The sun rose this morning off the port bow, so we’ve changed our heading. (99º, the chart on TV says.) Of course, the key point is, “The sun rose this morning.” First time we’ve seen it in several days. Blue skies, gentle breeze, slight seas, 65º temperature. Maybe I’ll get in some deck time this morning of our last day at sea.
I’m a bit sandy-eyed this morning; I stayed up too late to watch the men’s 100M at the Rio Olympics. Maybe I’ll nap later, maybe in one of those classic folding chairs on deck that one always sees in the movies!
Thinking about where I’ll eat breakfast, it occurs to me that there are several classes on the ship, divided by where one dines. I’m kind of high middle, so I eat in the large and rather elegant Britannia dining room. There are a couple of classes above that; I don’t know where they eat. And there are some people who seem to take all their meals in the big King’s Court casual dress cafeteria amidships, families with young kids in particular.
As usual I sat with a completely different bunch of people again. One guy in particular I had a lot in common with, a Canadian engineer, and another had worked in the aircraft manufacturing business in the UK.
It’s been fun to meet so many different folks from so many different places.
After breakfast I went one last time to my intermediate bridge lesson. These have been quite instructive. I hope I can put some of what I learned in practice, next time I play. I’ve been playing with the same three people every day and my partner said she and her husband would like to have a drink with me later. We made a date for the Carinthia lounge at 5:30, just before my early sitting at dinner.
As it’s brighter this morning, I took my book and went out on the sunny side deck to sit in one of those canvas folding chairs that are always in pictures of passengers on steamships! It was lovely. I met a German couple sitting next to me, then when they left, a nice English couple sat down next to me. When we got chatting about the voyage I confessed that I wouldn’t recommend it to someone traveling on his or her own; so much of what I might have done with a companion, I didn’t feel like doing by myself. She said in heartfelt sympathy, “Oh, goodness, if we’d met you earlier, we’d have loved to have you tag along with us.” What a nice person.
Lunch I took in the Carinthia lounge and there was a fine pianist playing for us. I joined a couple of people I’d met before, the character named Roy who was a fountain of information and opinion (!) and a very tall white-haired woman he’d been hanging around with (he’s a fairly recent widower). She’s given up meat, gluten and dairy products, as well as anything she can identify as having chemical toxins. I asked her what’s left to eat and she said fish. I said, “Mercury’s OK, huh?” I shouldn’t have done that, but I couldn’t resist. She looked genuinely distressed!
This was the last day and as usual the clocks were advanced an hour. Now we’re on UK summer time, all set for tomorrow’s debarkation.
Having lost an hour, I decided to go get a head start on the packing; we’re supposed to put our big cases in the hall after dinner.
I still had a library book, so I went and asked the Russian lady librarian when I had to turn it in. It was supposed to be in by now, she said. I’m already inventorying. But I see that you have not quite finished this book so I will give you ‘til six o’clock tonight. She likes me, I think, because I said thank you to her in Russian the first day. I found a lovely sunny nook by the bow and speed-read. I knew you could do it, she said, proud of herself for her generosity!
I walked as far up to the bow as possible, but the wind multiplied by the boat speed, 20 knots, made it hard to stand up. Back to the room I went to change for dinner and my earlier drinks appointment, again in the Carinthia lounge where an excellent harpist was playing.
My bridge partner and her husband live on Lake Huron, amazingly enough, only an hour from Stratford, Ontario where I’d just spent the month of July! They’ve issued an invitation to come visit them if I go back up there next summer.
At dinner, I went back to my original table and the people I’d met on the first night. They greeted me like the prodigal son!
I hadn’t planned on doing anything after dinner, but someone recommended an Irish comedian who was performing, so having finished packing and put out my case, I decided to go have a listen. He was a superannuated Irishman, apparently quite well known in the UK, but between his thick brogue and his age he was almost unintelligible.
Back to the room to do this and get a good night’s sleep before landing tomorrow morning.