‘Mum You Are On The Front Page Of The Sun!’

I wonder how many of you indulge in practical jokes and schoolboy humour. Even as a pensioner my husband delights in being the first to remember it is the first of the month and attacking me with a ‘pinch and a punch’. However today I remembered first and got my own back. Still revelling in this little victory. I checked in with my daughter on line (she works in the media world) I saw she had sent me a message with the photo of me in my mask clutching a huge bottle of disinfectant and various cloths saying ‘Mum you are on the front page of the Sun. I had sent her said picture. I was horrified not just because I am a bit snobbish about the papers I read but I do not want to be the woman in the cruise grumbling about everything on the news. When I responded ‘You ARE Joking!’ not thinking she was — she replied with a Gif, whatever that is; a little jack in the box jumping out screaming April Fool. Gotcha!

I met Blondie after our release from solitary and she was relieved that she had held off contacting all the newspapers before our release with news of our incarceration. She is clearly happy to be the woman on the cruise.

It was very strange making the bed again and cleaning the shower — well sort of. But the cabin fairy is back and we had a really delicious meal last night in the dining room. Four chocolates on our pillow to make up for the night we missed. After our release in mid-afternoon everyone was out on the decks with big smiles on their faces. There clearly was a feel good factor after the thought of solitary all the way to Southampton. Andrew is so relieved he is not going to be forced to do chairobics daily, I am relieved that they have whisked away all the cleaning materials as fast as they had landed in our cabin.

I still see a few trays outside people’s doors and so clearly there are people still who are choosing to stay in their rooms (although room service is not generally available) or are ill with something other than covid 19 or at least not identified as such. Given the shortage of testing equipment it may be that the guest who was tested was South African and wanted to get off in Durban — I suspect that was the case. Given the shortage of testing equipment I would imagine most countries want to keep them for their own citizens. The crew are not giving up on the cleaning, we are still instructed to social distance ourselves from others, and the captain is insisting we must not let our guard down. Oh I think I will go off and wash my hands again! Our wine water has a big smile on his face when we make for the pub and have double of everything to celebrate. ‘Thank goodness’ he says ‘at least now the pub is open I won’t have to clean 24/7’.

I am a bit of a news junkie and I could see that I would do little else, apart obviously from chairobics, but watch the news- especially if the books ran out. Andrew would make for the balcony as he finds it hard to understand how I can watch so much depressing stuff and without the indignation I used to feel over the Brexit crisis — remember that? But some of the presenters really annoy me. The presenters who stand with their back to you as they interview someone on a massive screen behind them While I wanted them, during the Brexit crisis. to give the government a hard time I just feel irritation when some jumped up presenter attacks a government minister about testing equipment, .when it will be available etc etc. comparing us with the ever efficient Germans — I really think they are doing their best Nevertheless a job in the media must be exhausting as the nation feeds on the news with little else to do and some reporters are putting themselves in quite dangerous places on the lonely streets of Italy and Spain.

Whenever the presenters need a break there are constant weather updates which I am not interested in and on the sky news there is that annoying globe which circles round and round telling you the temperature everywhere in the world. I think I will be seeing see it in my sleep soon. I try to dodge it by changing channels constantly between the BBC who are also big on weather and Sky but annoyingly they seem to synchronise world weather between them. I know you will now be worried about me going mad slowly on the way back to Southampton. I am so glad though, that we have a telly.

We did have a highlight just before the good news whilst in solitary. A helicopter brought out the pilot to help us to dock in Durban — clearly a boat is not safe enough from germs, so this poor fellow was winched down from a great height. I am not sure he even had a crash helmet on and his shirt blew up over his head exposing a large tummy as he descended. We had a good view from our balcony.

But today we are free albeit stuck in a Durban dock waiting for fuel so it is back to bridge and Spanish classes. I was chatting to a rather gentile elderly American lady on her own. She comes from Virginia and I had put her in touch with Mr and Mrs Feisty. She says that there are 37 Americans who are hoping their great hero Mr Trump will charter them a flight when they get back to Southampton so that they can all fly home. She tells me she used to be in the airline businesds and they had an expression to describe a situation like this ’ (if you will excuse my language ) This is what you would call a ‘Clusterf*ck’. She is so right.