A Travellerspoint blog

At Sea - Saturday, 6 April 2019

overcast 14 °C
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Queens Suite - Deck 9 - Cabin 9047
We woke to a grey, dreary day with quite a swell, but this ship is magnificent. Can't feel a thing! Wind force 8.

Today is another sea day en route to Civitavecchia, the port for Rome. We are enjoying the sea days - total relaxation, though the weather is getting much cooler.

This morning after breakfast, I went to another lecture by Professor Margaret Cox on Health and Disease in the Graeco-Roman World. Very interesting.

Then I attended a lecture in the CanyonRanch Spa Club on the Secrets to a Flatter Stomach. It was a light bulb moment for me. Marco talked about how to speed up your metabolism by doing weights in the gym. Now, I absolutely HATE going to the gym, but I am willing to give the weights thing a go if it will get rid of my stomach, because nothing else works. Watch this space. I am going to book a complimentary session with him to see what it's like.

The sun is trying to come out and land has come into sight. It is the boot of Italy.

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Spent the afternoon watching Bohemian Rhapsody - the story of Queen and Freddie Mercury. It was great to see it again.

Our next door neighbour on the ship told us that there is a man sitting next to him in the dining room who told him he was Freddie Mercury's confidante and tried to stop the release of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody because it wasn't a true reflection of Freddie and his life. I am thinking he must have been Paul who was sacked by Freddie for not passing on a message from Bob Geldorf about LiveAid, because Brian May and Roger Taylor were collaborators on the movie, so I think they would get it right.

We went to a show before dinner tonight and sat with Yemi and Fiona. It was the magician Jamie Raven and he came second in Britain's Got Talent. He was beaten by a three legged dog by two per cent of the vote! He was very, very good.

We are entering a new time zone and have to turn the clocks back one hour tonight.

Posted by gaddingabout 00:36 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Cornwall - Thursday, 18 April 2019

Last day in Cornwall

sunny 24 °C
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Today is our last day in Cornwall and we are feeling very sad.

Andrew came to pick us up as usual, but without Jean, as her daughter and family are arriving this afternoon for the Easter long weekend and she has some stuff to do.

First of all, Andrew took us to a church grave yard at Michaelstow that his grandfather had donated to the church and his 21 year old son was the first to be buried there. He was bitten by a fly that is like our March fly in Australia, and it got infected and he died. Terrible.

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We then went to the Michaelstow church that Andrew and Jean attend. "They" were trying to close this church but Andrew and Jean and other locals fought to keep it open, and won. There is not a huge congregation, in fact sometimes there are only about eight people at a service, but it is such a beautiful church in a lovely location, it would be a shame to close it down. But of course, it is heritage listed, like everything in the UK, so it can't be pulled down which is a good thing.

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This is a Holy Well. It used to be full of water, but has since dried up. Andrew's grandchildren were baptised there. All the family stood down in the well when the children were baptised. A long time ago, an old woman used to live down there and the local villagers would bring her food.

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We then went back to the farm to collect Jean. Andrew gave us a guided tour of his blueberry tunnels. Very impressive. He is the only blueberry grower in Cornwall and it is going very well. He has 50 acres of blueberries, 1,000 acres of potatoes, 600 acres of maize and 400 acres of maize. He owns a lot of the land but also leases land for about 10 years.

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This is a new dam that Andrew is digging on his property and another house that is on his land. Some of his workers live in it.

Back at the house to collect Jean, we had coffee and blueberry muffins near their indoor pool. It is a pool with a current which is very good exercise to swim against the current. I would love one in my home.

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With Jean on board, we drove to Camelford to pick up some pasties then on to Port William to eat them. Port William is on the coast and the views are breathtaking. It is very warm and everyone is out, lying on the rocks and some are brave enough to swim, albeit in wet suits because the water is freezing. It always is - even in summer. This is Poldark country and the first series of Poldark was filmed along these cliffs.

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I had my first real Cornish Pastie - it was quite good. Better than I expected, but the location had a lot to do with it. Stunning scenery.

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This is the cemetery at Tintagel.

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We went to Boscastle Farm Shop and Cafe for an icecream before heading home. What a wonderful day it was. Cornwall has such stunning scenery.

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When we arrived back at the farm, Kate, David and their children had arrived from Wales for the Easter weekend. These are Andrew and jean's grandchildren.

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We had a couple of bottles of Verve Clique with Kate and David and then they all came to dinner with us at the Bowood Golf Club. We were the only ones in the dining room for most of our meal and then a bus load of ladies arrived but we were ready to go by then. It was a nice way to finish our trip to Cornwall.

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Posted by gaddingabout 14:07 Archived in England Comments (0)

London - Saturday, 20 April 2019

sunny 24 °C
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Goodenough Hotel - Room 192

We had a huge sleep in this morning as because it is the Bank Holiday weekend (otherwise known as Easter) and breakfast is held in the Goodenough College across the square, it is more like Brunch, and doesn't start until 10.30 am and goes until 2 pm.

We wandered across the square into Goodenough College. It is a stunning building. This area is very quiet and the streets are very wide and hardly any traffic at all. It feels very safe and nice to walk around. And we have both calmed down considerably after the Good Friday stress of returning the hire car!

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Our breakfast in the Main Hall reminded me of the dining hall in the Harry Potter movies. It is pretty basic fare but good enough for us and there was hardly anyone there. Maybe they have all gone home for the weekend.

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After breakfast we tried to sort out our mobile problems, but to no avail. Basically, the problem is that when the guy at the service station between Southampton and Cornwall sold us our Lebara Sim Card and then activated it, he didn't stiplate a plan for one month. So, we have made two phone calls each, plus a bit of GPS and now Lebara is asking us to top up our sims. Not happy. After lots of discussion, we have decided to cut our losses and buy a different Sim and just put it in one phone, as we only have a couple of weeks left in the UK.

Once that had been sorted out, we walked to the Lyceum Theatre to see Tina Turner the Musical at 2.30 pm. It only took 20 minutes and as we were early, we had a beer and a coffee nearby and then went to the show.

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We had great seats - in the middle of row 2 in the dress circle. While we were chatting with the people next to us, the woman and her daughter in front of us told us that they were from Adelaide but the woman had grown up in Canberra in the suburb of Hawker, which is next to us in Cook. Small world.

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The show was just amazing. The energy of the cast was fantastic. And to hear the story of Tina was very enlightening. I learnt a lot of things about her that I didn't know. I now view Tina Turner is a totally different light - totally awe inspiring. She is an amazing woman and she just never gave up. Incredible.

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The weather is mild and pleasant and we strolled home, via a supermarket to buy some tonic for our G&T at the end of the day. The check out man wouldn't accept one of our pounds, because they have now been superceded and you can change them at the bank. What the! But another customer swapped his pound for our pound, which was a very nice thing to do.

We went back to our room and had a little rest before dinner and went online and booked some seats for The Lion King. We really had such a great day today and we want to see as many shows as we can while we are in the area. We then walked back to our Italian restaurant. We had a quick meal and were just about to leave when the owner brought out the Lemincella again. Oh no! Not another night of almost drowning in the bath!

We are now safely back in our room, catching up on blogging and watching Freddie Mercury and Queen at Wembley. Just wonderful!

Posted by gaddingabout 13:26 Archived in England Comments (0)

London - Friday, 19 April 2019

Good Friday - bye bye Cornwall

sunny 26 °C
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Goodenough Hotel - Room 192

Today it is Good Friday in the UK and Australia but here in the UK, you would hardly know it. Everything happens as normal. Nothing is closed.

We checked out of Bowood Park and headed over to Andrew and Jean's for one last goodbye and a few final family photos! No comment needed.

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Everyone was there - Joe, Emma, Harry and Max; Kate, David, Ivy, Daisy and Camellia; Jean and Andrew and two dogs - what a noise. Kids yelling, dogs barking and everyone trying to speak above each other. Utter chaos, but these Buttons just love their family. It is so nice to see.

This is an old blacksmith shop that once belonged to a Button ancestor.

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So we headed off for our four hour drive to London. The GPS took us on the main M road but Phil wanted to go on a lesser road, so we finally found it and luckily, there wasn't much traffic on it at all. The cars going the other way to Cornwall, were bumper to bumper all the way. We passed Stonehenge.

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Originally we had decided to go to the hotel first, drop off the luggage and then take the car back to Victoria Station and catch a taxi back to the Goodenough Hotel. Just as we were approaching London, Phil decided to change the order and take the car back first, and then catch a taxi to the hotel. All along, I have been a bit nervous about dropping the car off, late in the day on Good Friday.

So, we found the Europcar office and of course it was closed. Just then, a guy walked out of the parking station next door, so I chased him down the road and he came back and opened the parking station for us. Europcar was on the fourth level, but when we got up there, there was no one there to accept the car. Phil didn't want to leave it (even though there was a slot for the keys), so we drove back down and then couldn't get out the boom gate. Luckily for us, there were some attendants there who told us to back up to let others out of the car park, and then they talked Phil into taking the car back up to Level 3 and they would take responsibility for the keys. Good!

One of the car park attendants found a taxi for us and we loaded all the luggage in and headed for the Goodenough Hotel. There are people everywhere and a lot of roads are closed because there are a lot of protesters in town, protesting at the Houses of Parliament about Climate Change.

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When we arrived at our hotel, we were given a room on the second floor, overlooking the park with a balcony and a huge bay window. The room was like an oven because it was facing west. There is no elevator and a staff member had carried our bags upstairs but Phil went to reception and asked for a room change. The reception staff weren't very happy because they had to carry our bags back down to the lower level. We are again in a Hobbit House, but we have an entry, a separate bathroom and bedroom and we are at the back of the building, which makes our room reasonably cool. And we also have a bath and a heated towel rack which is good for drying all the clothes I have to start rinsing out.

We decided to walk a couple of blocks to an Italian restaurant for dinner and as we were walking down the road, literally bumped into a Canberra couple who were on the Queen Mary with us! So we went to a pub and had a couple of drinks with them and left them at about five to nine, to have dinner at the restaurant. They were about to close but very nicely let us in and we had a very delicious pizza to share, plus a bottle of red.

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Turns out the owner is Turkish so he and Phil hit is off very well. After dinner, he gave us a complimentary Limoncella. Good grief. I hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast, so after three Prosecos, half a bottle of red wine and then a Limoncella, I virtually floated home, somehow had a bath without drowning myself and collapsed on the bed in a drunken stupour! What an ending to a very stressful day.

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Posted by gaddingabout 11:57 Archived in England Comments (0)

At Sea - Friday, 5 April 2019

rain 16 °C
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Queens Suite - Deck 9 - Cabin 9047
Gala Evening
It is decidely cooler this morning. No sunrise as such and it is a rather grey and cloudy day. We are sailing to Civitavecchia, the port for Rome and are off Crete at present.

Have had a very lazy day in our cabin, reading and watching movies. It's overcast and has rained a little bit. No one much out on deck today. We even skipped lunch which our waistlines were very happy about!

I went to a lecture this afternoon by Professor Margaret Cox entitled "Old Bones Tell Tales: The Work of the Forensic Anthropologist". It was very interesting and in a few days time she will talk about the work she is doing for the Australian Government in identifying the bodies of Australian soldiers killed in Fromelles in World War One. Should be interesting too.

It was a Gala Night tonight, so after dinner, all dressed up, we went to a show to see Phillip Browne performing. Very, very talented with a fabulous voice. He has starred in West End productions of The Lion King, Showboat and Porgy and Bess. The standard of the performers just gets better and better.

We are sailing through a Force 8 storm or sea or something, BUT this ship is as smooth as anything. I can't feel a thing!

Posted by gaddingabout 13:28 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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