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We are cruising!

Back last February Hilary and I were discussing how nice it would be to go to some warmer climes and get away from the cold English winter. We talked a lot about Australia and New Zealand as we have friends and relations living there that we haven’t seen for many a long year and we briefly discussed India where Hilary’s dad and his brother Alf was born. They were "sons of the Raj" as Hilary’s granddad served in the Army over there and so the family travelled across the Indian continent from the foothills of the mountains in the summer, when it was hot, to assignments in Cochin, Bombay (or Mumbai as it is now). As Hilary glanced through the Sunday newspaper she came across an advertisement for a Round the World cruise with a list of destinations that included Sydney, Auckland, Cochin and Mumbai! "We could go on that, "she said and looked across at me. Ever the technophile I logged on to one of my computers and checked out the cruise details – "Massive discounts, free luxury limousine to take you from home to Southampton, £500 cabin credit!" It really sounded good, so credit card in one hand and itinerary in the other I contacted the Travel Agent and made the booking. Since that day we have wondered if we are doing the right thing, after all leaving home for the best part of 3 months is not something that is to be taken lightly. "Who will look after the house? What shall we do about the mail? Will the gardens be OK? What to do if there is a family crisis and we are needed?" Luckily we no longer have any pets to worry about – although I am concerned about our wild birds who look to me for their daily seed and nuts and in particular our old blackbird who arrives daily for his ginger biscuit. Over the course of 10 months we have resolved most of those issues by offering the use of our house while we are away to one of our nieces who we are hoping will house sit for us during our long absence. We will provide her with a long list of how our house works, what to do if the heating doesn’t work, where to get supplies and groceries and who to contact if all else fails – no doubt we will worry our way around the world but the deal is done, all the monies paid and now there is very little opportunity to back out. Our main worry now is how much to pack! As a male I will always travel light, a few pairs of slacks, some shirts, socks and underwear and as my late father in law used to say "Ready for the Queen in 2 minutes." Because this is a formal type of ship cruise – the P & O ship Oriana – there will be some formal evenings requiring evening dress and to go along with that I have bought my first tux which I intend to spice up a bit with an orange and black Longhorns bow tie. Hilary on the other hand will no doubt have several suitcases of her own to carry formal, semi-formal, casual, light casual sets of everything covering weather from Arctic to tropical, with shoes and handbags to match. And why shouldn’t she? After all we will only be doing this once. If you want to keep up with our cruise then go to http://www.oriana2009.blogspot.com and you can follow our progress day by day.

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Day Zero

Well this is a start of a new adventure, blogging with Microsoft Spaces, it will be interesting to see how far I progress with it as I have had my blogging debut elsewhere http://bathroomsaga.blogspot.com/2007/05/prelims.html and if you wish to be totally bored you can read the thousands of words I have written about a very small extension to our house.  As you can probalby see from the one and only Album that I have created so far we are pretty proud of our house at Chubtor, it is a great community which really only consists of 6 houses and a Farm.  At the far end we have West Chub Tor, a sad dormer bungalow just occasionally occupied by a retired doctor and his wife who have another home in Cornwall, next to them is Higher Chub Tor with our next door neighbour Rachel.  She is a darling, well into her 80’s and built like a sparrow, an ex-nurse and a long time friend who found us our house when her great friend who had lived next door for over 20 years decided that she needed to be closer to her family in Shropshire.  We moved to Middle Chub Tor in 1995 and have spent the last 13 years changing the house and garden to suit the needs of a maturing couple.  On the other side of us is Little Chub Tor which was recently acquired by another retired couple who each year spend the winter in their other house in South Aftica.  They bought Little Chub Tor a couple of years ago and turned it from a 3 bedroomed bungalow into a two bed, then realised their mistake and promptly added an extension to make it 3 bedrooms again!  They acquired Little Chub Tor from their neighbours at Chub Tor Cottage which used to be the gate house for the farm known as Chub Tor House – we are lucky that the postmen are pretty consistent and know who owns each house and so post rarely goes astray!  Our next closest neighbour is a multi millionaire business man/gentleman farmer who bought his house Alderwood House as a run down thatched cottage one used as a hippy commune.  Alderwood House is currently unoccupied while extensive rebuilding costing in  excess of £400,000 is being carried out so as you can see we are great rebuilders in Chub Tor.  Incidentally the name of Chub Tor implies that there is a hill here, but quite where it is no one seems to know.
Now that I have your interest I am going to stop there for two reasons 1. It is beginning to get chilly and dark and I need to light the fire before Hilary gets back from her voluntary work at a local residentail home and 2.  Typing on this Windows Live Space is driving me slightly crazy as there is a lag between hitting the keys and seeing the words on the screen.  Maybe it’s my PC, maybe it’s Microsoft but for now I will sign off and try again another day.  Incidentally is there a spell check anywhere?  I can’t find one.
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