Monday, 27th January 2014
We could enjoy a lie-in this morning as the Braemar is now on her way back up to the Canary Islands. When we went out onto our balcony, we could feel that it was quite windy and the sky was cloudy. So we hoped the weather would improve so that we could spend some time up on deck and enjoy the long, lazy sea days ahead.
After our breakfast in the Palms Café, Trevor went along to listen to one of the WW2 presentations while I returned briefly to cabin 7050 and made up some more kumihimo bracelets and updated this blog. Then it was time to go to the Neptune Lounge and join Trevor for the latest presentation by ex-police inspector Bob Ferris. Bob is also a bit of a comedian (in fact he does a bit of stand-up since he retired) so his talks are amusing as well as being very informative. Today’s talk was all about the times when the police have that unpleasant task of breaking the news of a death to the victim’s family.
It was after 11.30am when the talk finished, so we made our way to the Morning Light pub as, once again, deputy Cruise Director Jamie and singer Pat Shannon were holding “Name That Tune”.
On our way to the pub we noticed that the library and Braemar Room were pretty full; almost every seat was taken as most people were staying below decks as it was too windy up top. When we got to the Morning Light there were only seats at the bar again, so we took our places and ordered one of Emma’s famous sangrias each.
Presently we were joined by our team mates from the last Name That Tune. This time, Jamie and Pat had said they were going to make the quiz harder, as too many people scored highly last time (I mean, we got 27/30 and that wasn’t enough to win). So the quiz took the same format: listen to a few bars of the tune and give the song title and the artiste most associated with the song. Instead of singing along this time, we just ‘mimed’ the words as we didn’t want to be told off again. Pat said he was quite amused by the “team at the bar” who were “singing along silently”. 🙂
The questions were indeed harder, and we only managed 24/30 this time. But the bloke who marked our paper gave us 36; he said the other 12 points were for “entertainment value”. But yeah, we got 24 which we thought wasn’t very good, but the highest score was only 25, so we missed out by one point! Still, we’d had fun doing it. 🙂
We stayed for one more sangria then off we went to the Palms again for our lunch. Venturing out onto the rear decks we discovered that, indeed, the weather wasn’t clement enough to sit out in; in fact when we took a peek at the Marquee Deck where the pool and open-air bar is, not a soul was about and the bar was closed. A pity.
The afternoon passed by in its lazy, pleasant way then it was time to go to dinner. Once we’d finished, we wasted no time in going along to the Neptune Lounge as tonight the Cruise Director, Andy Mills-Brown was doing a sort of “Piers Morgan Life Stories” show, starring the Master of the Braemar, Captain Bent Ivar Gangdal (good old Bent Over, ha ha). It was very interesting as the captain, like a lot of his Norwegian fellow countrymen, has a dry and subtle sense of humour.
The main show tonight in the Neptune Lounge featured comedian/magician Martin Daniels once again. His show was excellent and very funny, as before. On the Braemar, and indeed all the Fred Olsen ships, the orchestra always play the same introductory tune; we found out that it is called In The Stone by 70’s funk group Earth, Wind and Fire. I’ll have to download it when we get home, so it will remind us of the great Fred Olsen cruises we’ve enjoyed. 🙂
We went along to the Coral Club as usual for the quiz and joined George and Barbara, who were kindly saving a seat for us. Afterwards (nope, we didn’t win!) Holly, who is the lead dancer, came around the room looking for male volunteers to get up and do a dance with them during their nautical-themed show, which was called “Up The Anchor”. George, Barbara and I volunteered Trevor to get up!
The Braemar Show Company put on an excellent performance as ever, and each of the four female dancers had a male ‘volunteer’, including Trevor. All they had to do were actions, such as hoist the sail, sweep the decks, drunken sailor etc. At the end, all the guys who got up got a massive cheer. I think Trevor was quite well-known to the entertainments team by this time, not only for tonight but for getting the best dressed costume in the British themed night last night as well. 🙂
We enjoyed a few more (free!) drinks afterwards whilst listening and dancing to the M.I.T. Band and the disco, then it was off to bed after 1.00pm again. But this time we didn’t leave our balcony door open; the sound of the wind whistling was too loud and distracting, so we were left to the mercy of the air conditioning blasting away.
Tuesday, 28th January 2014
Got up around 8.30am this morning and decided to go up to the Grampian restaurant for our breakfast, and also some of the free ‘champers’ as tonight was the last of the formal nights. We were given a table for two right at the window, so we could look and see what sort of day it was. From the movement of the Braemar we could tell the sea was still very choppy, and the clouds were still very much in evidence.
I enjoyed the usual smoked salmon, cured meats and fresh fruit breakfast, washed down with two large glasses of the free fizz. Then off we went for a potter around, had a look outside (still fairly windy), went and looked around the shops to see if there were any bargains and listened to the guest speakers (another good one from Bob Ferris).
At lunchtime we went along to the Morning Light once again where they were holding an International Beer Festival as well as a good old sing-along with Pat Shannon. This time we were allowed to sing out loud, ha ha. The pub was crowded as most people were below decks once again; in fact the Morning Light is often used as a through-route between the Braemar Room and the Neptune Lounge, so people are coming and going all the time. Usually the queues for the Neptune Lounge stretch through the Morning Light, and I felt a bit sorry for Pat who was valiantly trying to get the sing-along starting when there was a constant movement of people. Nevertheless, some of the stalwarts like us joined in and sang lustily. Of course, all the free booze helps and adds decibels (if not melody) to our voices, ha ha 🙂
Afterwards we had our lunch then went back to cabin 7050 for an afternoon nap, as the late nights were catching up a bit. I did a bit of reading, watched the telly etc. then took a long, leisurely shower and did my hair and makeup and got ready for our last formal dinner. We had a guest at our table tonight; lead dancer Holly (Trevor’s partner from last night!) and she regaled us with tales of her career on board cruise ships, as well as telling us about her family. A convivial and amusing dinner companion.
Despite being out of the Thistle restaurant in good time to go to the Neptune Lounge, we were unable to get in, which was a pity because tonight it was the Braemar Crew Show. The problem is that the passenger Choir Concert had been performing beforehand, so the people who’d gone along to see them at 7.45pm had just stayed in their seats. Therefore the queue was massive and stretched all the way through the pub and into the corridor beyond. So there was no point even trying to get in, as we wouldn’t be able to get decent seats.
Never mind though, we just stayed in the pub, had a few drinks, enjoyed Pat’s music and then hot-footed it along to the Coral Club for the quiz as usual.
Tonight’s show in the Coral Club was called “From Backstage to On Stage” and featured none other than our Price Tag rapping guy, Dong Gutierrez. He was absolutely brilliant and he did some of the great classics like Time To Say Goodbye which actually brought a lump to my throat. At the end of his performance I leapt to my feet and I noticed some others in the room giving him a well-deserved standing ovation as well. Wow. 🙂
We stayed to listen to the M.I.T. Band and had a bit of a dance, then off we went back to cabin 7050. Tomorrow we were due to reach land again, in the shape of Gran Canaria.