… of a rather depressing night. I had a shower as soon as I got into my room and gave my clothes a quick wash and then, still dripping rather wet, I crawled into bed.
Bed is one thing. Sleep is something else completely. And so it was that I lay awake tossing and turning as the clock rolled on.
However I must have gone to sleep at some point because I was off on my travels at a certain moment. This was another thing where something went wrong. I was with Percy Penguin – at least, it was her but then again it wasn’t – and it was all about cars and so on. I’d arranged to meet Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in my notes half as often as she deserves) and I picked her up and we went for a meal. She was asleep on the sofa in this hotel. Everyone was gradually being served and in the end there was just me, another guy and Percy Penguin asleep on the sofa. A woman from the restaurant came out and said “I suppose that you three are all together”. I replied that we were all on our own, except that I might possible be with that girl there. Percy Penguin sat up so I sat next to her and we had the menus. We agreed on a starter and then we had to choose the wine for the wine list. I asked “what wine do you want?” as if she would know.She didn’t so I ordered a nice bottle of full-bodied red Burgundy. The waitress said “oh I don’t have a Burgundy”. I expressed my astonishment that a restaurant wouldn’t have a Burgundy. So I said “how about a Sancilly?”. I explained to Percy Penguin that that came from the area where I lived. The woman looked at me rather peculiarly so she went off to fetch it. Percy Penguin asked about the main course. We hadn’t ordered a main course.I said that maybe we do that a bit later after we’ve had the starter.She said that all the back of my head was oily. I said that I had been working on a car, lying underneath it. She wondered why I hadn’t had it washed. I said that it was almost time to come and pick her up. I hadn’t had time to wash.
At this point I sat up bolt-upright. 04:45. This isn’t any good at all. But nevertheless I was glad that I was awake because I wasn’t disturbed by the alarm on the Canadian phone that, not having adjusted itself to UK time, rang and awoke the Dead at 05:00
That was the cue for me to write up my blog notes for yesterday, which I hadn’t done, not having gone to bed until late.
Rosemary rang me at about 07:00 or so, so I went down to the hotel lobby to say hello. We had a chat and then she went off to breakfast and I went back upstairs to organise myself.
At about 08:45 we met up again, suitcases in hand, and headed off to the bus stop in the cold, cloudy, overcast weather. We just missed a 727 bus and had to wait 10 minutes for the one behind.When it turned up, I found out that my Pound coins were out of date so Rosemary had to help out with the fare.
We were dropped off at the bus station which is right opposite the docks. Finding the docks is one thing, but finding our berth was somewhere else. The first guy at the spoke to in the harbour was more interested in telling me off about crossing a forbidden line than helping us out.
He sent us to the ferry terminal where they were none-the-wiser. However they did suggest that we try elsewhere, being right back where we started by the bus station.
There was an intercom there so I tried to speak to someone but I couldn’t hear a word. Eventually I picked up the phrase “security lodge” and seeing a security lodge in the distance, we headed that way, apparently crossing yet another forbidden line.
This time we had been picked up on CCTV for a rather irate security guard in a pick-up came to tell us off. But when we explained what we were looking for he told us to follow him (not easy when you are dragging suitcases behind you and he’s in a pick-up).
Eventually we caught up with him and, much to my surprise, he knew where we had to go. But knowing is one thing, walking that distance was something else. After a very weary trudge we eventually found our berth.
Finding it is one thing – getting to it was quite another.Negotiating a security gate and moving a barrier, being stopped and searched by security, we were eventually allowed in and we were ushered on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour.
Much to my surprise, there were a few people whom I recognised from last year, such as Ashley and Yulya. And of course they asked the obvious question – “how’s Strawberry Moose?.
And they were delighted to hear that he’s once more managed to stow himself aboard. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … he’s far more popular with the ladies than I am ever likely to be.
I found my way to my own cabin – right next door to the one that I had last year. And I dumped my stuff and made my way back to the reception to meet my fellow passengers. On this leg of the journey we are a grand total of just SIX. “One deck each” I quipped.
A delicious lunch was served, and afterwards Rosemary and I headed off into town for a walk. We found a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland where, at long last, I could activate my bank cards and change the PINS. And also to swap over my bad money for some good stuff.
We then went for a little wander around the Granite City for half an hour or so, and then headed back to the ship where I bumped into my room cleaner from last year.
Back on board, I had a shower, a clean-up and a change of clothes, doing a little washing along the way. I need to keep on top of my washing otherwise I’ll run out of clothes.
With plenty of time to kill before tea, we all had a chat about nothing much, and then came the safety briefing.
“One short blast on the ship’s siren means put on warm clothing”
“Two short blasts on the ship’s siren means come aloft”
“Three short blasts on the ship’s siren means put on lifebelts”
“Four short blasts on the ship’s siren means abandon ship”
“One long blast on the ship’s siren means that the ship’s siren is stuck”
Tea was even more delicious than lunch, and that was saying something. And then we sat around for ages watching all kinds of shipping leave the harbour – except us of course. This 22:00 departure time is turning out to be some kind of Spanish 22:00.
It was just after 23:00 when the tug pulled us away from the quayside, and then we pulled it forward out of the harbour. And as it attempted to disengage, something caught up somewhere and the rope snapped with an incredible force. Had we been a couple of decks lower, we would have been decapitated.
We watched Aberdeen disappear into the dusk and rain, and then called it a night. 128% of my daily effort, 9.4 kms walked. I’m ready for bed.