Hi Folks!

First, the bad news   -   SAGA have taken over the ship, for the average age of the passengers on Arcadia is 53, and there are quite a few wheelchairs! Secondly, nobody here appears to be Russian, which does not bode well for me fitness regime!

There is, however, good news. When I wrote this bit, I was in the Orchid Bar and it’s plainly obvious they knew I was coming, because it is extremely well stocked with Speckled Hen & Spitfire, both at @2.60 a bottle!

The flight was long (11+ hours without a fag!) but fantastic, and made even better by the fact that Captain Steven John kindly upgraded my seat to First Class! I was well-served by the Trolley Dollies with Bucks Fizz and a very decent red wine to go with me lunch, hence the attack of gout that’s swollen me big toe!

It took an age to get through the security checks, but eventually I made it to the ship and had a great time drinking, snapping and smoking to celebrate our departure. Mind you a very large woman, evidently and not surprisingly on her own, started giving me the eye, oooh-errr, so I’ll have to be careful. Her apparently well-intentioned smile had that ‘Be very Afraid’ air about it which worried me a tad, but I kept me beer safe and didn’t spill a drop!

I’ve attached a couple of pictures of San Francisco, but me David Bailey skills deserted me with the best one as it came out blurred. An interesting place, though!

The cabin is perfect for me needs, though I can’t access the Internet from here, which is a pain. Terry (me cabin steward) has converted the twin beds to a double and appears very eager to please. I should point out he’s from India, obviously, hence the name!! So, I’ve set up me music, me laptop, me battery charger and me kettle and I’m set and ready to go.

Next stop, Honolulu in three days’ time. God, I’m just so excited!

Speak to you again, soon.                          Dave Mundy

Hi Folks! 

Today I found the gym. It was only by accident of course, but it had such a profound effect it took me an hour to find a bar that was open, so that I could recover from the shock! That was at 8.00 this morning, and there were quite a few wrinklies out and about, looking deadly earnest and self-righteous in their determination to walk a dozen times round the outside of the ship, without doing more than grunting in response to my cheery greeting (sound familiar?). So, later, I actually went looking for the gym, without success. Such was the shock of  me latest Senior Moment I had to have another beer! And, unfortunately, the sunset can only be viewed from the bow of the ship, on Deck 11, where Mark had me OSH ready! (Mark’s from India, by the way, as you will have guessed from the name! So, too is his amusing assistant, Brian). I’ve attached the picture of the sunset, so that you may marvel at the level of expertise displayed as the focus, aperture, tone, balance, contrast, ‘noise’ and subject were delicately balanced together to produce this stunning result. I’m so pleased I’ve already mastered photography, for there are no courses onboard, so I feel really sorry for those poor wrinklies with their telescopic lenses and not knowing what they’re for!!

Because of my indulgence on the plane yesterday, and the bad dose of gout during the night I had to endure as a result, I went to the medical centre, where I fell in love with a sweet young thing called Claire, who stabbed me in the posterior with a rather large needle, for some reason. As blondes go, she looked and sounded sensational, but it has to be said that her smile made me shudder, as it reminded me of the BVA woman from yesterday. That stabbing, a few pills and the 5 minutes of ‘consultation’ with the Seth Effriken doctor cost £75!! I will put up with the pain next time!

Anyway, two hours later, I then fell in love with a slim, attractive and very lively young Spanish woman, who had rather long legs and teeth(!!) I couldn’t begin to tell you her name because it’s totally unpronounceable unleth you lithp a lot. Oh yes, I’ve started Spanish classes, by the way, and have learnt already that telephones are white and that the bicycle is red!

It is now evening and I have managed to locate the gym, deliberately. A very impressive array of equipment is available (photos later) there and I shall ensure Andy is given the benefit of my advice on how to improve the one we have at Greenacres, though he may not approve of my suggestion of where to put it (so to speak!)

On the way out I fell in love again, this time with a very feisty and extremely well put together young woman called Nonty. Having accidentally mispronounced her name as Tonto, and then having to explain who The Lone Ranger was, I asked if she was Russian, by any chance. Yes, I did think this might be a tad optimistic, given the extraordinary darkness of her skin, but she had very white teeth that really sparkled. Anyway, our lively banter and loud laughter took us down a couple avenues we shouldn’t have gone (there was only an audience of about 10!) and in no time at all she’d booked me in to see an acupuncturist (about me gout) and a dentist (about making me smile as sparkly as hers!) I did draw the line at beauty therapy, for obvious reasons!

The former thought a charge of £88 for half an hour was reasonable and that I would only need about 6 treatments. So did I, of course and decided there and then to put up with the pain, instead! The latter showed me a ‘before and after’ model of me teeth and said it would only cost £198. I did have to mildly castigate him (I think that’s what he thought it was!!) when he suggested a link between smoking, coffee and tooth discoloration, and that I might give these up, for that was a tad too far for me liking. Anyway, on the way out, the ravishing and quite pneumatic Tonto made it quite plain (visually) that she had deliberately misinterpreted my observation that she looked ‘fit’ and we giggled our way down Saucy Avenue once more before I wrenched myself away to the bar.

Please enjoy the photo. This was only the fifth attempt. Later, I missed a fantastic photo opportunity. I was learning about red bicycles when the ship was ‘attacked’ by a playful school of over 200 dolphins that had obviously been out binge-drinking during the night, to judge by the comments of their leaping out of the water made by some of the lucky wrinklies who saw them and took pictures with their ridiculously expensive cameras. Apparently Mark and Brian in the Orchid Bar had so much to do they were able to see the whole display as well!

Tomorrow is BST day as I formally begin me 10k training, calorie-burning, muscle-building,      gut-reducing, teeth-whitening, golf-swinging and dance-tutoring. Just how all this will fit in with me Spanish bike-colouring and me specially commissioned class on photography, remains to be seen. It was Brian who suggested I should run a class and I must say I thought he was joking, until Mark (the more serious of the two bar stewards) opined that he too thought it a good idea. Obviously I was flattered by their roaring laughter as I was leaving, because they’d finally understood my joke about Aaron, the woolly mammoth (!), so I completely ignored their idle and excitable chatter, not because I couldn’t understand their version of Hindi, rather, they must have thought it so very funny!