Day Two- Tuesday 10th November – Sea Day
Woke to find my room toasty warm. Not suffocatingly hot, just right. Good thing too, because it’s a bit blowy out, still, and so it’s nice to have somewhere warm to come back to. This became especially important after dinner. Black tie/formal, so open toes shoes and pretty dress. Now, it turns out, that the Arctic destination of the day is… The restaurant. It was so cold that by the time the main course arrived, I could not feel my toes any more. I only knew they were still there, because when I wiggled them to try and maintain the circulation, I could feel them bumping into the edge of the shoe. Had to have another cup of tea, just for warmth.
After lunch today, Dad and I explored the ship. Stuff is at the wrong end compared to every other ship I have ever been on! The cafeteria/self service restaurant is at the front and the spa is at the back (next to the Kids Club – hardly relaxing!). All very confusing indeed. Going to get a bit lost on this cruise, I think. We calculated later that we had walked about a mile and a half all told.
Then I went to yoga. I usually do Hatha, this was Ashtanga. This teacher was OBSESSED with downward dog and the plank and managed to get them into virtually every manoeuvre. As far as I can tell, the proponents of this particular style had knees made of iron. I’m not used to doing so many poses on my knees, and I had to skip some bits, because I was in too much pain. Even his choice of “rest position” was a kneel! When I commented on the knee thing, he told me to go to Pilates instead. Charming. If your mats were perhaps slightly thicker than toilet paper, that might help, dear. Oh well, I tried. Might go to Pilates on the next sea day, but on port days, they do this stuff REALLY early in the morning, so that won’t be happening tomorrow, that’s for sure.
Gluten-free food is proving to be a bit of an issue on this cruise. When I asked for hot food options at lunchtime, I was told I could have – guess what? A jacket potato. That’s it. All the other options and everything cooked fresh to order, and that’s all they could be bothered to offer. When I kicked up a bit of stink (having first served myself some cold meat and salad, so I didn’t starve), the head waiter brought me a plate of boiled fish and boiled veg. I pointed out this was a luxury cruise ship, not a hospital (!), and that, not only should I be able to choose for myself, but they should make much more of an effort to make their food edible for everyone. Eventually, they found some berries and cream and bunged a meringue on the top. I mushed it up myself. How much effort would it have taken for them to mash it up and then present it as an Eton Mess they had made for me specially? Seriously missed Brownie Points opportunity, there. Very nice, though.
Then, for some reason, they realised they had gluten-free bread and brought me a piece. No butter, no knife, just this lump on a plate. It bounced. If you pressed it, it rebounded. And when you tore it open, it was so rubbery, it closed itself again when you let go. It looked like a dumpling that had been lost in transit and it was very wet and rubbery. It, sadly, but perhaps not unsurprisingly, did not get eaten. I’m not THAT desperate for sustenance.
Talking of food, the evening dining room is fast turning into a farce of epic proportions. Last night, we met some lovely ladies, U3A friends on holiday together. We had a table for 8. There are three of us and six of them. One of them was put on another table! No, really. Isn’t that ridiculous?! She came and sat with us after dessert. They were lovely and we all got on very well. Today, they laid our table for nine, so she could join us. It would have been a squeeze, but not insurmountable. But they were then moved to another table for six of their own. Which left the three of us sat at a table laid for nine, looking like right Billy-No-Mates.
They then managed to get every single course of our pre-ordered meals wrong. They fixed my starter without problems, but then brought mum’s main with red cabbage and onion coleslaw, which in no way resembled the green salad she had requested. When it finally did come, the lettuce looked so tired, I nearly made a bed up for it.
Then, to top it all off, they brought her a treacle sponge with no treacle on it. After a while, you can’t complain any more. You just look silly. But mum is on such a limited diet at the moment, because of her current gout attack, it’s hard enough to find her food she can and will eat as it is, without them then buggering up the order as well. And all the while, we froze. Although, on the plus side, I got a gluten-free roll that didn’t fight back, so that was nice.
After dinner, went back to my (now nice and warm) cabin to defrost. Then up to the quiz. Mum and Dad and I had Barbara and Terry on our table. We came second. Which is the best place to come, because the one thing you do not want is to actually win the brass polish that is passed off for P&O own label wine – be it red, white or fizz. My drains are not currently blocked, thanks for asking. Dad said it’s okay if you add enough lemonade. I made a comment about homeopathic ratios…
Oh, did I mention the ship is still moving about quite a bit, and someone threw up at my feet at lunchtime? No? Well, she did. Missed my shoes by luck, not judgement. Yes, and bon appétit to you too.
I went to the nightclub at midnight. You know it’s not going to be scintillating when the lights are up from the outset. Met two nice guys – Jon, a comedian whose show I had missed (he was very nice about it!) and Ross, an Out of Hours doctor, who had some fascinating tales to tell. We chatted til 2 and then called it a night. Early start tomorrow – port day.