ALL RELAXED AT SEA

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Today, we are still at sea, and a glance at the progress map on the in-cabin TV tells us that we are roughly halfway across the Bay of Biscay heading South towards our next destination, Gibraltar, where we are due to arrive on Monday. The wind and swell have both dropped considerably, so the going is much steadier now.

As well as myself, there’s one other craft tutur, Andrea, and a creative writing tutor, Graham, all of whom are using the ‘Crafter’s Studio’ for there activities. Split between mornings and afternoons, this means that I’m working one sea day on and one sea day off. Today, I get the whole day to myself.

This morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we broke our plan to avoid all escorting duties and introduced ourselves to the Shorex team (although we already know Edie the manager from previous cruises). After a little negotiating and list-ticking, we’ve ended up with a walking tour in Gibraltar for definite, and possibly one or two others depending upon their requirements. We’re quite happy to help out, but are equally happy not to do any escorting if we’re not needed.

The rest of the morning was spent blogging and online-studenting to the background sounds of gentle jazz and blues in ‘The Dome’.

After lunch, we went to the Show Lounge (known as ‘The Palladium’) for one of the themed cruise attractions. This cruise has the added bonus of a ‘Legends of the Musicals’; as such, we’ve been joined by many stars of stage and screen, who will be performing sets and live chats over the duration of the trip. On this occasion, the special theme host, Chris Gidney, had a sit-down ‘Parkinson-style’ chat with Graham Bickley and Jessica Martin. As well as having performed in many West End musicals, Graham Bickley also appeared in the TV series Bread. Jessica Martin has had a long career as a TV impressionist (she did many of the female voices in Spitting Image), and had an acting roll in Doctor Who (the Silvester McCoy Doctor), as a teenage werewolf. Both talked at length about their careers and entertained us with lots of showbiz anecdotes, which made for an interesting and entertaining afternoon.

In the evening, we went to watch Jessica Martin’s solo cabaret, where she gave us her very best impressions and sang some wonderful songs. Jessica is also an accomplished artist, and has written her biography in the form of a comic book, which I’m very keen to get a closer glimpse at (I’m hoping they’ll have a copy in the shop).

On the Columbus, the evening shows are at 7pm and 9pm, to cope with the two restaurant sittings. On this occasion, we decided to watch the earlier show before going to eat in the bistro, which worked out fine. On the Marco Polo, shows are usually at 8pm and 10pm, which suits us better (for eating first, then going to the show).

Peter Woolley

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