Guernsey and Gladrags

After a good night’s sleep we were awoken at 7.30 this morning by the hydraulic whirring of the lifeboat davits outside our window, as the lifeboat was lowered to be used as one of the ship’s tenders, as the Queen Victoria had dropped anchor off the pretty town of St. Peter Port, Guernsey. Looking out, we saw that the weather was grey and cloudy, but at least it wasn’t raining.

We got up around 8 o’clock and went up to the Lido self-service restaurant for breakfast. I enjoyed a healthy option of fresh fruits with smoked salmon and mackerel, washed down with fresh orange juice and coffee.

Returning to stateroom 4119, we got ready to disembark the ship, but first of all we had to go to the Queen’s Room to collect a ticket for the liberty boat to take us ashore. We didn’t have long to wait and soon we were bouncing along over a fairly choppy English Channel on our way into Guernsey’s capital.

The town of St. Peter Port is quite picturesque and we saw lots of little houses built into the steep hillsides surrounding the harbour, which had lots of pleasure craft moored up. Several narrow, winding streets led in all directions and, as we hadn’t booked an excursion today, we decided to set off and explore ourselves.

As well as a large Visitor Information Centre, we saw lots of shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants. We noticed that the currency was actually pounds sterling; we had thought it was Euros and that is all we had with us; not to worry though, we simply withdrew some cash out of a nearby ATM and went in search of some postcards and stamps to send back home.

As today is a Bank Holiday, some of the shops were not open, or were opening later. We had a good look around, and we remarked that it was nice to stretch our legs after the long day spent on the coach yesterday. We walked along the harbour front and saw a plaque that had been unveiled by the Queen on 9th May 2005 (nearly 10 years ago) which commemorated the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Guernsey, as it had been occupied by the Germans during the second world war.

Browsing in the visitors’ centre we bought some boxes of Guernsey clotted cream fudge and biscuits to take back home as gifts. We then decided to find a pub and go and write out our postcards over a drink.

We enjoyed a pint of John Smith’s each in the Library Bar, which was an offshoot of the Moores Hotel, one of the Best Western brand. The pub had free wi-fi so we were able to check our emails and online banking. Once the postcards were ready, we went off to find a postbox then decided to go back to the landing stage and get the next tender back to the Queen Victoria, where we arrived back at 1.15pm, just in nice time for lunch.

After dumping our bags back in our cabin, we went for a ‘pub lunch’ in the Golden Lion. Trevor had traditional fish and chips while I enjoyed a delicious salad Niçoise with warm salmon served in a piquant herb and lemon dressing.

The rest of the afternoon passed in its pleasant relaxing way, then it was time to start getting ready for the Commodore’s Cocktail Party. Tonight is formal wear, so I dressed in a long black velvet dress with silver killer heels and Trevor put on his dinner suit, winged collar white shirt and black cummerbund and bow tie. Thus attired, we made our way to the Queen’s Room, the elegant ballroom on board the Queen Victoria.

The Queen’s Room is high-ceilinged and has glittering chandeliers and grand and ornate panelling and artwork on the walls. It was easy to feel like a celebrity when sweeping into the ballroom, picking up a glass of champagne on the way from the line of tray-bearing waiters.

Trevor and I managed to consume four glasses of the free plonk each before going along to the Britannia Dining Room to table #429, where we met our table companions for the first time. There are Martin and Janet from Chelmsford in Essex, and Bob and Rose from Poole in Dorset. We enjoyed a delicious dinner in their company.  Our table is in a fantastic position; we are right at the stern of the ship, next to a large floor-to-ceiling window that gives us a great view of the ship’s wake, churning and foaming beneath us as Queen Victoria glides over the ocean.

Then it was along to the Royal Court Theatre for tonight’s show. We managed to get seats in the centre of the front row, so we had an unimpeded view of the stage. To be honest though, there are no bad seats in this theatre as it has been designed and built for purpose, rather than a lounge set out in cabaret style where a race for the best seats is a nightly event. 🙂

The show was excellent. It was a 60s tribute act band called “The Overtures”. They covered everything from the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, Beach Boys, Kinks and many other greats from the 1960s. The musicians, consisting of guitars, keyboards and drums, were superb. Everyone sang along and we were sorry when their performance ended.

We finished off the evening, as ever, by going along to the Golden Lion for the quiz. Tonight it was “Name that Tune” type of questions, where we had to listen to a short piece of music and give the title of the song and the artiste. My music era is the 70s and 80s, but as this was the 50s and 60s we started off very badly, hardly knowing any of the songs. We picked up a bit when they started doing the 60s music, however, and managed to redeem ourselves a little by scoring 31/52. The winning team scored 39, so no prize for us tonight.

After the quiz it was karaoke time. I got up and did Lynn Anderson’s Rose Garden as well as Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours. Only about three or four different people got up, but the same singers tended to get up more than once, and in between the entertainers did some ‘singalong’ songs to keep it going. The karaoke finished at midnight, and then it was time for bed. We had to put our clocks forward an hour as we were due to arrive in Le Havre, France tomorrow morning, so we’d lose an hour’s sleep.

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