Why are we blogging?

We thoroughly enjoyed the blogs from those on the World Cruise 2010. They were so useful and some were also very entertaining and so we we started our own, late 2010, ready for the 2011 cruise(s).

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day's 64-66 The mayoral chain July 27 - 29

We had always planned to head off to Norfolk & Cambridgeshire to catch up with friends and our first call was an ex Prison Service work colleague from way back. When I was first posted to Ashford in Middlesex as a raw 21 year old Prison Officer, way back in 1967, I was on the same 10 week shift pattern as Robin and he acted very much as my mentor and older brother and  we have remained close friends ever since.  After his Prison service stint, Rob eventually moved onto the Metropolitan Police and graduated as a grade one driver, much to my amusement, as we regularly used to go to London from Middlesex for ‘business meetings’ when we were trying to sell Unit Trust policies.  (Prison Service pay really was appalling.) These weekly runs were either in my Mini Cooper or his MG Magnette, (similar to the one I am building) and we used to time ourselves on the quieter run home... I’ll say no more.
Anyway, Rob eventually retired from the police force to look after his wife who has MS and moved away from the smoke to rural Norfolk, where he eventually got involved with the local parish council, where he soon became chairman. This year though, he has moved on and is currently the Deputy Mayor of the Downham Market council.  So, we just couldn’t resist a photograph of a more relaxed kiwi version of how the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress might look.  Next year he is the Mayor, and we have been invited to the Mayor’s Reception, date to be arranged - if we can make it to the UK again!
Rob’s daughter Rebecca is the staff officer (Police Sergeant) to the Assistant Chief Constable and her hubby is a Police inspector at Kings Lynn, so we have to watch our driving around there.
Onwards to Paula’s ex-school friend (using the Tom-Tom thank goodness, travelling cross country) to make friends with the new Labrador pup named ‘Kiwi’ then a nice venison pot roast dinner, before heading to a Travel Lodge for the night.  This is a UK based no frills accommodation chain where all you get is a room and a bed, with TV set and bathroom.  Not exactly the luxury we are used to on the Dawn Princess, Center Parcs or Ganton Close, but at £42 for the night, what do you expect?  Had we been organised enough to have booked more than 21 days earlier, it might have cost a lot less, so for future travellers to the UK, not a bad option.  They are all over the country and usually on major roads and motorways, but the attached Little Chef eateries are usually best avoided unless you are desperate.
Day 65
I half expected to be woken early by the truck drivers heading off early, but we weren’t. On the road again and we stopped at a small Nottinghamshire village market for a wander and Paula couldn’t resist the almond lemon tarts. On then to our favourite supermarket cafe and I indulged in the fish, chips and mushy peas.  Well, why not?  (My favourite City Centre market ‘Hot Peas’ stall has closed.  Drat.)
For the evening Stewart and Manu took us into town for a Brazilian meal. Buffet salads and hot veg dishes, and the waiters come around with the meat on large skewers that have been cooked over open flames. The waiter simply carves you a slice or slices and you just peel it off and onto your plate with large tweezers.  You have a beer mat, green on one side and red on the other, that you turn over signifying you want more the next time a waiter passes, or no more.  Didn’t make any difference as they kept coming anyway. The meats included:  chicken thighs, belly pork, lamb, chicken wrapped in bacon, rump steak, rib eye, sirloin steak and even a skewer of chicken hearts. We had excellent service and no doubt, Manu communicating in Portuguese helped a lot. Pity that they used a very cheap sausage rather than the excellent sausages made locally though. 
A great meal and very filling.
Day 66
Another rough night with arm pain but on to the chiropractor for my last visit. Paula came in to look and learn and I came away with a gel based ice pack, tht may ell double as a means for keeping drinks cool if off the ship in armer climes. We then went over to pick up Stewart and Noah. Bearing in mind we have only been seeing young Noah for the last ten days, usually with several other people present, it was a very special moment when we arrived and his little face cracked into a massive smile and he crawled straight over.
As Paula was a little off colour, we dropped her off and headed across town to see Stewart’s Godfather, who hasn’t seen him since he was about three years of age.  I had forgotten that it was the first day of the cricket test against India at Trent Bridge, so we got  caught up in the traffic.  I just couldn’t believe how many people were walking to the ground either.  Paul is the only person I know of our age who is not on email, so I’ll have to send this blog address and a photo to his good friend Ken...
Yet another meal out at night and this was local Italian (excellent) and a thank you to Dave and Sue for looking after us so well.  Paula was back to normal.
Just one more day in Nottingham now and a BBQ at Stewarts' (my ex may well be there. Oh dear...) and we’ll start our journey back.  Exactly two thirds of our trip now over as I think our total is 99 days.
Much as we have enjoyed Nottingham and the UK, we are still looking forward to rejoining the ship, our nautical friends, the Wake Show, Alan & Alana, Lee and Barbara, and of course Watchara and Neil, who will no doubt be pleased that Emu (Birdie) will return, whilst young Mac stays in the UK.    
I think I am now up to date with the blogs, but I doubt that I’ll get much chance again for a few days.
No news from Princess about the Acapulco cancellation and searching through our paperwork, we have no idea what time we can board either...

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