rhythmshop

CHRIS MARSHALL MUSIC & WORDS

This is rhythmshop. These are the pages of the Composer/Producer and more recently Blogonteur Chris Marshall.

BETWIXT THE INTERIM 6: THE TRANSATLANTIC CONCLUSION

"WE'RE TAKING THESE LOVELY PASTRIES BACK TO THE ROOM" SAID THE TWO GIRLS FROM EXETER. "WE CAN'T GET ENOUGH!"

WELL NOW, DEAREST OF READERS, THE END IS IN FACT NIGH. THE PLAYERS FROM THE FIRST ACT HAVE ALREADY STATED THEIR CASE FOR INFAMOUS INCLUSION IN MY TRAVELICIOUS TALES. FOR INSTANCE, THE LOVELY DANIEL (WINE WAITER, FLEDGLING CROATIAN ACTOR, BRITANNIA RESTAURANT, QM2) IS PLEASED TO RE-MEET MYSELF, AND FOR THE FIRST TIME MY FINAL TRAVEL COMPANION, THE NURSE. CAPTAIN JOLLY HOCKEY STICKS CHRISTOPHER IS STILL HERE, AND ENTS DIRECTOR "EACH AND EVERY" HI-DI-HI JO HAS STUCK IT OUT, AND REMAINS DELICIOUSLY-AH AWFUL-LUH. SUNSETS? TICK. FINEST OF DINING. TICK. LOADS OF BRITS. TICK. NO MENTIONS SO FAR OF TIMMY TRUMP AND TERRY MAY. PLENTY OF LINE DANCING AND QUOITS ON DECK THOUGH.

NURSE LOVES THE LEMONADE: "BEST SO FAR". THE PLANETARIUM AND KARAOKE LOOM LARGE ON HIS HITLIST, AND DESPITE THE VIEUX-CHAPEAUSIOCITY OF THESE, I PROMISE TO INDULGE. I'M MAKING ALLOWANCES. HE'S EATING HIMSELF SILLY TOO. EVEN I HAD A SECOND SAUSAGE ROLL YESTERDAY. FIRST COMPANION D REMEMBERS HOW GOOD THEY ARE!

"I'M FULL OF UCE LESS, REPEAT UCE LESS INFORMATION" SAID OUR WELSH BREAKFAST COMPANION FROM MARBLE ARCH. " DO YOU SAY 'ONE FOR THE ROAD' IN AMERICA (HE ASKS TWO UNSUSPECTING WOMEN)?" I'VE MISSED THAT. THE BRITISH BORE. NOT.

CAROL'S A MARTIAL ARTS INSTRUCTOR FROM STAINES, HER HUSBAND GEORGE ISN'T BUT DOES POSSESS COMEDY EYEBROWS, AND OAP REECE IS FROM CAERPHILLY, LIKES A CIGGIE, YET, I'M AFRAID TO SAY, THE TIME HAS COME WHERE I JUST CAN'T GIVE A TINKER'S FIG ANYMORE. "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, OOH THAT'S A LONG WAY, BEEN ON HERE BEFORE, WE'VE DONE PRINCESS AND SEABORNE, BUT FIND THE GRAVY ON CUNARD THE MOST SATISFYING ETC ETC ETC.........."

CELIA IMRIE, SUPER ACTRESS AND SADLY BORING LECTURER, IS HERE. I DO MISS ACORN ANTIQUES. (THIS IS “THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES IN ANTIQUES,” FOR OUR OVERSEAS READER - NON EXISTENT BLOG ED.) AAH…. MEMORIES.

MY OTHER GOOD SPORTS FROM CRUISE ONE ANTONIO AND RANJITH ARE BOTH HERE TOO GRINNING GALORE (PLUS ANTONIO'S MYTHICAL CAT: "SHE'S GETTING BIGGER"). THE COCKTAIL PARTIES ARE THE SAME, THE FROCKS GLITTERIER, THE DICKIES DICKIER, AND THE SHIP QUIZZES QUIZZIER. THE TERRIFIC DANCERS PRANCIER, THE SINGERS JADED-IER BUT THE STATE ROOM ATTENDANTS KEEN KIND AND AS K'PHILIPPINE-ORIGINED AS EVER. PLUS, THIS CRUISE'S SPECIAL PRODUCT SALE IS A SET OF TRADITIONAL COASTERS. "SOMETHING TO STICK YOUR COFFEE CUP ON IN ZE MORNINGS IN YOUR COUNTRY HOUSE" SAYS JENS, SALES GENIUS, PRINTS DEPARTMENT, DECK THREE.

IT'S STARTING TO SINK IN. IT'S REALLY COMING TO AN END. NO MORE SEA. NO MORE OCEAN. NO MORE LUXURY LINERS OR WORLD CRUISERS FROM CHATHAM (BYE, KEN AND MARGARET).

THIS VOYAGER IS NEARLY HOME. WILL IT FEEL LIKE HOME? HOME IS WHERE THE HOPE IS. LET'S HOPE.

TO END, WE MUST COMMENCE. WE DID, WE CONTINUED AND SO MUST WE COMPLETE THE CIRCLE. HEMISPHERES CROSSED, DATELINES TRAVERSED, OCEANS CONQUERED AND LAND MASSES MANOEUVRED.

TO STATE THE BLEEDIN' OBVIOUS, THIS WORLD IS BIG. FLIPPING HUGE. IF ANY OF MY PATIENT READERS CAN VENTURE OUT AND SAMPLE IT, MY VOTE IS FOR GREEN, AS IN, GO. GO WEST EAST NORTH SOUTH AND CRAZY....

YOUNG, OLD, TWIT OR TWERP, DO IT. FLOG THE DONKEY, SELL YOUR CHERS, AND ALSO YOUR SONNIES. DISCOVER AND SMILE, SING AND SHOUT. MAYBE SOME OF THE GRIM AND GRITTY HAVE BEEN CONVENIENTLY GARROTTED FROM THESE FABLES (AND THE SHIPS DON'T DOCK AT SYRIA, AFGHANISTAN OR PALESTINE CURRENTLY), SO ONE MAY HAVE EMBELLISHED BOTHERED AND BEWILDERED THEE DEAREST READER AT TIMES, BUT I TRUST A SMALL WEDGE OF ENTERTAINMENT HAS BEEN ENTRUSTED WITH YOU, FOR LARGELY BETTER.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, MUCH LOVE AND THANKS FOR HELPING THIS QUASI-WRITER THROUGH THE VERY LONG RIDE.

ADIEU. PIP PIP. PLINK PLINK. FIZZ.

© CWM JUNE 21ST 2017 OFF THE CORNISH COAST, BETWIXT PRODUCTIONS

THIS FIRST APPEARED IN A SERIES OF GLOBAL BLOGULATIONS (GLOBULATIONS?) FROM SHIP, LAND, MOUNTAIN and TRAIN ACROSS OUR PLANET FROM JANUARY 12th 2017 to JUNE 21ST 2017.

BETWIXT THE INTERIM 5: ACROSS THE U.S. OF TRUMP

BETWIXT THE INTERIM 5#1 (MY LAST LEGS): WEST SIDE STORIES

I SNEEZED, THAT’S WHAT I DID, I SNEEZED. AND THREE PEOPLE ALMOST SIMULTANEOUSLY ALL SAID “BLESS YOU’’. OUTSIDE THE BLOOMINGDALES/WESTFIELD SHOPPING MAUL (SIC) IN MARKET STREET, SAN FRANCISCO. BECAUSE, THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN DURING THIS JOURNEY, BLESSED, PRIVILEGED, SOON TO BE BROKE MAYBE, BUT WELL AND TRULY BLESSED.

BLESSED MEANS CURRENTLY HAVING SPENT A COUPLE OF WEEKS ON THE WEST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES OF TRUMP. I WAS TYPING THIS IN "PHIL’S COFFEE” WHERE, DEAR READER, THERE ARE NO FEWER THAN 17 TYPES OF COFFEE ALL WITH CONFUSING DESCRIPTIONS. I PLUMPED FOR "JULIE'S ULTIMATE", WHICH HAS “SLIGHTLY INTENSE HAZELNUT, VANILLA AND CHOCOLATE UNDERTONES”, AND TO ACCOMPANY FOR MY BREAKFAST, I HAD A “TURKEY SANDWICH WITH COOKED EGG IN AN ENGLISH MUFFIN”. THIS ALL REQUIRED SPEAKING TO FIVE PEOPLE, HAVING TO SPELL MY NAME “CHRIS” SO THAT IT COULD BE PRINTED ON THE RECEIPT, HAVING TO ASK FOR THE SANDWICH, BECAUSE THEY’D FORGOTTEN TO TELL ME IT WAS READY, HAVING TO REQUEST SOME SWEETENER/SUGAR IN THE COFFEE (“WE PROVIDE THAT IN THE MIX, SIR” ????) AND THEN BEING HARANGUED WITH “PLEASE INFORM ONE OF THE STAFF IF YOUR COFFEE WAS DELICIOUS." REALLY. WELL I’LL TELL YOU WHAT IT ALL WAS, BLOOMING EXPENSIVE AND SO FURNACE HOT BOTH ITEMS BURNT WHAT’S LEFT OF MY TONGUE. STILL, MY SERVER MARY HAD LOVELY RED HAIR, AND THE MUSCLE MARY PHIL HAD NONE AT ALL. WHICH WAS NICE.

MY LAST LEGS BEGAN AS THE SSS BEJAZZLE ARRIVED IN SAN PEEEEDRO PORT, LOS ANGELES, THENCE TO BE HURTLED THROUGH IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS WITH NO CHECKS AT ALL, AND NOT SO MUCH AS A WELCOME TO OUR COUNTRY, THE LAND OF THE FEE (3 DOLLARS PER TRANSACTION PLEASE). AFTER BEING GORGEOUSLY AND GRACIOUSLY RECEIVED BY MY L.A. MOST BELOVED FRIENDS, AND HURLED INTO MUSIC JAM SESSIONS, RADIO BROADCASTS AND STUDIO FROLICS, I SOON REALISED WHY 12 OUT OF 10 AMERICANS HAVE THERAPY. COUNSELLING. GUIDANCE. IT’S OBVIOUS. THE REASON?

TOILETS.

YES, THE TRAUMA OF HAVING TO FACE THE EXTREMELY HIGH WATER LEVEL IN EVERY TOILET BOWL HAS CAUSED GENERATIONS OF US CITIZENS TO SUFFER WITH MORE MESSY MOMENTS OF TORRID SPLASH, MESSY WIPEAGE AND PAPER PANIC THAN YOU CAN SHAKE A BOTTLE OF BROBAT, AT. PSYCHIATRISTS ARE CLEARLY IN CAHOOTS WITH THE WASTE INDUSTRY BIGTIME HERE.

THE FOOD INDUSTRY HOWEVER IS SECOND IN SIZE ONLY TO THE GUN INDUSTRY HERE. THIS NUMBER TWO THOUGH, BY COINCIDENCE, DOES PRODUCE DELICIOUS TURDLIKE OOZINGS (“PAY BY THE OUNCE”) OF COFFEE FLAVOURED FROZEN YOGHURT IN EVERY MAUL (SIC) WITH OR WITHOUT SEEDS, AND “DONUTS” WITH NUMEROUS “FLAVORS” (HEY, WHO NEEDS A “U” ANYWAY?) FOR EVERY RING REQUIREMENT.

(“THINK THAT’S ENOUGH OF THE LAVATORIAL HUMOUR”- NON-EXISTENT ED.) OK.

BEERS AND COCKTAILS ARE MORE WIDESPREAD THAN WINES AND SPIRITS IN MY EXPERIENCE, AND BURGERS ARE NUMEROUS AND FAR LARGER THAN THEIR EUROPEAN EQUIVALENTS, AS ARE THEIR CONSUMERS. AMERICAN BACON IS A CLASS ONE HAZARD THOUGH, TEETH RUPTURE AND CHOLESTEROL POISONING BEING COMMON RESULTS DURING ITS SWALLOWAGE. SALADS ARE PLENTIFUL HOWEVER, AND IT IS CUSTOMARY WHEN REQUESTING SOMETHING FROM A MENU TO ADD AT LEAST 12 STIPULATIONS, (“WITHOUT THE PEPPER, NO TRANSLUCENT OIL, NO BILE, ONLY DOUBLE SPIRALLED FARFALLE STEAMED NOT BOILED, SLIGHTLY RESTRICTED RANGE BROWN EGGS FROM PHILADELPHIA, MAPLE SYRUP NOT CANADIAN, HOLD THE ORANGUTAN…”).

I ACTUALLY REALLY LIKE AMERICANS. THEY’RE ENGAGING, GENEROUS, CONVERSATIONAL, INTERESTING AND, ON THE WEST COAST AT LEAST, LIKE, MOTIVATED, LIKE. THEY WANNA DO STUFF, AND NEARLY ALL THEIR IDEAS ARE GREAT. SURE, THINGS ARE INVARIABLY “COOL”, LIKE, REALLY, LIKE, COOL, LIKE. THEY QUITE OFTEN DON’T REALISE THEY HAVE LEGS AND FEET WHICH CAN ENABLE “WALKING”, BECAUSE EVERYONE OWNS AT LEAST FOUR CARS AND A PLANE.

LINGUISTICALLY, SOME BRITISH PHRASES INEVITABLY REQUIRE TRANSLATION, FOR INSTANCE, “WOULD YOU LIKE A GLASS OF WATER, NIGEL?” TRANSLATES AS “HEY, NIGE, WANNA GLAIRCE O' WODDA?” QUITE A FEW THINGS ARE “GROSS” AND IF YOU WANT A COMBINATION OF FULL FAT MILK AND CREAM, ONE SIMPLY ORDERS HAFF’N’HAFF. EXPIRY IS “EXPIRATION” AND LOCATIONS ARE DESCRIBED, NOT AS 45, EPIGLOTIS AVENUE, BUT 1745, EPIGLOTIS AT TROUSERS, INDICATING THE VASTNESS AND CROSS-ROAD OF POSITION REQUIRED. SPORT ISN’T SPORT, BUT “SPORTS”, AND SUCH ACTIVITIES HAVE “BALL” IN THE NAME, NAMELY “BASE” “BASKET” “FOOT” “OONS” AND “CURVE”.

THEIR ROADS ARE EXTREMELY WIDE, YET QUITE OFTEN SNARLED UP WITH A PLETHORA OF AUTOMOBILES. THEIR TRAINS ARE ALMOST NON-EXISTENT, AND THE AMTRAK ONES CAN ONLY GO SEMI-FAST WHEN TRAVELLING DOWNHILL. TRAMS ARE CALLED “TROLLEYS” “CABLE CARS” OR “STREETCARS”. JUST NOT “TRAMS”. SMOKING IS ONLY ALLOWED, ACCORDING TO THE SIGNS, "25 FEET OR MORE PAST THE OUTER PERIMETER OF THE BUILDING”. HAPPY HOUR STARTS AT 1PM AND FINISHES AT 8PM. A LOT OF PEOPLE JUST DRINK WODDA.

IN L.A., EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE HUGE, EITHER IN SHOWBIZ OR MUSCLE SIZE. TALK IS REGULARLY ABOUT THE GYM, AND POODLE PARLORS ARE UBIQUITOUS. IN SAN FRANCISCO, EVERYONE IS IN I.T., WHEREAS EVERYONE USED TO BE A HIPPY. TALK IS REGULARLY ABOUT THE GYM AND POODLE PARLORS ARE, ER, QUITE COMMON. AS ARE “CAT CAFES”. MIAOW.

IT IS A STATE LAW THAT ANY LEFTOVER FOOD HAS TO BE BOXED AND TAKEN HOME. THERE ALSO MUST BE AT LEAST FIVE DIFFERENT KINDS OF SWEETENER ON EVERY TABLE, AND BILLBOARDS ADVERTISING ANYTHING FROM NEW FILMS OR TV SERIES TO HEADACHE REMEDIES MUST BE AT LEAST 200 FEET TALL. I. LOVE. LOS ANGELES. I REALLY DO. (ESPECIALLY THE BARMEN).

MET THE HILARIOUS DAVID FROM BELFAST IN "AUNT CHARLIE'S DRAG BAR” IN ROUGHLY MY HOTEL LOCATION, TRUTHFULLY CALLED TENDERNOB, WITH HIS SOUL SINGING FRIEND PATRICK, WHO LOOKED LIKE A BESPECTACLED BEAUTIFULLY AGED LIONEL RICHIE. GREETED WITH “I COULD IMMEDIATELY TELL YOU WERE AUSTRALIAN”, DAVID LOVES DIONNE WARWICK, AND BUYING EVERYONE TEQUILA SHOTS. PATRICK, (“HE’S OBVIOUSLY FROM ENGLAND, A**HOLE”) HAS BEEN SINGING IN AN ACCAPELLA SOUL GROUP SINCE 1964, AND LAUGHS A LOT. I WARMED TO THESE TWO, MORE THAN THE BAR STAFF IN VERY DODGY BLUE WIGS AND BARE MIDRIFFS. THE LOVELY MIKAL (“MAYBE MY MOM WAS DYSLEXIC”) DECLARED UNDYING LOVE, BOUGHT SHOTS GALORE, BUT IS ONLY WORTH 10 MILLION, SO I DIDN’T GIVE HIM MY CARD. HE’S BEEN GOING TO “TRUNKS" FOR 12 YEARS, BUT NOW PREFERS “FLAMING SADDLES”. MUCH YOUNGER MICHAEL FROM THE CASTRO WAS, AHEM, VERY AFFECTIONATE, HAS BEEN WRITING SCRIPTS SINCE HE WAS 18 (HE’S NOW 30 “LOOKING GOOD THOUGH DON’T YOU THINK?”), THOUGH ADMITS TO BEING SOMETHING AVERAGE IN I.T. “MAYBE WE’LL HOOK UP THIS WEEKEND” WAS THE LAST I HEARD FROM HIM. NADIA HOWEVER WORKS FOR @TWITTER IN SAN FRANCISCO, AND LOVES WATCHING OLD MOVIES AT THE CASTRO THEATRE. LIKED HER A LOT TOO. MY FRIENDS IN SAN FRANCISCO LOVE SAN FRANCISCO.

I. LOVE. SAN FRANCISCO. I REALLY DO. (ESPECIALLY THE BARMEN).

STILL IT’S OFF TO MY KINDA TOWN TODAY, ON THE VERY OLD RICKETY AMTRAK TRAIN WHERE THERE’S “NO ROLLERBLADING”, AND CATHY MY “TRAIN STOOWOOD” SAYS “THE BAR GETS PRETTY CROWDED OVERNIGHT”. ONLY 54 HOURS THIS TRIP. SO BEST HAVE A FIRST VISIT IN DAYLIGHT. BYE BYE CALIFORNIA, CHICAGO, SHE BECKON.

Betwixt the Interim 5#2 (MY LAST LEGS) : MIDWEST SIDE STORIES

CONFUSING AS IT IS, MY LATEST TRAVELS FROM THE WEST COAST OF TRUMP TO THE MIDWEST OF TRUMP HAVE BROUGHT ME TO THE EASTERN SIDE OF TRUMP. OR IS IT THE MIDDLE EAST OF….OH, WELL YOU GET THE HANG OF IT.

YES, DEAR READER, I HAVE ARRIVED IN CHICAGO, THE HOME OF DA BLOOZ, THOUGH NOT SO MUCH "WOKE UP THIS MO'NING" AS "UBERED UP QUODDA EFTA FAHVV..." THESE DAYS.

DESPITE BEING KNOWN AS THE WINDY CITY, SO FAR, I’VE FOUND ALL THE STREETS REMARKABLY STRAIGHT.

PIZZAS ARE INDEED PLENTIFUL, THOUGH NO MORE SO THAN EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES OF TR**P. PEOPLE ARE FRIENDLY, AND THE ARCHITECTURE CAN BE REMARKABLY AMBITIOUS AND GORGEOUS, PARTICULARLY THE NEWEST BUILDINGS BUILT AROUND THE MILLENNIUM. WASN'T IT THE GREAT FRANK SINATRA (OL' BLUE EARS) THAT ONCE SANG "MECCANO TOWN, CHICAGO IS" REFERRING TO THE CONSTRUCTION ADVANCES? NO IT WASN'T.

THERE IS HERE A TRANSPORT SYSTEM SPLIT BETWEEN WHAT ARE CALLED "BUSES" (LARGE VEHICLES WHICH DODGE ENORMOUS POTHOLES AT HIGH SPEED GIVING RISE TO A CONDITION KNOWN AS MCDONALD'S SHAKES) AND A METRO RAIL SYSTEM CALLED THE HELL, SHORT FOR THE HELLEVATED RAILWAY, NAMED AFTER THE FACT THAT ONLY A FEW OF THE LINES AREN'T ELEVATED ABOUT STREET LEVEL.

FORTUNATELY THE PRICES OF CERTAIN GOODS IN THE MIDWEST OF TR**P ARE ACTUALLY VERY REASONABLE, AND FOR QUITE A FEW VENUES, THERE IS NO ENTRY CHARGE OR "COVER". EVEN THE GREAT CAMPAIGNING SOUL SINGER MARTIN LUTHER VANDROSS ONCE CROONED "FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST" WHEN QUEUING FOR DA BLOOZ CLUBS.

FROM THE SUMMIT OF SEVERAL VERY TALL BUILDINGS, IT IS SAID THAT ON A CLEAR DAY, YOU CAN SEE THE MOON. OH, AND UP TO SIX DIFFERENT STATES. PLUS YOU WILL NEED TO VISIT YOUR BANK MANAGER SOON AFTER TO NEGOTIATE A LOAN POST BUYING ANY DRINKS UP TOP.

THERE IS ALSO A VERY DOMINANT CENTRALISED TOWER SLAP BANG IN THE CENTRE OF THE CITY, BEARING THE FIVE GREAT LETTERS OF THE SURNAME OF THE CURRENT PRESIDENT OF THE US OF T ON THE SIDES, AT A SIZE THAT CAN BE PINPOINTED FROM THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION.

"LIAR LIAR, YOUR PANTS ON FIRE" SAID THE BAR MANAGER AT THE DELIGHTFUL J. PARKER ROOF TERRACE BAR AT THE LINCOLN HOTEL AS THE RAINS POURED IN ON A WEATHER FORECAST SUNNY DAY! THEN THEY WENT AWAY AND MY COLLEAGUE AND I INDULGED IN MORE LADIES OF THE LAKE.

LAKES, WINDS, TALL BUILDINGS, ENDLESS BLOODY TV SCREENS SHOWING BLOOMING BASEBALL, WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT? WELL OBVIOUSLY, ICONIC CHICAGO SANDWICH SHOPS SELLING ICONIC CHICAGO SANDWICHES. TAKE A SLIVER OF BREAD, CHOP UP A DEAD COW, INSERT. LUNCH. SEE DOCTOR. EARLY RETIREMENT. PENSION CRISIS. SURPRISING CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT ELECTED. SIMPLES.

LOVE THIS CITY WITH A PASSION THOUGH. BUT I WON'T SIDETRACK (A VERY SPECIAL BAR).

NEXT? EAST SIDE STORIES COMING YOUR WAY DEAR READERS SURE AS A WARTHOG AVOIDS STILTON. FROM ALDI. AND LIDL.

Betwixt the Interim 5#3 (My Last Legs) : EAST SIDE STORIES

CHARMING, ATTRACTIVE AND TOTALLY SOZZLED AT 3PM ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON, DONNA, FOR IT IS SHE, SAID TO ME DURING HER 3RD CIGARETTE OUTSIDE A RATHER LOVELY BOSTON BAR, "IT'S A DUMP. I HATE IT. AND I'VE LIVED HERE ALL MY LIFE. SO HAVE FUN IN NEW YORK DEAR. I WISH I COULD...."

WHO WAS IT THAT SAID "LOS ANGELES IS THE CITY OF DREAMS, NEW YORK THE CITY OF NIGHTMARES"? ABSOLUTELY NO-ONE. BUT I SEE WHAT THEY MIGHT HAVE MEANT.

DEAR READER, THE EAST COAST OF THE US OF TRUMP IS VASTLY DIFFERENT FROM OTHER PARTS. AND FROM ITSELF. FURTHER NORTH IT'S REALLY QUITE A LOT LIKE ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND, A KIND OF NEW ENGLAND I SUPPOSE (OK NOVA SCOTIA AS WELL).

THEREWITH AND HITHER, BOSTON GIVES US...ER...LOBSTER ROLLS ($20 PLEASE, "ENJOY YOUR DAY") AND A TEA PARTY WHERE ONLY COFFEE IS AVAILABLE IN THE SHOP. THERE ARE MANY YOUNG THINGS DRESSED UP IN SILLY BOSTON COSTUMES SPEAKING IN ALMOST BRITISH ACCENTED BOSTON TONGUES, KINDA DICK VAN DYKE MEETS LOYD GROSSMAN OVER A PARSTER. RETIRED FIREFIGHTER JOE SAID TO ME IN A BAR LOCATED IN AN OMINOUSLY ODOROUS ALLEY CALLED "THE ALLEY BAR" "WE'RE HERE FROM NEW YORK. WOULDN'T USUALLY BE, BUT MY HUSBAND INSISTED AND EVEN HE NOW HATES IT".

WELL. I QUITE LIKE BOSTON'S "INNOCENCE", ITS "POLITENESS" ITS "BORINGNESS". ITS OK. NICE PEOPLE AGAIN.

SO, LET'S RAPIDLY MOVE DOWN TO MY FINAL POINT OF CALL AT THE END OF MY EARTHY EXCURSION BEFORE RETURNING TO BATTERED OLD BLIGHTY. SO GOOD THEY REPEATED ITS TITLE, I HAVE ARRIVED IN THE NOISIEST PLACE ON EARTH, NEW NEW YORK YORK. THE BIG BANANA, THE ASSASSINATION LOCATION OF JOHN LENNON, THE CURRENT STAGE OF MS BETTE MIDLER ($ 500 REAR CIRCLE OR MEZZANINE PLEASE, PLUS FEES, TAXES, TAXIS AND INTERVAL DRINKS), PLUS SIMPLY, ONCE YOU'VE GOT USED TO THE PACE, I.E. FRANTIC, IT'S THE MOST EXCITING PLACE THERE IS. FACT.

I CAN ALSO CONFIRM THAT YES INDEED, AMERICA IS THE LAND OF THE FEE, ESPECIALLY HERE. THERE'S THE TRANSACTION FEE, FACILITY FEE, SERVICE FEE, INTERNET/TELEPHONE FEE, ADMINISTRATION FEE, RESORT FEE, CITY FEE, AND FINALLY THE SIMPLEST PHILOSSA FEE (DO EVERYTHING, AND DO IT LOUDLY). THEY'RE BRIGHT SPARKS TOO. BRETT IN POSH BAR SAID "SOME PEOPLE WOULD SAY YOU'VE GOT AN AUSTRALIAN ACCENT, BUT I'D SAY YOU'RE FROM SOUTH LONDON". IMPRESSIVE. HADN'T THE HEART TO MENTION INDIA. AND I BET HE DIDN'T OWN SEVEN HOUSES EITHER......

HEAVENS TO PATSY, IT'S FAST MAD QUICK ACT DO IT LIKE NOW DON'T STOP BOOK MATINEE SHOP IN BLOOMIES AND BARNEY'S JOG EAT WITH MORE FRIED POTATOES SUBWAY STAIRS AND STAIRS HOT NOISY BRILLIANCE GENIUS CHESS AT UNION SQUARE BUSKERS IN CENTRAL PARK LIKE MORE SHOWS EAT LIKE MEXICAN ITALIAN KOREAN AND BURGERS SLIDERS PIZZAS AND MORE PIZZAS BUD LITE LAGUNITAS HEAVY COCKTAILS GREAT JAZZ SUNDAY BRUNCHES PEOPLE ON STROLLERS DOG WALKERS ON ROLLERS PRETZEL PANTRIES LIKE RADIO CITY ROOFTOP VIEWS STREET CORNER HEAVEN SKYSCRAPING FRENZIES REBORN MASSIVE NEW BUILDINGS BASEBALLERS BOAT TRIPPERS TOPLESS HELL'S KITCHEN SKATEBOARDERS LIBERTY SEEKERS OUTDOOR PERFORMERS LIKE BEAUTY EVERYWHERE TIMES SQUARE VIDEO MADNESS LIKE SCREENS ABOVE SCREENS BELOW SCREENS 9 11 MASSIVE MEMORIAL THEN LIKE UPPER WEST AND EAST SO NICE BUT LIKE 10 TIMES THE PRICE MORE THEATRE AND OPERA MADISON ROCKIER MUSEUMS GALLERIES MOSTLY SMILERS NOT PISSTAKERS CHUCKLERS LIFE LIVERS AND TAKE A BREATH.

RELAX. DURING A HAPPY HOUR PERHAPS.

TOOK ME THREE DAYS TO GET USED TO THE PACE. I STILL TOTALLY ADORE NEW YORK CITY.

SORRY JASON (CHRISTINA) I CAN'T SEE YOUR ACT ON SUNDAY. SORRY WE DIDN'T HAVE PRETZELS AND FROSTIES AT CONEY ISLAND. SORRY TO MISS THE DIVINE ONE. SORRY TO BE LEAVING AMERICA.

FOR MY ENDLESS WORLD RECCY HAS PENULTIMATED, THE CASES PACKED, THE TUXEDOS PREPARED FOR THE MOTHER SHIP THE GOOD OL' QUEEN MARY TO CARRY US BACK HOME TO THE ORIGINAL BELOVEDS, WHILST REMEMBERING EACH AND EVERY ACQUIRED FRIENDS, AND FAMILY FOR THAT PRECARIOUS OF ENTITIES, THE FUTURE.

SO START SPREADING THE NEWS. WE'RE LEAVING TODAY (TOMORROW). WE'VE HAD THE VERY HEART OF IT, NY NY. OUR VAGABOND SAILS, WILL BLOW US AWAY, RIGHT TO THE VERY SOUTH OF IT, UK UK.... NURSE CG AND I BEGIN OUR SEVEN NIGHTS TO CATCH UP WITH THE HOT ISLE OF WIGHT GOSSIP AND FIND OUT WHETHER THERESA MAY.

ONE FINAL CHAPTER IN THIS ALREADY LIGHTWEIGHTY TOMETTE IS TO COME. BETWIXT AND BEWILDERED: THE CAB HOME

© BETWIXT PRODUCTIONS 2017, CHRIS MARSHALL, STRAWBERRY FIELDS, CENTRAL PARK, NYC 13TH JUNE 2017

BETWIXT THE PACIFIC RIM 4: CHAPTER 4#1

DEAR DEAR READER, FOR THOSE CHAMPING AT THE GIGABYTE FOR ANOTHER PIECE OF RHENAL RHETORIC RE ONES RETURN FROM THE OTHER SIDE EVENTUALLY BACK TO BLIGHTY, WELL IT STARTS HERE.

IT BEGINS WITH THE MORNING AFTER THE GIN AND TONIC’ED AND NEWCASTLE BROWN’D DEBUT EVENING ABOARD THE GLEAMING MODERN SUCCESSOR TO THE SS BUTLITZ, THE SHINY SAILING SHIP EMERALD PRINCESS, OR THE SSS BEJAZZLE, FOR SHORT.

ALREADY IT'S GOOD TO FIND ON THIS PACIFIC CRUISE A LARGE CONTINGENT FROM JAPAN, MANY NO DOUBT HERE TO SEE AGAIN 'PEARL HARBOR', WHO'S SUCH A FINE SINGER WITH THE BEJAZZLE'S HOUSE BAND 'RUMORS'. THEY'LL BOTH SOON BE DOING A CHARITY PERFORMANCE FOR THE 'RESTORATION OF THE LETTER U IN 21ST CENTURY ENGLISH' IN THE 'COLORS' BAR.

I WAS ASKED TO SHARE A SUPPER TABLE WITH THE DELIGHTFUL AND GORGEOUSLY OLD CAROL AND TERRY, A VANCOUVER COUPLE WHO SHARE MY LOVE OF CANADIAN SINGERS JANE SIBERRY AND NEIL YOUNG, AND WHO ARE SNUBBING THE ORGANISED EXCURSIONS TO "GO FIND A BAR ON A BEACH" ON THESE UPCOMING ISLANDS. MY KINDA PEOPLE. TRUMP SUPPORTER AND GOOD SPORT (YOU'D HAVE TO BE) RICHARD CHATTED WITH ME ABOUT "LOUSY OBAMACARE" OVER A BOURBON, (I HAD GROLSCH) WHILST THE LOVELY CONSTANT TRAVELLER AND CRUISE HIPPY SUE FROM SAN FRANCISCO ADMITTED HER LOVE FOR TRAINS AND VERY HOT CURRIES... DEFINITELY THE SPICES OF LIFE THESE FOLK.

MEANWHILE OUR CAPTAIN (FORMERLY OF THE WARMINGTON-ON-SEA HOME GUARD) CALLED 'MARTIN' TODAY DURING HIS WIND REPORT (ONE HELL OF A SOUND) INFORMED US ALL OF THE ORIGIN OF THE PHRASE 'SWEET FANNY ADAMS'. FORGET THE DETAILS. SIGH.

THERE'S AN OFFICIAL DAILY LGBT GET-TOGETHER AT 6PM CALLED "THE LGBT GET-TOGETHER" (NOT "FRIENDS OF DOROTHY" AS IS ON OTHER VESSELS.) FIRST ONE I'VE POPPED TO BRIEFLY IN THE ADAGIO BAR HAD A FAIR NUMBER OF SAID MALES OF A CERTAIN AGE, AND A FIESTA OF NUTS. ON THE TABLES. (INCLUDING CASHEWS). MORE ON THIS LATER, THOUGH THE NAMING CONVENTION FOR THE BARS AND RESTAURANTS IS A SHADE OPTIMISTIC. I'VE ALREADY EATEN IN "DA VINCI" AND "MICHELANGELO" WHILST "BOTTICELLI" IS OUT OF BOUNDS TO ME, AND AS FOR "CLUB CLASS", WELL, HONESTLY. BTW, I CAN SADLY REPORT THAT ONLY THE GRAVAD LAX WAS A PICTURE.

FASHION AND FETISH ENTHUSIASTS ALIKE WILL BE DELIGHTED TO KNOW THERE'S A WHITE GLOVE SERVICE AVAILABLE EACH AND EVERY AFTERNOON. NO SENSE IN GETTING YOUR SCONES GRIMY, OR DRINKING HAIRY EARL GREY. THOUGH WHAT WORRIES ME THE MOST AT PRESENT IS THE CLOTHING ADOPTED BY THE VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT IN A SHOCK REPORT ON BBC WORLD IN MY STATEROOM. WHY OH WHY HAS HE GONE FOR DEBENHAMS 1991 INSTEAD OF A MUCH WISER TURN OF THE CENTURY TOP MAN? LUDICROUS.

IT'S FORMAL NIGHT TONIGHT (THE AUSTRALIANS WILL DON THEIR CORKS) SO I'LL AGAIN GO AS MOTHER SUPERIOR. BUT I'M TRYING TO KICK THE HABIT. OH DEAR, OUT OF WIT, OUT OF GIN, BEST TOP UP. THREE BELLS AHOY, WHALE MEAT AGAIN. PIP PIP.

RIGHT! MORE SOON

Betwixt The Pacific Rim: Chapter 4#2

EACH AND EVERY DAY DEAR READER, I TRAVEL THE HEIGHT AND DEPTH OF THE 138 DECKS OF THE SSS BEJAZZLE IN AN ELEVATOR, OR, LIFT, AS WE BRITS QUAINTLY DESCRIBE THEM. CAN’T QUITE RECALL MENTIONING THIS, BUT, ON A PREVIOUS VESSEL, AND INDEED ON THIS ONE TOO, THE LIFTS ARE MANUFACTURED BY “SCHINDLER”. YUP, THEY’RE SCHINDLER’S LIFTS. I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP YOU KNOW.

WELL. IT HAD TO HAPPEN. IN MAJOR PROBLEMS OF OUR TIME CORNER, I CAN REPORT THAT ON MY FIRST EPIC AQUATIC SOJOURN, CERTAIN MEALS WERE SENT BACK UNFINISHED BECAUSE THEY WERE SIMPLY TOO BEAUTIFUL RICH FATTENING FULSOME FABULOUS FANCY AND FILLING. WELL NOW, ON THE BEJAZZLE, A MAIN COURSE WAS RETURNED BECAUSE IT WAS EXTRAORDINARILY AWFUL IN EVERY WAY, CONCEPT, COOKING, INGREDIENTS AND APPEARANCE. THE CALAMARI STEAK WITH STEAMED POTATO AND PRAWN VOMITAISE NEARLY A) BROKE MY TEETH B) BURNT MY TASTEBUDS AND C) REMINDED ME HOW MUCH I CHERISH MILK OF MAGNESIA. SEVERAL DAYS LATER, AFTER NOT MANAGING TO MUNCH MORE THAN A THIRD OF MY MAIN COURSE, THE ADJACENT AMIABLE AMERICANS ASKED “WAS THE TURKEY DRY?”. I REPLIED, “DEFINITELY RAISED IN THE SAHARA”. FORTUNATELY, I LEFT BEFORE THEY ASKED ABOUT THE STUFFING. I SHALL BE EXCLUSIVELY SERVICED IN MY ROOM, OR BUFFET BASED, FROM NOW ON. OH, AND THE ICE CREAM MACHINE IS OUT OF ORDER. DISGRACEFUL.

WE HAVE ARRIVED IN PARADISE, MOST DEFINITELY WITH A P. FOR PHENOMENAL. PRETTY. PEAUTIFUL. POLYNESIA. OBVIOUSLY COCKTAILS, BEACHES AND FRIDGE MAGNETS REMAIN MY PRIME CAUSE FOR CONCERN, THOUGH AVOIDING BUS TRIPS WHERE LOCAL WEAVING TECHNIQUES AND COCONUT CASTRATION ARE DEMONSTRATED ARE SEVERELY HIGH ON THE LIST TOO.

EXCURSIONALLY, THE MOST TEDIOUS MAN IN THE WORLD "53 VARIETIES OF FISH DOUG" KEEPS INFORMING US ON OUR STATEROOM TV CHANNEL ABOUT THE REALLY "IMPORTANT THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR" ON THESE GORGEOUS ISLANDS, NAMELY, THAT THE MAIN MARKET WAS CONCRETED OVER IN 1964, OR THAT 4 WHEEL DRIVE TRIPS TO THE NUMEROUS WATERFALLS CAN LEAD TO DISASTER IF YOU FALL OUT OF THE VEHICLE. THANKS DOUG, AND BY THE WAY, HE "COUNTED 53 VARIETIES OF FISH IN PAPEETE FISH MARKET" ON HIS LAST VISIT, AND HIS FATHER FLEW A SEAPLANE OVER TAHITI IN 1958.

WELL, I MUST READY MYSELF FOR MY MORNING GYM AND PEDICURE IN THE LOTUS SPA, SO AS WE HEAD NORTHERNWARDS TOWARDS THE LOCATION OF THE TV SHOW HAWAII-5-0, I BID YOU ALL DREAMS BEYOND YOUR WILDEST, ER, DREAMS.

CX

Betwixt The Pacific Rim: Chapter 4#3

"WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU SIR?" I WAS GOING TO REPLY, GIVE ME A DECENT CUP OF TEA, THEN I RECALLED PEOPLE HERE RECEIVE 1 TO 3 YEARS IN A HIGH SECURITY PENITENTIARY FOR POURING BOILING WATER ONTO TEA LEAVES/BAGS**, SO I SIMPLY SAID "COULD YOU DIRECT ME TO THE NEAREST HAWAII-5-0 FILMING LOCATION PLEASE?". "WRONG ISLAND, SMART ASS". "BUT THIS IS HAWA - " "HA-WA-EEEEE, DUMMY, IS COMPRISED OF MORE THAN THIS ISLAND, SIR. THIS ONE," HE SMUGLY GAVE ME THE 360 DEGREE FINGER, "THIS ONE… IS, THE BIG ISLAND, THIS IS (SHARP INTAKE OF DEATH) HILO". FOR A MOMENT, I THOUGHT HE'D STARTED TALKING ABOUT PASTRY, THEN REALISED THAT WE WEREN'T IN HONOLULU, OR ANY OTHER KIND OF LULU FOR THAT MATTER.

"THANK YOU FOR YOUR ELUCIDATION, SIR" I RETORTED. "LUCY WHO?". OH YOU JUST HAVE TO WALK AWAY LIKE A BONELESS DOG AT TIMES, REALLY.

THE SSS BEJAZZLE ENTERTAINMENT CREW CLEARLY NEEDED A TOP-UP IN RIDICULOUS SHIRTS AFTER FIVE LONG DAYS AT SEA, SO THIS WESTERN OUTPOST OF THE USA SEEMED THE OBVIOUS PLACE TO STOP ORF. I'D ALWAYS HOPED THAT THE TARDIS WOULD LAND HERE AND THE EPISODE BE TITLED "DOCTOR HULA HULA AND THE GRASS SKIRTS OF DEATH”.

MIND YOU, LAST TIME I’VE SEEN THIS MUCH BLACK SAND (VOLCANIC, OBIS) WAS DURING THAT OIL SLICK IN SHEERNESS. THOUGH GOOD TO SEE FINALLY, TALL GORGEOUSLY ATTRACTIVE BAR STAFF WHO SAY “COMIN’ RIGHT UP” IS INDEED A JOY. (THERE ARE TWO, ACTUALLY).

SPEAKING OF TEA, WHICH WE NEARLY WERE EARLIER, WHILST SAWING THROUGH HER SCRAMBLED EGGS AT BREAKFAST A FEW DAYS AGO, A LIVELY LOVELY AMERICAN LADY OF A CERTAIN AGE (N.B. AT LEAST 90), INFORMED ME THAT SHE'D PURCHASED FROM AMAZON, NO LESS, AND NO MORE EITHER, AT LEAST FIVE TEA-MAKING DEVICES CALLED "THE INGENUITEA" (WHOSE SPELLING SHE HELPFULLY INSERTED WITH HER OWN FINGER INTO MY NOTES APP, I BELIEVE IT'S CALLED, ON MY CELL PHONE, AS AMERICANS SEEM TO ENJOY REFERRING TO ONES MOBILE DEVICE AS). THESE WERE FOR HERSELF AND AS GIFTS, AND I, DEAR READER, MUST, APPARENTLY, ORDER ONE FOR MYSELF UPON MY RETURN TO THE LAND OF THE TEAPOT. IT'S LIKE A "REAL CHINA ONE BUT WITH AN ADDED VALVE MECHANISM THING". OH. "TRUST ME" SHE ADDED, "I'M A TWININGS KINDA GAL". OH. ALL RIGHT THEN.

COULD I AT THIS STAGE POINT OUT THAT THE CATERING INGREDIENT SOURCING DEPARTMENT OF THE CRUISE COMPANY HAVE GOT TO SERIOUSLY RECONSIDER ITS POLICY OF COLLECTING ITS BAKED GOODS FROM SKIPS LOCATED BEHIND LOCAL ALDI AND LIDL STORES, AS THE SELL-BY DATES IN THIS CATEGORY ARE LARGELY JUSTIFIED. RECENT BAGUETTES COULD BE CLASSIFIED AS WEAPON GRADE UNDER THE POLICE BATON SCALE OF TOUGHNESS, WHILE THE BRITISH ARMY COULD REASONABLY RESTOCK ITS HEAVY SHELL AMMUNITION SUPPLIES WITH BEJAZZLE CROISSANTS.

LATEST HUMOROUS ADDITION TO THE INTENTIONALLY WITTY ONBOARD HUMOUR COMES IN THE FORM OF THE SCOTTISH ONE, A MOST AMUSING GENTLEMAN FROM THE GLASGOW REGION, WHOSE PIANISM IS GLORIOUS AND WHOSE QUIPS INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING..”JEEZ, THE MEDICAL CENTRE ONBOARD IS EXPENSIVE. $450 IT COST ME. AND THAT’S JUST FOR READING THE MAGAZINES.” “I’M SUFFERING FROM ALCOHOLIC CONSTIPATION, I JUST CAN’T PASS A PUB”. “ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER IS TO MUSIC AS KING HEROD WAS TO CHILDCARE.” “HAD MY ALLERGIES TESTED, FOUND ONE OF MINE WAS JUSTIN BIEBER.” AND FINALLY, "MY DAUGHTER TOOK ME TO A MUSIC FESTIVAL, AND ASKED ME WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE. I SAID ‘EBOLA VIRUS?’ “. TRIFFIC.

FINALLY, I SHOULD MENTION TWO OF THE TOP DICK'S SMOKERS' CORNER, JOVIAL BROTHERS GRIM WAYNE AND KEN FROM AUCKLAND, NEW ZILLAN. BOTH SMOKE 'ROLIES' AND HAVE EACH WORKED THEIR WAY THROUGH PACKETS OF EX-WIVES AND CAREERS. 'WINE' TELLS ME THE ILLEGAL RUM DISTILLERY MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE LAST STRAW WITH HIS WIFE NUMBER TWO, WHEREAS 'KIN' DRINKS ONLY BLOODY MARYS TO KEEP UP WITH HIS 5-A-DAY AND ALIMONY SETTLEMENTS. LUCKILY, I NEVER RODE ON ANY OF WAYNE'S AUCKLAND TRANSPORT BUSES, THOUGH I ADMIT TO BEING BAFFLED AS TO HOW KEN BECAME NEW ZEALAND'S NUMBER ONE LIVE SOUND ENGINEER. ADELE'S HAD THAT TREAT ALREADY APPARENTLY…..

HELLO? SORRY, HELLO?

(** DELETE WHERE APPROPRIATE/ACCORDING TO YOUR SOCIAL STATUS)

Betwixt The Concluding Pacific Rim 4#4

"AN UNPLEASANT INCIDENT OCCURRED IN THE BUFFET AREA TODAY WHEN A PARTICULARLY HARDY PORK CHOP WAS THROWN AT THE HOT DRINKS COUNTER…SADLY THE COFFEE WAS TOO WEAK TO DEFEND ITSELF….” © THE SCOTTISH ONE, CROONERS BAR, MAY 2017.

IN THIS OUR FINAL PACIFIC INSTALMENT DEAR PATIENT AND PRIVILEGED READER, WE'RE POST-POLYNESIA, POST HILO, HAWAI'I AND EVEN HUGELY HULA HULA IN HONOLULU ON THE ISLAND OF OAH’U (A HAWAI'IAN ISLAND, ARE YOU KEEPING UP?). THIS ISLAND WAS SO NAMED BECAUSE 50 DRUNKEN SAILORS FROM SOMERSET GOT LOST IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL AND WERE BLOWN WILDLY OFF COURSE INTO THE PACIFIC, SCREAMED "OOO-ARR, OOH" UPON THEIR ARRIVAL THERE, AND THENCE BECAME KNOWN AS THE HAWAI'I 50, WHICH LED TO THE TV SERIES OF THE SAME NAME.

WELL I MUST SAY, AFTER THE SERENE BEAUTY OF YER TAHEETEESES, YER BORA BORASES AND YER BANJO BANJOSES, THE ISLAND CAPITAL HONO-UKE-LELE-LULU IS AT FIRST BIT OF A CONCRETE DUMP. TOWERS OF TEDIUM, BUILDINGS OF BOREDOM ACTUALLY INTERSPERSED WITH SOME RATHER WACKY ARCHITECTURE, INTERSPERSED WITH YER MACY'SES, YER BLOOMINGBLOOMINGDALESES, YER COR BLIMEY'SES, INTERSPERSED WITH....MCDONALDS. WITH AS MUCH SUBTLETY AS PRINCE PHILIP IN A CHINA SHOP, THE TRUMP HOTEL REALLY IS GRAND, REALLY GRAND. AND IT'S REALLY UGLY, REALLY UGLY IN A WAY THAT'S REALLY GREAT, REALLY GREAT. FORTUNATELY THE HEAVY DUTY BEACH BIT WITH GORGEOUS BARS, PALM TREES, SURFERS AND SANDS IS HEAVENLY. MET YANKS JEFFREY ("WITH A J, DO YOU PLAY GOLF?”) AND BRIAN (“I FLEW INTO MANCHESTER ONCE, IT WAS GREAT”), PLUS MICHELLE AND ANDREA FROM “UP NORTH, NEAR AND IN SCOTLAND”, WHO INSISTED ON DOING LOTS OF CHEEK KISSING. SPEAKING OF WHICH, I THEN KINDA FELL IN LOVE (AGAIN) WITH A VERY SWEET DANCER (FROM THE SHIP) FROM DONCASTER. IF ONLY WE'D HAD MORE THAN AN HOUR OUTSIDE DUKE'S BEACH BAR....AAAH WELL. LONG LIVE WAIKIKI BEACH I SAY.

QUOTING THE SCOTTISH ONE: "REMEMBER, THE EARLY BIRD MAY CATCH THE WORM, BUT THE SECOND MOUSE CATCHES THE CHEESE."

DESPITE THE ALLURE OF THE ON DECK “BEAN TOSS CHALLENGE” TODAY (REALLY), LECTURE 29 OF “GAUGUIN FOR BEGINNERS”, AND “MAKE LEI WHILE THE SUN SHINES" CLASSES, I MUST SAY I’M MORE DRAWN TO THE 3PM HAPPY HOUR IN THE WHEELTAPPERS AND SHUNTERS CLUB “BUY ONE, GET ONE FOR A DOLLAR, PLUS A FUN RAFFLE TICKET”. WHY? BECAUSE I’VE GROWN RATHER FOND OF THE DIRTY BANANA. DELICIOUS. ALSO MOST HAPPY TO HAVE MADE THE ACQUAINTANCE OF THE SUPER SINCERELY SMILING STAFFERS, THE LOVELY JOSH (OF MAGIC AND HOSTESS TROLLEY DUTIES, AND CHUCKLAGE AT MY JOKES), THE SWEETLY BALDED MATT (ENTS DIRECTOR, “MINE’S ANY COCKTAIL IN BLUE PLEASE") AND THE INEVITABLE RICHARD AND JUDY OF THE FUTURE, STAGGERINGLY SMILEY MIKEY AND STEVE. OH AND THE GIRLS TOO, TOO NUMEROUS TO MENTION….NOT FORGETTING ROB THE ADORABLE AFOREMENTIONED DONCASTRIAN AND PALS SUPER SINGER/DANCER MATT & CO….QUESTION IS, DO I BUY REFLECTIONS, THE DVD OF THE TRIP FOR ONLY $254.73 AND RELIVE EVERY MINUTE ONBOARD??? PROBABLY NOT.

SHIP LIFE HAS TRUNDLED ON TRUNDLESSLY, OCEAN LIFE HAS CONTINUED WHALELESSLY, IF A SHADE CHOPPILY, AND FINISHING FURTHER MAJOR MUSICAL MASTERPIECES UNDER THE FILTHY BANANA INFLUENCE HAS REMAINED MY RAISON D’ÊTRE ON BOARD THE SSS BEJAZZLE. THE AFORMENTIONED “SCOTTISH ONE” HAS CONTINUED TO AMUSE….(GREAT MUSICAL GAG: “MEMORIES…….ER (STOPS ABRUPTLY) …, NO, IT’S GONE…”). NEW ZILLANDERS “KIN AND WINE” HAVE TAKEN TO EATING PLURAL MAIN BUFFET COURSES SIMULTANEOUSLY TO EKE OUT VALUE FOR MONEY SYNDROME, OR AS WINE SAYS “HIVVUNT A BEAN WINN I GET BECK, SO I’M EATIN’ FOR NIXT YEAR…”, AND I’VE BEEN TO THE GYM TWICE. (ONCE TO WALK ROUND IT).

QUOTING THE SCOTTISH ONE:"THE DOCTOR ASKED ME IF I WAS REGULAR, I SAID 'OH YES, EVERY MORNING AT FIVE TO TEN.' UNFORTUNATELY I GET UP AT QUARTER TO ELEVEN…"

THE NUZILLANDERS ARE SUPERB ACTUALLY. FORMER FIRE DEPT GEEZER KEN ADMITTED TO STILL HAVING SEVERE NIGHTMARES ABOUT THE KIDS HE’S HAD TO CUT OUT OF CAR CRASHES. HORRIFIC, SAD AND A FABULOUS MAN.

RELAXATIONALLY, THE PORSCHE, NOW LOTUS SPA HAS STARTED OFFERING DEALS ON YOGA CLASSES. I POINTED OUT TO DEBBIE FROM THE WIRRAL THAT A FRIEND BACK HOME IS A YOGA TEACHER. "WHAT'S THERE TO TEACH?" SHE SAID, SADLY NOT ADDING "DOESN'T IT THICKEN AND GO SOUR ALL BY ITSELF?". THICK AND SOUR, THAT JUST ABOUT COVERS HALF THE PASSENGERS…ACTUALLY THAT’S NOT TRUE. APART FROM MR AND MRS DEEPLY DULL, THE MAJORITY OF MY CHATTEES HAVE BEEN DELIGHTFUL, ENGAGING, AND (SHOCK AND INDEED, HORROR) EVEN INTERESTING! JAN AND JOE FROM PORTLAND OREGON HAVE SUPPLIED ME WITH ENOUGH MUSICAL REFERENCES TO DRINK TANQUERAY DRY WITH.

IN CASE YOU WERE CONCERNED, DEAR READER, MY SPA PEDICURE WITH ROCHELLE WENT WITHOUT INCIDENT (A FEAT IN ITSELF), THOUGH MY CABIN FACIAL WAS LESS SUCCESSFUL, AS MY RHUBARB AND TANQUERAY SCRUB PROVED TOO TASTY TO RESIST….

AS WE APPROACH THE CALIFORNIAN COAST, I’LL BE SORRY TO BID THE PACIFIC A PARTING GESTURE.

HUGE BYE BYES TO FORTHCOMING MAGICIAN JOSH, STAR DANCER/SINGERS MATT AND ROB AND LOVE TO ANY BAR STAFF WHO REMEMBERED MY ROOM CARD NUMBER.

BETWIXT THE INTERIM 5 WILL ARRIVE WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT. FROM THE U.S. OF A. I HOPE.

FARE THEE ALL WELL. X

BETWIXT THE INTERIM 3: A KIWI SLICE

 

DEAR READER, SHOULD YOU CONTINUE THE PERVERSE WISH TO BE MOLLYCODDLED INTO NEAR GIGGLEDOM BY THE CONTINUED JAPES OF A JADED TRAVELLING JESTERETTE, READ ON. OTHERWISE, THERE'S A RATHER BLOODTHIRSTY STORYLINE IN CASUALTY INVOLVING NITROGLYCERINE AND DOUGHNUTS THAT MAY INTEREST YOU.

RECAPPING: BOARDED THE QUEEN MARY 2, DISEMBARKED OR "GOT OFF" EVENTUALLY IN "AUSTRALIA", A FORMER PENAL COLONY THAT MEANS IN THE ORIGINAL ABORIGINAL "NO WORRIES", TRAVELLED A BIT, MARVELLED AT THE GEOMETRY OF CERTAIN OPERA HOUSES AND ART GALLERIES, THEN DEPARTED ON THE SS BUTLITZ RESORT SHIP IN A FORCE 12 HURRICANE TO NEW ZEALAND, A FORMER BRITISH OUTPOST THAT TRANSLATES FROM THE ORIGINAL MAORI/SCOTTISH/DUTCH: "NEW SEA LAND". PHEW.

NEW ZEALAND. LAND OF BEAUTY, MYSTERY AND MORE COACH TOURS THAN YOU CAN SHEAR A SHEEP AT, IS NOW A WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARY OF SIR PETER JACKSON LTD, AND RENTED OUT TO A) THE CHINESE WATER COMPANY INC (NORTH ISLAND) AND B) BRITISH 20 SOMETHINGS FROM CROYDON AND SWINDON (SOUTH ISLAND: QUEENSTOWN AND SURROUNDS). THE PEOPLE WHO USED TO OWN IT OF COURSE NEVER DID, AS THEY, THE MAORIS, ARRIVED FROM POLYKNEESIA, AND ANYONE WITH MORE THAN ONE KNEE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE HASN'T A LEG TO STAND ON. IN FACT "KEY-WEE" (LITERALLY "SMALL DOOR UNLOCKING IMPLEMENT") WAS SO BELIEVED BY THE MAORI PEOPLE AS BELONGING TO THE ORIGINAL HOBBITS, WHO OCCUPIED HOMES OF GREATLY REDUCED SIZE YEARS EARLIER.

THE DICTIONARY HERE IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT FROM EUROPEAN ENGLISH AND PRONUNCIATION CAN TAKE SOME GETTING USED TO:

PUCKLE (PICKLE)

WIPPON (WEAPON)

THEE-UH (THERE)

KEEFUL (CAREFUL)

LORD OF THE RUNGS (A FRANCHISE)

AWESOME (NOT AWESOME BUT GENERALLY OK, FAIR ENOUGH, REASONABLE I SUPPOSE).

TRAVEL HERE IS VIA COACH TOURS, AS THERE ARE ONLY 2 TRAINS RUNNING ON AN EVERY OTHER DAY BASIS (QUITE TRUE). MY BEARDED FRUSTRATED RACING DRIVER COUSIN JBT, AFTER OUTPACING 3 PORSCHES AND A TERRAHAWK MISSILE ON SEVERAL SPIRAL MOUNTAIN HIGHWAYS, JOINED ME FOR SIX DAYS OF SCENIC SPLENDOUR (© FRODO FILMS 2001-2016). WE SOON ENCOUNTERED SEVERE CASES OF BUS DRIVER'S EXPLODING MOUTH, WHICH IS LIKE A STOMACH UPSET EXCEPT THE RUNNING COMMENTARY MUSTN'T FORCE YOU TO CHARGE TO THE ONBOARD LOO, AS "THAT PLACE IS NOT RICKAMEENDUD”.

THIS COMMON DISEASE WAS INTRODUCED TO NZ IN 1853, ALONG WITH, WE WERE REGULARLY INFORMED, 437 KINDS OF TREE, AND REGULAR EARTHQUAKES (SADLY), WHICH HAS RESULTED IN AN INCREASED POPULATION OF RABBITS AND POSSUMS (LATIN: POSSA), NOW USEFULLY PROVIDED AS TARGET PRACTICE FOR LORRIES, SKIN TRADERS AND MY COUSIN.

OUR TRAIN AUDIO GUIDE REGULARLY MOVED INTO ANGELA RIPPON ENGLISH (GOOGLE IT) ALONG THE LINES OF: THE KIKILAKAHUNAPUHE, OR LITERALLY "SUPERMARKET TROLLEY", WAS INTRODUCED IN 1868, WHICH HAS RESULTED IN AN INCREASE IN THE VOLE POPULATION. "LITERALLY" IS THE MOST IMPORTANT WORD IN HER ARMOURY. FOR INSTANCE,"TE COCHAY WEELEE GAIA TUTUKAKA LAMALAMA DINGDONG", LITERALLY, "EVERY BUS DRIVER TOUR GUIDE HAS EXTREME VERBAL DIARRHOEA THAT HAILS FROM THE MOUNTAINS".

ONE DOES HAVE TO ADMIRE HOWEVER THE ENDLESS AND PRECISE DESCRIPTIONS OF SAID MOUNTAINS, LAKES, TREES, BIRDS, GOLF COURSES, HOBBIT LOCATIONS (© FRODO FILANTHROPISM 2001-2016), SQUASHED POSSUMS, LEAVES, STREAMS, WATERFALLS, PIE SHOPS, MRS JONES' ORIGINAL MANUKA HONEY PRODUCTS EMPORIUM AND MAORIMIBILIA (© INTERIM PRODUCTIONS 2017) AND THUS ALL MUST FOLLOW THESE WITH INTENSE PERIODS OF FRIDGE MAGNET PURCHASE AND EXPORT (© MORRRRRDORRRRRRR MAGNETIC ENTERPRISES 2001-2017).

FORTUNATELY FOR JBT AND I, BEAUTY OVERLOAD INOCULATIONS WERE INTRODUCED IN 1869, ALLOWING US TO GAZE CONTINUALLY IN GENUINE AWE, WHILE LEAVING THE LOCALS TO SPEND THEIR TIME WEARING BLACK SOCKS IN SANDALS, SAY MITTEL INSTEAD OF METTLE, AND GET VERY ANGRY AT THE OPPOSITION AT THE BEGINNING OF GAMES OF RUGBY.

FINALLY, THE 21ST CENTURY HAS GIVEN RISE TO ADVANCED RING BURN, WHEREBY TOURS ARRANGED BY SIR PETER JACKSON (© TOURIST TRAPPES 2001-2016) TO POPULAR DESTINATIONS SUCH AS ELODOR'S RIM, HOBBITON SHOPPE, AND ROTORUA WHIFF ARE SO PLENTIFUL THAT A NEW REFRIGERATOR INDUSTRY HAS EMERGED AS LOCATIONS FOR THE ABUNDANCE OF FRIDGE MAGNETS ALONE.

SUFFICE TO SAY, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY ON EARTH DELIVERS SPECTACULARLY WHILST PROVIDING EXCELLENT CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN TOUR NARRATION, TATTOO TRAINING AND ROADKILL COLLECTION. (AS DAME EDNA WOULD HAVE SAID: “GOODBYE, POSSUMS”).

SO IT'S FAREWELL TO NZ AND MY MOST BELOVED FAMILY AND FRIENDS HERE. MISSING YOU ALREADY. WILL LEAVE TO RETURN TO THE PACIFIC OCEAN FOR THE NEXT INSTALMENT OF BETWIXT THE INTERIM 4: RETURN TO BLIGHTY, TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP. NO TORNADOES PLEASE.

BETWIXT 2: THE BUTLITZ INTERIM (THE ONLY CHAPTER)

IN WHICH OUR HERO CRUISES AIMLESSLY IN FORCE 64 GALES BEFORE HIS FINAL DESTINATION

BRADLEY DANIELS, HARDLY DEMURE SEMI AUSTRALIAN WITH NO FIXED ATTACHMENTS, LURED ME INTO THE INTERROGATION SUITE OF A RUN DOWN RE-OPENED SYNAGOGUE IN FITZROY, A ONE HORSE TOWN SALOON CALLED VAU D'VILE IN THE ALMOST OUTER REGIONS OF MELBOURNE. AS THE MAKESHIFT STAGE'S TWENTY THREE MILLION WATT BULBS SHONE INTO MY FORMER EYES, FIVE DRAG QUEENS AND A LITERALLY GREEN DJ SUPPLIED SYNCHRONIZATION OF LIPS TO EARTHA KITT HITS WHILST FEEDING ME WITH AMPLE RED MEAT AND WARM WINE. BUT I STILL WOULDN'T CRACK. I HAD MY MYKI (GOOGLE IT).

THIS WAS THE FINAL ACT IN A THREE WEEK DRAMATIC PRODUCTION KNOWN AS SO MUCH FUN IN OZ. AUSTRALIA, A FORMER PENAL COLONY, IS SURPRISINGLY MODERN, UNSURPRISINGLY HOT YET REMARKABLY, AND GENUINELY, FRIENDLY BEAUTIFUL AND RECOMMENDED. 

THEY STILL SUFFER OCCASIONAL CULTURE SHORTAGE BUT THE FREE TRAMS MAKE UP FOR THAT. THEY DO HOWEVER SAY THINGS LIKE "TINNY" "BARBY" AND "FOOTY", ALL OF WHICH I'D ORIGINALLY THOUGHT WERE ADJECTIVES. SIR LES PATTERSON CLEARLY HASN'T DONE HIS JOB YET. AS IN THE USA, MOST GOOD THINGS ARE "AWESOME", AND SURFING IS COMPULSORY, WHILST HAIR BOBS ARE UBIQUITOUS AND ENVIABLE.

MIND YOU. LISTENING TO THE ONBOARD BAND DO "KISS" ON SHIP 2 "THE SS GOLDEN BUTLITZ" PRE MY KARAOKE DEBUT HAS FOCUSED ME ON THE NEXT, MOST MAJOR STAGE OF LOW BUDGET PALIN, I.E. TRAVELLING IN FORCE 32 GALES TO MY FEMLEE AND PALS IN MAORI COUNTRY. DESPITE SMELLING OF PIZZA, (THE ENTIRE SHIP PONGS OF PARMESAN AND PEPPERONI), THE PRAWN PARCELS AT SUPPER WERE DELISH, AND I'VE ONLY HAD 4 BEERS AND A TANQUERAY. MET A LOVELY BOSNIAN BARMAN CALLED DRAGAN....MARVELLED AT HOW THE SEVERAL THEATRES ON BOARD REMIND ME OF THE BRACKNELL HARVESTER, THOUGH THE OUTDOOR MOVIES UNDER THE STARS ATTRACTION DOES POSSESS THE FINEST AND LOUDEST SOUND SYSTEM ON EARTH, CURRENTLY CAUSING MAJOR AVALANCHING IN ANTARCTICA.

LEARNT THAT THE FRONT OF THE VESSEL IS CALLED THE FORE'WARD, AND THE REAR, ARSE.

THE ARSE OF THIS SHIP POSSESSES A MINI VERSION OF THE LLOYDS BUILDING HOISTED 50 FEET ABOVE DECK AND CONNECTED BY AN AIRPORT STYLE WALKWAY. THIS IS THE NIGHTCLUB CALLED SKYWALKERS. ATTEMPTING 21ST CENTURY STUDIO 54, I FOUND A CHINESE FAMILY IN THERE BEFORE OPENING REPACKING THEIR LUGGAGE. I MAY VENTURE THERE ONCE WE'VE PASSED THE GRAND SLALOM STAGE OF TRAVEL (IF WE EVER DO). IF THE ROOF EVER COLLAPSED.....(SEE LATER).

MANY AMUSING OZZIES HAVE BEEN ER AMUSING, LARGELY SLAGGING OFF THE APPALLING WEATHER, STATING IT'S NOT LIKE IN THE BROCHURE, THOUGH I HELPFULLY STATED IT'S EXACTLY LIKE THE SCARBOROUGH SUMMER BROCHURE.

THERE'S AN ENTERTAINING BRIT WITH EITHER AN AUSTRALIAN OR AMERICAN ACCENT, ALTERNATING WITH VIGOUR, CALLED TONY DELANEY. WITH A GUITAR. AND BOB DYLAN'S HARMONICA. ("BY THE ROLLING STONES OF COURSE. HERE'S ONE ORIGINALLY BY NEIL YOUNG..."). I LIKE THE BAR IN WHICH HE PERFORMS BECAUSE A) IT'S A BAR, AND B) IT'S SLAP BANG IN THE MIDDLE OF BUTLITZ, THEREBY MINIMIZING THE WOBBLE TO SIMPLY EXCRUCIATING.

I'D TREATED MYSELF TO A WINE TASTING ON MY LAST DAY. ROCHELLE MY WAITRESS SAYS "IT'S 34 DOLLARS, IT SAYS 13 DOLLARS BUT IT'S 34, SORRY." THE WORDS CLIQUOT AND VEUVE SWUNG IT FOR ME. ACTUALLY, THE VEUVE AND THE AUSSIE CAB SAUV WERE FINE, REST POO.

STILL, THE CONTINUED TYPHOONS OF DAY FOUR AND FIVE OF THIS MONSTROUS CROSSING WERE EXACERBATED BY EXTENDED HAPPY HOURS WITH PINA COLADAS, TANQUERAYS, AND LONG CHIRPY CHATTRAGE WITH BOB AND DEBS, LONG WILL WE HOPEFULLY CONTINUE FUTURE ACQUAINTANCE.

IN AN UNEXPECTED GAP IN THE HELL THAT WAS THIS JOURNEY, CALM DESCENDED AND WE PULLED INTO AUCKLAND HARBOUR 9 HOURS LATE.

DEAR READER (IF THERE'S ANY LEFT), THERE ARE WAYS OF REACHING THE OTHER END OF THE WORLD WITHOUT ENDURING SUCH MAJOR INTERNATIONAL SUFFERAGE AS ENDURED BY ONESELF, SUCH AS ZIMMER AVOIDANCE, RUTH MADOC IMPERSONATION AND HIGH SEA DESSERT TORTURE, SO ANYONE WHO WISHES TO JUMP ONTO A BHUTAN AIRWAYS CARAVELLE MAY GET TO CHRISTCHURCH BEFORE THE NEXT EARTHQUAKE (SORRY, MY FAMILY) WITHOUT SO MUCH AS A NOOK. OR CRANNIE. I DO THIS FOR YOUR RESEARCH AND MY FAMILY QUEST.

CWM MARCH 9TH, GOLDEN BUTLITZ, (DAY 5 OF FORCE 12 HURRICANE WINDS, TWO WINDOWS BLOWN OUT IN MAIN BAR, ROOF SHATTERED IN NIGHTCLUB, CRACKED NAIL IN LOTUS SPA).

BETWIXT THE INTERIM : 50 SHADES OF GRAVY

BETWIXT THE INTERIM 1#1  PASSING WATERS

“Thing is”, said Sue, “thing is, you up for a fag, young man?”. D and I were circumnavigating the deck after downing an entire chilled bottle of Codorniu 1551 (recall the Sitges post Cava Tour shop Richard?) on our cabin balcony (cabin 5151) in the glorious sun, contemplating the merits of a delicate cucumber finger (D had plumped for the tomato, oh Alan Bennett, you have so much to answer for). Anyway, we’d decided to Post Bubble by way of allowing me a smoke on Deck Seven, when our first confidante, Sue (and Mum) of Suffolk, but previously Post the Most o’ The Costa Del Crime Marbella style (she remembers the Back End of Mile End too), had offered some outdoor company halting us in our rotational travels.

“WELL” I CONTINUED, “IT’S DIFFERENT NEEDS FOR DIFFERENT SITUATIONS, SUE. LET’S FACE IT, HON” (I’D BECOME A SHADE LESS FORMAL AFTER AN ADDITIONAL HALF OF SAN MIGUEL), “HON, WHEN A 747 PILOT IS ASKED TO CIRCLE, HE JUST LOOKS DOWN AT THE M25 AND TURNS LEFT FOR A FEW MORE MINUTES, WHEREAS CAPTAIN KEVIN OF THE QM2 GETS REQUESTED A BIT OF 360 DEGREES BY HIS PILOT, YET HIS TAKES 118 DAYS, IF YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN.”

“DARLING, YOU’VE BEEN ON THE WACKY BACKY,” RETORTED SUE, PASSING THE WELL FINGERED PACKET OF MARLBORO RED TO MUM IN THE WHEELCHAIR. “WELL,” I SAID, "NOT QUITE, BUT I DO THINK A WEEK IN THE SPA MAY HELP AT THIS STAGE.” WE’D BOTH ENCOUNTERED THE PRISTINE PHILLIPINO DEBBIE AT CANYON RANCH RECEPTION EARLIER IN THE DAY, SO WHEN SHE OFFERED ME 7 DAYS FOR THE PRICE OF 3 IN AQUA THERAPY (AN INDOOR POOL WITH SAUNA AND STEAM THROWN IN), I DECIDED, EVENTUALLY, TO JUMP AT THE CHANCE. ESPECIALLY AFTER MY EFFORTS AT AMUSING ANTONIO OUR EQUALLY PHILIPPINO LOVELY WAITER WERE FINALLY BEING MET WITH SOME SUCCESS, PARTICULARLY AS SUGGESTIONS FOR DISPOSAL OF ANY REMAINS OF THE DAY FROM OUR PLATES TO BE SENT TO HIS MYTHICAL CAT (“SHE LIKES ICE CREAM”) HAVE NOW LED TO A DAILY UPDATE ON SAID FELINE’S HEALTH AND HAPPINESS.

ONLY DOWNSIDE, DESPITE BEING INAUGURATED AS A GOLD MEMBER OF THE CUNARD WORLD CLUB, CAPTAIN KEV STILL HASN’T ENGAGED WITH MYSELF AND D, DESPITE BEING GORGEOUSLY GLITTERY (HERSELF) AND DELIGHTFULLY DICKIED AND DJ’D (YOURS TRULY) DURING TWO VIP CHAMPAGNE RECEPTIONS. HARDLY AS IF HIS HUMOUR SCORES OCEANS ELEVEN IS IT?

 

Betwixt the Interim 1#2  Smokers' Cornered

I’D BEEN CONSIDERING MY OPTIONS, NAMELY, WHETHER OR NOT TO DIP MY COMPLETED CIGARETTE INTO THE ASHTRAY OF A THOUSAND BUTTS WHEN PONYTAIL MAN ARRIVED. MID 60S, WHITE AND ALL TRUSSED UP, HIS PONYTAIL DANGLED PRECARIOUSLY SECURED BY A CUNARD ELASTIC BAND. “HI” HE SAID. “OUT FOR YOUR LATE NIGHT SMOKE ARE YOU?” HE ENQUIRED. “YES INDEED, THOUGH JUST FINISHED MINE, THANKS…DON’T LIKE TO OVERDO IT…IF YOU KNOW WHAT MEAN…” I REPLIED, SUSPICIOUS OF HIS STANCE, STIFF AS IF HE RETAINED AN ENTIRE EXPLOSIVE HEDGE FUND BETWEEN HIS BUTTOCKS, ABOUT TO BLOW. INCONSEQUENTIAL WIFE SAT DOWN. “HELLO THERE. ARE YOU TRULY INCONSEQUENTIAL?” I REQUESTED. “OH YES.” SHE REPLIED. “AH,” I SUMMARISED.

THERE WERE STARS IN NIGHT SKY. ORION WAS STILL WEARING HIS BELT, THOUGH NOT FOR LONG, I CONSIDERED, AS IT WAS ABOUT TO BECOME POLLYWOG DAY.

POLLYWOG DAY (I KID YOU NOT) IS A “MESSY CELEBRATION” WHEREBY ALL THOSE WHO HAVE NOT AS YET CROSSED THE EQUATOR THEREBY DO SO, AND BECOME “SHELLBACKS”. OR STAY IN THE GOLDEN LION, DO THEIR 4TH PUB QUIZ OF THE DAY AND GUESS DAVID ESSEX’S MIDDLE NAME. POLLYWOG DAY INVOLVES HAVING SPAGHETTI THROWN AT YOU, APPARENTLY. SUE MENTIONED THIS UNDER HER BREATH DURING MY SECOND SINGAPORE SLING, KIND OF RISOTTO VOCE…..

MEANWHILE, D SUCCESSFULLY MANAGED A BREAKFAST CONVERSATION WITH A MAN FROM YORKSHIRE WITH AN OFFENDED WIFE, WHO SEEMED TO HAVE BEEN PUTTING UP WITH HIS EXCITING INSIGHTS (“THERE’S NOTHING QUITE LIKE HAVING A BICYCLE ASSEMBLED BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES” OR “GET OFF AT WALVIS BAY AND TASTE THE SALT” TO WHICH WIFE REPLIED “NOT VERY EXCITING REALLY”.) I STRUGGLED THROUGH A PLATE OF SOMETHING THINKING THAT GYM, YES GYM, AND ALL BRAN WILL BE THIS WEEK’S MORNING TREATS.

TONIGHT SEES THE ARRIVAL OF THE RHUBARB DAIQUIRI INTO OUR LIVES, COURTESY COMMODORE CLUB WITH SUE (AND MUM).

CAN WAIT.

Betwixt the Interim 1#3  You say "Dackery"

On board life continues apace with D & I largely down to some Cruise Control and some heavy duty onboard entertainment..."could be a good one tomorrow then" says D, "what with the Juggling", "oh, and embroidery classes" I add. Think I've already tired out some of the gang back home with two emailed literary masterpieces so I'm letting RG enjoy his six consecutive nursing shifts in peace, and G & J transform my old kitchen into an Italian Cafe.

WE'VE SADLY MISSED KATIE CLARKE, PIANO MAESTRO. SO TOO THE DUAL FEMALE FIDDLING OF THE WORLD RENOWNED STRING IDOLS. STILL, WE CROSS THE EQUATOR IN HALF AN HOUR, I'M HAVING A SAN MIGUEL TO CELEBRATE (INFORMAL STYLE, OUR RHUBARB DAIQUIRIS LAST NIGHT LEFT ME WITH A BOUT OF DEPRESSION) WHILE D'S JUST HAD HER FIRST SWIM IN THE MINNOWS POOL. SHE'LL NEED A WINE WITH OUR BUFFET SUPPER. I'VE DECIDED WE SHOULD BOYCOTT THE FORMAL DINNERS OCCASIONALLY AS THE SHIP'S MEDIC DOESN'T STOCK MILK OF MAGNESIA OR ANDREWS LIVER SALTS.

HAD A TOTTYBOOST THIS EVENING WITH MEMBERS OF THE SQUAD (TEAM, CREW?) DINJNG CLOSE BY ALL UNIFORMED UP. ONE WAS EATING EPAULETTES OF LAMB AND ANOTHER WAS A RUM BABE. BTW G MAY WISH TO KNOW OUR RHUBARB DAIQUIRIS CONTAINED RATHER A LOT OF BACARDI.

THE FOLLOWING DAY, WHILE D WAS ADDING A ROLLMOP HERRING ON TO HER STARTER PLATE OF STEAK AND KIDNEY MOUSSE, STIR FRY BRATWURST AND CHILL CON CARNE, I MUSED THAT THE SWELL EMANATING FROM THE GALLEY WAS INDEED BANANA CRUMBLE/CREME ANGLAISE SERVED WITH A WHALE DELICE. THAT’D BE DUE TO THE “THEMED” NATURE OF CUNARD LIFE, AS WE APPROACHED WALVIS BAY IN NAMIBIA, INDEED, THE BAY OF WHALES. I’M SURE THE CAPTAIN SAID THERE WAS AN IPOD OF THEM YESTERDAY. THE FORMER SOUTH WEST AFRICA IS RENOWNED FOR ITS FLAMINGOES, ORCAS AND HUGE PILES OF DUST, OR “SAND” AS THEY’RE CALLED IN THE BROCHURE. THE CURRENCY WE WILL USE AS WE POTTER OFF THE SHIP TOMORROW MORN IS THE SOUTH AFRICAN RAND, NOT THE NAMIBIAN SAUERKRAUT, THE OLD FINANCIAL NOTE ESTABLISHED BY NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF DURING THE GERMAN OCCUPATION IN 1874, DURING THE HAER WAR.

OUR US EXPERT, ONBOARD JUGGLER JOHN NATIONS (SIC) STATED WHILST ROTATING THREE SKITTLES SKYWARD, THAT THOUGH NAMIBIA WAS A COUNTRY WITH WHICH TO BE RECKONED, HE’S STAYING ON BOARD TO SPEND TIME WITH HIS THREE ADMIRING GIRLS, THE STRING QUARTET.

FINALLY, LET IT BE SAID MATT H THAT YOU’D BE DEVASTATED AND ASHAMED THAT I DIDN’T GET CHARLIZE THERON IN THE OSCARS PUB QUIZ, THOUGH I DID MANAGE TO SPOT THAT THE INSPIRATION FOR ZOMBIES: DAWN OF THE DEAD 4 IS THE MORNING HAPHAZARD OAP STICKLADEN STAGGER AROUND THE DECK.

ROLL ON TABLE MOUNTAIN. MORE IN A WEEK.

Betwixt the Interim 1#4

DEAR READER, AM KEEN TO PURCHASE A WORLD TOUR 2017 TOP FROM THE CUNARD SHOP OPP CARTIER CITY ON DECK THREE. D SAYS A COTTON POLO WOULD SUIT BUT I THINK IT COSTS A MINT (HA!), SO AM WAITING TIL I (HOPEFULLY) GET TO THE END OF MY TRIP IN JUNE TO SEE IF THERE’S ANY SHIP SPECIALS…MEANWHILE, THE DELIGHTFUL DANIEL (SOMMELIER) HAS BEEN REPOSTED TWO FLOORS UP WITH THE QUEENS GRILL (SHOULD SUIT HIM) SO AFTER A WILD WACKY AND TRULY WONDERFUL TWO DAYS IN CAPE TOWN (LARGELY WITH ROB AND RICH, WE THANK YOU DEEPLY), WE NOW HAVE RANJITH OUR NEW AND SLIGHTLY CAMP WINEFLOGGER, THOUGH ANTONIO REMAINS SCHTUM ABOUT HIS PUSSYCAT BUT ALSO REVEALS THAT THE NEW CAPTAIN “CHRIS” LIKES TO TALK. A LOT. WE’LL BE MEETING HIM AT YET ANOTHER CHAMPAGNE RECEPTION TONIGHT AS WE SPEED TO REUNION AND MAURITIUS THIS WEEK….MUCH OF CAPE TOWN WAS A BLUR BUT TWAS ASTONISHINGLY BEAUTIFUL AND WE DID HAVE DINNER ON AN OCEAN BOULEVARD (BEACH ROAD) ALMOST AS STUNNING AS MIAMI’S, THOUGH THERE ARE ALSO LINGERING MEMORIES OF BEING DROPPED BACK BY THE LOVELY CLAUDIA (AKA SHARON) WHILE SHE EXPLAINED THE PRICE AND CONSEQUENCES OF HER EXPLODING BREASTS, WITHOUT MISSING A TURN.

YESTERDAY, WE SAW ELEPHANT(S), ON AN AFTERNOON “EXCURSION” IN PORT ELIZABETH….EILEEN A FELLOW GUEST NOTED THAT SOME OF THESE TRIPS ARE “A BIT TOO EXPENSIVE, LARGELY DUE TO THEIR COST…”, WHEREAS JO OUR INCREASINGLY UNLISTENABLE “ENTERTAINMENTS DIRECTOR” (RUTH MADOC, HI-DE-HI NO CHARM, BIG SMARM PLUS SOME GREATLY UNPREDICTABLE TEETH) ACTUALLY STATED AT THE END OF A QUITE HILARIOUS PIANO/STANDUP CABARET SHOW: “WELL WHICH BRINGS US TO TOMORROW MORNING WHERE AFTER OUR TALK AT 11AM, THE REST OF THE DAY WILL INDEED FOLLOW.”

WE ALSO HAVE HAD BURNS NIGHT (HAGGIS STARTER FOR DINNER, BUT SADLY NO FIRST AID DEMONSTRATIONS), NEW INTAKE NIGHT (1600 OFF, 1600 ON, AVERAGE AGE REDUCED NOW TO 68.4) AND TONIGHT IT’S THE AFRICAN BALL, WHERE MY NEW RED DICKIE WILL NO DOUBT COMPLEMENT D’S ZULU AND OSTRICH THREE-PIECE. ONE SO TIRES OF BUBBLES. OK, MAYBE NOT.

DISAPPOINTINGLY, 20 DAYS GONE AND STILL HAVEN’T SEEN ANY FISH TYPE OCEAN ACTIVITY APART FROM THE REGULAR SIGHTING OF WHITE BIT. (THAT’S NEARLY A FISH). HAVING MADE MY KARAOKE QM2 DEBUT (VIDEO WIPED UPON REQUEST), “PETE” (THE OTHER DECENT SINGER) AND MYSELF MAY DO A LITTLE PIANO/VOCAL DUET LATER, AND THOUGH IT'S HARD TO MAKE OUT HIS FACE (SUNBED ADDICTION), HE’S A GAME CHAP, AND “DONE TIME IN THE BIZ”.

FINALLY, TABLOID STORY OF THE WEEK WAS THAT I WITNESSED A MOBILITY SCOOTER PILE UP ON DECK 6 BY STAIRWELL C. NO (FURTHER) INJURIES, BUT THERE’S A 1MPH SPEED LIMIT NOW AFTER DUSK ON AFT.

MORE SOON.

Betwixt the Interim 1#5

WELCOME, FROM THE EXECUTIVE DESSERT LOUNGE JUST OFF THE COAST OF REUNION ISLAND. THIS IS WHERE ONCE HEALTHY PUDS GO FOR REHABILITATION AFTER BEING TRANSFORMED INTO HIGH CALORIE SHOW AND INDEED DOOR STOPPERS, HAVING DISOBEYED HEAD CHEF'S ORDERS. TODAY'S FRIED MELON IN LEATHER SAUCE FOR INSTANCE CAN QUADRUPLE ARTERY DIAMETER IN LESS THAN A MINUTE, WHILE THE NOW COMPULSORY SUET CHOCOLATE DELICE COMES WITH A RAGOUT JUS WHICH ACTS AS AN ANTIDOTE TO EVEN THE MOST HARDY OF ONBOARD AIR CONDITIONING VIRUSES WITH ONLY A WHIFF OF SINGLE NOSTRIL INHALATION.

"GOOD MORNING LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THIS IS THE CAPTAIN (OUR MASTER WITH THE WHITE SLIP-ONS) WITH YOUR DAILY UPDATE: THE WIND SPEED IS 12 KNOTS SOUTH-EASTERLY AND THE HUGE VESSEL ON THE HORIZON IS A SOMALI PIRATE SHIP ABOUT TO BOARD AND HOLD THE ENTERTAINMENT DIRECTOR TO RANSOM...."

I AWOKE FROM THIS NEARLY GHASTLY DREAM WISHING I HADN'T HAD THE JHALFREZI MIDNIGHT SNACK, SO I LEFT D TO HER OWN DEVICES, NO DOUBT DEVOURING ANOTHER STEPHEN KING TRILOGY BEFORE TEATIME.

WEEK 4 COMMENCED WITH A RATHER ORANGE MAN CALLED ALVI HANDING ME HIS CARD AND INVITING US TO A "SUMPTUOUS WINE TASTING" OF HIS RANGE OF SOUTH AFRICAN PRODUCE, INCLUDING BUBBLY GIRL 2015 (100% TRUE). NO THENKS, MITEY. ONLY $300 A POP, TOO.

THERE WAS GLEEFUL RUBBING OF HANDS TODAY BECAUSE OF THE EXTRA REQUIRED RUBBING OF HANDS WITH NITRIC ACID EVERYWHERE ON QM2 DUE TO AN EXPECTED OUTBREAK OF MAD COWS DISEASE.

SO, AS THESE NAUTICAL BLOGS ARE ON THEIR LAST SEA LEGS WITH ONLY A FORTNIGHT (OH GOD) REMAINING BEFORE DISEMBARKATION AT AUSTRALIA.....

BY SPECIAL REQUEST, I'VE BEEN ASKED TO DESCRIBE OUR LIVING ACCOMMODATION, OR ROOM.

WELL, THE 'STATEROOMS' ON BOARD QM2 WOULD BE VALUED AT £6 MILLION LEASEHOLD IN THE VAUXHALL AREA OF LONDON, LARGE ENOUGH TO HOUSE 26 FAMILIES OF LEMURS, WITH MINIBAR AND DAILY BISCUIT FACILITIES (NOT FORGETTING THE PILLOW CHOCOLATES) AND OURS HAS A BALCONY WHICH CUNARD HAVE HELPFULLY SUPPLIED WITH EASY ACCESS TO JUMPING OVERBOARD AT TIMES OF REGULAR DAILY STRESS, REMOVING THE ELECTRIFIED HANDRAIL. PLEASE NOTE THAT BALCONIES ARE NOT PROVIDED ON DECKS 1 TO 4 FOR SAFETY PURPOSES.

THE SMART SAMSUNG TV HAS A BRIDGE WEBCAM CHANNEL WHICH REGULARLY UPDATES THE VIEWER ON THE CHOPPINESS OF THE OCEAN AS "NO SWELL, A LITTLE BIT OF SWELL, AND, REALLY RATHER SWELL". IF DESIRED, THE AUDIO SWITCHES TO A LIVE FEED OF THE 180 PHILLIPPINO OARSFOLK DOWN BELOW SINGING "VOLGA BOAT MEN" IN UNISON FOR INTERACTIVE PURPOSES.

WE REGULARLY ENJOY THE ENTERTAINMENT DIRECTOR CHANNEL, WHERE SUPERSTAR JO DELIGHTS US WITH RERUNS OF HER FAVOURITE BREAKFAST INTERVIEWS WITH SHIP'S CELEBRITY GUESTS INCLUDING THE EXPERT ON THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME, AND THE MAN WHO MANUFACTURES CELLOS.

THE BATHROOM IS AMPLY SIZED, WITH SHOWER CURTAIN IN CHIFFON, IMMOVABLE OR CAPTAIN CORDUROY, AND A TOILET FLUSH FACILITY MORE POWERFUL AND MARGINALLY LOUDER THAN THE JUBILEE LINE SAFETY DOOR SYSTEM.

FINALLY, THE COMEDY HANGER SYSTEM (CHS) COMES IN THREE VARIETIES: AWKWARD, IRRITATING AND UNPOPULAR, WITH REGULAR NEED TO RESORT TO THE HILARIOUSLY PRICED VALET SERVICE (HPVS) WHO WILL RE-IRON YOUR SMALLS AT A MOMENT'S NOTICE.

JERRY, OUR ROOM JANITOR, PROMISES ME SOME WIRE REPLACEMENTS AFTER HE WATCHES MOMMIE DEAREST TONIGHT.

THE FINAL FLOURISHES PRE PERTH SOON.

Betwixt the Interim 1#6

"SUM PEEPUL HEF COT BEEGA FEESH TA FRAR", WERE THE WORDS SPOKEN BY OUR NEW SOUTH AFRICAN RATHER SWEET DINNER BUDDIES.

"ENNEE KICE, HA DEED THET GAR GIT A JOB ON THEECE SHIPP?" HUBBY WAS OF COURSE TALKING ABOUT LOUIS HOOVER, THE LEAST CHARISMATIC AND MOST FLAT "SINGING" WILLESDEN GREEN VETERAN OF LONDON'S RAT PACK MUSICAL. AND HE WAS RART. HE'S CERTAINLY LEFT A VACUUM FOR FUTURE ENTERTAINMENT HERE. (KER-CHING).

RECAP. WINDING DOWN A WEEK BEFORE DEPARTURE FROM THIS VESSEL IS A PROTRACTED BUSINESS. I'M SPENDING PRE 6PM TIME WRITING SONGS (IT SAYS HERE, ON NUMBER 3 AS WE SPEAK) AND ALTERNATING BETWEEN GYM AND SPA DEPENDING ON WHETHER OR NOT THE CROSS TRAINER MACHINES ARE SWAYING MORE THAN 90 DEGREES TO THE HORIZON. D IS TAKING IN AFTERNOON MOVIES AND THEATRE SHOWS THOUGH HER SEA SHANTY CLASSES AREN'T GOING TOO WELL. WE WERE SHOCKINGLY AWOKEN BY THE P.A. ANNOUNCING YESTERDAY MORNING THAT THE TRADITIONAL CUNARD TUG OF WAR COMPETITION WAS POSTPONED DUE TO HIGH WIND, THOUGH SERVING OF THE LUNCHTIME CHILLI CONTINUES UNABATED WITH EXTRA BEANS.

D AND I DID THE ROARING 20S BALL (SO NAMED AS IT’S THE YEARS OF BIRTH FOR MOST OF THE GUESTS, APART FROM OUR OZ FRIEND CHRISTINE (“HAVE ANOTHER BLOODY COCKTAIL, YA WIMP”), AND I BECAME FRIENDS WITH A JOLLY DECENT CHICAGO CUSTOM CAR AND LITHOGRAPHY MULTIMILLIONAIRE CALLED DON (WHO BUMMED A FEW FAGS OFF ME), AND WE’LL HOOK UP IN CHICAGO LATER THIS TRIP. HIS MISSUS HATES THIS SHIP. A LOT.

WHICH BRINGS US TO TODAY, ONE DAY BEFORE PERTH. ALL DECKS CLOSED DUE TO DANGER OF BEING BLOWN ORF. TV SCREEN SAYS "ROUGH". NOT QUITE AS FRIGHTENING AS THE INSINCERITY OF NORTHERN MAGICIAN PHIL HITCHCOCK, WHO ENDED HIS ACT LAST NIGHT BEING SWALLOWED UP BY A YELLOW BALLOON TO TEPID APPLAUSE. IF ONLY.

CONSEQUENTLY THE JIGSAW BOARDS ARE IN FULL SWING, AND KNITTING AND CROCHET AFTERNOON CLASSES ARE PACKED, IRONICALLY RUNNING CONCURRENTLY WITH THE MAH JONGG GROUPS ** (** N.B. KNOWLEDGE OF MAH JONGG HANDS REQUIRED TO UNDERSTAND THIS QUIP).

FINALLY, BEFORE WE BEGIN STOPPING OFF AT PERTH, THEN BUSSELTON (A BIT FURTHER ROUND) AND THEN ADELAIDE (BEFORE GETTING ORF FOR GOOD AT MELBOURNE), I'D LIKE TO SCREAM.

LOUDLY.

HAD ENOUGH.

FINAL BETWIXT NEXT WEEK, YOU LUCKY PEOPLE.

Betwixt the FINAL FIRST INTERIM (1#7)

FINALLY. THE NEWS YOU’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR. THE FINAL CAPTAIN’S BLOG.

CAROL ZIMMERMAN AND HUBBY (OUR JOVIAL EXTREMELY OAP SOUTH AFRICANS) CONFESSED TO US OVER DINNER LAST NIGHT THAT THEY OWN A PLUMBING EMPIRE IN CAPE TOWN, WHOSE MOTTO IS “WE’RE NUMBER ONE WITH YOUR NUMBER TWOS” (COMPARED OF COURSE WITH MY HUGELY ORIGINAL COMPANY SLOGAN “STILL TURNING YOUR NUMBER TWOS INTO NUMBER ONES”). HER LADYSHIP THENCE LATER DEBUTED IN KARAOKE, SINGING SOME WHITNEY!!! I HAVE VIDEO EVIDENCE. SHE’S ACTUALLY QUITE REMARKABLE (AND PLEASE DON’T OBJECT TOO MUCH TO MY RESPELLING OF THEIR ACCENT, IT’S ALL DONE QUARRRT AFFAXIONUTLEE).

PROJECT LONG HALL (SEE WHAT I DID THERE, COS OF THE HUGE LONGITUDINAL ARRAY OF CABINS) IS COMING TO AN END, ARRIVING IN THE CITY OF NEIGHBOURS, EVERYBODY NEEDS GOOD NEIGHBOURS, THIS COMING SATURDAY. D AND I (NOW BOTH AWARDED GOLD STATUS, MEANING WE’VE WALKED THE CIRCUMFERENCE OF THE SHIP 2000 TIMES) ARE PREPARING FOR OUR FINAL FORMAL ATTACK ON THE 19TH CENTURY ENTERTAINMENT DONNING OUR DICKIES AND DRESSES (I’M WEARING A LONG FLOWING SILK NUMBER BY ALDI & LIDL), AND THEN IT’S THREE MORE DAYS OF GIGACALORIE CELL DECK H, AND ONE MORE STAGGER TO THE ONLY PLANETARIUM AT SEA TO LISTEN TO AN AMERICAN MEGASTAR DISCUSSING PROBLEMS WITH HIS ASTEROIDS.

SO FAR, THE FORMER CONVICTS WE’VE MET ARE GREATLY ENTHUSIASTIC, HUGELY PLEASANT, SAY "YEE, AR NO" (END WORD RISING EVER UPWARDS, GREETING THE NEWLY LOCATED STARS ABOVE WITH PLAYFUL FINGERTIPS). SO FAR INDEED, LOVING AUSTRALIA AND CAN’T WAIT TO DITCH THE JALOPY. SMOKERS’ CORNER (TWO TABLES ON DECK 8 AND A GAY WAITER FROM ROTHERHAM NAMED SCOTT) REMAINS A CONSTANT SOURCE OF HIGH QUALITY GOSSIP. F’RINSTANCE, GLADYS (REALLY) ON DECK 10 (THE VERY POSH STATEROOMS) HAS CHANGED CABINS SIX TIMES (OUSTING OTHERS) MAINLY DOWN TO INCONSISTENT WATER PRESSURE AND THE WRONG KIND OF TONIC IN HER PERSONAL MAXIBAR. SCOTT IS IN FACT LEAVING THE SHIP, AND CUNARD ITSELF, AT SYDNEY TO MEET HIS PARTNER AT MARDI GRAS THENCE FLYING HOME TO JOIN BRITISH AIRWAYS, GROUNDED THIS TIME. NICE CHAP, BUT THE SHORTS WERE SIMPLY A MISTAKE.

TONIGHT WE WENT TO SEE A FLOATING OLDER VERSION OF ONE DIRECTION MEETS IL DIVO (UNFORTUNATELY NOT CALLED KNOTS CRUISING, BUT “THE 4TUNES”). MAJESTIC MEDIOCRITY. THE WINE WAS GOOD. ENDED UP MEETING AUSSIE TOUR REPS ON POST MIDNIGHT DECK CLAIMING THEY WERE GOOD BECAUSE “THOSE GUYS WERE HOT” (OPINIONS OF BOTH MALE AND FEMALE).

SO.

WHAT TO SAY IN SUMMARY ABOUT A CUNARD CRUISE (OF OVER 10 DAYS IN ANY CASE: OURS WAS 39). FOOD? RIDICULOUS, ASTONISHING BUT EVENTUALLY TIRESOME. DECOR AND FACILITIES? MOSTLY WONDERFUL. ENTERTAINMENT? VERY MIXED…MOSTLY 18TH CENTURY IN ORIGINALITY, BUT HUGE THOUGH MASSIVELY OLD FASHIONED STAGE SHOWS WITH GREAT SINGERS DANCERS AND ORCHESTRA/BAND. PASSENGERS? DECREPIT. CREW? MOSTLY JOLLY. INTERNET, DIRE AND EXPENSIVE, ONE DOES TURN TO IT TO SEND THESE ENDLESS MISSIVES BACK TO MY SUPPOSED FANS (THOSE WHO’VE RESPONDED WITH AN ABSENCE OF WORDS BY THE WAY, I DO UNDERSTAND AND I’LL SPEAK TO YOU AGAIN SOMEDAY). FINALLY, WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS METHOD OF TRAVEL FOR ENJOYMENT PORPOISES (NOT A BLOODY BIT OF SEALIFE SPOTTED IN THE OCEANS INCIDENTALLY, THEY’D PROBABLY SEEN THE SHOWS)?

NO.

NOT FOR OVER 10 DAYS I’D SAY, UNLESS YOU LIKE THE REPETITION, ROUTINE, REFRESHMENT, RIGMAROLE AND RECUPERATIVE RESTORATIVE REQUIREMENTS OF RELAXATION (AND OTHER WORDS BEGINNING WITH “R”) AND OF COURSE THE STABILITY AND COMFORT OF “THE WORLD’S MOST STABLE AND COMFORTABLE OCEAN LINER”.

THE STOPOFFS THOUGH HAVE BEEN FABULOUS: WE’VE MET HOSTS OF FAB STAFF, DINNER MATES, DECK MATES AND A COUPLE OF EXTREMELY WEIRD WORLD CUNARD CLUB REPS, WHO, DESPITE BOTH BEING GERMAN, BOTH SOUND GERMAN AND DON’T SEEM TO DO MUCH EXCEPT PRESENT FLOWERS TO STALWART PASSENGERS WHO KEEP DOING THE WHOLE 105 DAYS EVERY YEAR. KARAOKE’S BEEN OK. (OK, I BECAME A LEGEND FOR THREE NIGHTS).

SUE (AND MUM), CHRISTINE, DON (SEE YA IN CHICAGO) NEIL AND MISSUS, JOHN AND ANNE, CAROL AND HUBBY FROM SOUTH AFRICA (WITH THE FLOWN IN FOOD, WEIRD), ANTONIO, DANIEL, RANGITH, AND JERRY OUR ROOM CHAP, WE LOVE AND THANK YOU ALL. WE DON’T PARTICULARLY THANK RUTH MADOC COPYCAT ENTS DIRECTOR JO WITH THE PECULIAR TEETH AND HAND MOVEMENTS, AND THE ONLY PERSON I’VE EVER HEARD PRONOUNCING THE CITY OF NEIGHBOURS AS “MEL-BURRRRRN”. NEITHER DO WE THANK CHARISMA BYPASS FIRST CAPTAIN KEVIN, THOUGH CURRENT CAPTAIN CHRISTOPHER (WHITE SLIP-ONS) HAS SINCE BEEN A REVELATION IN A JOLLY HOCKEY STICKS I SAY OLD CHAP, BUTTON UP YER HATCHES AND WHAT-HO KIND OF WAY. AS FOR THE NAVIGATOR, A SCOTTISH GENTLEMEN CALLED MO, I GENUINELY HAVEN’T UNDERSTOOD A WORD HE’S SAID. (GORDON H AND JOHNNY MACA, I WILL ALWAYS FORGIVE YOUR BEAUTIFUL TONGUES).

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, IN THE OPTIMISTIC YET INEVITABLE WORDS OF MRS CAROL ZIMMERMAN, A LADY SO ADMIRABLE IN EVERY WAY: "I'LL HAVE THE KEE LARM PAR".

I THINK WE CAN ALL RELATE TO THAT.

© CWM COSY HOTEL, DRY LAND, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA 18/2/2017