Monday, November 03, 2008

Monday recuperation - Great Holiday ends

We are now happily back home from a superb holiday. Our river cruiser shown above, was a 5 star Hotel on the water. The cabin, although small, was comfortable and well equipt. Lots of lovely touches like bath-robes provided and, as it was mainly an american holiday there was a regularly replenished ice-bucket. As 'brits' a kettle and tea-pot would have suited us. But the 24 hr availability of hot-drinks a few yards away down the corridor, meant it didn't really matter.

The king-size, freshly ironed linen table napkins were a joy.

Picture 2 is from the boat approaching Koblenz.

Out of 111 passengers only 4 of us were 'Brits'. Apart from a few Australians and a Canadian, the rest were USA citizens, mostly from Tennessee. Americans have zoomed up in our estimation; everyone was charming and good company and we have made new friends to exchange e-mails and Xmas cards - what fun !

I have promised to prepare a Picasa WebAlbum of the trip with maybe 20 snaps therein and send the link to our new chums.

The food on the boat was exceptional but, happy to report, due to a fair amount of walking, I have actually lost 3 lbs, and Y is exactly what she was.

Much re-surfaced from National Service in Germany in 1953/55 and some of my "german" came back.

Their habit of hanging bedding out of the bedroom window to air, was one thing I remembered and, as we went up a street in Obernai, an example presented itself.

The flight outwards was no problem, but Terminal 5 at Heathrow on Sunday was exactly as bad as people say. My wheels were lost and we were told, with confidence, there was no record of them having been loaded on to the plane. Y's persistence paid off (I was past caring) and after an hour a great young chap disappeared into the hinterland and found them. It was straightforward thereafter and the Titan taxi home was quick, comfortable and efficient.

Terminal 5 is described by those who work there as shambolic and, apparently a special hangar has been built just to house 'lost luggage'. Oh dear !

My Monday has been really "back to normal" starting with a blood-test and then, at lunch-time it was fun to return to my 'galley' and cook a spagbol for our main meal. Pasta isn't a big thing in Germany and we enjoyed the change.


When I opened my inbox last night, I was happy that you have been exchanging pleasantries. Worried though that 'illness' and 'not very well-ness' has occurred.

Bungus ...... I think you were quite entitled to a 'woe is me' paragraph when I read about your Friday/Saturday. Quite worrying in my opinion and there would have been no chance of my mowing a lawn. Sod the lawn - lead me to my pit, would have been my reaction.

I am steadily mastering my new Nokia mobile, or cell-phone as our american chums call them, but I still have a fair way to go. Great optics in its built-in camera. 3.5m.pixels of Carl Zeiss optics no less. Examples will surely follow.

In the RAF what you describe as FSMO was known as 'jankers' . I'm sure you are right that carrying 2 bren guns plus ammo boxes would have been too much, but we did have to learn to 'strip a bren gun'.

Your pigeon/pheasant cookery sounds great. I guess that instead of veg.stock my choice would have been chicken stock. But I am becoming very worried about the constituent parts of commercially prepared chicken-stock these days I don't aim to use it in future. If we have a free-range chicken I shall doubtless prepare stock from the carcass - but the resultant 2 pints or so, doesn't seem to go very far does it?

Re your finishing up with too much gravy. What's the problem ? I always simply freeze any excess, to start something else off with.

Sorry to hear of Sandra's various malaises both physical and inorganic (The Goldfish debacle) but pleased she got home OK.

jill ..... You are quite correct about the perils of changes in medication. My blood-pressure recently nose-dived due to an increased dosage of Cozaar, and I nearly followed suit due to dizziness and lack of balance.

Glad you are enjoying Simon Schama. I like his essential seriousness without being boring.

Some of our new chums love 'As time goes by' and 'The Vicar of Dibley' and could provide a accurate précis of each episode.

Your 'dentistry' certainly sounds problematic. We also use the Telegraph Xword as a 'yardstick' to measure our competence with. Nearly finished it today. But Monday always seems easier.

anonymousrob ...... Pleased to note the Sports Desk was so efficiently manned in my absence.

Although not a football fan, I always want The Stags to do well.

You and Jill were both right. The Rhine was distinctly chilly. But warm, waterproof clothing had been recommended and we were both very pleased we had complied. But I suppose Oct/November .............

I wish you well with your proper darkroom printing and I know how much you will enjoy it.

Quotation time ..................... This part of the Blog really makes me feel comfortably 'back at home'. It has been a marvellous holiday but it's great to be back !

"The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously"

Hubert H. Humphrey

He seemed a fairly sensible sort of chap, especially when vice-president in the sixties. When you compare Sarah Paling with the likes of Hubert Humphrey ............. Oh dear, oh dear !!


Sleep tight - hope to catch you tomorrow !



Jill said...

Very pleased to have you back, and to know that it was an enjoyable, successful trip. We've not come across Americans on river cruises, only on sea trips. The last river one we did had a high proportion of Dutch people (we were going through France) who were all English speakers and we integrated well, I tink that is one of the pleasures of cruising.

I wouldn't like to face Y's 'persistence' - god job they found your wheels. They were only sayng on tv last night, how successful Terminal 5 is now after its dreadful start. I hope you were shouting at the tv......

Looking forward to more pictures and info. as to where you went, we have been to Koblenz and Rudesheim. At the latter there was a wine-tasting trip which we didn't do, walked around the town instead. I wondered if that was on offer to you? We also went to a musuem of ?musical bits and pieces including a lot of those automata - I think that's the word I want - dolls that move/talk. I found them very creepy and didn't like it! But then I don't like clowns, masks, ventrtiloquist's dummies, etc.

I've done nothing for three days except potter round the house, fall asleep whenever I sit down. But feel more 'normal' today, and last night I nearly finished the crossword - couldn't work out 'high spirits', shall go and buy papers in a minute and find out what it was.

Perhaps another river cruise in the Spring?

bungus said...

A real old-fashioned November day today, relieved by a trip to Newark – Morrisons (voted best muffins on Radio Nottm and source of Goats’ milk Wensleydale for Sandra)) and Aldi (Jam).

Called in at the Co-op Funeral Parlour this morning to enquire about pre-paid funerals. The establishment is very appropriately and tastefully decorated, mainly in purple with plastic lilies.
But I noticed that, as part of their Customer Care Follow-Up Policy, they also have a Seance Room in orange.
How does this work? you may ask.
A month or so after you have been buried or cremated, they will, as an optional extra, arrange a gathering of your nearest and dearest around the circular table and lay out the Lexicon cards; the idea being to contact you and see how you think it went on the day. And, if it’s prepaid, you get the divi. (photo by email).

Your comparison of the cruise ship with a large hotel seems appropriate. It doesn’t even look like a boat! But fancy having 2 storeys below water level.
Pleased you enjoyed it. I hadn’t realised it was your birthday. Many Happy Returns. Carry on at this rate and you will soon be as old as me.
The king-size linen table napkins conjure up a picture of you playing an Orson Welles part.
I look forward to more pics.

Pleased you enjoyed the company. I think most Americans go out of their way to be pleasant, even if they intend shooting you (Frank Garrett and Billy the Kid may have set the precedent).
Perhaps one or two of them will comment on your blog.

Sorry to hear that Terminal 5 is still giving problems as it is a significant building. I wonder if the brief was wrong or if the problem is disorganisational.

I have just served kedgeree for the second time in 3 days (Sandra, who is still spending most of her days in bed and is unenthusiastic about food, enjoyed the first so much). At least her hands have benefited from a rest.

Thanks for you empathetic response to my moaning. The symptoms seem to have subsided. When I saw the doctor today she seemed not to be over concerned which is fine. And my BP was down to 145 at the top, which she considered not unsatisfactory.

We had ‘jankers’ in the army too, ie, CB (Confined to Barracks).
FSMO is equipment, built in and around a backpack (plus ammo pouches etc).
I liked the Bren Gun in spite of being second shortest in the squad and, therefore, having to carry 2 at the head of the column. An amazingly accurate weapon but, we were told, less effective, when shooting Chinese hordes, than the Sten. That is because the Sten scatters lead all round whereas the Bren shoots the same victim 50 times. We were also told that, for every soldier shot in WWII, 200rounds were fired (or something like that). I think I have told that story before.

I made stock of the pheasant carcasses, and odd bits of offal, which was then heavily reduced and frozen in an ice-cube tray.
The surplus gravy was overflowing from my plate – and I managed to mop it up with more mash .

I don’t remember a lot about Hubert Humphrey (I wouldn’t want Sarah Palin on my cruise ship) except…
In Spain, in 1965, I met an American girl, Kathy Baer, who came over to stay with me at Farnsfield the following year. She lived with her parents as next door neighbours to VP Hubert H on Chevy Chase, Washington (no kidding, it is the name of a road).

In Spain 1966, my friends and I were the only Brits in a hotel full of Dutch. I was very impressed by their ability to enjoy themselves without laughing or even smiling. The men would climb upon each other’s shoulders in the swimming pool (like a motorcycle display team), loudly shout ‘Hah!’ in unison and fall off. Then do it again. Their faces never cracked.

Do you remember the film ‘Halfway House’ from the 1940s? Mervyn Johns was very creepy introducing 3stories, including one about the ventriloquist’s dummy which eventually reversed roles with its master (Michael Redrave?) - rather like Dirk Bogarde in ‘The Servant’.

Now I must go and watch Liverpool.
(Forest managed an unexpected draw against Derby. Hooray).

Anonymous said...

Glad you enjoyed your trip. There is almost no better feeling than arriving back in England and walking out of the Customs to be met by the "ladies in red" and to walk out with your driver and seeing the line of TITAN vehicles waiting, and knowing that getting home is now completely free of worry and hassle.TITAN are somewhat expensive but you really are looked after from door back to door. Well worth the money. Their Connections Worldwide offshoot is also very good in that you can organise your own holiday and then they will organise and book and you are treated just the same as on an escorted holiday. We luv'm and have been on lots - none better.


Jill said...

Bungus - yes, I do remember that film, I saw it on tv years later and I had to switch it off....those sort of things really frighten me. Don't think I have passed it on to children, except that oldest daughter was terrified of pansies, she would cross the road to avoid a garden where they lined the path, she said they were faces watching her. Even now she won't have them in the garden or anything.

The answer to 'high spirits' was 'gremlins'. I don't get it.....

I have just looked at the film show, G, lovely, brought back lots of memories!

mannanan said...

Great having you back. Looking forward to seeing a few piccies.