Thursday, 5 November 2015

Boating at the top of the World (5)

Boating at the top of the World
Thursday 15th October 2015

Bad day today. I picked up Helen's, cold which of course has evolved into man flu. I spent and uncomfortable and restless night and a day roller coasting between hot and cold. Not good. That said, it's only. Cold and I won't be making use of the mortuary service I mentioned previously!

Because I felt so rubbish we engaged with few formal activities, preferring to chill out in our state room, read, watch a film on TV and sleep.

The cold and grey North Atlantic continues to sweep past our balcony as we move over the eastern Atlantic tectonic plate with the better part  of two miles of water beneath us. This voyage is really bringing home to me just how big the ocean really is, and how empty. Just sky and sea stretching out to the horizon with no other boats or even wildlife, just at one point a flock of birds on a feeding frenzy. 

The QM2 is a huge and stable craft, but even with all its bulk it soon adopts distinct patterns of pitch, roll and yaw which are dictated by the size, direction and frequency of the underlying swell. Previously it had been a slow and very slight rock from side to side but today that changed to a slow screwing action, adding a steady pitch as the swell ran under the length of the ship. I find this a very sleep inducing rhythm

We had a late breakfast today and so skipped lunch, waiting instead for afternoon tea in the Queens Room, which is the ballroom low down in the back of the boat. This was very genteel affair with tea in China cups, sandwiches with the crusts removed, little cakes and some of the best scones I have tasted. This does introduce the subject of jam! Given its Cunard I figured they would be seeking only the best so it was interesting that they exclusively use Tiptree of Essex, who are probably the most exclusive non artisan manufacturers in the country. Each jar comes with a jammy slogan inside the lid, which have been duly noted for possible use!

Dinner was an optional formal / informal affair so we opted for the informal which, for me, was a quality tieless shirt with jacket but there were plenty of black ties in evidence. The dress code is both quaint and rather lovely. It makes the evening an experience to be anticipated and enjoyed. Dress up, enjoy a cocktail in The Chartroom and then into one of the dining rooms. Ours is the standard service but above us the Queens and Princess Grill classes which carry even better services and add ons but from my perspective even the standard level is superior to even the best hotels I have stayed on for business.

We dine with the same two other couples each evening which means you get to know them very well, and start to uncover all sorts of interesting facts about them. One couple we shared with were celebrating their 50th wedding and even after all that time we unearthed a fact from Kit's past that Gillian was unarmed of!  

We rounded off the evening with a trip to the ballroom where their usual contingent of lounge lizards hang out, strutting their funky stuff.

We discovered that there are a hardcore of maybe 50 die hard dancers, who come on the boat specifically to dance, and to be honest they are more than a bit intimidating for the rest of us. They sweep about and one notable couple rig up a video camera and film each and every performance, which gives the rest of us a good laugh. The lack of space and our limited experience made the dance floor an unattractive option fur us, but at least we can say we did it. Not only did we brave the formal dance floor we also made use of a nice flat area just outside the ballroom to run through our jive routine which was a lot of fun. We thought that we were on our own but it's a small ship and of course we attracted an audience who appreciated our "off Broadway" performance. Richard, our dance teacher, would be proud!

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