The Widow of Oz Adventures. - Stirling, United Kingdom

Stirling, United Kingdom

The time is fast approaching for me to click my red shoes, oh ok then my black sandals together and take off courtesy of Emirates to that far away land at the end of the rainbow called Oz. Less than 48 hours. It's gonna be Bonzer!!! Hello all from Esperance in Oz. This is the first chance I have had to log in since boarding the ship. Got on the Radiance around 1pm on Sat and found my stateroom which is the posh name for cabin, dumped my hand luggage and made for the restaurant for lunch accompanied by a cheeky wee vino. Then a stroll around the deck where a waiter decided I had to try their cocktail of the day so not to offend his feelings I happily obliged! I flashed my all inclusive card and lo and behold I will be like the Queen for the rest of this voyage, carrying no cash and nothing to sign. Luv it!! Returned to my room to see if my case had arrived only to find a bucket filled with ice containing a bottle of champers, a plate with strawberries dipped in chocolate, and a voucher for $50 to spend on board. All compliments of Colin from ROyal Caribbean, who knows Lianne:). This holiday was shaping up brilliantly. Casual night in the restaurant so did not meet my table companions that night. After dinner had a stroll around the ship and ended up in the karaoke bar, where after a few delicious cocktails decided to treat them all to a wee song and belted out the only one I know all the way through, Blanket on the Ground. Note to self, really must learn another song!! The group at the next table seemed to enjoy it and for the rest of the night we joined in with all the songs we knew and I was invited to join them, but as I felt it was time to try out my bed, I had to decline their kind offer. Day 2 Up and breakfasted out on my balcony. Canny beat a bit of egg and toast on a balcony looking out at the Pacific :) Next on my agenda was my meet and mingle where I get to meet all the people I have been chatting to online for the last year, and we exchange a small gift relating to the country u r from. Met a lot of them and had a good old chinwag but disappointed that Stan and Ron never showed up. I had looked forward to putting a face to them. My gift was a mug with lots of scenes in Oz. Lots of fancy nibbles and drinks laid on for it. I can hear my tummy shouting enough already and it is only day 2!!! Next on my agenda was the pool. I was on a mission to tan up all my flabby bits as I am sure a bit of colour makes them look a bit less like white whale meat. As I sashayed along by the side of the pool smiling and nodding to the people all sunbathing happily I suddenly wasn't sashaying anymore but sailing through the air only to land sprawled flat out in front of them narrowly missing landing in the pool itself. I was immediately surrounded by a crowd of people all anxiously trying to get me to my feet. Well lets face it it would take a lot more than one person to lift me. They made me sit on the edge of a sunbed which was in itself dangerous as I was sure I would cause the damn thing to upend dumping me back on the ground again. My bad knee of course is the one that took the brunt of my athletic manoeuvres and someone mentioned getting a medic to see me which I hastily declined and assured them that an ice pack would do the trick. I eventually found myself a sunbed and true to my word I ordered the cocktail of the day which had a twofold healing purpose. the ice I used on my knee and the alcohol to soothe my shattered nerves. I am sure I saw someone clicking a camera capturing my athletic prowess!! Now my worry was how many bruises would there be and would my flabby bits now be a rather natty shade of purple with nice blue edges!!! Would I have to wear a cardy for the rest of my hols. I am happy to reassure u folks that they are still a whitish beige. After these shena****ns I got myself glammed up for our first formal night and set forth to the Martini Bar to sample a few of their fab cocktails. Friends I have to say their Apple Martini's and Peach martinis are to die for. DE LIC OUS !!! Chatted to a few people about the Badda Bing Badda Bing night which I have signed up for. It is a murder mystery night based on the Sopranos which starts in one of the bars with wine and champagne then we move through the ship bars culminating in a meal in the Italian Restaurant. Hope I don't end up one of the victims as my knee is getting a bit fed up with me dropping on it every now and again. It was now time to head for dinner and whadya know but my dinner companions are none other than my karaoke companions from the night before. Another result! After the meal went to see the show which was excellent, I think even my friend June,aka Craig Revel Horwood who have approved! Three girls called the Diamonds who were really fab. A wee flutter in the casino which of course I am totally rubbish at and then to bed to rest my weary body before heading out next day to my first tour which was Esperance in Oz. Day 3. Trip to Esperance today. I have booked the trip to the Grande National Park which takes in some of the finest beaches in Oz. We have to get of the ship in a tender boat which also covers as a lifeboat, so hope that I will not ever be using it in that respect!! Watched it being lowered from my balcony (love this balcony!) shared my seat on the coach with a young guy from Germany so we exchanged lots of smiles and nods on the journey! I have to say the beaches are incredible. Vivid turquoise seas and soft white sands. Dipped my feet in the water but as it was a bum numbing cold temperature did not proceed further. My highlight was right there on the beach next to a wee coffee stall was a kangaroo complete with the baby in the pouch. It just sat there happily letting everyone take photographs. Girl on the stall said it had been there for 3 days. We were told not to feed it as human food is dangerous for them and can make them aggressive. Wonder if hanging a sign around my neck saying do not feed would work. The only downside to this trip was the bloody flies. I have perfected the Aussie wave which consists of waving ur hands frantically around ur face at all times. I should have brought my hat with the corks on along!!! Back to mile long queues for the tender back to the ship. Down to the Pianp Man show last night which was great then a catch up with all my dinner companions about the days events. Then a wander in to some of the various bars to check on their entertainment before hitting the sack. I have to say I have chatted to more people on this cruise than ever before. If they see u sitting alone they all talk to u. My problem now is I keep getting folk waving to me and stopping me to ask how my day is going and I cannot for the life of me remember what their names are!!! Had to remember to put my watches forward an hour and a half tonight so going to lose a bit of sleep! Day4 Had a great sleep so full of the joys made my way to breakfast and decided to ignore all the goodies and settled for cereal and one slice of toast with my coffee. Feeling very pleased with myself I decided to go for a swim and headed for the solarium to try it out. Now I thought the water might be warmer here but suffice to say everything looked even more shrivelled and wrinkled when I left the pool than it had before I entered! Most amusing thing here was there was about 4 women all happily swimming up and down with shower caps on their heads!! Might give my wee pink number with bows and a frill an airing tomorrow.The fact It makes me look like Mrs Bridges from Upstairs Downstairs is neither here nor there. If it is good enough for the Aussie women then it is good enough for this hardy wee Scot complete with shrivelled up wrinkled skin!!! I have to say it is very difficult to conduct a conversation sitting in the hot tub with two of the women who were still happily sporting their headgear!! Felt I should be passing them the shower gel! Headed up to the other pool then to sunbathe, had some lunch, sunbathed and chatted for a couple of hours with a couple from Ireland, then decided it was time for a stroll around the shops with a wee cocktail break in between, before heading for the bingo. Nae luck there! After getting changed met a couple from my dinner table and we decided to go join a quiz which was to name 14 country and western tunes. I got told by the quizmaster I should try and keep my answers quiet as I was giving the rest some of the answers. Think my two team amigos were ready to sack me, and we lost as well!! Lol. Great country and Western night after dinner where I made another two Aussie friends. Barry and Babs, the two B's. Maybe I will remember their names if I bump into them again because of that. And so to bed. G'night possums. Day 6 As reported in my f/b message earlier, set off to the vineyard around 8.45 and my companion on the bus this time was a guy from Balloch. There are a lot of Brits on board and have met quite a few Scots. Came back on board and had a bit of lunch then up on deck to let the sun toast this old body. Really have to watch now when on deck as I do not wish to display again my ability doing cartwheels, as much to my chagrin my landing was not what one could call dignified. After getting changed made my way to the schooner bar in time for the music quiz again. Decided not to call out my answers and risk the wrath of our quizmaster, mind u the fact that I did not know any is neither here nor there. On to the show at 7 a tribute to Celine Dion then dinner. Last night was a 70's night and was fab. It was held down in the Centrum and the cruise director and a few of his staff were all dressed as the cast from YMCA and the whole place was jumping. I strutted a few moves along with Jacquie from my dinner table and with a wee bit of the twist here ( my knee was shouting AW Naw) a smooth electric slide there culminating in a rather nifty time walk, I felt I had redeemed myself in front of my fellow passengers, mind u I decided against the conga which was snaking it's way up the stairs to the next deck then back down again!! Glitter confetti falling from the ceiling, people going up and down in the glass lifts who suddenly thought they were go go dancers! A wee pic with the YMCA guys and then to bed humming the time walk as I travailed the corridors to my room. Brill night, Night night folks. Day 7 as already given on f/b. Day 8 In Melbourne today and this is an Annie does Melbourne tour. Up early for a very healthy breakfast then a 10 min walk to the end of the terminal where I duly purchased my myki card which allows me transportation for the full day on the trams and buses. Hopped or maybe more sedately because of my age walked onto the bus taking me into the city. Dropped off at the art centre then hailed a tram to the Victoria Mkt. Just asked the guy in front which stop I needed to get off and he told me along with instructions where to get Macdonalds for my Wifi. He got off b4 me shouting have a great day and don't get lost Scotty!!! Had a wee swatch around there then strolled down the street a bit before accosting another likely looking local. Lady gave me instructions where to jump on the tram taking me to Bourne street. Loads and loads of shops here. Felt the pull of them as the tram was approaching. My money was shouting from within my purse " spend me, spend me!" Bought myself a rather ostentatious necklace ( big and sparkly!) some make up and a boomerang. Found another cafe to have a spot of grog and more wifi then headed on down Collins street through the underground at the train station ( directions from another really friendly Aussie couple) then over the bridge to the riverside where I stopped for a refreshing vodka and coke ( was missing my lunchtime aperitif) watched the world go by, chatted to 3 girls at the next table who are from Liverpool but stay in Perth, then sauntered on along the river to the Casino. This is a beaut folks. So nice that I just had to sit down and have another small vodka (ok I lie, it was a large one, but don't tell my maw!) and admire this place. Had another saunter along the riverfront then checked my time. Yep time to head back to the ship, so made my way back up to Collins St and jumped on the 109, ( getting energetic) sat down and the guy across from me said in his broad Aussie accent " that's an interesting top u have on" Now I was sporting a black and silver sequined number. So I told him I bought it in the states and then explained I was on a cruise and heading back to the ship, only for him to tell me I was going the wrong way, eek! I said but this is the 109 and he said yes but it runs both directions, so I had to exit stage left very fast and cross over to get the right one, which was jam packed. Half way there and they announced that it was running late so we would have to get off and get on the next one as he was turning back!!!! Luckily did not have to wait long and got back on board safe and sound and thoroughly enjoyed my jaunt into Melly!! Sat on balcony and watched Melbourne fade as we sailed away then down to join my friends for dinner and let them know I was not on my way to Singapore, then Jacqie her hubby Paul and I went to give our support to the country and western singer in the English pub. Clocks go forward yet another hour tonight. Going to demand a day's refund as at this rate we will be losing a day! Lol. Chris and Colin from our table are joining us tomorrow for the Badda Bing murder mystery dinner. Detective Davis and her team will be on the case, yes siree! Day 9 Another sea day. We are now on the Tasman sea and have been warned it can get a bit rough, but ok so far. Did a bit of sunbathing and watched a wee altercation about sun beds where a German couple decided to park their rather large posteriors on sun beds which had someone's towels on them. The lady next to me turned and said she felt embarrassed as she was German. I off course reassured her that the whole of the world did not think that the Germans were a nation of sunbed stealers!!! Well what's a wee white lie if it reassured her. Great laugh last night at the murder mystery meal in the Italian restaurant. Team Taggart were on the case, problem being it was a case of wine, and after copious amounts of it we were pure dead rubbish so we were!! Hope they never summon me for dury duty as I would probably have some poor innocent guy languishing behind bars for years!!. After the meal was over we headed for the piano bar where we lustily sang along, maybe slightly off tune, to all the songs the piano man played. Then it was time to weave my way (sea must have been getting rough as I was starting to sway) back to bed. Clocks to go forward yet another hour!!! G'night, oops G'day cobbers. X Day 10 At sea Had brekkie sent to my cabin as was just a wee touch fragile after last night's shena****ns. Fairly quiet day. Weather overcast so did not go up on deck. Joined Chris and Colin for the Trivia quiz to give them the benefit of my rather extensive knowledge and we scored 6 out of 15! Mind u the winning team only scored 8 so reckon we were not to bad after all!! Gave a cheery shout out to Josh the waiter in the Schooner Bar which made him laugh as he is from Mauritious and his name is Jude!! Told him I was just testing, to which he replied ok Mrs Agnes!! They don't even take my card now as they know the details they require. This is a magic card folks! Top cocktails are around $10.75 so three of those a day makes it worth your while never mind the wine or spirits. I have still to try one of the amazing shots that they come round with every night after dinner but trying to observe a modicum of decorum with my table companions as I am the only one with the "magic card". They are all asking me now how much it cost as they find the drinks really expensive. Fear not though my friends I will certainly partake of one (or two, or three) before departing this wonderful vessel ,as I know the waiter is anxious for my opinion on them.. Had an early night (10.30) as we all wish to be up early to witness us entering the sounds of New Zealand! Day 11. THE SOUNDS, NZ!!!! Ok where do I start here. We have arrived in NZ and at 7am we enter the first of the three sounds which are Milford, then Doubtful then Dusky. Absolutely breathtaking!!! Got up at 6.30 went upstairs in my Jammie's with dressing gown flung over to get a coffee to take back to the room as my brekkie wasn't coming until 8.30 then on to balcony to watch us going through the first of the sounds. Now it was a beautiful morning, clear blue skies and sea like a millpond but absolutely freezing!!! U are going between these huge fjords which rise out the sea and some have snow on the top!! I had on a swimsuit ,cut offs which were calf length, two cardies, a leopard skin cagoul (apologies for the spelling!) topped of with a very natty silver woollen shawl type throw with sequins which was a lovely birthday prezzie from my partner in crime in Vegas last year, June. I finished off this rather fetching attire with a pair of black and white flatties complete with Velcro strap. I happened to catch sight of myself in the mirror on route to the toilet and have to say the apparition which greeted me fair took my breath away. I decided to discard the cagoul as after all this old gal has standards to maintain. I did consider adding a pair of earrings and maybe a wee scarf placed at a certain angle might improve the look but decided to sort things once I was through the sound as the wind would just take the scarf anyway!! Joking aside It was totally beautiful. We approached a waterfall called Stirling Falls and the Capt steered the ship so that it was almost in the falls and u got the spray.They had Bobby who is the entertainment director and from Perth in Scotland, lowered in a boat practically underneath the falls and totally soaked. The next two were around noon then 2.30 and by then we were on deck in swimsuits sunbathing!!! A few people spotted whales, no it was not me, I took care not to wear a black swimsuit.,I saw seals and Dolphins but would love to have seen a whale. In between all this I decided that my hair was needing coloured as it had completely faded and the gray was showing, which was causing me great concern as when I viewed it this morning teamed with my rag bag attire I was very concerned that I would be mistaken for a stowaway bag lady and deposited ashore! So I took myself off upstairs to the very swanky hairdressing salon and explained that I needed to have my copper coloured locks restored. I am now sporting a very vivid shade of red which is fine as I feel it will distract my fellow passengers from checking out my rapidly expanding waist/belly/legs etc! Ended my night in the karaoke bar with Helen and Ray who were two of my internet cruise buddies gave them another rendition of the Blanket song ( thinking of changing to Coal Miner's daughter) then to bed. Tomorrow is my Taikeri Train ride in Dunedin. 8am in the theatre as we leave at 8.30. G'night folks. Day 12 Well Kiwi's as u know from a post on the book of faces I was in Dunedin yesterday. Up with whatever bird it is that likes to frequent this neck of the woods for a spot of brekkie then down to board the train which was sitting right alongside the ship waiting to welcome us on board.mit is an old style train and u have two attendants to every carriage. One of ours was Isabel from Scotland. She said to us all at the beginning that she hoped we understood her accent, to which I had to say I thought she came across loud and clear. The minute we set off we were offered water to orange juice, then an hour later coffee or tea with shortbread and around 12.30 a finger buffet with wine and beer. The trip went right up through gorges and the scenery was beautiful. Dunedin is very Scottish and a wee bit of trivia to file away for Trivial Pursuit in case it comes up, it is an old Gallic word for Edinburgh. See the things u learn on train journeys in NZ!!! Half way through they started playing a tape of pipe music to which a guy in front asked me the name of the tune, I had not a clue but the pride of my country was at stake here so took a deep breath, looked around to make sure Isobel was nowhere in sight and told him it was an old pipe marching tune called the Black Isle!! He was American so was very happy with my reply, but a few minutes later the tune was Flower of Scotland and a voice from the bottom of the carriage started to sing it. I was a tad concerned she might have heard my wee white lie but it became apparent she did not so I happily joined my vocal chords with hers as did Isobel It is just a pity that guy that did the army wives choir was not around, he would have signed us on the spot. The Tartan Trio! Our fellow passengers seemed very happy with the entertainment apart from a few English people who studiously ignored our efforts!! Back around 13.30 and after checking in on f/b had a wander around Dunedin b4 getting back on the ship. After dinner a few of us from the dinner table wandered into one of the very busy bars. We all managed seats except Paul, I spotted a seat at the end of the table so asked the old couple sitting next to me if it was taken. The old dear told me in a very frosty manner that her hubby needed it to put his feet on!!!! I was so gobsmacked I just sat there with my mouth open!! To make it worse they were both just drinking a glass of water each!! I wanted to put on my John Wayne voice "get ur feet of the seat and get outta ma bar" but she scared the hell out of me. Tomoz it is my visit to the Mauri village in Akaroa. Nighty night. Xx Day 13 A few problems today possums. We arrived in Akaroa early this morning and what a beaut of a morning it was, only thing is this is a really lovely wee place which has had to take all the cruise ships arriving since the terrible earthquake in Christchurch a couple of years ago and just cannot handle it. The Celebrity Solstice was also in port and the port authorities just are not equipped to handle around 6/ 7 thousand passengers all booked onto different trips. It is also a tender port which for those of u who have never cruised b4 means getting off the ship in lifeboats known as tenders. My trip was to a Mauri village which transpired to be absolutely miles away and we were 90mins late leaving. We travelled over some amazing scenery through hills with hairpin bends which gave me the bends when I looked down. Scary stuff I kid u not!! Arrived at the village and was greeted by the leader of the Mauri's who explained what was to happen. They picked a guy from our bus to be our leader who really looked like a fearsome leader warrior all of 5feet 6, with glasses, checked shirt and a Beeny hat on his head. Aye sure he would scare the Mauri's NOT!! They greeted us with a few warrior like dances and songs,then our scary leader had to pick 8 women to dance the one where they swing balls on string around and if any of u who are old enough to remember maybe visiting The Merry England Pub in Blackpool back in the 70's where the Mad Mauri appeared swinging the balls( no I am not being crude!) u will know the dance! Yes I was one of the women picked and this is where u all greet along with me as there was NOBODY to take my pic, sob!! Then it was some of the guys turn and they had to do the Haka, which the Maori leader assured us had nothing to do with rugby! They finished off by doing the Haka proper which was great, and I was dying to try out a few of their facial impressions with the tongue stuck out etc. I did however explain to a fellow passenger that we have our own war dance in Scotland which comprises of standing with ur arms slightly extended and ur body leaning forward slightly then ur forehead connecting with one rapid thrust of the head with ur opponents forehead, sometimes this is accompanied with a war cry of gerrionyeyabass, at which point ur opponent usually concedes defeat, that is of course if he is still of an upright position. Next part I have to say was a bit disappointing, u see it was a tour of a wildlife sanctuary, which I have to say I did not realize I had signed up for as my wee grandson will tell u I am not a wildlife type of gal really. Well the parrots which were wild (wings not clipped) were great and had the intelligence of 5 year olds. They flew after our guide and he helpfully pointed out that they sometimes land on people trying to pinch things from them. Oh how Janet my daughter in law would have loved this NOT!!! He shouted to them to touch their beaks, flap their wings etc which they readily complied with and were rewarded with nuts etc, then it was 3 pigs huge ones mind u, which reminds me I really must get into my diet when I get home, but from thereon in it was pure dead rubbish!! Ducks! Hunners of them, I mean when u have seen one u have seen them all whether they are Scottish or from NZ!! Then into a type of big pitch dark cave to see Kiwi's which apparently are nocturnal, so the guy up front shines this tiny wee torch and tells us it is up in the very back corner but we should just manage to see it's bum!!! Aye right, I saw zilch bum or otherwise!. I was by then giving up the will to live and thinking about the braw wee shops I could have been browsing in Akaroa which really looked so nice instead of trying to see a bloody Kiwi which I had no idea what it was!! Then it was a finger buffet lunch then back onto the bus which took us around the outskirts of Christchurch and oh boy what devastation they suffered with that earthquake. Building work going on everywhere and they reckon it will b another couple of years b4 they r back to normal as long as there are no more big ones. They had a small one yesterday apparently. Got back to the ship just after six and showered, changed down for 8.30 dinner. No time today to update internet. By 10.30 after trying my luck in the casino which I am now convinced they have doctored so I just canny win a bleeding thing, I realised just how knackered I felt, I have by the way taken it on myself to teach Jude the waiter a few good British sayings of which knackered is one, I took myself up to the room for a nice early night! Wellington tomoz or as the other Golden Gal June would call it, Goloshes!! ( sorry, private joke) see y'all tomoz. X Day 14. Wellington NZ Sitting here on my balcony at 23.50 hours (*I am getting the lingo now) with my nightcap just waiting on the ship to sail out of Wellington. Came upstairs about 10 mins ago so I could watch it from the balcony. As u will have gathered from my f/b I have had a great day here in Wellington. Our tour this morning was all around the city starting way up at the top where u looked out over everything, down into the botanical gardens for a coffee and cake( which I really need like ahole in the head) I might need to to book myself on the return flight as excess weight!! We then had a swatch at their parliament then onto a museum. I have to say people, this was a great museum. It had everything from old vintage cars to replica Crown Jewels to a film about a terrible ferry disaster which happened here around 1968 where there was 750 odd passengers and I think it was over a hundred and fifty drowned. We were watching actual newsreel about it. They had winds reaching 160mph and could not get into the harbour. Really moving and sent us off happily to our cruise ship!!! Had my lunch and decided to leave out the chips and just settled for salad, pasta loaded with cheese sauce to make up for the muffin in the morning!! I have sauntered past the gym and admired all the wonderful instruments in there which could help one to lose the excess which one might have gained through all the wonderful meals, but really thought my knee might object and have to protect it for my bridge climb, but I did climb the stairs to have a peek instead of using the lift. Then bought a ticket for the shuttle bus and asked the driver to let me off at the shopping area which he very kindly did. Had a great time traversing up and down the streets, in and out the shops admiring their Christmas decorations which seem really strange with it being hot and sunny. Now here is where I was really chuffed with myself. A lady stopped and asked me the way to a certain street and I was actually able to tell her where to go as it was where I had to get the shuttle bus back. She must have thought I was a Kiwi maybe because of my rather fetching attire, a blue and white striped top and white cut offs topped of with my sunnies. I do try to make an effort as I have reiterated b4 on here ( hope u are noticing all the big words I have been using) I am representing my country! Anyway after a seat in the centre of the city with a glass of wine I headed back to board the ship around 17.45 sat on my balcony in the sun and read b4 changing and going down to the champagne bar for one of their delicious champagne cocktails(are u jealous yet??) Headed in to join my table companions for dinner and remind me when I get home to tell u about Jacquie, she is hilarious and have a couple of good stories re her. I am so lucky with my table as they are a great bunch and have really contributed to me enjoying this hol. We made our way to one of the bars for a good wee chinwag b4 heading upstairs to sit on the balcony and watch the twinkling lights of Wellington (I am getting quite poetic here) as we sail out of her harbour on our way to our last stop in NZ which is Picton. Have been told I must see us sail into it at 7am tomorrow as lady in a shop said it is really beautiful. Oh forgot to mention thought I would give my son and heir a wee call to reassure him that I was alive and well, had not fallen overboard or been shanghied to work in a brothel for pensioners in Hong Kong. I said hi Craig it's ur mum and he said oh right, hello!! Knew he was worried like!! Anyway it seems I woke him up as the time difference is 13 hours . Shame. Lol. Xxx Day 15 Picton. Was off the shuttle bus around 9.15 on a fab morning in another lovely NZ town. This place really is a jewel in NZ's crown. Stunning! As I have already showed u on f/b with some of the pics and such friendly people. Loved wandering around here and chatting to the people in the shops etc. Great wee market going on and in such a fab spot with the marina and all the yachts in the background. Around 12 heard someone belting out "the fields of athenrye" so as I love this song made my way over to where it was coming from and it was a pub garden with a band belting out some great tunes. Loads of folk from the ship singing along, so parked my ever expanding bum and joined in as one does. Ordered a drink asked them if they accepted the ship's magic card, but regretfully they politely said no, or no bloody ways mate!! All to soon we were back on board and waving goodbye to NZ. Spent the afternoon doing some sunbathing and had a chat in the pool with some girls from Wales, the water in the pool was like a bath now, so warm. Climbed out lay down to read when a voice very cheerily shouted, "hi Anne" as they breezed by and low and behold it was my new pals Mark and Tim who were I have to say sporting some very fetching beachwear!! It was rock and roll night last night and Jacquie and I did a few moves on the dance floor but I have to say after eating a huge meal which we did not finish until 10.20 my moves were a bit on the laborious side!!!! The show in the theatre which was before dinner was a tribute group to the t he Beatles and they really had the crowd going. Everyone was up on their feet dancing at the end. They played in the schooner bar later on as well around 11pm. Another good day, and at sea now until Tuesday. X Day 16 At sea This has been a quiet day as the weather not great today. They are having storms in some parts of Oz and we have grey skies and a rocking ship! After brekkie went to the Christmas fair down in the centrum but u canny kid a kidder ( especially a wee auld Scots yin) it is just the same stuff from the shops but adding the word Christmas to it!! Then met up with my table amigos to take part in the quiz late morning only to find it was a progressive one which means only for those who have been doing it every day more or less. So we decided to make it guys against the gals and answer them ourselves without taking part in the main one. I have to say there was a hell of a lot of cheating going on in both sides!!! Said bye to the team then went for lunch then a wander around the ship finishing with me taking a cocktail back to my room around 2pm to read and snooze. Formal night so it was time to put on the hold em in as best u can undergarments and elastic beneath the the rather large bust line dress!! Kept this to last and oh my was this a bonzer decision!!!. After adorning myself with all the appropriate jewellery, bag, shoes etc I checked the mirror--- BIG mistake!! My dress is full length and white at the top , black from under the bust line. From the side I looked like an overweight penguin!!! To make matters worse the bloody ship is rocking around which means when I am trying to get somewhere I am kind of waddling, so not the look I was striving for!!! Went to the show which was called Tango in Argentina and had two top tango dancers as the headline act. Fab. Now Lianne would have loved this as she has a real ambition to throw her legs around a tango dancer, so if u know of one who may be looking for a 5 foot wee Scots woman to dance with pass on her number. ( Flavia I don't think u need to panic!) U go for it girl !!! Then onto the theatre to watch the comedian fron Liverpool. I secured a seat right on the dance floor next to a female who was also on her own wearing an old washed out looking track suit, trainers, and kind of greasy wavy hair!! Now please bare in mind this is the formal night where most folk are done up like dog dinners. The comedian was from Liverpool and straight away clocked my neighbor was sound asleep and shock horror asked me if she was with me!!!!! As if!! I swear I am going to grow my hair!! He then told me to give her a nudge which I hastily declined as I was feart, so he came down and woke her up and asked her if she was bored. Lol. The place was in an uproar. She sat the whole way through in a kind of comatose position. She told him she was from Florida so I don't know if it had hit her that this was not the Magic Kingdom. Finished up the night in the Piano bar with Nan who was another widow on her own and a lady who is the piano man's wife, then to bed.Have to put the clock back another hour tonight, think this might be the reason I am so disoriented and nothing at all to do with alcohol!! Tomorrow is last day and weather still not expected to be great as we are on the Tasman sea. I was a bit nervous about venturing on this holiday on my own without Ricky but have to say I am going to be taking back with me some wonderful memories of a great time on a great ship with wonderful people including all the people I met on shore on my trips. I miss my family but will see them soon and this has been truly a fantastic experience thanks mainly to the people I have met and chatted and laughed with along the way. Packing tomoz, but Sydney on Tuesday with Annette and George, What a holiday and how lucky I am. :) Day 1 Quiet day as again weather was a bit windy and the sea was rockin!! Had a good last night with my friends and was really sad saying goodbye. Tomoz Sydney!!! Day 17 Sydney!! Up at 5am this morning to watch us sail into Sydney Harbour and catch the first glimpse of the Bridge (gulp!) and the Opera House. Was just fab. The morning was overcast but by 11am was hot and sunny. George and Annette who I am staying with picked me up around 9.45 and we then took me all around Sydney down to Darling Harbour, which is such a great place to people watch, photo taken on the steps of the Opera house then on a ferry which sailed under the Bridge. We partook of a light lunch of Pizza and wine ( I am afraid to say was the greedy one and ate more than George and Annette. I did try to resist, but Annette persuaded me !!! It took a nano second!!! We headed back to where they stay and folks it is just beautiful with a great pool outside which is just calling my name. If I keep eating this way I am going to invest in one of those Burka type swimming costumes which makes u resemble a seal!! We had a BBQ and I met the rest Of of George and Annette's family who really make me so welcome. They have a wee grandson Logan who is just a wee star. What a brill day. Going to The Blue Mts tomorrow. I had to keep pinching myself this morning (will need to stop doing that as it is bloody sore!) that I was standing in Circular Quay in Sydney. It's bonzer possums. Xx Day 18 (although it's really day 21!) Blue Mountains. Woke up this morning, lovely sunny and hot, so decided to don my swimsuit and try out Annette and George's pool. Did a few laps, well maybe kind of did about 4 strokes then decided just to splash around as I really have to conserve my energies for the climb on Friday. Annette and I then lay on the sun beds drinking coffee ( 9am was just a tad early for our wine) and chatting. It's such a hard life here in Australia!!! We then got ourselves changed and set off for The Blue Mountains, and I keep thinking the scenery can't get any better and it just does!! Superb! All my photos taken today r on my camera as I did not have my IPad with me but will download them when I get home. We have been on a train that was practically vertical, a cable car, then George and I went on the skyway which is like another cable car which has a glass bottom and takes u over cliffs, valleys and waterfalls, and at 270 metres is the highest one in Oz. Hell yes!! I am getting so brave I will be doing parachute jumps next---not!! We had a wee lunch complete with Aussie wine, yes we could taste the oakiness on the palate and the hint of oranges combined with a delectable aroma of black currants while sloshing it back our throats, sitting high up in the mountains with an amazing panoramic view in front of us. We stopped on the way home for a curry and chips take away, the chips smelt so great I was going to pinch some but was warned by Annette she had them counted so at this point my bravity reverted back to cowardness!! We sat outside in the gathering dusk devouring our meal washed down with a crisp, chilled white wine ( oh I'm getting so good at this poetic prose) which was so good we just had to have another, then some more amid loads of laughter until we headed for bed around 11.30. Tomorrow it is Bondi beach and a couple of others as well. Will have to be good tomorrow night as I get breathalysed on Friday and do not want the indignity or big riddy as they say in Scotland of being chucked of the bridge climb( not literally) G'night possums from Oz. Xxx Day 19 A wee change of plan today as George not to well with a cold so we decided to have a chill out afternoon at the pool after going out with Annette, Laura and wee Logan for some lunch. It was another really sunny and hot day although not to great for Laura who is expecting her 2nd baby any day!!! Went back to the house and just really chilled at the pool with my kindle, stopping every now and then to do my 150 laps of the pool culminating in some hand stands, scissor jumps and back flips. Then around 6.30 Annette and I went up to a local pub for wur tea, and very nice it was too!! We then had a stroll around a few of the streets as it was such a lovely night to check out the Christmas decorations on the outside of the houses. Friends I will need to take my camera, they are something else!! They rival the USA I kid u not. Been very good and not over indulged tonight as I will be breathalysed tomorrow and need to be focused for those dam ladders!! Followed I hope by some shopping around the harbour, that is if I am not swimming around it!! Will be visiting Bondi before returning to the bosoms ( not besoms) of my loving family and wee Carrie cat if she is still speaking to me next Tues. x day 23 The Climb!! What a day! Woke up had our brekkie and travelled in to Sydney by train. made our way to where the climb begins and was told I could join the earlier one if I wanted. So off I went to start the experience leaving Annette and George armed with IPad and camera. They were able to come to the observation floor to watch us begin. Was given the elegant boiler suit and dully got changed came out and feeling quite pleased said to the guy well that's the first part sorted to which he replied with a grin he could not suppress, "no love,you have ur boiler suit on back to front, the zip goes to the back!!! So I had to head back to the changing room to take the bloody thing off and sort it!! We were then given our instructions, radio, headphones, cap, to which I asked if I had to wear it as really baseball caps just ain't my thing, but I duly put it on and just cursed the fact I had took so long washing my hair that morning.next came the handky on an elastic band in case I suppose we wanted to cry and wipe our tears or maybe wipe sweat or in our case rain, of our faces. Then I asked if I could take my sunglasses up with me to which I received incredulous looks because as I sted it was raining. I just told them I like to be an optimist! These were clipped on a string around my neck along with the key for the locker, and the cap which was attached as well. Then came the belt which we are attached to the bridge with, finally a backpack at thatched to our back containing a cagoul. The final indignity was a pair of rather fetching waterproof trousers over my boiler suit!! I looked like I was going up Everest with all this gear on. In our boiler suits we looked like a team from Star Trek and when we marched out George and Annette were taking our photos and George shouted your troosers are too big! This elicitated much laughter from my climbing companions. We then had to climb a couple of ladders in training to show we could do it, after being breathalised and filling out a health for. Then it began!! We climbed up a few vertical ladders then came onto narrow wooden type plank walkways and I made the mistake of looking down when he was giving us some info on the bridge construction. help, gulp! Saw all the cars below racing up and down and thought oh hell what have I done. We then moved on and up a few more ladders until we came out onto the final slope up the bridge with the sea below us. Strangely enough I was not afraid here even although it was higher,the wind and rain was blowing in my face and by now I had the cagoul on with the hood up over my earphones and baseball cap! I was feeling quite exhilarated even when he told us about the ones who had fallen off when it was being built. Finally got to the top at the flag, stopped for photies and we were all cheering ourselves, then made our way down. Felt great,and joined my amigos for some lunch and a well earned drink. We then did some shopping for Uggs then the day got even better folks!! We walked up George street and went into a bar which is very popular and busy and George went to purchase our drinks whilst Annette and I sat at a seat looking onto the pavement. George arrived back with the drinks and looking very furtive he whispered out of the corner of his mouth that the girl behind the bar declined payment and he could not understand why. A little later I sailed up and ordered the same round, the girl did something at the till and when I proffered payment she shook her head and said no it is done!! I went back even more furtively and whispered "she never took payment from me either" Annette by now was convinced she was being sacked and was going to make her boss bankrupt!! George decided to ask a guy at the next table if he knew anything about it and he said he heard that it was a new owner who was giving drinks away until 6pm. As this was not 5.50 George was going for the hat trick and urgently told Annette to put her phone down and get to the bar. She happily complied but was making her way there when we had to shout to tell her she should take her purse with her not to be so obvious. Lol. We were not sure if she would get them free so when George spotted her making her way back with the drinks he asked me if she had a soor face or a smile.lol.Yep it was another free round and big smiles all round. Adding to this there were literally hordes of folk going by all in different fancy dress heading for hen and stag parties. We had as Gerge said the best seats in the hoose to boot!!! Just then the waitress came to clear the table and told us the free drinks were being extended to 6.30. This news was greeted gleefully by Annette and I and she asked George to go up and get another round but he told us to have some decorum and not be greedy, so like two wee guilty school kids we agreed .,lol. Finally left for the train and arrived home around 8.30. A brilliant day!!! X Day 24. Shopping with Annette today and met some of George and Annette's friends tonight at the barbie. Annette is Oz's answer to Delia Smith, she is a brill cook and has been showing me some fab new dishes for barbie's, ( she has faith in me, bless her!) So kids just wait until next summer and I will be astounding u all with my culinary skills, although whether it will be in a good way or not remains to be seen!! My only cooking fan at the moment is wee Harry who very seriously told me one morning "Gran I have to say u make great toast!" I of course immediately rearranged my will in his favour as well as making him another 3 slices of toast!! I am now shattered and in bed so possums I bid u goodnight! X Day 25 Set of down the coast today possums to see Botany Bay where I dare say some of my fore bearers landed after doing some heinous crime like peeing in the street or singing to loud when they got fu and keeping the neighbors awake. It was overcast for a couple of hours then the sun came out and it was another rockin day!! I just was thinking about how the convicts must have felt when they saw this land for the first time! Mind u it's a good job the bridge wisnae there or it would have been along the lines of " oh ffs they're gonna make me climb that bloody thing!" We carried on further down to another bay (cannot remember the aborigine name) where we saw the memorial to the Australians killed in the Bali bombings. There was a photograph of each person killed. So sad and so pointless. Walking along a couple heard my voice and the guy asked where I was from, when I said Stirling he said that's where he is from but has stayed here 20 years. Small world eh! We then travelled on to Bondi mates. It was real beaut. Very busy with some bonzer eye candy ready to rush into the sea to rescue anyone who requires it. I did think of discarding my clobber and throwing myself into the waves, but it would have cleared the beach and probably the eye candy as well! Anyways the fear of Jaws won out and Annette said why not ask one for a pic so one poor bloke drew the lucky straw and will forever be on my IPad!! We then had a nice wee stroll around a local market before deciding on an Italian restaurant to devour some Pizza and wine (remind me to call the airline as I may need hydraulic equipment to hoist me on the plane!!) Back home after a walk along the waterfront eating fabby dabby ice creams to sit chatting, listening to some good old tunes, remembering everyone's party pieces and having a few more drinks before heading up the apple and stairs to bed. Annette is working until 2tomoz so will begin my packing and if weather permits do some chillin by the pool. We have been invited to Blair's (Annette and George's son) for tea tomorrow night. The widow's awesome Aussie adventures are nearly at an end!!!! X

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