Billy No Mates

As we did not make our assigned table for dinner for the first two days, we turn up on the third and met some interesting people. One lady was a 999 ambulance controller, and she had some colourful stories to tell both about her own life and about the ‘Is the patient breathing stories?’ As we tarted ourselves for the next night we thought we had better go back to same table or they might think we were a bit snooty. Guess what, nobody there.

Last time I was on the cruise, I didn’t wear glasses or a hearing aid but the maintenance demands have somewhat increased for both of us in the last three years. Packing was a nightmare what with chargers for the hearing aids, remembering several pairs of glasses, toothbrush chargers toothpicks and corodysol to stop your teeth falling out of your gums……you don’t want to know the rest. Gone are the days of chucking a toothbrush and a clean set of clothes into a rucksack and setting off.

I have just met Argi our steward from our last cruise in one of the endless corridors and get a great welcome. 90% or so of the staff are Phillipinos and I am convinced they must send them on a politeness boot camp before they get their jobs. You never encounter one without a smile, saying ‘have a good day’, and always making way for you on the corridors. I often wonder what they think about these British and Americans with the enormous waistlines tucking into three meals a day.

There is not much diversity among the passengers — mostly white middle aged or elderly but they do cater for the LGBQT community and have a little get together for them every day. We meet a number of very charming gay couples and two guys sharing a cabin but single beds who are on a week’s jolly as their wives hate cruising…..too much food.

Andrew is desperate to play chess so he asks the entertainment officer to put a notice in the programme about social chess. In case he is Billy no mates I go, hoping not to have to play, but 6 people turn up so I am off the hook. I go up to the golf but the wifi is not working so the nearest the pin competition is off. Lots of Scots on this cruise so meet some hoping to play golf. John McCarthy the hostage is the celebrity speaker and his talks are interesting.

There is bridge but it is either lessons or duplicate and we just want social so Andrew puts up a notice……no takers as yet.

I rush off to the theatre and see a show. A wonderful Irish band called the Four Harps

‘Is the patient breathing’ is back at dinner tonight and along with the other couple we have a jolly dinner. She tells me she lost both her parents to covid within 12 days of one another. They went off in ambulances and she never saw them again. She thinks the staff treat you differently if you are posh and has a bit of a chip, the only ones I think are treated differently are the very rich or the famous.

We make it to the dance floor. We seem to have forgotten most of the moves we learnt last time but we stagger around.

New York tomorrow and most of the people we have met will be getting off but hopefully more kindred spirits will be getting on.



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