane in the centre of the city near Vauxhall Bridge, killing the pilot and at least one other person on the ground and injuring nine others.  This had happened at 8.00am British time (5.00am ship’s time) right at the heart of the morning commute time.  Can you imagine getting up on a Wednesday morning as usual to go to work, just going about your normal daily routine, and a helicopter lands on you and kills you?  Blimey.  It’s a stark reminder of just how you never know what’s round the corner and when your number can be up like that.  That’s one of the reasons why Trevor and I like to go on so many cruises and holidays, because you have to live life to the full while you can.  😦

We went up to the Belvedere buffet for breakfast and ate it outside by the pool.  Even though it was only 8.30 in the morning the sun was already very hot, and appeared even more so by the fact that the Arcadia was only doing about 11 knots so there was much less of a sea breeze than before.

After breakfast we took a gentle stroll around the deck, then Trevor decided to do a mile round the promenade deck while I went along to the library to connect to the Wi-Fi and check my emails – how sad am I?!

The we just sat around by the pool, had a coffee and generally just whiled away the time before lunch.  There were not many people out by the pool for a change, and most of those who were had prudently stayed in the shade.  Not only are we only 10° south of the Equator deep in the tropics, but it is also the height of summer in the southern hemisphere; a complete contrast to the snow and the -8°C temperatures we’d learned that the North-East is currently experiencing back home.

We enjoyed a filled jacket potato each for lunch, accompanied by a Mojito in my case and a “Newky Broon” in Trevor’s.  We then decided we’d seek the welcome shade of our balcony (we don’t get the sun on the starboard side of the ship until later in the afternoon) and have an attempt at making ourselves a caipirinha.  First of all I asked the waiter who’d served me my Mojito if he could possibly bring me a couple of whole fresh limes, which he did.  Then I went in search of a serrated knife and some crushed ice.  I added a couple of straws to my haul then we went back to C149 to make ourselves a proper authentic caipirinha with the remains of the can of Pitú and some sachets of sugar.  🙂

We successfully managed to create the real deal, and we sat out on our balcony to consume them at leisure.  We gave ourselves some time to let our lunch go down, then donned our cossies and went to the Aquarius pool on deck 9 at the stern of the ship for a nice swim.

This time the water was lovely and tepid, and the swim provided a blissful respite from the burning sun.  I put my factor 30 suntan lotion on and sat for a short while in the sun after our swim, before seeking the shade and sitting on the edge of the pool with my feet dangling in the water.

Our visit to the pool was two-fold; firstly obviously for a swim and sunbathe, but also because at 3.30pm they were holding the “Arcadian Regatta”.  This is a fun contest in which passengers, during the previous few days, had to build ships out of discarded items they find, beg or borrow from around the ship, stuff such as cardboard boxes, plastic bottles – anything they think they can use to help them construct a vessel.  The completed ships/boats then have to undergo “sea trials” in the pool to decide the winner.  🙂

At about 3.00pm the contestants started to arrive with the various vessels they had constructed.  The standard was amazingly high and the imagination and ingenuity shown by the contestants was incredible.  There was a paddle steamer, a couple of cruise ships (tellingly sporting the white hull and distinctive yellow funnel of the P & O line), a naval battle ship and even a floating car named “Shippy Shippy Bang Bang”.  Pure genius.

Each contestant had to “launch” their little ship in the pool and it was tested on various things.  First of all, it had to float (obviously!).  Then it was loaded with six full cans of soft drink (330ml cans) to see if it still floated.  Finally, one of the entertainment staff had to “bomb” into the pool and create a “tsunami” to see if it capsized the boat or not.  The ships were given marks out of 10 for each test.

After they’d all taken part, the judges announced the top three winners, but to be honest I would imagine it would have been a difficult decision as it was very hard to choose which was the best, as  they were all excellent.

By the time the contest was over it was after 4.00pm, and time to go back to cabin C149 to get showered, sorted out and dressed, as once again tonight was formal night.  I’d already decided I was going to give dinner a miss again tonight; there’s only so much eating and drinking one can do.  🙂

I wore my classic long black Wallis dress with silver crocheted wrap and the sequinned silver shoes with the 5″ heel.  While Trevor went down to the Meridian restaurant for his dinner, I went along to the Rising Sun with my laptop to check my emails and do some of this blog, while enjoying a couple of glasses of prosecco and chatting to Joseph, the bar waiter.

Later on, Trevor came along to meet up with me and we went to see tonight’s show; once again they were showing the Michael Bublé-type singer, Mark O’Malley.  Then we did the usual – went along to the pub for the quiz.  The theme tonight was “A Night at the Movies” so, predictably, we didn’t do very well as we’re not movie buffs at all.  Frank and Brenda had also joined us once again, but their help wasn’t enough for us to win a prize.

At 1030pm the Rising Sun was holding a horse-racing night, so we decided to stay with Frank and Brenda and participate.  By this time Chris and Sue from our table had also arrived, and they too joined us.

We bought a race card for £20.00 which allowed us to place bets from £2.00 upward on any races we wanted, but we never won a single penny.  Frank and Brenda, however, came away with 30 quid for their 20 quid investment, so they did well.  🙂  We did, however, win a free cocktail of the day (Blue Lagoon) in the “losers’ raffle” but it wasn’t much to show for £20.00.

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