Oriana Cruise

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

Oriana Cruise

Date: 19th April 2008

Well here I am back on land.  The Cruise was fabulous. 

The Oriana was on the last leg of a World Cruise and my friend Doreen and I boarded at Capetown for the 6th and last leg back to Southampton.  The Ports of call were not the most exciting but the trip was enormous fun and Doreen and I giggled our way through 2 hilarious weeks.  To begin with we kept getting lost - wrong deck - wrong end of Ship - all complicated by two decks along which one couldn't traverse because of the Galleys.  By the time we'd sussed this, people were being so helpful 'Lost again are we - where do you want to go?' that we just let them enjoy themselves at our expense.

The Ports of Call.

LUDERITZ Very glad to have stopped at Luderitz and visited Kolmanskoppe - the Ghost Town.  So called because it was literally abandoned in the 1950's and nature is claiming it back - with many of the abandoned houses virtually up to the door lintels in sand. We had a fabulous guide called Natalie who made the trip totally enjoyable with all her little anecdotes mixed in with the facts and figures.  One point that sticks in my mind was a photo on the wall of the workers face down with gags over their mouths - WHY - well one could literally pick small diamonds out of the sand with tweezers and the gags were to ensure they didn't swallow any.  When they discovered much bigger diamonds at Kimberley, I think, everyone upped sticks and left Kolmanskoppe.

The town was hardly large but the houses were and Natalie called it Milllionaires' Row.  Small though it was, it had a decent sized Theatre and a Ten Pin Bowling Alley.  There was a gym with the old 'Horses' from my school days.  How I loathed Gym and trying to jump over those blasted Horses.  I think I'm fitter now than when I was at school!!

Another point which impressed me was all the stencilled decoration on the painted walls - all in the Art Deco style and some still as fresh as the day they were painted.

I PROMISE I WILL FIND OUT HOW TO PUT PICTURES ONTO MY WEB - 'cos I've got some smashing shots of the houses etc.

WALVIS BAY - Doreen and I booked for the Desert Tour and were impressed with the Geological strata and the 'Moonscape' terrain as well as seeing the  - I've forgotten the name -  plant which lives to over 1,000 years.  Weren't impressed with lunch in the 'Oasis' - wasn't a drop of water in sight - plastic tables and chairs and a very indifferent and greasy finger buffet topped off with fruit juice.  Ah well, incurable romantic that I am, I suppose I couldn't expect to see Omar Sharif riding out of the desert.

ST. VINCENT in the Cape Verde Islands.  Just as well we didn't plan a trip as we didn't even manage to dock.  The Captain inferred that another ship had a bigger wad of money than we did.  Apparently this happens not infrequently and berths are given to the highest bidder.

TENERIFE - by this time we were taking advice from the regular and hardened cruisers and were told not to bother with any trips.  Afterwards we regretted that we hadn't done the Puerto  Santa Cruz trip.  Ah  well!

MADEIRA - joined forces with another couple and hired a taxi which took us to most of the beauty spots on the island which is very attractive.  But then, I love mountains and sea.  The only event we didn't have the time to savour (because of lengthy queues) was the Toboggan Ride in a Basket down the very steep hills.  Initially Doreen said she wouldn't do it and when she saw the queues and realised she couldn't do it, she said how much she would like to have done so!!!!!!!!!

Of course, weather-wise, we left Capetown in balmy weather and left the cabin door open at night - lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves and the warmth of the atmosphere but as we came further north, the weather, naturally changed and the door remained shut.

THE CRUISE

Doreen had never been on a ship before and my only experience of a long sea voyage was returning from Australia to the UK many many years ago - so for both of us it was going to be an experience.  AND WE LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

My Four Talks were very well received and must have had an audience of approximately 500 each time.  I had worked very hard on them - taking an Apple Keynote course in Capetown in order to be able to illustrate the talks.  My hard work paid off because I found that having practised and practised and using Doreen as my critic, I delivered them all without notes.

The passengers were fulsome in their praise which made the hard work worthwhile.  Got some great feedback as to why they watched Celebrity etc.  Quite a number of the men told me (in front of their wives) that they'd been in love with me back in my Newsreading days - it was all very lighthearted and great fun.

Some people spend much of their lives cruising and one couple were on their 11th.  Although we loved it, I don't think we could do three months.  Mind you the day is jampacked with experiences.  You can learn to Linedance, Ballroom Dance, Tap; play Whist or Bridge; learn how to use a computer (P.C. unfortunately - had it been Apple I'd have been there); you can make yourself a beaded necklace; play deck quoits, practice golf shots and on and on.  That's just during the day.  In the evening you can choose from all manner of entertainment - from Variety Shows to Classical Piano Concerts, from individual comedians to the superbly funny Ray Cooney Theatre Company with their wonderful Whitehall-type farces. 

They had my talks, talks on Old Movies, Jewellery and for me, best of the lot were 10 Talks on Wildlife given by Gavin Robinson - a Conservancy Ranger from Zimbabwe.  His talks proved so popular that he was moved from the Cinema seating 300 to the Theatre with seating for 650.

We were very well fed - too much so and my winter skirt was a trifle tighter than when I left the UK in January.  Mind you Doreen and I ate like sparrows compared with many of the passengers who managed to devour cooked breakfast, cooked lunch, afternoon tea and a 5 course dinner.

The staff were friendly and polite and the Cruise Director, Sally Sagoe, and the Captain Charlie Carr couldn't have been nicer.

If Charlie ever wanted to give up the sea, he could earn his living as a comic.  We were very fortunate in having dinner with Sally in the Gary Rhodes Restaurant on one evening and our last night was graced by having Charlie at our table.

In my final Q & A I started to thank the passengers for all their lovely comments and good will and broke up.  Sally came to my rescue but I fought for a couple of minutes to get back on an even keel.

We were both dreading the end of the voyage as we'd really bonded and had a wonderful time and now were facing going to our separate empty flats.

Finally, just before leaving the cabin to disembark. there was a knock on the door and a steward stood there with the most beautiful bouquet of flowers with the message - Welcome Home, Fairy Godmother (reference to the Panto at Christmas) - they were from a fan and I walked off the boat feeling like a Queen.

It's taken me two days to unpack and find homes for everything and now it's into the dreaded paperwork.

BUT I said I'd let you know how it went as soon as I landed.

Bit of excitement - just been invited to the Opening Night of Gone with the Wind (the Musical) - That's on Tuesday and I'm being escorted by my son.

Then taking part in a Celebrity Cash in the Attic.  I have decided to donate the money raised to Jonathan's Orchid Charity - it's devoted to research into Male Cancers - Testicular, Penile, and Prostate.   He's raised just under £4,000 with his sponsored Sky Dive - so if I could get somewhere in the region of £6,000 out of Cash in the Attic - it would be lovely to give a rounded sum of £10,000 to Orchid.  Well if you don't aim high ........  One of the passengers whom we befriended has very kindly given me to auction a superb Oil Painting of a Belgian Bull by an Artist called Albojuk Benaroya - born in Uganda and now living in Israel.   If I lived in a big house or had a different kind of flat, I'd buy it myself, - it is Exquisite.

Must sign off as I've so much paper work to sort and put in order.

Till the next time,

Affectionately, Jan

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