Thursday 27 April 2023

Kingfisher fishing post

It has taken some time, but these photos of the bottom of the garden were taken in January 2022.

And here it is today. 

It took many hours of cutting, strimming, burning and taking stuff to the tip, but it is now almost under control. 

I saw a kingfisher flying past yesterday, so for the very final piece of pruning I have made a kingfisher perch, and really hope that he likes it, and maybe even sits on it to do a bit of fishing. 

It looks very basic from this angle, but once some plants start growing on the bank it should hopefully look a bit more inviting. 

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Strictly Come Dancing binge

On Sunday night we went to the very nice Aylesbury Waterside Theatre to see Johannes from Strictly's very own show. The place was packed full of over 1,000 excited ladies of a certain age - myself and Susan included - and a much smaller number of probably not so excited men, including Darren and Paul.

The outfits were extremely exotic, the dancing fast and furious, but unfortunately absolutely no photography allowed. Thank you to Susan for breaking the rules and getting one very quick photo at the encore.

Then on Tuesday afternoon Darren got almost free tickets to see Kai and Nadiya at the Swindon Wyvern Theatre. Not so busy this time, with only 200 tickets sold and lots of empty seats, but another cracker of a show.

We were actively encouraged to take lots of photos to put on social media, and Nadiya must have changed her outfit at least a dozen times in two hours.

They were really likeable and cheerful, had six backing dancers and a great singer.

There was a moment when Kai started chatting to a couple on the front row who were very quiet and shy. What a shame I thought, that could have been us, and maybe we could even have got a quick waltz around the stage. Sadly it wasn't to be.

Two brilliant events, and very different and I can't say which one I preferred more.

Friday 7 April 2023

Almost our wedding anniversary

24 years and 364 days ago we got married, and we celebrated this date in style on the last day of our cruise. We had booked in to an on board restaurant that served dinner and then entertainment.

It started almost in the manner of the famous Goodfellas restaurant scene as we followed the waiter around all of the tables, and then arrived at our table which was right at the side of the stage. No free bottle of champagne though.

Dinner was nice, and the entertainment was La Voix, who we didn't know, but was on Britain's Got Talent, and in the Ab Fab movie, amongst many other things.

She started well with a Shirley Bassey hit and then asked about birthday's and anniversaries. I told her about ours and that was all. She then started making jokes about the ship and the events they put on, and asked if anyone had been to the ballet classes. 

In a split second and without thinking I put my hand up, and then somehow ended up on stage trying to teach La Voix a few steps, while Darren quietly died in his chair.

My triumphant Darcy Bussell moment had arrived.

After that she started chatting to us and making silly jokes about our house, and Darren's shirt needing ironing. We won a plaque as the most picked upon guests, and had our photograph taken with her too.

Memorable night and it's not even our wedding anniversary yet.

Monday 3 April 2023

Ballet and the Azores

We have spent almost the last week at sea crossing the Atlantic. I have used some of that time fruitfully to attend daily ballet classes.

As I am doing it I feel quite graceful and swan like, but unfortunately this isn't shown in the photos, or indeed in real life. I don't think that Darcy and Marinella have too much to worry about.

It was all change though today as we arrived at the Azores for a day on dry land. 

The ship is docked in a very nice little harbour with signs that say that the whole world passes through here. Lots of ships still dock to refuel and restock on their way across the Atlantic, and they have a tradition of painting their ship's name on the harbour wall.

We decided to visit a lovely botanic garden this morning and admired the beautiful plants and interesting caves.

Nice as the garden was, the next place was better. Apparently it is the only place in the world where pineapples are grown in greenhouses.

Each plant had a huge, juicy pineapple just waiting to be harvested, and we found lots of them at the bar and gift shop. 

We had a free taster of pineapple jam and liqueur, and then we stayed for ages retesting the pineapple beer and pineapple daiquiris.

Back at the ship now and just a few hours to go before we set off on our last leg back to Southampton.

St Kitts - a week ago

The national bird of the island is a brown pelican and I was pleased that this was the first thing that we saw when leaving the ship this morning.

I couldn't find anything for us to do close to the ship so we decided to go on an island tour with one of the local guides. This is a case of deja vu as we did exactly the same thing in 2007 when we last visited.

In fact, judging by the creaking and lack of suspension, it was probably the same van.

We set off around the town which was founded in the 1600s, but due to hurricanes and earthquakes over the years, most of the buildings are less than 100 years old.

Best bits was the rum punch at an old sugar cane plantation

and the view of the island.

A nice, bumpy ride back with the sun on our faces and the wind in our hair.

Ps, this all happened a week ago and we have spent the time since then crossing the Atlantic without any WiFi.

We have now hit land again and back to staring at the screens.