Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Day 7 (27/01/2012)

We slept well, must once again have been the bananagram playing before bed, although possibly it’s just because we’ve got used to this creaking of containers and the rocking motion now. The weather is still like a British summertime, the front of the ship threatens to disappear into fog. It’s hard to tell whether the waves are any higher, it feels like they might be, but with the horizon so close we can’t really tell how much we’re moving from side to side.

I breakfasted on cornflakes and a bit of bread, while Jenny had the eggs again. After breakfast to the ping pong, book reading and bananagram playing. Potato crochettes, vegetables and watermelon were for lunch. We then read, Jenny probably played some game on her computer and then it was time to tackle the task of the week- doing our laundry, between eating ginger cookies, ginger sweets and taking sips of the Piggly Wiggly cola to keep under check the queasiness from the ever increasing waves.

Our afternoon and evening’s excitement was as follows: Down 86 steps to the laundry room, up 44 to the gym, played ping pong, up 42 to our room, read, Jenny played on computer, down 86 steps to transfer washing to drier, up 86 steps to our room, wrote blog, Jenny played on computer, down 86 steps to collect the washing which wasn’t yet dry, back up the 30 steps to the officer’s mess room for dinner of mashed potato, cauliflower and the delicious red cabbage salad, back down the 30 steps to the drier- clothes still not dry, up the 114 steps to the bridge to see some large waves and the pitching of the ship, back down 28 steps to our room, played bananagrams, hung around, went down the 86 steps to the laundry room again and then back up the 86 steps to our room where we can finally retire for the night. That’s a total of 998 steps today. Who says you don’t get any exercise on a cargo ship? Can definitely see why they want your doctor to sign the form saying you are capable of walking up stairs.

Day 6 (26/01/2012)

I slept pretty soundly, at last! It was a hardship to get up though, but at least with the system here the time doesn’t change in the night. I breakfasted on bread and toast, Jenny on cornflakes, there was some drink masquerading as pineapple juice. At 8.00a.m. the clocks changed to 9.00a.m. Outside it’s foggy, rainy and pretty wet. This is not at all discouraging, it just shows we’re getting closer to England. In our mad way we’ve missed this quintessentially English weather.

After breakfast we once again played ping pong. The crew have also been sanding and painting red parts of the swimming pool too, which hadn’t been filled for ten years until the Swiss requested to have it filled. I’m not sure of the reliability of this information.

Despite getting the ever busy steward to give us some washing powder, we never actually got round to making it to the laundry room, but tomorrow is another day to be filled. I busied myself making heads of felt animals, which I will at some point turn into Christmas decorations when I’m home (I guess I’ve got a while..). Jenny was reading her Harry Potter book again. And at some point we watched ‘Ueberleben auf hoher See’, just incase a bit of information might save our lives in a rough sea. We are now in possession of a fair bit of knowledge regarding lifeboats and flotation devices. The best lifeboats it seems are freefall lifeboats stowed on a ramp from which they are released and nose dive into the sea. Although they would be much safer than standard lifeboats, companies haven't been adopting them, perhaps due to cost, but also due to space constraints. Bobbing about in a lifeboat in high waves looks like a hellish experience.

I don’t think I’m the kind that gets bored too easily, but I’m really getting a sense of boredom here now. My obsession is counting the days we’ve got left till we get off the boat. It’s not that I haven’t anything to do, I could continue making felt animals, read one of the four books I’ve got or Jenny’s Harry Potter book, watch some films or write some more job applications. But I’m not in the mood, I just want to get to England really. Why does the Atlantic have to be so wide?

There are no whales here, well it’d be very hard to see them with the fog and cresting waves. The Pacific, partly because it was summer, just seemed a lot more exciting. It is beyond my comprehension as to why you would willingly go on a cruise here for 49 days. Beatrice and Heinz Peter are here to get away from it all, in particular the winter. At least they’re not flying to some distant land, but I can’t really see the attraction of being on this moving prison for so long. It’s not cheap either… each to their own… Obviously I’m still pleased that we haven’t flown across the Atlantic (and encourage you all to take a freighter rather than a plane!!) and of course very happy that we haven’t been bathing in our own sick for the past few days. I’m just eager to get to England. I can only be thankful that it’s not like going across the Pacific where we had one day twice. Having to live through that when having each day once seems like an eternity would be the icing on the cake!

Lunch was asparagus soup (some soup base with bits of asparagus put in it), potato, spinach and some other vegetables, followed with three scoops of ice cream and a wafer. The afternoon was spent reading, computing and watching Mare TV’s documentary on the Oslo fjord and some canal also in Sweden. Before dinner we took a walk up to the bridge where our fellow passengers were found. We still haven’t left North America all that far behind. The Flaminia is due at the moment to arrive in Antwerpen towards midday on the 31st, the journey down the river after the pilot has come on board will take 8hrs to the port.

Supper was carrots, cauliflower, beans, peas, French fries, a very miniute helping of salad and chocolate cake. Today unlike yesterday I feel full, actually more than full, possibly fit to burst. I’ll be requesting just salad tomorrow night I think.

With the gloomy weather outside we are, according to Heinz Peter and Beatrice, already in the bad weather. We are of a different opinion, there still aren’t crazy waves, so as far as we’re concerned the weather is good.

Day 5 (25/01/2012)

Last night we watched Mamma Mia, found hidden between all the largest ships of the world and Mare TV documentaries in the recreation room. I was then quite unwilling to go to sleep at 8.00p.m., when Jenny decided it was time for lights out, this may possibly have been due to the one too many pieces of chocolate I had decided to consume earlier or that it was only 8 o’clock (6 o’clock two days ago!). I lay awake for hours with the ship rocking quite a bit, but not overly so.

In the post breakfast ping pong session it was evident that I was sleep deprived, receiving quite a thrashing from Jenny (or that's the excuse I like to go by). Apparently she never really tries though. She doesn’t like playing ping pong and as soon as we finish a game she’s over at the shelf putting her bat away before I can even blink. Sometimes I do not understand her at all. But I’m very grateful she is here putting up with my not flying notion and accompanying me on this ship. For breakfast Jenny had had the eggs and cucumber, I had just bread. Bread, we were told last time is good for the seasick stomach, although the waves weren’t really high enough to need it.

In the cabin Jenny devoured some of the making of Harry Potter book that we had to go out of our way to buy in Charleston, while I tried to sort some things out on my computer and do some blog catching up. For lunch we had minestrone soup, a potato with sauerkraut, which Jenny had to smother with ketchup and a pear for dessert. The big storm is already hitting England and all the way to Spain, we’ve at least escaped that one. The waves still aren’t too bad, hopefully nothing too awful will materialise behind us. Despite the Swiss lady’s shock at us playing ping pong straight after eating, we went and played anyway. Melanie who was in our cabin when they came across the Atlantic to America used to play ‘squash’ inside the empty swimming pool. Hopefully Jenny won’t get ideas and stop playing ping pong with me. The remainder of our afternoon was spent with me trying to make the beginnings of a felt giraffe, Jenny reading and then both of us going for a walk outside and then to the bridge. On the starboard side we were lucky to not get soaked in the spray. The crew are still working on sanding the rust and painting the holes red. We’re near Newfoundland now and there have been lots of birds flying around the ship.

Our evening meal was lettuce, red cabbage salad and bread, along with a sip of tomato juice. Heinz Peter was absolutely delighted to be eating calemares and had to go to the kitchen to request seconds. A ping pong session followed, then watching of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Despite lying in bed early we had to play some bananagrams to activate and tire our brains a little.