As the Met Office itself called it: a weather bomb with 70mph winds and 35ft waves. So you’d think the last place you’d want to be is on a cruise ship.
Stugeron is my seasickness tablet of choice, but if you add alcohol, you do feel rather woozy. Not a great combination.
We sailed at 5pm but the Champagne started to flow as soon as we boarded. Well, a 40th is a landmark birthday is it not?
By 8pm we were sitting in Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar’s Indian fusion restaurant sampling amazing flavours, washed down with some smooth red wine. By 11pm I was ready for bed.
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The captain woke us with an announcement. We wouldn’t be calling at Zeebrugge for Bruges as the forecast was worse than expected.
Forty-five-knot winds and a big cruise ship on an exposed berth is not a particularly good combination.
By now Storm Brian was with us and it was decided the safest place for us to be was at sea.
So across the North Sea we went following the U.K coastline up to Great Yarmouth before we turned 180 degrees for our return to Southampton.
The officer of the watch told us the wind was Gale Force 8 gusting Severe Storm 11. We were in the North Sea and the sea was very, very angry.
Not that you would have known it. Our ship, P&O’s Aurora hardly moved. We could have been on a millpond as far as the passengers were concerned.
By the time we were in the Channel, the seas were well over four metres and still our great white ship remained untroubled.
It was only after we went to bed, well after 1am, that we felt any movement. There again, walking straight in any condition would have been difficult for me by that point.
So the moral of this story, the next time a storm blows in, get on a cruise ship.
MY BRIDGET JONES’ MOMENT IN THE GYM
I didn’t ever think I’d have a Bridget Jones’ Moment, being a married father-of-two in my 40s. But this week, I did, after joining a gym.
I couldn’t be bothered to wait for an induction, so I just went.
I couldn’t have been more unprepared. Some new cycling machines looked very tempting, taking in Tour de France stages.
I adjusted my seat and off I went. Clearly I had no idea how to adjust the seat properly as it fell with a thump. Being attached to the pedals, I lost my balance and fell off sideways.
So after my Bridget Jones moment, I had my Del Boy-falling-through-the-bar moment.
Nice and cool Rick, nice and cool!
‘HELEN HIGHWATER? THE DOC WILL SEE YOU NOW’
We are fans of the ITV drama Doc Martin starring Martin Clunes as the grouchy but brilliant former surgeon, now GP in the Cornish village of Portwenn.
He’s very rude, lacks all social skills, but somehow has found a life for himself there and is now married with a young child.
And he dislikes all his patients.
Sounds awful but it’s great in a Call The Midwife type of way.
What we love most are the daft names of his patients. Helen Highwater, Anita Bush, Drew Peacock and Jan Gleeballs have all been in for treatment.
It’s getting a bit silly now, especially when a very elderly patient called Alice Cooper came in with a problem with her corns.