Happy to go on busman’s holiday

At the next roundabout...follow the traffic jam!     (Shutterstock)

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Over the bank holiday weekend it was my turn to stay at home, with enough office work, gardening and household chores to keep me occupied while my wife and 44 other female friends and family members enjoyed afour-day cruise.

It was to celebrate the 50th birthdays of two of the group, Jane Macintosh and Julie Carpenter.

Having read classical and Gothic architecture for my fine art degree, it was amazing to see buildings and ruins I had previously known only from books.

Considering I love cruises as much as I hate flying, I was just a tiny bit envious, especially as they were visiting Bruges and Le Havre.

For me, waking up in a different port or new city each day is a great way to see the world. Enjoying excellent service, food and entertainment, and meeting new people aboard is also an added bonus.

A couple of years ago my agent offered me the amazing opportunity of a busman’s holiday, getting paid to talk about antiques while enjoying a 10-day cruise around the Mediterranean, Ionian and Aegean seas and taking in some of the most beautiful and historic places in Europe.

The contract was to give three talks, each lasting around an hour, and usually early evening, and the rest of the time I was free to enjoy the cruise like the other passengers – and Mrs Cameron could come too.

‘Where do I sign?’ was obviously my answer! I have since recommended this cruise to dozens of friends and would gladly pay to do it again in a few years.

If you don’t like lots of ‘sea days’ where the ship is travelling longer distances between destinations, a cruise around the Med is the perfect choice where you are also spoilt for places to see and things to do.

Our ports of call on this cruise, after leaving the embarkation port of Civitavecchia near Rome, were Sorrento, Amalfi and Capri on the southwest coast of Italy.

Then it was over to Sicily for stops at Taormina, Syracuse and Trapani before heading towards Kusadasi on the coast of Turkey, and the final leg of the journey to the Greek islands of Santorini, Mikonos then on to Athens.

We took advantage of the shore excursions and visited numerous classical Roman and Greek buildings and outdoor amphitheatres, including Pompeii, Ephesus and Acropolis, sampling the local food and wine as we went.

We even hired a scooter to explore the beautiful islands of Capri, a favourite holiday destination for Roman emperors, and Santorini, the most likely site of the mythological city of Atlantis.

Having read classical and Gothic architecture for my fine art degree, it was amazing to see buildings and ruins I had previously known only from books.