Mediterranean Malarkies – Day Three

Published 29/09/2018 by julierkendrick

Aaaaaah that’s more like it. Waking up to a smooth sea and bright sun beaming through the cabin window was much more akin to what we ordered.  Sam was feeling chipper and not at all nauseous (he was rubbing his ear beads every so often just to be sure) and Trevor seemed to finally have woken up.

Today was a sea day and the first chance we had to actually all relax together and work on our tans.  Once we had finished breakfast we wandered out to find some sunbeds to make camp for the day.  Yeah, easier said than done. Once again we spent ages wandering round and round and round and round, initially trying to find four beds together, deciding to settle on two and eventually begging for a small piece of floor where we could lay our towels. There were signs up everywhere telling us not to reserve beds or our stuff would be removed after 30 minutes but every bed was taken. Finally we found one bed on the top deck partially in the shade and leapt on it. Glen wandered off and after a short while came back with another bed which he set up next to the one five of us were sharing.  We sorted ourselves out as best we could and commenced the serious business of tanning.

I am like a lizard and once I’m comfy in the sun with a drink and a book you’re not moving me for hours.  Everyone else came and went throughout the day and as people around me left I swapped beds with two better placed for maximum sun absorption.

Sam and I had our yearly argument with him trying to convince me that he doesn’t need to wear factor 30+ on his very fair skin and that he could use my factor 8 (for 3% Nigerian throwbacks) and be fine.  Reluctantly he relented and spread a very thin layer of factor 30 over parts of himself and laid down with his headphones in for all of 20 minutes before getting bored and wandering off again.

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Sam trying to convince me he’s not fair of skin

As a group we had decided to book a table in one of the speciality restaurants for that night (this is another package that we had to buy in order to save 10 Euros pp on each meal) and we had chosen Chops Grille as most people were in the mood for steak. This turned out to be a brilliant idea as the food and service were second to none. Our waitress with an unpronounceable name was so attentive, funny and friendly that she made our dining experience fabulous. She remembered all our drinks and as soon as a glass was only 1/4 full she produced another one. If we were running low on side orders she brought more.  The food was also outstanding.  Most of us had steak and everyone said it was cooked to perfection, exactly the way they had ordered. I had rack of lamb and again could not sing its praises high enough.  A lovely night of food, drink and hilarity sent us off to bed very happy and VERY full.

But, that is not the end of the Kendrick day 3 story. Oh no. By the time we got back to our room Sam had started to complain that the backs of his legs were sore and sheepishly admitted that he had ‘forgotten’ to put lotion on them.  Stripping off his trousers he was mortified to see the backs of his legs burnt so pink they were reminiscent of the steak he had just consumed. “But I only laid out for 20 minutes” he kept repeating much to my frustration. Lots of cold flannels and fanning of bed sheets later he found some After Sun that he had brought with him that his mate Jordan had left behind in the room when they had been to Rome a few weeks earlier. So I rubbed a generous amount into the poor boy’s legs and a little bit on his back and chest and sent him to bed with paracetamol and a flea in his overcrowded ear about arguing with me every year about the same damn thing.

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“But I only laid out for 20 minutes”

Then next morning….  well you’ll just have to wait for that, but believe me its a good one.

Pip pip

Julie 🙂

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Mediterranean Malarkies – Day Two

Published 25/09/2018 by julierkendrick

Waking up and looking out over a beautiful blue sea, nothing on the horizon except serene blue sky; rhythmic bobbing up and down with a warm gentle breeze softly brushing our faces… was absolutely nothing like what we actually woke up to!

Grey, drizzly, choppy waters with a wind that was more than a little chilly whipping our hair nearly off our heads was what greeted us on Day 2. We had reached the Bay of Biscay, a notoriously tempestuous area of the ocean that takes about a day to pass through.  Not having brought any warm clothing or even a jacket meant we were going to be staying inside today.  I was lucky enough to have a massage booked so I had that to look forward. However, everyone else spent the day staggering from one place to the next trying not to fall flat on their faces, or find themselves propelled into shops where their bank balances would be severely depleted. Although a little unsteady on my feet I didn’t feel unwell at all but poor Sam was green and almost continually throwing up.  Trevor, who had been working like a maniac for about 6 months was so tired he just kept falling asleep and when he was awake complained of feeling nauseous.

We went to the  Windjammer for breakfast, hoping that it would settle the boys’ tummies but spent about 20 minutes wandering round and round looking for a free table.  This would be only one of many times we compared this cruise to our Caribbean one with this one fairing less than well.  99% of the passengers were British and in typical Brit fashion pushed and shoved everyone out of the way to make sure “we’re alright Jack”. I have no idea where this thing about the Brits queuing up nicely came from but I certainly didn’t see any orderly queues where the food was concerned. Once we were seated the food was delicious and plentiful and I was more than happy with my full belly. However the poor boys just felt worse and worse.

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Greyness (looking deceptively calm though)

At 12.30 I popped off to the spa for my Swedish massage with a tiny girl from the Philippines named Elsa. She called me Joooooooolie and kneaded and stroked all my cares away until I was powerless to resist the Elemis lotions and potions she told me I must buy just before I left. £90 lighter (that was just the creams) I went back to our cabin to find Trevor asleep and Sam with his green face in the toilet bowl.  I whisked him off down to the spa where I had seen a notice saying that they did acupuncture for sea sickness.  At this point my boy would have rubbed a frog over his face if it meant he would stop vomiting so we went and saw the lovely Dr who laid Sam down and poked him with needles for an hour.  After this she stuck some tiny beads in his ears and rubbed them for a few minutes before leaving him to sleep for half an hour or so.  A short while later he woke up and like magic was cured. Yes, I am serious. He was actually cured. No more sickness just a slightly unsettled feeling in his tummy which the Dr said would go in a coupe of hours.  He was given instructions to press the beads in his ears if he felt sick and we left, with me nearly £300 down!! So no more sea sickness for Sam and the chefs were put on alert that the teenage boy had his appetite back!!!

Not much happened for the rest of that day as we spent our time sleeping or wandering around the boat orientating ourselves. I had to take to my bed to try to recover from spending nearly £400 without getting off the boat or going into a shop; having said that, it was worth every penny to see Sam feeling better.

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First boat pic of me and Diane

Diane and I took our first selfie and once we had eaten our dinner went to bed early. Tomorrow we would be arriving in Gibraltar so sleep was needed to prepare for some walking and sightseeing fun.

Land ahoy

Julie 🙂

 

Mediterranean Malarkies – Day ONE

Published 19/09/2018 by julierkendrick

The date is 12th August 2018 and the day is Sunday. The time is 6am!!!!!!! 6am does not exist in my world as it is the time when I am usually sleeping my deepest but as we are off on our cruise today I don’t mind being acquainted with it just this once. We had finished packing the night before and once we had thrown the final toiletries into our cases we left the house for 2 weeks of sun, fun and relaxation.

First thing’s first… Sleep. All the way to Southampton. I have to admit I am the most boring car passenger as I am like a baby, 2 miles down the road and Zzzzzz. I woke up just as we arrived at the hotel where we were to meet The fabulous Perrymans (I think that should be their moniker from now on). Once we had excitedly said our hellos we went off in convoy to the dock.

Just a few minutes later we saw our fabulous boat and before we knew it our cases were collected from us by a lovely chap in the car park and we were ushered into the terminal and on to the vessel that was going to transport us off to sunnier climes.

Once on board we had to wait a couple of hours before our stateroom was ready so we went to a bar and ordered our first round of holiday drinks.

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£57 with a couple of cokes and a beer!!!!

Now, I just need to pause proceedings here to give you a little explanation of how drinks work on cruises with Royal Caribbean. There is no cash onboard so you have to register a credit or debit card once you arrive. You are issued with a boarding pass which is linked to this card. Any time you buy anything your card is swiped and your credit card charged.  You have the option whether to buy a drinks package or not. If you choose to do so there are three options, 1. Full alcohol package. 2. Enhanced soft drinks package (includes hot chocolate and coffee) 3. Basic soft drinks package. All very simple so far, yes? However, the drinks packages are RIDICULOUSLY expensive. The full alcohol package is, and you’ll need to read this at least twice, £68 per person, PER DAY. Yes per day.  Also they have a rule that if one adult in your room has the alcohol package then ALL the adults have to have it too. This is obviously to stop one person buying the package and then getting drinks for the rest of their party. Makes sense I guess but wow that’s a lot of money. So we decided that we would not partake of the packages but would just pay as we go. HAHAHAHA! Yeah nice idea… The first round of drinks that I bought consisted of 2 cocktails, 1 beer and 2 cokes. Grand total £57. Well once I’d picked myself up off the floor and stopped hyperventilating we had a long discussion about how we were going to afford to drink on this holiday.  Glen and I did some rudimentary maths but the end result was that we were going to have to bite the bullet and get the package. I’ll leave you to work out how much that cost us but it was a tidy sum and we hadn’t even left Southampton!

Once that was out of the way we could start to relax. Our cabin was ready and we unpacked quickly eager to get back to the holiday celebrations.  We set sail at 4pm and Diane and I decided to have a mooch round the shops that are along the Promenade. I bought my holiday perfume (Coco Chanel) and we stopped for one or two, or three drinks along the way.  Dinner that night was in the Sapphire restaurant which is the equivalent of Mozart on the Adventure of the Seas that we were on in the Caribbean.  If I’m honest the food wasn’t that great, pretty mediocre but, hey it’s the first day. It’s all looking up from here right? Right??

You’ll have to wait for the Day Two to find out.

Ahoy shipmates

Julie 🙂

 

 

Mediterranean Malarkies

Published 03/09/2018 by julierkendrick

Well hello again all those who have followed my blog in the past. I admit I am not the most regular of bloggers but I like to think that when I do put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) it is worth reading. So welcome back, I hope you enjoy the next series of posts which will be appearing over a week or so.

As some of you know I have recently been on another cruise, this time to the sunny Mediterranean. We went with Royal Caribbean again and this time instead of  meeting new friends we took the old ones with us. Glen and Diane, the fabulous couple we met on our first cruise in 2013 (see Caribbean Chronicles) have become our best chums with whom we spend many days on lodge breaks around the UK, jumping in and out of hot tubs. We also went to Turkey together in 2016 and travel to each others houses at least a few times a year.  We also had our youngest son Sam with us and Glen and Di brought their daughter Zoe and son Darryl and his husband Austin.

So, I have set the scene, introduced the characters all that remains is to crack on with Day One.

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Navigator of the Seas

G is for Gratitude

Published 19/12/2016 by julierkendrick

Most of you know that at the beginning of the year I spent time in hospital after collapsing with heart problems (more about this next time), and the cliche is that it makes you realise that you shouldn’t take things for granted etc etc. Yes that is true, it’s a cliche for a reason but I think for me it has been more than that.

There was a period of time this year when I didn’t actually know if I would survive. I know that sounds dramatic but the doctors initially didn’t think I was taking it seriously enough and told Trevor to make me understand that this is a sudden death condition. It’s a very strange feeling to have your husband sit you down and tell you that you could die. But it did the trick and I became very aware of the severity of the issue.

Anyway, since leaving hospital I have started to look at life in a pretty wonderful way. Ever since my mother became ill and spent the next 20 years plus feeling sorry for herself and saying ‘why me, why me?’, I was determined that if I ever became ill I would be the complete opposite. I had that chance this year and grabbed it with both hands.  Instead of thinking, and saying, ‘why me?’ I have turned it round and said “why NOT me?” I’m no more special than anyone else. My life hasn’t been terrible. Yes I’ve had many difficult times but I got through them to where I am today. My overriding thought about what has happened to me this year is this; it is just my turn.

All of us at some point has had a loved one who has been ill or who has had to face something terrible in their life. If we are good people (and all of you are), we try to help them as much as we can and be there for them and, if you are a person of faith, pray for them. So this year I found myself being on the receiving end of the help, support, love and prayers.

And boy did it make a difference.

I didn’t realise how many wonderful people I have in my life. My husband, who adores me, was my absolute rock. My 4 wonderful sons phoned, visited and generally made me laugh like they always do. Sam, ahhh Sam he was only 14 and obviously scared but he put on a brave face and supported his dad, growing up a little quicker than he should have had to. My remarkable friends, Diane, Glen, Kala, Jimi, Nicky and so many more showed how they care in their own ways by always being at the end of the phone or at the end of my bed. And my church family. What incredible people they are. They prayed for me and supplied Trevor with hugs and unending love and spiritual support.

So, with all of this positivity around me how can I not be grateful? How can I not see the good in this situation. I look at the beautiful area in which I live and breathe in the clear fresh air and I am so happy to be alive. I see my dogs playing and being silly, making us all laugh and I am so glad that they are mine. I think about my 4 boys and feel my heart burst when I think of each one individually. I look at my house and possessions and remember the hard times Trevor and I have had and how far we have come. I think about my friends and smile, feeling blessed that each one of them is in my heart.

I now have my own business and fully intend to make a success of it. I want to spend the rest of my life, however long that is, being surrounded by things that make me happy. Not because I want to be selfish or that I am thinking only about my own wants but because I NEVER want to stop being grateful. I never want to stop getting pleasure from watching butterflies land on flowers, from listening to my dogs snoring, from singing at the top of my voice to a song that touches me, from the smell of Christmas candles, from surrounding myself with beautifully soft balls of wool, from being kissed fully on the lips.

Life is so magnificent and we truly don’t know how long we have ours for so I implore you not to forget the small things, the tiny things that can actually make your day when you focus on them and not the negativity that can obscure the clarity of a beautiful existence.

Gratitude. It’s a powerful thing.

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F is for Father

Published 26/10/2016 by julierkendrick

I decided to wait until today to write this blog post for a very special reason. Today is my dad’s birthday. But not just any birthday. If he was still alive today would be his 100th birthday. He would have had his telegram from the Queen’s this morning (or does she text now?) and we would have celebrated in true dad style, but having a nice cup of tea.

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This is Roy. He was my dad. A painfully shy man that liked a flutter on the horses and nice roast dinner with his favourite veg, runner beans. There is so much I could tell you about this man but I’ll give you a few bullet point facts.

  • He was the eldest of 3 and had 2 younger sisters. They all got on exceptionally well their whole lives. I never knew them to argue or fall out.
  • My dad never drank or shouted and I only heard him swear a handful of times. He did however, smoke like a chimney.
  • He was married before he met my mum and had a son and a daughter (neither of whom want to know me).
  • He was in the RAF and took part in WW2, however he never ever set foot in a plane and never flew in his whole life.
  • There was 25 years between him and my mum and when I was born he was 54. He was often mistaken as my grandfather.
  • He was very affectionate and loved to brush my hair when I was little.
  • My dad was a Christian and encouraged my faith but never forced me to go to church. He did take me to Sunday School but I never ever saw him inside a church.
  • He was an absolute stickler for good English and spelling and instilled in me a love of language. On a Sunday afternoon when I was Primary School age he used to set me 10 spellings that I had to get right and those I didn’t I had to write 10 times each. This wasn’t a punishment more like practice of an art form. I never resented this and have passed this on to my boys too. I hope he would be proud.
  • He was terrified of hospitals and throughout my life only had to go in once, in 1985 when he had heart failure. He was in a week and then on meds for the rest of his life but he was to all intents and purposes as fit as a butcher’s dog.
  • I believe he knew he was going to die because in the week leading up to his death he wanted to spend a lot of time with my boys who were 3, 2 and 8 months at the time. He told me they were wonderful boys and would make me proud. He was right. I am sad he never got to meet Trevor or Sam. He would have loved them.
  • My dad died very suddenly and unexpectedly on 10th May 1995 aged 78. He rang me up at midday saying he felt ill and I told him I would take him to the Doctor’s at 6pm. He had his lunch and fell asleep on the sofa, like he did every afternoon, and never woke up. Unbeknownst to him he had a massive stroke and a brain Hemorrhage. He never felt any pain and never had to suffer the indignity of being in hospital.
  • His last words to me were “I love you Julie”.

It’s been 22 years since we lost him and I really do think about him most days but today is definitely dedicated to him. Happy 100th Birthday Daddy. I love you.

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E is for Epiphany

Published 14/10/2016 by julierkendrick

Well hello again. It’s been a while. About 2 years I think and for that I must apologise.  I don’t really know why I stopped writing because I really do enjoy it and the feedback I received from my blog was always positive.

Anyway, this quick post is just to let you all know that I have recently had an epiphany and will now be writing my blog again. This amazing turnaround occurred earlier this year and I will document it, among other things,  over the coming posts to keep you all entertained with my musings. There will generally be one post per week although I am sure that some burning issue will crop up and i will have to add my own take on it.

I am going to continue with the A-Z of blogging because I like a challenge and, well it’s taken me 2 years to come up with ‘E is for Epiphany’ so I can only improve when we come to letters like Q and X (gulp).

Please feel free to comment, either here or on Facebook, I’d love to hear what you have to say too.

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See you soon

Julie 🙂