Saturday Breakfast

Great breakfast at Jubilee Cafe with Jeff Tooze. We were reviewing his latest political post on his WordPress page:-

http://www.rightnotsilent.com

Have a read and see what you think?

Best wishes 

Phil

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Queen Victoria

It’s been a while since my last post but I thought I’d share my Cunard experience with you. Our good friends Gary and Jody have a very talented son who has just become a dancer on board queen Victoria so we felt a cheeky three night cruise to Belgium during half term would be an ideal way to see Myles perform. Managed to pick up balcony cabins for £339 and our party swelled in size to 8 people. Traffic was horrendous into Southampton but other than that embarkation was a breeze. Very impressed with Queen Victoria and cabins gorgeous. She is a very classy lady, very elegant and traditional. All service was superb along with the food. Of course entertainment was top class. We now have 6 further converts to cruising who were blown away by the whole experience. Not a huge difference in any of the cruise lines we’ve experienced by Cunard did feel a bit special. I am now desperate to sample QM2. Only thing slightly disappointed in was afternoon tea which was a victim of its own success and was a little busy. Overall we had an amazing time spent with some lovely friends, cast and crew. Worth every penny to see the look on Jodie’s face when Myles appeared on stage.

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Summer Holidays

Today is the day all those that I know and love in Education enter deep depression at the thought of the end of Summer holidays. I say get over it you’ve just has six weeks off!

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Leaf Adventures – 1150 miles

Rolled over 1000 diesel free miles in little over a month which considering the car never moved for two weeks as on holiday then she is getting good use.

The rate of test drives that I am now taking family and friends on seems to be ever increasing. The sight of another Leaf other than at dealership is still very rare.

No issues with car other than a tiny paint chip in rear bumper caused I think by a high kerb behind a charging bay at Chelmsford Park and Ride. Not helpful when you have to manoeuvre into the bay at a tight angle. As much as I like the camera the screen can be difficult to view in bright sunlight and reversing sensors would be a handy addition. That’s the one piece of kit I would like extra.

Fatsia and I have settled into an easy routine as she is so chilled out to drive. I can now tell exactly how much battery we will now use on my local trips and I will be planning a longer journey to Stoke in the not to distant future.

The rapid network is ever expanding and we now just need some additional units put in place towards Suffolk, Norfolk and A14 from Ipswich towards Cambridge so I can easily reach the Midlands, Broads and Coast.

The Rapid Charge Network should cover this when work resumes in September.

No regrets over the purchase and the adventure continues.

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Ruby Princess – Disembarkation Day

We had done the dreaded packing early evening whilst still moored in France. Thankfully Lesley had done a huge amount of folding earlier in the cruise so 90 minutes saw the job complete with all cases outside by 1900hrs. 

I had my usual small overnight case and we were awake early for our last breakfast at 0730hrs with the intention of leaving Ruby Princess at 0810hrs. Breakfast has probably been my favourite meal and it would have been rude not to order pancakes with maple syrup followed by cheese and ham omelette with hash browns. Delicious.

We then walked straight off the ship and our rather large luggage train was ready and waiting. Quick call to Enterprise and I was picked up to collect a Renault Scenic for the drive home. Car comfortably took all our luggage and we found ourselves back home by 1300hrs.

This has been a superb cruise and we all feel well refreshed. This particular itinerary gave us plenty of relaxing time and with good internet access from our own tablets and phones at all ports. May be a bit sad but we do enjoy our gadgets and we all find it very relaxing to read and browse by the various pools and eating venues whilst onboard. We did have some activities planned but also wanted to enjoy and relax on board. 

This was our first Princess experience and we have all be left feeling very impressed. A good mix of crew and passengers meant a relaxed ambience on board. We have never had a bad cruise experience but this was certainly up there with the best. Ruby is well able to soak up the crowds and she never felt crowded and we would not hesitate to use her again. 

Simply superb!!

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Ruby Princess – Day 12

Late post but we arrived in Le Harve for a spot of French atmosphere before our return to Southampton. We enjoyed a very long lay in as everyone was feeling rather tied after near two weeks of eating and missing breakfast was a strategic move in order to once again feel hungry.

There was plenty of time to spare as we had a full day in France. Lesley, the Kids and I made our way ashore and took a taxi into the town centre for a spot of shopping. This should cost 8 Euro and works out good value for four. 

I rather like the brutal modern concrete of Le Harve which was rebuilt after the Second World War after being flattened. We only spent a few hours shopping before heading back to the Ruby for late lunch. Sun was now shining and we enjoyed a burger and swim by the pool. 

Last dinner was an extremely tasty meatloaf and a good sing along as the catering team paraded through the restaurant. We have been extremely impressed with all the meals onboard and I feel the meals were certainly comparable to Celebrity Eclipse which until this point had been my favourite ‘foodie’ ship. 

Great nights entertainment with the Crew Talent Show. Harmless fun. All the entertainment has generally been of a high standard. One of the full production shows was not to my taste but the cast could not be faulted for energy and effort. 

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Ruby Princess – Day 11

Only our second sea day as we head from Edinburgh to Le Harve. Although on paper the Grand class ships have less space per passengers than some other ships the Ruby never seems crowded. With the four pools, numerous eating venues, Plaza, comfy lounges and numerous bars there is something for everyone. The Grand Class has been much copied and it’s easy to see why this design has been so popular.

The food quality has been impeccable the whole cruise and as is to be expected we at now feeling continually rather full hence the appetite has been slightly blunted. A heavy cold the past few days has not also helped.

Fortunately we have not heard of any outbreaks of the dreaded novo virus on board. It does help that we have rarely used the buffet preferring to be served by the staff.

Several staff have now become well know to us by name including Excel and Melissa who serve in the International Cafe area. Both are a credit to Princess and have been perfect hosts.

Have spent the day doing some shopping, reading and general chilling. The end is fast approaching of what has been a perfect holiday. Have been trying to prod the others into packing but nagging appears to be having no effect!

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Ruby Princess – Day 10

Today finds us in Edinburgh moored off South Queensferry. Seems strange a huge city like Edinburgh does not have a deep water berth for Ruby which means we are using a tender service today.

Lesley and I have nothing planned but the kids are meeting Lewis’s Mum Angela, who has driven over from Glasgow. They have tickets for Edinburgh Zoo and plan to see Europe’s only Giant Pandas.

We have moored in the shadow of the very impressive Forth Bridge and I popped ashore to say hello to Angela and make sure kids knew what they were doing. It’s very damp, murky and misty!

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A taxi into the city centre is a hefty £25 each way so not cheap unless sharing. A shuttle bus was also running for a fee which was also very busy with long lines. Lesley and I decided to stay on board and had a very relaxing day just munching and eating.

Lewis and Rowan returned to the ship at 1730hrs and reported that the zoo had been amazing. Certainly the place to head if you have kids!

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Only two days left as we spend a lovely evening on board Ruby.

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Ruby Princess – Day 9

We find ourselves today in Invergordon after travelling around the north coast of Scotland. One of our few port days where we have a trip planned.

Have arranged a hire car from Ken’s Garage at cost of £60. Picked up brand new Pug 307 and headed for whistle stop tour of Loch Ness. We then headed for Cromarty for 1200hrs to take a rib out onto the Moray Firth to hopefully see the resident colony of dolphins. I had really been looking forward to this. Would we be lucky?

This was a two hour trip courtesy of EcoVentures. I felt it was fairly reasonable at £26 per adult. Full protective provided. Don’t laugh….

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Now back to the dolphins…….

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Not every trip gets a spot but with 200 dolphins in the Firth then chances are you will strike lucky. Biscuit and juice provided on board. This was an amazing trip and the gasps and thrill of our fellow passengers (12 total) was shared by all at seeing these animals up close and free. Memorable!

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Ruby Princess – Day 8

Late post as Day 8 was our first sea day on what has been a very port intensive cruise. Day 8 or 17/07/14 was also another rather large milestone for Lesley. Her 50th birthday!

This was perhaps the most interesting leg of the cruise as after leaving Greenock we head due north to travel around Scotland to begin our homeward leg via Invergordon, Edinburgh and Le Harve.

Several things planned for the birthday girl including the day at the Sanctuary and dinner at the Crown Grill.

Arrived at the Sanctuary at 1030hrs. Set up was late due to rain but the staff soon had everything up and running. This is the adult only retreat high up at the front of the ship. $20 for half day or $40 for full. The Sanctuary provides extra comfy loungers, very attentive service including lunch and afternoon tea served whilst relaxing. Not very busy and was well worth the whole day experience. Amazing service. Amusingly Les watched Titanic whilst I snoozed. The Sanctuary certainly lived up to my expectations.

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We were pampered until 1730hrs and then prepared for dinner. Headed to another full production show in the main theatre which was themed on a fairy tale. Very well done with great effects although the story was a little eccentric.

At 2000hrs the food marathon known as Crown Grill began. This is speciality restaurant themed on a New York Steak House. Cover charge is $25 per person which is well worth it for the experience. MDR food is always excellent but this somehow raises it to the next level.

Scallops

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14oz Ribeye

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Pudding

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An exquisite meal to round off a perfect evening with Lesley and the kids. Oh we also managed a whole lobster and several bowls of soup and bisque.

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