Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Home thoughts from afloat I

Sorry but access aboard is limited so no time to handle comments. Still hope you like the following.

Last night threw up a conundrum we wouldn’t have faced at home. More of that later, but for now here follow Dr J’s first thoughts on the cruising lifestyle.

As you are all aware this was an unknown quantity until three days ago. We brought to it a lot of expectations born out of prejudice, hearsay and popular culture. They have been confirmed and confounded in equal measure but all things considered and without even making landfall yet, we are having a whale of a time!

Yes there are an awful lot of very well to do, fairly elderly folk aboard, but there’s lots of us commoners too, and way more kids than we were expecting. So much so that our littlest has made a few friends already, and will be taking to the stage with some of them this afternoon in a show they are putting on in the theatre. Mainly I suspect to an audience of proud parents and doting grandparents for sure, but some seasoned veterans seem to be prepared to turn out to almost anything so we shall see. Her elder brother, being a reticent teenage lad is so far keeping his powder dry, but as a growing lad is whole heartedly enjoying the catering arrangements which are both plentiful and sumptuous.

The staff are unerringly and perpetually cheery. This is astonishing given the varying degree of respect they are shown by some of our fellow travellers. They are also almost all, excepting the "White Suits" from Asia. Indian waiters and chefs. Phillipina waitresses, bar staff and maids. It could feel depressingly colonial if they weren’t all so thoroughly charming and engaging.

Formal nights are not the dread occasions we were expecting. They are just as much fun as the less formal, but we all get to dress up like Penguins or Peacocks *. I presume this is so that if we were unfortunate enough to hit something and sink rescuers would think it odd to see penguins this far north, or peacocks this far off shore and would flock to our assistance. But despite the formal attire, and the "nice" table manners, the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly throughout.

But we have faced one challenge thus-far. Namely, what is the correct wine to serve with "Toad in the Hole". We settled for a very chirpy Beaujolais Villages, but I think we missed a trick. I am now convinced we should have gone with good old fashioned ale instead. After all a dish of such taste and refinement needs hops!

Got to go now. There’s a Picasso and a Chagal in the art auction today and I need to stop the kids from putting a bid on!

What Ho!

* Really, of course, that should be Peahens, but the display makes them all cross dressers for the night….


Shinga said...

Toad in the Hole - according to my husband, Marston's Oyster Stout, followed closely by a Black Sheep, but sadly, not a Theakston's Old Peculier as that apparently demands more of a hearty beef stew - the jury is out on the need for kidney to form part of the mix.

Regards - Shinga

stitchwort said...

I'd have thought it all depends on whether it's real toad......

Geena said...

Champagne. With anything. That's all.

When are you coming back, darn it! This has gone on long enough now.

Doctor Jest said...

shinga-- Mr S is wise beyond his years.

Stitchwort-- if 'twas indeed then I'm all for eating more amphibians.

geena-- back now. champagne's a good thought but not as easy to pun with.... or was that the intention?