Pirate Duty/Scottish Dancing

Well it is not strictly pirate duty more of a drill. I don’t know quite what I had anticipated — my fantasy of helping the crew hose pirates off the sides of the ship was clearly not going to happen. However, the calm voice of the captain comes over the tannoy and at the allotted time those of us with balconies are told to leave our cabins and sit on the floor in the corridor while cabins and passengers are checked. A lot of the passengers are clearly not capable of sitting on the floor — Andrew is not too keen — so concessions are made and you are allowed to take the one chair in the cabin out with you. Someone gets the short straw, that would be me.

They take pirates very seriously to — we have a royal navy officer on board now — he is giving a talk which I would have liked to go to but it clashes with Scottish dancing but I may be able to catch it on TV later. We also have an escort as we approach Aden where piracy is rife. The crew are now wearing their white tropical outfits as it is definitely warming up. I will have to get mine out such as it is, Again I don’t know what I expected but I didn’t think I would be wearing winter clothes all this time. Several members of the crew are patrolling the decks with binoculars scanning the horizon.

There are three armed guards on board, and the crew are busy blacking out the windows and we are advised to make sure all our cabin lights are off at night and the curtains are drawn. How exciting is this! Clearly not a seasoned cruiser I almost leap off my seat when the captain’s voice comes over the tannoy at breakfast saying man overboard again in a calm voice — the word I missed was exercise. I think of that lady who feel into the sea off a cruise ship and survived 24 hours a year or so ago. The American lady at the next table says don’t worry dear it is only a practise. Interestingly the temperature of the sea is warmer than on board.

We are off to the Scottish dancing as it is Burns night tomorrow and another ball. The ballroom is very crowded at the practise with all shapes and sizes shuffling one way and another. We learn the Britannia two step and then the Gay Gordons (I should be okay with that one). As Andrew is sitting out suffering from all that walking in Petra, I dance with a lady called Tammy from Seattle. She is waving her hands around a lot and then I realise she is doing sign language for two young men who are also dancing and telling them what the dance instructor is saying. She told me she is contracted to interpret for deaf people. She is very charming and keeps looking round making sure the young men are following the dance steps. Then disaster strikes as two ladies collide and hit the deck with. some force — hope we are not looking at any fractured femurs here. The staff are clearly used to this sort of event and calmly tell us the class is over and people rush around to help the injured.

I sunbath for the first time and watch the loading on of guns and ammunition from another ship in anticipation of the pirates. I don’t think they have much of a chance. I watch the security film on television and the security team answer some extraordinary questions from the audience. ‘Are we going to ram another ship if it is threatening? What are your plans re the corona virus? No and awaiting developments come the replies. from the no doubt rather weary security team.

We are a very jolly party at dinner now. Cunard are quite clever you do get a table for two but it is so close to the next table for two you would have to be quite anti-social not to talk to anyone. At breakfast you sit anywhere but in the evening you are at the same table so it is just luck if you have fun companions (which we have). The beautiful Columbian girl who is with her parents tells me she and her parents are all dentists…….and that she has never had a boyfriend. I find that very hard to believe (the boyfriend bit) and think to myself……I have a son who is not married. She wants a picture of us all together. Our Canadians friends took a video of Andrew and me doing the Gay Gordons and she wants to send it to us so I write my email on the programme and give them a link to the blog (I have only said nice things about them). To my horror I see that it has gone through to the table cloth. Our regular waiter we call India — we don’t know his name but that is where he is from and likewise Bali our waitress who is rather beautiful, tease me how this will go down in the laundry. I now have visions of them giggling over the blog — but I have only said nice things about them as well. Phew.

They work so hard seven days a week as does our room steward — 10 months of the year with two months off back home but there is no hint of resentment and Argi tells us he is grateful to us for giving him a job. So with no cooking or cleaning (not that I do much of the latter anyway I have time to write all this. Thanks to those of you who read it and send me comments



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