Tag Archives: John Lyons

Back to Southampton and Storm Doris

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19 February

No more port days, only two more sea days until we get off and it is back to long trousers for day wear. Yes, the musical director,

Dane is being pressed into service for the classical concert this afternoon, so it was the French pianist who missed the ship and we later understand Matthieu took a local taxi to go up Mt Teide but the taxi driver abandoned him, so Matthieu started to walk back only to be mugged and lost his bag.

Nothing on this morning but Crows Nest is crowded as it is cold and windy outside so there is nowhere for the sun worshipers to go.

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Last night dinner

John & Deirdre a having difficulty finding room in their cases, have packed their “Black Tie” wear as tomorrow is a casual night only to see that the Horizon says tomorrow’s dinner and Captain ‘s cocktail invitation is a Black Tie event.😠

Evening entertainment is firstly from Jenny Williams with more singing, partly from the musicals, and the Blue Jays who I think we have seen before with their 1950s Rock and Roll songs.

The lady beside me obviously was just going there for something to do as she didn’t clap once despite it being one of the liveliest shows we have seen.

Still very rough, doubt we will get much sleep although I did manage an hour late morning.

20 February

Yes, not a lot of sleep last night but today we manage to stay awake for an interview with John Lyons the actor who can be seen on stage later in the year in Dial M for Murder and Father Brown.

He related the story that when he was 13 he was helped by Reggie Kray when he was seriously attacked in an E London Road by another gang and even taken to A & E by Reggie.

A back-down by P & O who realise that in error they advised in earlier information that tonight was a casual night but Horizon newspaper said Black Tie. Tonight’s dress code is therefore “optional”.

A “special” tea in the Peninsular restaurant for P & O’s 180th year but it didn’t seem overly special other than the extra calories it gave us!

Probably a 70% / 30% in favour of those dressing up tonight although perhaps this is slightly generous to those wishing to dress up. Entertainment tonight is the comedian, James Martin with more of the same type of comedy – not as good as two days ago and made even worse by the cackling of the two couples behind us.

21 February

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Group Photo with Brenda & Mick

Our last full day and we are now crossing the Bay of Biscay en route to Southampton with Sarah, Ali and Harry being passed in way off Andorra. Another calmish crossing (Force 4) of Bay of Biscay.

An early morning talk by last night’s comedian, John Martin, who talked with a great deal of authority on the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in 1942 during WWII – fascinating story with a film, Operation Anthropoid that could be worth watching.

Packing for our departure tomorrow, where is the present we have bought for Flic’s baby? It is getting cold, down to below 60F so we opt for lunch in the Peninsular Restaurant.

Talk to Brenda at some length and Captain Box passes and joins in – he says he has to be more careful with what he says to the crew of his personal boat than the P & O ships!

Some wonderful paintings on show from the art class held throughout the cruise and a good display of craft work including some cards, necklaces and sewing.

Entertainment tonight, another helping of the Blue Jays, a drink in the Crows Nest with John & Deirdre, Brenda & Mick and their friends Wendy and Colin.

22 February

Docking at about 06:00 after extra engine noise from about 5:00. Breakfast in the Oriental restaurant and good bye to John & Deirdre who are getting off earlier than us, hiring a car to drive back to Bromham – let us hope it goes well as John’s mobile phone stopped working before the 2nd US port so many weeks ago.

Our departure time is 10:10, and hopefully Flic has had a bit of rest at IKEA waiting for us whilst we spend time watching supplies arrive for the next cruise – up North to Norway to watch the Northern Lights.

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Supplies of potatoes for next cruise

And now for the journey home but no sooner than we have got into Flic’s car, we are told of a problem at Clearwell with a burst oil tank so that is going to be expensive and need resolving quickly.

Now for the 2nd piece of bad news, because of Storm Doris, tomorrow’s ferry home across the Irish Sea has been cancelled.

We have an enforced extra day in the UK – our ferry is now 14:15 on 24 February – so book a hotel and go after an Ikea visit with Flic & her friend Laura go off to our hotel at Tamworth where we were able to extend our stay for an extra night.

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Laura in IKEA

 

23 February

Storm Doris has arrived with a vengeance and our visit to a local shopping centre to stock up on a few emergency provisions resulted in us parking well away from the building – there have already been reports of roofs being lifted in the vicinity.

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Louis

Find our way to Sally’s cousin, Alan who lives nearby.  No Debbie, she is at work, but a few dogs to play with before we set out for lunch.

Our drive to the lunch venue – the Littleton Arms Hotel at Penkridge – is thwarted on three routes by fallen trees but eventually we reach the pub for a lovely meal.

By now the trees aren’t bending so much in the wind, the rain isn’t quite as bad as it was expected to be and after more cuddles with Louis we retire to our hotel.

24 February

Uneventful drive to Heysham for a surprisingly calm crossing home to Douglas and mountains of post including a Jury Summons but more about that later.

Our cruise is over – and what an adventure sailing up the Amazon for 1000 miles as well as all the other ports of calls en route.

 

Tenerife

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Our last port of call, Tenerife; a place we went to once before, in 1997. Ironically, we arrived then on Oriana ( but on that occasion, left on Concorde! ).

Temperature is a good 20C which is good for our last port of call, especially as we have some clear blue sky to start with.

A somewhat later start to our tour of some of the Island’s Gardens, perhaps the other two ships docked in the port today had bagged the earlier slots and somewhat surprisingly, we left without two passengers who failed to turn up.

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Flower on a Aechmea Del Mar plant at the Jardin de Aclimatacion de La Orotava

The coach takes us out of the cruise terminal, turning back on itself at least 3 times before we head over the tram lines and out of the town towards the north of the island on the motorway, climbing steadily to about 2000ft above sea level before dropping down the other side to Puerto de la Cruz.

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Vineyards, housing & Mt Teide

A stop to photograph Mt Teide from above a modern estate, with it’s snow topping and we then descend to our first garden, Jardin de Aclimatacion de La Orotava, a tranquil walled area built in 1791-1795 following a Royal Order issued by King Charles III in August 1788. (€2 entrance)

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Spanish Moss

Lots of interesting plants and trees including some Spanish Moss although some of the lower foliage which was in flower appeared not to be named.

Sadly, we had to go too quickly, perhaps another 30 minutes would have sufficed.

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Unnamed flower at Jardin de Aclimatacion de La Orotava

Onwards to the Jardin Sitio Litre which derives it’s name from a transaction back in 1774 when it was acquired by Mr Archibald Little (thereby the name Little’s place, in Spanish SITIO LITRE).

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Orchid in the Jardin Sitio Litre

The garden is the oldest surviving garden in Tenerife, is now over 240 years old and has been owned continuously by British families since 1730 when the mansion it is attached to was built by Mr John Paisley, a wine merchant from Scotland. The British connection extends to a Croquet lawn in the gardens.

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Dragon tree (with fellow passengers who would not move to allow people to take photos)

Apart from many of the usual plants and trees seen in Tropical Gardens, this does feature a fine assortment of Orchids as well as a Dragon Tree reputed to be over 600 years old. A sample of the local wine was included but it wasn’t of the best quality.

Back on the coach for an immediate left turn up a very steep narrow road to an aquatic garden in a private dwelling open to the public.

The northern area of Tenerife has suffered of late with holiday makers tending to stay on the south.

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Water garden

Some enterprising people have found alternative ways to make money and this is one.

Not really a lot of plants to see (€5 entrance) here although a turkey or black swan held court, a few turtles were sleeping and of course there was a water element.

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Black swan

A nearby waterfall was quite photogenic but a long walk up from the town and sea front below.

Sadly, before we had left the water garden, one woman travelling on her own, fell and badly hurt her knees but fortunately was able to walk back to the bus.

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Waterfalls near Water Garden

Our return drive to the ship was along the same roads that we arrived on.

Our guide today was very passionate about the north of the island but her English was probably not as good as those in the Brazillian Rainforest.

With the ship leaving at 4:30 there was no time to go out to get internet at the cruise terminal so we will have to wait until we are back in the UK on Wednesday or buy a day’s internet for £12.50.

Sail away party on deck, lots of flag waving and singing as we push away from the quayside but as we do a vehicle with “emergencies” comes rushing up and a very distraught person leaps out – he has missed the ship! Not only is this no doubt a disaster for him, it is not good for us as well – he is one of the Entertainers – Matthieu Esnult from The International Duo. That will make tomorrow’s afternoon concert interesting!

Entertainment tonight is a Liverpudlian comedian, James Martin who managed to have everyone in stitches and took the Mickey out of a lot of the front row. Not sure what was on his CD he was selling as he didn’t sing: possibly a load of jokes!

 

Cape Verde and northwards to Tenerife

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We have arrived in a sunny Cape Verde Islands and in particular the town of Mindelo on the island of St Vincent.

We were supposed to get in at 8am but what with the unscheduled stop in the Amazon for fuel which caused us at least an 8 hour delay, the head wind of about 25mph and the continual swell hitting us we were 90 minutes late arriving which was very good going which under the circumstances is pretty remarkable.

 

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Porto Novo on Santo Antao

An early morning sprint on the port side, past the island of Santo Antao with its rugged coastline, barren tall mountainous appearance and the village of Porto Novo stuck by the coast.

 

Roads or more likely tracks wend their way up to the very sparsely populated mountainside, we are too far away to make anything out though.

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Torre de Belem

 

A Shuttle bus is provided into town through the working dock area and we opt for a leisurely walk along the coast road past a few fishermen, a few guys playing cards, difficult in the wind, towards the sea museum in the Torre de Belem, and a craft square that didn’t really have anything in it.

 

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Fish guarding by a cat

The fish market nearby had the catches of the day being poured over by locals (with a well trained cat guarding the catch) then headed inland to the blue tiled market area.

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Blue tiles near the market

 

The wooden souvenirs in the market were claimed to be made by the individual sellers but surprisingly, the same products were generally on sale around the square and later in some of the shops.

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Market stalls

 

The women’s clothing on sale was very colourful and dramatic but we didn’t see much evidence of them being worn around town by the locals.

A few women were walking along with baskets balanced on their heads and some of the stall holders were hard at work on their sewing machines or chopping up some of the fruit but there were a few pockets of people standing around not doing anything. Not many though.

 

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Colourful side streets

Back to the sea front and up some side streets past a few squares until we get to the Hotel Prassa 3, a modern hotel with an inside courtyard which was happy to provide us with tall capachinos and free wifi for €1.50 each.

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John & Sally enjoying some rest outside modern hotel

As we had been without wi-fi for over a week, it took some time for the emails to download and I came away with at least a further 29 not yet downloaded from a week ago.

 

The town has some buildings that are very modern interspersed with some quite old buildings and some that need a lot of TLC.

 

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Building requiring TLC

From a distance, the houses are generally of the box sort seen in Africa with only a few that have sloping roofs.

 

Many bright colours have been used as outside wall paint, not everything was white which has given it a different look.

A few beggars were in evidence, all of them elderly as the population is generally quite young but they left you alone if you said “no”.

The island was reputed to be good at producing ukuleles but we saw no music shops and, leaving John & Deirdre to wander further, Sal and I take residence back on board in the shade past a lovely mural.

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Wall mural

 

An interesting port of call which is being developed more as a tourist destination in recent years.

Entertainment tonight is Jimmy James (without his Vagabonds) and from my position standing at the back – in between doing a final wash – the sound quality was much better than at the front. Think he is not at his best now.

16 February

A sea day on the way up to Tenerife and Entertainment manager, Elaine Coles gives talk on primates of Cameroon, a passion of hers but we miss talk on ships by Ken Vard, and a talk on Atlantic Volcanoes by Ken MacTaggart.  We do however get to the talk by John Lyons, the actor who played a detective, Jack, in A Touch of Frost. No notes, all off the cuff – very good for someone of his age.

There is a tug of war between various departments of the ship at the rear of the ship which usually means some of them getting wet, much to the amusement of the passengers but good news, the sun is out today so there are more bronzed bodies in evidence.

Entertainment tonight is by 3 West End leading ladies, The Patriot Girls who sang items from the Swing era, some modern versions (such as That Man by Caro Emerald) and Jenny Williams, a Stockport female singer with a mixture of classical, musicals and a couple of film songs, a very powerful voice with a bubbly personality.

Tonight is the last time the clocks change – we must be nearly home.

 

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Awaiting the last passengers before departing Cape Verde

17 February

 

Another sea day and the entertainment is running out of steam, nothing his morning and only a variety show at 3:30 to keep us away from the cooling temperatures of the North Atlantic as we head towards Tenerife.

No decent entertainment this morning so it is book reading time, Sally finishing her 5th and me, well I have finished the book I got for Christmas 2015 – The Blackest Street by Sarah Wise.

This is about the area of Bethnal Green called the Nichol in the late 1800s with references to the Reverend Loveridge whose photo I found a few years back and who I think, was the vicar who married my Grandparents on my father’s side.

Afternoon entertainment was a variety show with some of the Headliners singers and The Patriot Girls and after a stupid film in the evening, “It had to be you”, we were entertained by the International Piano Duo with as well as some opera songs, performed some lively pieces and an exceptionally long solo by Matthieu Esnult.

Northwards to Tenerife.