Thursday, 30 May 2019

Preparing to Cruise

For those readers who have dropped into my blog for the first time, welcome, and here is a brief introduction. I’m Claire Baldry, retired, but I write as a hobby. I describe my writing as a hobby which has got a bit out of hand, because I write a lot, books, poetry and blogs . And when the budget allows, I cruise a lot too.
I’m married to Chris, a victim of my love of cruising, or so he will tell you, but I think he quite enjoys it really. Chris has had Type 1 Diabetes, seemingly forever. That means a lifetime of injections, unless, like us, you stamp your feet a lot until the NHS give in to your protests, and they upgrade you. For the past two years Chris and been attached to a life-changing sensor insulin pump.

Anyway, back to the subject of cruising....
Time was when I would break up from full-time work on a Friday and be packed and ready to leave for a cruise early the following morning. My greatest worry would be that Chris would drop unconscious en route (which happened from time to time) but somehow we coped. Although we are only in our sixties, things take a lot longer these days. Chris has slowed down, and I worry more. So, three weeks before our departure to Ventura, the cases are out, and I have begun to delve into the dress suit cupboard.     
Time was when our body sizes were reasonably consistent, but we now have senior flab, so we have to ‘try before we pack’.
Time was when Chris ordered his own holiday medication, but he’s not quite as organised as he was, and his eyesight is deteriorating, so that is now my responsibility. I have therefore become a compulsive list writer.
Time was when we used our Tesco vouchers and caught the train to Southampton carrying two or more large suitcases and a picnic. The last time we did this was earlier this year, when even with assistance, I managed to hurt my back and vowed never again. So the first treat of our forthcoming holiday will be a three hour drive in a luxury taxi from our front door to the port. Sorry kids, that will make another dent in your inheritance, but I really don’t feel very guilty.

Anyway, back to the packing. I chose this morning to ask Chris to try on his dinner jackets, plural because we have four formal nights on our next cruise. It is a bit of a chore for Chris to try stuff on,  because he has to shuffle with the wiring on his pump, (and he is a man) but the deed was done without a major argument, and we found two jackets which fitted…one could even still button up at the front. With both jackets machine washable, and on a nice sunny day with a strong sea breeze, they are washed and clean. It’s a start.
Time was when I could walk all day in high heels like these. Can I remember that far back?

So I needed to sort out a couple of almost flat pairs of glitzy shoes to accompany my dresses. The only time I wear dresses these days is on a ship. I discovered said shoes in a heap at the back of my wardrobe, so they have christened the otherwise empty case. It’s a start.
With two jackets washed, two pairs of shoes packed, and a taxi pre-ordered, I can feel my holiday anticipation growing. And I can cross two items off my ‘to do’ list.

If you have been kind enough to read this blog post so far, I am finishing with a poem which I wrote a few years ago:                            
                                                               'The Formal Night'        
                                                           Tonight the dress is formal,
I have a new ball gown,
My husband purchased braces
So his trousers won’t fall down

With bow tie firmly fastened,
I am worried he will choke,
But we risk his suffocation,
As he’s such a handsome bloke

We parade before the Captain,
How important this all feels,
Then beneath the dining table,
We kick off our pointed heels

There’s a lady sitting near me
In a dress that’s rather tight,
She is holding in her tummy,
But she may not last the night

(From 'Seaside and Sailaway' by Claire Baldry