So for something different, let’s take a look at 15th Century Literature.

In 1403 the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers is founded and continues to this day to be a Livery Company.

1403-1408 the Yongle Encyclopedia is written in China.

In 1424 the First French Royal Library is transferred by the English Regent of France, John of Lancaster, First Duke of Bedford, to England.

1425. The First Guildhall Library is established in the City of London under the will of Richard Whittington.

1448 Pope Nicholas V founds the Vatican Library in Rome.

1451 A Manuscript of Dantes Divine Comedy is sold in London.

1453 Pageant of Coriolan staged in the piazza of Milan Cathedral

1453 French Poet Francois Villon implicated in a murder

1463 Francois Villon reprieved from hanging but was never heard of again.

1473 First book printed in Hungary

1488 Duke Humfreys Library at the University of Oxford receives it first books.

1490 Chinese Scholar Hua Sui invents bronze metal moveable type printing in China.

1499 Contents of the Library of the Library of the Madrasah of Granada are publicly burned.

As you can imagine, these are only a tiny amount of the things that have happened but I have certainly learned something especially about Number 1.



So this morning I had my second negative test after my second bout of Covid. This time around it really hit me badly, or that’s what I felt. I was drained and found it very difficult. Now, why is it that when you tell people this, they seem to take on this ‘ability’ not to believe a word you say? Well if I didn’t feel I was struggling this time around, I would’nt say it! Or maybe there are people out there who would, but I’m pleased to say, I’m not one of them. For the second year, it wrecked Mother’s Day for me. Fine, I’m moaning and making it about me, but my son had gone to so much trouble to make it nice for me. He had ordered a special breakfast pack of meats to be delivered from a specialist butcher so he could cook me a ‘Cockney’ breakfast because I’m a ‘proper’ cockey girl, born within the sound of bow bells, and he’d ordered a special joint of lamb to cook me a special meal. All ruined because someone out there passed Covid on to me because ‘someone’ didn’t think it was necessary to ‘follow’ the rules when they had it.

Well when my first test came back positive I did follow the rules. I stayed away from people. Nearly went insane doing that, Found things very unpleasant. Do I want praise? No! But the next day I was due to go Racing at Kempton Park Races and sit in the Members Room which is full of my and my son’s friends. So what should I have done? Gone anyway knowing I was positive, and just not said anything and then if I’d have passed it on, well? So what? But you see, these are my friends. The old lady with Dementia, the man we nick named Elbows because he always runs in first to get a special table, but when he does that he saves me and me son one. I stuck to the rules that we first had when Covid hit us. I’m not saying Look at me – aren’t I wonderful. I’m just saying I did what I felt was right.

The funniest thing was on Twitter. I made a comment which I thought was a bit light hearted. First test Negative. Another Negative tomorrow and Freedom is mine! Now as you know I’m an Author and I didn’t think too much about these words. In fact I didn’t think anything until I looked at the replies back I got!

“You alright have your Freedom. It is yours by Divine right living in this country!”

“You have your Freedom. Covid does not make you Free!”

And they went on and on.

For the first time, it really did make me shake my head and think – I give up sometimes. I really give up!!

Anyway, please take care because one thing is for sure. Covid is still out there. I certainly didn’t see it coming.



As you know Blue Umbrella Walks is owned and run by Jack Yeomanson. Jack is a Green Badge Tour Guide who qualified some years ago. He is not only a City of London Guide. He is also a Westminster Guide, and a Clerkenwell Guide. He does Public Walks and Private Walks.

What do I mean by Private Walks? Exactly that. You can contact him and ask him to write you a walk. Give him the subject of the walk you would like. For example you may have a special reason for wanting a walk around a special part of London, or it may be an Author that you love and you would like to know more about him. You may want to give the walk as a birthday present for someone special. There are dozens of reasons, but if you contact Jack, he will be able to do something for you. Another reason that you might want a Private walk of course is a group walk. Perhaps you would like a Veterans Walk? A group of Artists, or a Gardeners. These all count as Private Walks to Jack.

The other thing for Jack is a one person walk. He does realise that in this day and age some ladies do not like going on a walk alone with a male Guide. If he finds that he does have one lady on her own booked on one of his walks, he will always e mail before to let know and give her the chance to refuse and get a refund.

Jack is, and has been for a very long time a Public Speaker. He can give a talk about any subject you ask him for! And he has a brilliant and ironic sense of humour to brighten up any talk. I think rolling in the aisles is the is the phrase they used to use years ago.

So please check out on Facebook, Twitter, and my blog where I’ll keep you constantly updated about whats happening.

If you need a speaker for any event you can find Jack on Speaker net.

The main thing is contact him directly on any time.



Blue Umbrella Walks is owned by Jack Yeomanson, a qualified Green Badge London Tour Guide. He guides in all areas of London and can offer private walks as well as public walks. If you would like to talk to him about a private walk, please contact him at Everyone is welcome on his walks – including well behaved dogs!

The walks on his site at present are:

Friday 3rd March 7pm Bradshaws Westminster

Friday 10th March 7pm Their Trade Was Treachery

Sunday 12th March 11am Bradshaws City.

To book



This is the blog that is really unpleasant for me to write, but for once I’m so furious I find it necessary. Yesterday I hosted a lunch to celebrate my 70th birthday for my son and our friend. My son and I are members of the Guild of Freemen and the Worshipful Company of Educators. My son has Livery Status and I don’t. The Butchers Hall is well know for being an Amazing Carvery dinner where they carve beef straight from the joint. We haven been before and it has always been incredible.

This meal for the three of us cost me £200 which I could afford and was happy to pay. We were seated, and were one of the last three tables to be called for food. The meal started with pea and mint soup, which was cold when we finally got it. Then we were called to get out main course. The first thing we noticed – there was no joint of meat! What there was was the ‘scrag’ ends of the last joint. So we said excuse us where is the joint please? Is it coming? We’re sorry they said. This is all the meat that’s left. Pardon? Little bits of scrag end. Six people waiting. We can only have a couple of bits each because that’s all you have left? So we call the Manager? He couldn’t have cared less. We move to the vegetables. They’re are any. Only a few carrots, parsnips and peas. Potatoes. You can only have two each. They’re all gone. Yorkshire puddings? Only one each. Sorry, they’re all gone. Plus the vegetables we ‘were allowed’ were stone cold. So we move onto the pudding course. A coffee pudding or cheese and biscuits. I choose cheese. Oh they say – you can only have three pieces. No grapes or nots. Where are the biscuits please I ask? No biscuits they snap. So I have three small pieces of cheese, no crackers, and I eat with my fingers. Next we go back to our table. They have removed our coffee cups. Why? We ask? We are closing now. So I’ve had enough my now and promptly tell the Manager to get us some tea and coffee or I am going to become very difficult. Oh well, he says just one of those things. The Master of the Guild had a large party in with him and we gave them priority of the food and it just ran out which is why the six of you didn’t get any.

So I’m not going to get a refund. The meal I had hosted for my guests was a total disaster and I can like it or lump it. However, we did get something to eat in the end. We went to a pub around the corner. We had a bowl of chips, a bowl of scampi fingers, and a Yorkshire pudding with gravy for £20.



Some time ago, my son and I were informed that the Members Room at Sandown Park Race Court was being closed due to the need to refurnish and re-modernise is and we were being ‘rehomed’ for as long as this project took. Then there seemed to be some confusion as to whether or not we would be going back to our ‘old’ room or staying in the ‘new’ room but did it matter in the long room. Not really until we saw the ‘new’ room which was a bit of a shock to my son and I bearing in mind that Membership is a bit steep but you could look at it the other way, and say we have duel membership with Kempton Park, and then there’s another thing that one gave up free tea and coffee for the whole meeting and one gave us a better lunch, but I could go on and it becomes a who’s better than who discussion and and loyalties becomes divided.

Anyway, the rain was like a monsoon when we got there. My son parks his car and we ‘try’ to find our new room, bearing in my no-one was really sure where it was only that it was near ‘the man who sells the hats’ What was a shock was that it wasn’t actually a ‘room’. It was like a ‘summerhouse’ or oversized greenhouse. So in we go and find a table. It was like a freezer so you think. Great – no heating. Look for the t.v.s to watch the racing because a lot of people like me tend to stay inside and watch on the t.v.s. Where are they? Right, that like twelve or fifteen inch thing on the wall in the corner that you can’t even see let alone seen watch the racing.

Then from behind us comes a ladies voice to the what I assume is a Manager. This room is completely useless for Disabled People. Well she had that right. Other people who we knew from Kempton were talking to us and saying how they disliked it.

Then this – whatever she was, who didn’t actually tell us what she was had the cheek to say, well you can go and sit in the old room. All the facilities are still there and open to you.

Hang on – riot in the air. So you have told us all to move rooms due to renovations to a cold Greenhouse that King Henry VIII wouldn’t have stuck Anne Bolyn in, just to look us in the face and tell us that we can go back to the old room because renovations haven’t yet started. To quote a past Prime Minister – which one is it.

We did find out that renovations will start. Just not when, but when they do the Members won’t have any toilets ! Yee Hah! We will have to use these Porta Cabin things! Or walk a mile with a smile as they say to find a proper toilet. Maybe they’ll give us a map!!!!! Alright I know I sound like a misery here, but as Members we do pay quite a high price for membership and I don’t expect to have to use a porta cabin every time I want to have a wee so to speak. Now we hear all these things about Gender Neutral Toilets….. Well how they will deal with this problem will be interesting.

Now you see the problem with going from this new room to our old room isn’t as easy as it sounds. Why? I can hear you saying? Because our new room God love it is on the ground floor, (near the man who sells the hats). So if you want the new room, you have to go up the escalator, along a very long corridor, into our room, but – boy was it comfortable when you got there. Armchairs, sofas, a perfect view of the track from the seats. This room. Hard chairs, the a view of – ummm – a concrete slope – and dozes of people coming from somewhere or other. Jack did go out and had to tell me what the results were.

The day did have one good thing about it. Lunch. We bought our lunch there. Very basic. Steak and Onion Pie. Mash potato and peas with gravy but it was gorgeous. Piping hot and when the waiter came to collect our plates I made a point of asking him to tell the chef how lovely it was.

So the afternoon got worse and this was when I really got annoyed and to be honest Jack backed me. Around came the I assume Manager and said I hope you have enjoyed such a wonderful day and I said No to be honest you do need to review things and change things like the size of the t.v.s. For one thing I haven’t been able to watch one single race.

Well she said you could have gone back to the old room. As I pointed out, in a e mail we were told to use the new room. The old room was no longer available. Don’t you dare threaten me she suddenly yelled.

Threaten you? I laughed. I just said we were told in an e mail from Sandown Race Course that we couldn’t use the old room because it was being re-furbished. Now don’t be silly. I never threatened you”

Apparantly however, and please listen and learn. If you use the words Don’t be Silly to someone which I apparantly used. Those three words are now considered – a threat – and she says I threatened her and her staff. Which I saw the funny side off because I never spoke to any of her staff except the lovely young man who served our lunch because tea and coffee is self service.

So Jack and I are now thinking about whether or not we stay with Sandown. We’ll definitely stay with Kempton Park because we have so many friends there and it’s so welcoming but Sandown. We’re really not sure.

I’ll give all my blogger friends one piece of advice though. Be very careful when you use the words Don’t be silly. You might well end up in Court accused of threatening behaviour ! lol



One day, when I was six years old, my parents had taken me to see a film in the West End of London. We had gone out after for a meal. I always remember it. We had Fried Plaice, Fried Potatoes as it was in those days and Pease. You didn’t says chips! The next day I had some frightened sensations. My vision started to take on some very strange things. I called them moving blotches. When they stopped I got what I could only describe as pins and needles in my nose. They travelled up my nose down into my throat which went dead. Then the whole of one of my arms went dead. Then it started to throb, a bit like the blood pulsating through it until it came back to normal. Can you imagine what that was like for a six year old? I was near hysterical with fear. Mum told me “Don’t think about it and it will go away” That was her answer to everything. Dad, my wonderful lovely Dad did try to help but this was the days when you had to ring the Doctor and ask for him to make a house call and he would turn up hours later when he had finished surgery. Eventually he did came and gave me a Tranquiliser to knock me out.

“No idea” was his diagnosis “Probably just throwing a tantrum because you wouldn’t let her have any afters. (Known as pudding these days).

“She did” hissed my Dad. “She had an ice cream”

“Well that’s it then” snarled the Doctor “She’s too fat. Put her on a diet”

That was my first introduction to Migraine.

They got worse and worse and I would hit my head against the wall and beg someone to make the pain in my head go away but no it never did. Dad decided he would take me to the Doctor and ‘Tell’ him he wanted a proper investigation into what was wrong with me. Well that didn’t go as planned. I was stripped off, examined to within an inch of my life and the Doctor’s conclusion was – I was just born evil !

My Dad froze on the spot. I thought he was going to wallop the Doctor. Anyway we just had to live with it. Life for me was a hell on earth. I was i trouble with school because I missed so much due to these mystery headaches which the Headmistress said I was inventing. So Dad got around that one by sayiny “Well the next time she is down with one you or any Member of the staff you are welcome to come and watch”

Anyway the years passed and I just suffered. I became afraid to live a normal life of going out very much because it became ‘just in case’. I went to work with the Ministry of Defence, my first job. I still had them but not so bad and my Officers there were fantastic about them. If I got them I was taken to the First Aid Room. They let me rest and then sent me home.

One funny thing did happen though at the MOD. I’d make coffee as usual for my Officers and a cup for myself. Drunk mine, next thing I know, someone was bringing me round. It turned out that I’m allergic to coffee. Now I never knew that there was such a thing. Allergy to coffee? It’s not a listed allergy anywhere, but it does bring on a terrible migraine in my case. Bad enough that if I go somewhere, I had to take my own mug with me because I can’t even risk drinking out of a mug that might have had coffee in it – and believe me I’ve offended some people over that one in my time.

Next they told me that a D and C operation would cure me. It was all down to my period cycle. So I was admitted to Charing Cross Hospital and operated on. Did it help. Not in the slightest.

Then I changed my Doctor. My Doctor then became a gorgeous, older Irish Man called Doctor Counihan. One of those Doctors that you immediately fall in love with because he listens to you and believes you.

He put me on a trial drug for Migraine. He told me that there was no guarantee it would work because it was in it’s first stages and I had to inject myself when I got a migraine. I wasn’t a diabetic then so that scared me half to death. It was called Zomig. Anyway I tried it and it worked when I got an attack. It didn’t cure me but it did cut down the length. It got rid of all the side effects. Now it’s in tablet form. I take on pill when I feel an attack coming on and one after one hour and I go to bed, although if I’m on my own I can sit though them.

What I’m saying is that When people say oh Migraine is nothing – it bloody well is and tell them that!

It has ruled my life since I was a small child. I could have had so much more in my life. Done so much more. I’ve been very lucky, yes I will admit that but the shadow of Getting a migrain is always with me, sitting on my shoulder.

If you are reading this and you suffer from migraine or you know someone who does, and they need a bit of extra help and support get onto

The Migraine Trust

I got onto them when I was at my lowest and they helped me a lot.

Finally, if someone tells you that Migraine is only a headache and to stop moaning, just give then a gentle reminder that Migraine doesn’t respect anyone and it could always happen to them.



It was another dark, rainy, early morning in the Offices of the Building Works Department of Lineford Council in London. The cleaning lady, in her early sixties had just about finished for the day.

“Morning” she said happily to the Manager of the Department as he banged his office door behind him and just about managed to grunt at her.

“Nice to see he doesn’t change then” she laughed to herself as another member of the Building Works team arrived. A happy, smiling Caribbean man in his early fifties this time known as Clyde. The kind of man who has a permanent smile on his face, regardless of whatever life throws at him.

“Morning – you gorgeous hunk of cuddle” he said giving her a squeeze before he sat down, opened his brief case and found a packet of ‘something or other’ that his wife had lovingly made for him and consigned straight to the waste bin with a look of distaste on his face.

“Now, now Romeo” she laughed “What would your Bella say if she knew what you just did?”

“Well” he whispered trying not to laugh. “What my Bella doesn’t know, my Bella won’t worry about. Watch out – here comes laughing boy passing through. Stand to attention”.

An Irish Man somewhere in his fifties suddenly appeared. Rather fond of himself by his attitude would have been an understatement, but then the rest of the Department all knew that and normally doubled up with laughter behind his back, but – they all knew he could be ‘a nasty piece of work’ as his Secretary described him if he was crossed.

“Better not to poke the Bulldog with a stick” was how one member of the staff described him.

Next to arrive was a the Finance Expert. Perculiar kind of man was what they all thought. Kept himself to himself. Made a lot of excuses such as where his car was parked during the day. He hardly ever spoke to anyone else in the office, but on the other hand he was excellent at his job, so no one could complain about him.

Staff shortages mean’t an Agency Worker had to be employed. As people said when you employed someone from an Agency you never knew quite what kind of person was going to arrive and in this case that was true. This particular person as definitely what people born in the 1940’s would have said was ‘three ‘appence short of a shilling’. He sang songs all day long, didn’t have the power of concentration, and used to insult people without knowing he was doing it. Somehow though he kept his job, probably because no-one else was available.

Finally, the Admin as they called her. An Eastern European lady, who didn’t speak much English, and seemed at war with herself and the world.

And so another day in the Office as the saying went began.

Tenders had to be arranged so that they could reach their target date. Telephone calls were taken from tenants who were experiencing problems in their accommodation and the appropriate workmen sent out to deal with them as soon as possible. The Admin person was fussing that they had to arrange a collection for someone who was leaving and everyone was expected to donate something to the leaving present regardless of whether they liked the person or not.

As the cleaner said – Just another day in the Office.

Except that today was the day it wasn’t going to be just another day in the Office.

It all changed at around 11am when it was time to make the morning tea for everyone. Normally everyone made their own tea, when they fancied a cup. It didn’t matter what time it was. You just went into the tea room and made yourself a cup of tea or coffee or whatever you wanted.

Suddenly the Cleaning Lady appeared completely out of nowhere, dressed in her cleaning overalls still.

“Hello” said the Departmental Manager smiling “You still here?”

“I’ve been doing a bit of extra work in another part of the building. I thought I’d pop back and see my favourite lot and make them all some tea instead of letting them do it themselves” she winked. “Not only did I do that the Admin Department over at the Town Hall had a Councillor’s Meeting complete with cakes so I borrowed a few on permanent loan and brought you lot a few to have with your tea”

“Special treatment everyone!” shouted Clyde as everyone just cheered.

Within no time, tea was made and their ‘marvel of a cleaning lady’ as they all called her as they waved her off saying they would all see her in the morning.

Later that afternoon, no-one from any other Department had been able to get through to the Building Works Team by telephone and were getting more and more frustrated by the minute. Eventually a more Senior Officer went down to find out where they all were. If the Department were left totally un-manned, he would want to know why and someone had better tell him. The site that greeted him, made him vomit straight onto the regulation green Council carpet.

Every Officer from the Building Works Team was face down on their desks, eyes and mouth open, and were dead. He spoke to a young lady, smiling as not to cause a fuss and asked her to bring the Director immediately as there was a slight problem with a Contract that needed to be addressed immediately. When she came back, she said that the Director was out for the afternoon, but the Deputy Director was on his way.

“Thank you so much my Dear” he smiled trying his hardest not to vomit.

Eventually the Deputy Director did arrive looking angry that he had been called away from his Chicken and Salad Sandwich which he was going to follow up with two jam doughnuts from the local supermarket.

“I think – I think -” he mumbled

“Well we know they’re dead for goodness sake man. Let’s call the Police very quietly and let them deal with it. We’re standing here like a pair of idiots in a room full of dead bodies and no idea how they got here. Use your mobile for goodness sake”

The Police were called and came almost immediately, sirens blazing, which alerted the rest of the Depot, which no-one really needed or wanted.

Their first question annoyed the Deputy Director no end.

“Don’t most Directors work out of the Town Hall?”

“I wouldn’t know” the Deputy almost hissed. “You’d have to ask the Councillor’s why they saddled us with the prat of a Director we have to put up with”

An inquest into the deaths concluded that the members of the Building Works team had been murdered by poison that had been added to their tea by person or persons unknown because nothing could ever be proved and no-one was ever caught.

The Director of the Building Works Department was never seen again. Nor was the Cleaning Lady. The only two people who knew where they had gone were each other. They had been lovers for a very long time, and had fulfilled their own dream of running away together to start a new life together in Thailand.





On 3rd September this year my son and I left Southampton for a back to back cruise on the Sky Princess Cruise ship. Back to back means two weeks around the Baltic first and then one day back into Southampton where we didn’t have to get off the ship and then one week around Western Europe, which you could ‘tag’ onto your two weeks or come onto the ship and count as one. This is my personal review and others may not agree with me but I’ve had permission to speak for my son as well who, I know does agree with me because I’ve already talked to him.

We arrived at Southampton, checked in almost immediately and from check in until we were actually in our cabin took somewhere in the region of twenty minutes. Our cabin was beautiful. When I say it was nothing special it was just the normal standard cabin with balcony but beautiful all the same. We had a mini bar which contained whisky, vodka, gin, beer in the fridge, everything we could have wanted and it’s true what they say. We have been lucky. This was our thirty second cruise and the beds were the most comfortable we have ever slept in. In fact, we had trouble waking up in the morning and definitely didn’t want to get up some mornings. We did have a shower curtain rather than a door, but that didn’t bother me in the the slightest. Everyone has their own opinion. My son would have liked a door but I would have found a door a bit claustrophobic.

Dinner that night, certainly wasn’t that great. I had what I would say was pie and chips, staff were rushed, but in all fairness this was the first night so we just put it down to that and took no notice.

First sea day was great. One of those getting to find your way around days. We were Elite and had the Captains get together to look forward to, which was ‘nice’ but you could tell the Officers didn’t really want to be there and I suppose at the end of the day who could blame them.

The Muster Drill. It has changed beyond everything. It’s not brilliant. No more finding your way to the Theatre with your life jacket tucked under your arm praying that you don’t have the cords dangling around your legs and fall over and break your neck on your way. Now you watch the talk while your’e in your cabin and them go to your Muster station and just click your Medallion on their App and that’s it – done.

You have choices of where you can go for breakfast. You have the International Cafe and what was known as the buffet is the World food something or other – forgive my memory here. The International Cafe was another world which we loved. I don’t like melted cheese so I became Mrs. No Cheese to the staff and I couldn’t praise them or the food in the International Cafe enough. What we know as the Buffet – once again – incredible choice of foods, even to the point of Chinese, Indian Curries, for breakfast. It’s a whole new world and wonderful staff. As far as the food is concerned, I’m a diabetic and I’ve never seen such a wonderful range of sugar free foods available.

That brings me to the staff, and this is where I tend to kick off about the staff. Well, not the staff more a lot of the passengers. Every member of staff both my son and I came across were worked off their feet trying to make our cruise wonderful for us. There was nothing those people wouldn’t do for us if we asked. We heard nothing but abuse from a lot of those passengers toward those staff and at one point we both wanted to say These people are staff – not slaves!

One example was a woman who put in a formal complaint against a waiter who didn’t bring her a glass of water quickly enough. Another was on a table next to us who screamed “Where’s my fruit?” straight across the dining room to the waiter who should have brought it quicker.

Maybe I notice things like this because I was brought up by a man who taught me not to behave like that.

The one place Princess should look at was their Shore Excursions Team and maybe think of giving them some extra training. We had booked a Tour before we got on the ship which was a easy Tour. No walking at all which mean’t we didn’t even have to leave the coach. When we got our tickets they were for a walk that included three hours walking across un-even ground. When my son went to the Shore Excursions Desk they told him the Tour we wanted never existed. Here’s where the problem began. The Tour we wanted did existed because we had booked and paid for it back in London and they refused to believe us. So? Where was our money? Thankfully my son had the proof on his phone and they had to find out. Oh sorry they said – we just didn’t update our website. Then it seems other people had the same problem.

The shows in the Theatre were very good. Like everything it depended on your taste and you can’t please everyone but we enjoyed them all. We went to one film shown in the Cinema which was brilliant but only eight people went but the ship was only running at half capacity still. Then you come to the films beamed into your Cabin. An amazing selection of every kind of film you could have wished for. OK you had repeats of Musicals like Mama Mia and The Sound of Music but I’d always be happy to watch those over and over. You could have music beamed in. I think you would have been hard to please if you complained about that one.

We’re not great ones for ships tours. We like to do Private Tours I do admit that and that’s where we found that the Ship was a slight pain and we felt they don’t like Cruisers doing Private Tours because they lose money. We arranged our Private Tours with Companies before we went from here. We knew exactly what to do, where to meet our Drivers and what was happening until the ship decided they had to get involved and the word Mandatory was used. This one particular incident took place in France where we had booked to go to two Private Vineyards in Bordeaux. We knew how and where to meet our Driver Cedric. Everything was fine. Or so we thought – until we tried to get off the ship. We came face to face with an Officer who wouldn’t let us off the ship. You have to have two tickets and go into the village on the shuttle bus – it’s mandatory she said.

“Pardon” we both said We actually have no intention of getting on a shuttle bus and going into the village because it suits your ship. Then this argument started about you can’t get off the ship otherwise. So in the end my Son took the two tickets, stuck them in his pocket, we walked outside found our Driver and went on our way and had the most fantastic day around the Vineyards and Wine Production Units.

We went to a Wine Tasting on the ship, which was no end of fun. My son has a Wine Accreditation when it comes to Wines so knows a lot more about wine than I ever will. I just know the wines that I like and the wines that I don’t so I’d say that he enjoyed it a lot more than me. We went to an Art Auction, which was fun. There was a Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones original for sale which sold for thousands – it could only be my son who had won a Ronnie Wood original at the Rolling Stones Concert recently in London for nothing !

Then we came onto the weeks Cruise. In other words this was a new Cruise and new Cruisers came on board. This is what I suggest Princess Cruises look at very seriously because a lot of Cruises that my son and I spoke to were more than unhappy and Princess couldn’t understand why so I’m going to try to explain via my blog exactly why.

Firstly we were Elite, which means we had special privileges because we had a right to them. Other people had Suites that came with Concierges and everything they could wish for. They had paid a vast amount of money for them and both my son and I respected that. No problem at all. One of the things that we had was a drinks package. Complimentary which mean’t we could have up to fifteen Alcoholic drinks or Cocktails, or soft drinks a day. I think one day I made it up to five Alcoholic drinks. No more, but fifteen is a lot of drinks and there were people on that Cruise who made a point of making sure they got their fifteen Alcoholic drinks in. We know that because we watched them in the bars. We heard them say That’s my fifteen done. That’s fine – until they stand up – drunk – fall into people, fall on the floor and the staff have to run and try to help them up. This was women as well as men. I’ts not a good look Princess. Maybe take it down to ten?

A lot of people stayed on the ship for the second week and that’s where we felt let down. We know that because we talked to each other. We had paid the full price for that week. Suddenly people coming on started to boast about how they had ‘got’ this Cruise for free. It seems that they had ‘won’ it in a Princess Competition. So in effect we had paid the full price for this Cruise and these people had come on for a weeks Cruise for nothing and Princess couldn’t see why people were complaining.

We know nothing about any Competition said the smug little Deputy Hotel Manager until my Son who is no-one’s fool found the date and the place where the Competition had been run. What really annoyed us was that people came onto this lovely ship for a weeks free Cruise and turned it into nothing more than a Booze Cruise, which it wasn’t and it didn’t deserve to be.

The people who had paid couldn’t get a seat anywhere at night in a bar, to watch any of the musical groups, in the Jazz lounge. One night my son and I could only find two chairs outside the shops, and yes, we were annoyed but could Princess see why people were upset – no – people were being asked the same question “What’s it got to do with money?”

Well Princess – it’s not particularly money. It’s your reputation. You turned the beautiful Sky Princess into a Booze Cruise by doing what you did. Anyone who Cruises regularly knows that Cruise Ships have standards. We have Formal Nights, we have Special Restaurants, we do things nicely. You do not dress for a Formal Night or go into a Special Restaurant in your shorts and vest or t-shirt which people did!

The one thing I haven’t mentioned is the Entertainment in the evening. It was amazing. The Ian Bacon Trio were a Traditional Jazz Group and then a Group called Asian Soul. Young people from different parts of Asia but not as we know it. One member came from Timor another from Java. Ask them to play a song, they could do it. Any genre – they could do it.

As I made clear at the start these are my personal views. One of the things I did miss are the old fashioned quizzes where you could win a pen and there was a near fight because someone thought someone had cheated and before I went I said I wouldn’t miss that. Would I Cruise again? Definitely. My son and I are booked to see the Northern Lights with Cunard later this years. I just think that maybe Princess need to re-think a couple of things because there are other Cruise Lines out there, but on the other hand they’re not going to listen to a word I say!



There are many book groups on Facebook, but this one is new and especially good and definitely deserves a shout-out.

They go by the name of the Military Thriller Book Group and allow people to post books on their site.

So if your’e on Facebook, why not drop in and join them?

The point of this post though is to give a shout out to the many Authors and Books on that site. Dozens of books that I’ve never heard of and are definitely books that I would love to read and intend reading. My son jokes that I haven’t got enough life left to read all the book on my To Read list!

  1. Landslide. Adam Sikes debut espionage Thriller
  2. Born in the Borderlands – Gordon Doherty
  3. Shadow State by Andy McNab
  4. A Rock and a Hard Place by Gordon Clark.
  5. The Musicians Daughter by Ryan McGinnis

Hopefully you’ll read some of these books and if you are on Facebook drop in and join this group.