I’m sitting here in the lounge of Julie’s dad’s place in Wadebridge Cornwall. Having just driven from Malaga to the UK, over a period of five days, I have just a few moments for some reflection. By the time we get back to Canillas de Aceituno, around the 11th November I will have spent well over 140 days of this year (so far) on either a ship or a plane, going somewhere, usually very pleasant (sometimes not!)
It’s been a strange year, but then most are these days as we spend most of our time motoring around the world on large ships, at the speed of a combine harvester, being chaffeured by experienced sea captains, and directed by entertainment managers to do what I do, when they require it. Lectures and shows occupy my waking hours, alongside oftimes gentle explorations of ports old and new. The New Year started in the Magellan Strait with a flight back to Malaga from Sanitago, Chile, first to Rome and then home. Julie was already in the UK having ‘deserted’ the ship in Rio, and I joined her there a few days later to watch over her lens replacement surgeries. All went well and home we went, in time for me to take the flights to Auckland New Zealand to join the Voyager for 27 days to Singapore, via the beautiful landscapes and settlements that constitute the north and south islands of this distant paradise. The sun shone, the mountains drifted past, the people smiled and offered their Maori greetings…..but I didn’t see one sheep! I met with friends in Auckland, Sydney and Brisbane (a school chum I hadn’t seen for 46 years!), and so to Singapore to spend my birthday in the airpoprt before flying to Perth to meet with the family…and Julie who had arrived to join the next cruise. We flew to Darwin and joined the Navigator for a long cruise ending in Rome, with many excellent sights and sites…denied a visit to Myanmar (Burma), we again spent days on the west coast of India, and navigated the Suez Canal. a dip (or float!) in the Dead Sea was a highlight and the cause of much merriment. The Greek isles came and went, and with about 20 lectures and 9 different cabaret shows completed we head home from Rome for a rest. The house was still standing, and ready to deal with laundry, unpacking, and repacking for the next trip…to Miami for a Caribbean, Panama Canal, west coast USA and Alaska cruise again on the Navigator. We met friends in San Francisco, Vancouver and Oregon, enjoying good company and memories of journies past, present and plans for the future. Whale watching doesn’t come much better than that which we expereinced in Victoria Canada, and the White Pass railway in Skagway, brought home to us the experiences of Julie’s great grandfathers who had both sought their fortunes in the Klondike!
Home from San Francisco for a few weeks and then I was off again to the Baltic for a brief, yet interesting cruise, with friend Mick as company. St. Petersburg drenched us in history, folk dancing and rain! Tallin and Riga showed us their best in the autumn sunshine and the Kiel Canal was, as always, a delight. In Bremerhaven I had engineered the embarkation of Blue Weaver and his lovely wife Sigi, and for a select audience we presented our ‘relaxed’ show….An Audience with Blue Weaver….with the stories and songs of his years with the Bee Gees. (We will be repeating this, plus additional material, on three cruises in 2018!)
And so to Dover and Rochester to catch up on family matters and have the routine kebab! No more cruises (except Brittany Ferries) for the rest of the year. Time to catch up on gardening, house painting, repairs and just plain and simple time in the Spanish retreat. A few little sing songs here and there, and preparation for the work ahead in 2018. A SAGA cruise to west Africa starts in early January, and then to Australia to complete the world cruise – 48 lectures and about 11 shows! And then there’s more………
So where is home? You know I’m not really sure. Sometimes it’s Casa Sin Nombre, up a mountain in Andalucia, sometimes, but less often it’s Sage Road in Rochester….but more often it’s a cabin number.
But you know the trick is to live where you are….not wish yourself somewhere else….just enjoy it as it comes..that’s what we do best!