Six degrees of separation

Well, not exactly. In your case, it’s three degrees of separation. Yes, you, dear reader of mine.

A man and his friends plan a two year round the world trip on a yacht. They set off and he joins them a day or so in. On his first night on board, he steps out onto the deck to take over the watch and is swept overboard. They almost reach him four times, but the swell is over four metres and they soon lose sight of him. The coastguard and nearby vessels join the search, but he is found five hours later, dead. Instead of beginning their dream holiday, they now have to repatriate his body and arrange the funeral.

His name, as I said, was Richard Tapp. It turns out that he was a close personal friend of Mike Carr, one of P&O’s cruise ship captains, and a personal friend of ours from the Oriana Worldy in 2004/5. So there you are. Richard Tapp, Mike Carr, me, you. Three degrees of separation from a random stranger in Portugal to you, where you sit right now, reading this.

In case you can’t guess, It’s 4.30 in the morning and I can’t sleep. This is odd because normally on cruise ships, it’s all I can do to stay awake. It’s the rocking motion, honest! It’s probably because I have a streaming cold and breathing is requiring significantly more effort than usual and I think I may have a fever too, cos I’m hot one minute and shivering the next. Marvellous. Even better, I think my beloved daddy gave it to me. Thanks a bunch, daddykins.

Barcelona was a very pleasant day. It was dry and sunny, although, as we are only about one day ahead of the weather, it was fairly nippy. The high was forecast as 5 degrees, but I wore both coats and kept having to take them off! I bought a top in C&A, so mission accomplished there, and a pair of shoes in Aerosoles, which cost the same as the two pairs mum bought (mine are twice as pretty though!).

We stopped for an elevenses drink in a cafe in El Triangle, a small shopping centre built around a FNAC (French version of WHSmiths combined with HMV). Mum and dad had hot chocolates which turned out to be melted chocolate. Literally. A cup full of melted chocolate. No milk, no water, nothing. Pure chocolate. I can’t tell you how sublime they were! Even I had some, and I don’t “do” hot drinks, as you know! Mum ate hers with a spoon! If I thought hot chocolate was always like that, I’d drink it all the time!

Good luck to those taking part in the African Cup of Nations. I wouldn’t stay, if it was me, but I admire the bravery of those who decide to. The whole point of the cup is to promote peace between the African nations, but you can’t blame the Togolese for wanting to go home to bury their dead. Please send up a prayer for the goalie, who was shot in the back and is currently undergoing surgery in South Africa.

The world is full of people with nothing better to do than to hurt others, usually random strangers, and we are unbelievably lucky and blessed to have been born somewhere more sane than average.

Name that quote: “Don’t eat a muffin while I’m improving you.”

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