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Posts posted by twotravellersLondon

  1. Hope all are well. We’re still finding it impossible to log in normally but CC have, as we all once did, left the back door unlocked!


    Great evening with Griff Rhys Jones last night… well us and about 500 other folk! Some good fun was had!


    Given the log in probs… next post may be by carrier pigeon.


    Or in our case…



    Hope all are well and looking forward to the Bank Holiday.

    • Like 11
  2. 27 minutes ago, kalos said:

    @twotravellersLondon  Great to read you are deemed fit to travel and passed

    all those tests , now comes the next hurdle ..Travel insurance .


    Many thanks.


    Delighted to say that we've sorted out travel insurance. One is on an annually policy and the other on a trip by trip policy with the same insurer... at the end of the day there's no great difference in price... but a five minute telephone interview to reconfirm all of the details after booking... only stipulation... no to travel within 28 days of any hospital treatment.


    We also have letters to cover carrying heavy duty meds etc through customs/immigration and onto planes... no desire to be suspected as a "drug dealers at our age... ("honest yer Guveror... it's for personal use... 'onest!)


    Currently arranging a sickie note to excuse having to eat green beans. It's from mum... (that's "My Understanding Medic") 😇🙃



    • Like 15
  3. We have a really pleasant afternoon here with strong sunshine set for the rest of the day, temps of about 14˚C and a light breeze... a really beautiful day now... especially as the gardens and the trees are in the fresh green of spring, the bluebells are in full bloom and the May blossom is already showing well.


    Quarterly medical review with one consultant and then another this morning... so a serious day in hossie. Delighted to say that... a battery of quarterly tests and scans in preparation found signs of intelligent life... at least as we know it. 🍒🍒🍒


    Now the "cycle of life" continues... five more blood tests, four visits by nurses, three different scans, two visits to consultants, and then a review back in the hossie! However... the good bit is... also cleared for international travel... and even better... insured for international travel! 🤓😄


    So today delighted, inspired and grateful that we can enjoy the real cycle of life... no tick lists or bucket lists for us... there's more wonder on this good Earth to see than can ever be seen, more exciting things to do than ever can be done, more exhilarating magic to find that ever can be found. 🌺🐬🦋🌍


    This afternoon the Sun's riding high is a Sapphire Sky... and just fills the senses... we're up for 'the night in the forest, the mountains in springtime, the walk in the rain, the storm in the desert and... the sleepy blue ocean." And... great flocks of pelicans, magnificent churches, evenings full of the song of nightingales, some of the crowning master-pieces of our civilisation and the exquisite delights that only cruising can offer!


    These are our blessings today... we've counted them... really we have! We so hope that everyone has the chance to just stop and appreciate some of the delights of life that we know that we often miss in such a busy and frenetic world. 


    The "Bubbles are chilling!" And... we'll give a toast, as we're sure that so many people will, to @Adawn47 Avril and Frank... so great to be able to share in such a Happy Birthday! 🍾🥂 And to @Grandad John



    • Like 12
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  4. 3 hours ago, Brissle said:

    Well, that makes 4 of us on this cruise.

    The Roll Call appears to have been discontinued.

    We find Roll Calls for Princess and Oceania are very active, but maybe Saga people don't use the internet....


    An interesting hypothesis... but difficult to really compare SAGA's two 🛳️ 🛳️ ships carrying less than 2,000 pax at full capacity on any day to Oceania's 8  ships carrying possibly over 6,000 or Princess' 17 ships carrying possibly over 53,000 lower berth passengers.


    We've seen recent comments attributed to AgeUK indicating that about 66% of over 65s are happy to use the internet. But of course, a great many people have spent successful careers dealing with the every-changing digital age and the wonders of cyberspace. Form many, like ourselves, it was a fundamental part of their careers. 🖥️ 🖨️


    SAGA's clientele do seem to be very skewed towards the computer-literate/internet-savvy side of things. The majority seem to book on-line, organise their excursions on-line and on sea-days the lounges are full of people using phones and tablets. Also... there are tens of thousands   of comments on this forum about a small line that can only carry a maximum of 2,000 pax per day. So, without doubt, "Saga people" do use the internet. 


    Despite having been retired for yonks we still maintain a state-of-the-art home-office  desktops, printer and all manner of other bits and bobs that go with that... including external drives, terabytes of cloud storage   and suchlike. We think that the vast majority of SAGAnauts use the internet... and that the majority use it very well.


    It's perhaps far more likely that... SAGAnauts are more independently minded and just have less interest in Roll Calls and see little advantage in using them. We've been cruising for the last four decades and, despite having completed dozens of cruises, we've have never used or taken any interest in a Roll Call. 


    On the other hand we also know lots of folk who are wise enough to ensure that they don't openly advertise when they're away from home and there's a possibility that their property is unoccupied. Any one post can be accessed by most of the 8.5 billion phones 📵 that are currently in use these days. So maybe "Saga people" are wise and experienced enough to use the internet prudently and in a manner won't compromise their personal security.


    🤓 😊



  5. 21 minutes ago, brian1 said:

    Not a lot of people know that.


    ... Michael Cain, an ex-plumber's mate, starred in 1969 wildly fun romp "The Italian Job" with Benny Hill and Noel Coward.


    We remember the film encapsulated the atmosphere of exciting feeling of swinging sixties. And... perhaps the exuberance of England having won the World Cup not that long before. The Film was... and still is... funny, exciting, exhilarating and immensely uplifting. 


    And what better thread to mention it than one where so many folk, at least in part, are attuned with the spirit of film's theme tune...


    "This is the self-preservation Society!"



    • Like 10
  6. Currently it's only 1˚C, overcast with a chance of more rain and an 22 mph  wind from the South-west. But that's up on Spitsbergen! 


    Here in North Surrey the only difference is about 2˚C less cold!


    It feels like 3˚C, it's overcast with a chance of more rain and a 21-23 mph wind from the South-west.


    Spitsbergen is almost 1,900 miles further North. It's only about 800 miles from the North Pole.


    Gone is the idea of washing the car this afternoon or oiling the patio furniture! 🥶🥶

    • Like 3
  7. 54 minutes ago, brian1 said:

    The old bloke could be Jason Statham,a cockney JB,lol.Not too sure of the young one yet,answers on a postcard.


    Got to be a cameo part somewhere for the bloke who's probably Britain's least known plumber's assistant... before he took up acting... one of the few ever blokes to star in the same film as Benny Hill, Noel Coward, Irene Handl and John Le Mesurier...


    Michael Cain has just got to be there somewhere! How about supervising explosives... blowing the doors off something?


    Young bloke... as per request!






    • Haha 4
  8. 1 minute ago, brian1 said:

    If I told you I'd have to kill you 😉.


    So that's it... a Russian plumber fibbing about his age and getting into university pretending to be 15 year old child prodigy in order to spy on the Cambridge five... (Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, Kim Philby, Anthony Blunt and John Cairncross.)


    You just can't make that sort of stuff up. 😇😂

    • Haha 9
  9. 11 hours ago, Goosebear Mum said:

    Personally, I would be very unhappy to be filmed, and shown to all and sundry as on holiday. If our home were to be broken into, because of some non-influencer, I can assure you, they would find out.  I think cruise companies should clamp down on them.  My photo is very very private for a specific reason.  I have no photos of us in ‘public’ online.  



    We were having a quiet drink one evening watching the setting sun when another passenger decided to slowly wander through the area, phone held in front of her face scanning the horizon... no problem.


    Then this intrepid  "Vlog the blogger" turned her camera towards those of us sitting enjoying the view... not so nice. The reaction of some couldn't have been greater had she picked up their drink and taken a slurp!


    One enterprising chap saw her off though... not a word was spoken... not a unpleasant gesture was made... he simply took out his phone and started to film "Vlog the blogger" filming us all!


    Needless to say... she really, really didn't like it and went off in a flustered flap. 


    After "Vlog" hurriedly left... the comment of "Let the punishment fit the crime." seemed to be very apt! 📵🍹🍹😊


    • Like 1
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  10. 21 hours ago, Harryjacobs said:

    It rather annoys me.  Im a private person and have a reason why I do not want  to be broadcast on the internet yet these guys will film and broadcast without permission.  

     Really do agree...


    We were recently on a cruise where an rather egotistic blogger/wanna-be-influencer decided to film, photo and comment on the cruise, the excursions and all things associated... "live." 


    We found that we were shown on the photos in one of the ports in such a way that  anyone who knew us would have recognised us. We didn't like that. We're rather private people. We both had careers that meant that we had to avoid social "meediah" and suchlike.


    We certainly didn't want our whereabouts broadcast to the 8.5 billion mobile phones on this earth. So to know that someone was broadcasting photos without our permission that just happened to show us on holiday made us uncomfortable and quite significantly detracted from our enjoyment of our cruise. 


    The blog itself was very much a "me, me, me" bit of egomaniacal fantasy concocted to try to give the impression of an influencer's eye-view... in fact many of the comments were unrecognisable to ourselves and others on the ship. Some "criticisms" were immensely quirky, peculiar and idiosyncratic... and many of the supporting "facts" were fanciful... to say the very least. For instance... there were constant complaints about the WIFI on the blog but our "blogger" was able to post dozens and dozens of photos every day!


    Had we not been on the cruise and read the unbelievably farfetched fanciful and sometimes down-right bizarrely curious claims... it could have put us off booking with the company!

    • Like 1
  11. 1 hour ago, brian1 said:

    We're lazy,we use Sainsbury own brand packet mix.Having said that it is rocket fuel and the best I have tasted.Some of the family think it's too hot.


    One of us has one of the most embarrassing food intolerances going. (The other offers moral support!)


    It's so rare that most people have never heard of this. It only affects about half of one 1000th% of the UK population. Some folk who're blissfully unaware of it just carry on with it and accept (sometimes even celebrate) the symptoms. 


    We normally successfully negotiate restaurant menus with no bother. Our local Chinese makes our meals without the "Devil's Kiss" (as we've taken to calling this one specific ingredient). Our local Indian and Thai restaurants helpfully do the same.


    There are times at the beginning of meals in other restaurants when there is the now ubiquitous "allergy check"...  that servers (especially younger ones) when they hear what we would like to avoid, have to exercise extremely strong will and even stronger facial muscles to stem their burning desire to burst out in explosive  laugher. 


    Sometimes restaurants go a bit OTT and our meal has been delayed while cutlery, crockery and glasses have been sterilised (before we've used them that is!) 


    No wonder they call some of these ingredients by so awesomely terrifying names... Komodo Dragon, Scorpion, Brain Strain, Ghost Dragon's Breath, the Carolina Reaper and the worst of the worst... "X"! (As in Xterminate?) These last two Frankenstein cooking ingredients were conceived, developed and created by a chilli farmer called... Ed Currie. X produces a burning sensation followed by several hours of involuntary incapacity.


    Ed Currie created the chilli that made the hottest curry in the known universe! It makes a new take on what came first... the Currie/curry or the chilli.


    Best wishes to all especially the half of one 1000th% of the UK population... You're not alone!

    • Like 6
  12. Five˚C


    Hope all are well and looking forward to the promise of warmer weather, Pimms or a beer on the lawn and those lazy, hazy days of summer to come.


    We're recovering this morning after a busy touristy day in London yesterday... we used a new route and were in Sloan Square only an hour or so after leaving home... rather than the two hours that it used to take us. 


    We had a very light lunch of BLTs and a coffee outside Partridges just off St John Square and spent most of the day in the Saatchi Gallery.


    It's currently showing the largest ever exhibition of works by the world-renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky... large-scale photographs, murals, film installation and augmented reality... really impressive stuff. Some of the exhibits were awesomely amazing. (No... we didn't mean Banksy!)


    In the early evening we went back to our favourite pub/restaurant in that area for a pre-theatre meal. Probably the most "mature" folks there last night... by about three-four decades!!! At least!













    Then went to a benefit evening with Michael Palin to raise funds for the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering... packed house... nearly 1,000 people...  sold out months ago and so we hope that lots of good came out of it.


    Some of the young folk being supported very, very bravely took part in an interview session on stage with Michael... the hall was just filled with admiration as how courageous they were.


    One other thing that does stick in the minds from earlier in the day is one of the other exhibitions in the Saatchi Gallery.


    It's Rong Bao’s debut solo show that, "pays testament to her playful transformations of familiar objects through sculptural practice, prompting us to question our perception of the physical world."


    Well it did! It was great fun... but... what if... just what if... the Daleks went woke?



    High Art at it's best!!!

    • Like 12
  13. Another cool night. Only 5˚C and lightly overcast this morning but, according to the forecast, we can look forward to rain later. 


    Virtually all of South London and Surrey within the M25 is on flood alert at the moment and has been for ages... we're on chalk here and there's been so much rain recently that the local water table is 100 m higher than normal... so it's emergent springs that's the potential problem... water naturally rising out of the ground under pressure... not exactly like an Icelandic geyser but it can be dramatic to see a 6' high fountain of water appearing out of a village green. 


    We've a nearby stretch of road that often had water coming out of the drains and flooding down the hill until they built huge soak-a-ways to prevent flooding. No doubt that the powers-that-be have emergency plans in mind.


    Not quite sure just how an ark would cope with our local Surrey woodpeckers though!





    Best Wishes to all... especially those cruising, recovering from cruising or just dreaming of cruising!

    • Like 12
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  14. 14 hours ago, Daisybops said:

    I’ve made the right choice - thank you. 

    We want to take the wine home, so that’s ok. We’re not actually going to Porto. Any of these places to buy ? 


    Praia da Vitoria, Terceira, Azores Horta, Faial, Azores
    Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, Azores Cruise by Vila Franca Islet, Azores
    Cruise by Cristo Rei & Abril 25 Bridge Lisbon, Portugal
    Leixões, Matosinhos, Portugal


    In Praia da Vitória, there's a great wine shop in the Forum shopping centre. It's called "Wine Expert & Gourmet." Not inexpensive but some pretty good stuff.


    If you get into Porto, Touriga Vinhos de Portugal is a wine shop in the heart of the town that does lots of local wines. It's possible to book a wine tasting in advance.


    If you're going to take something home, it's always best to get something just that little bit more special that folk just can't buy in the local off-licence or supermarket at home.


    Hope you have a good time.

    • Like 2
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  15. 8 minutes ago, Kohima said:

    In a passenger Q and A with Nigel Banks in January 2023, it was confirmed that. a third (smaller) ship was an aspiration for Saga.
    As some ports are starting to restrict access to smaller ships, this would be a good move to enable Saga to extend its range of itineraries. Our call to Arendal in Norway on SoA in July has been cancelled as the port is no longer accepting ships of this size.

    Obviously finances dictate whether the third ship will happen!


    We were in a very similar presentation by Sir Roger de Haan in March 2023 when he also confirmed that a third ship was hight on the company's priorities. Sir Roger said at that time that before plans were put in place the two current ships had to be full... the last results gave a loading/occupancy rate of about 88%... so that's now more or less been achieved.


    The idea of a partner may well resolve the problem of finance.


    Certainly agree that a third ship would be a good move to enable Saga to extend its range of itineraries.

  16. A c🥶ld night for the time of the year but a bright day with blue skies and a shiveringly invigorating "feels like 3˚C!" 


    Our local Squirrel (We official call him Michael... as in Michael Bentine... because he carries his own flea circus with him everywhere he goes.)... busy nibbling the buds off our favourite grape vine... a gently jet of water from the garden hose ... misses as usual... results in him ambling just out of range and giving us a "look" that's hard to define.


    The morning garden's full of adolescent birds doing their thing... learning the right twigs to use in the light breeze, working out how best to use the feeders, discovering how to poop on our newly cleaned garden chairs and practicing the look of utter disdain anytime we dare to open the patio doors. 


    The "baby" Bluetits dash through the branches like a school infant-class class released from a lesson... and have already learned how to mimic their parents by discarding five bird-seeds for every one that they eventually choose to take... such fussy eaters!


    Our newly fledged Robins are strutting their stuff in fresh plumage. Fidgety little Dunlins are still just yards away from their hatch-place in the hedge. The tiniest of tiny-weeny little Wrens is clumsily darting from bush to bush and a very, very laid back Nuthatch (nicknamed him "Kevin"... those who know why... know why) has decided that a place on the vine two feet away from the patio table is just ideal to keep an eye on his nuts in his birdfeeder in his garden.




    Our Kevin



    Meanwhile Mrs Robin is playing hard to get... delicately pirouetting on tip-claws on top of a tiny garden solar-lamp demanding that her suiter feeds her... not just any worms... but only the tastiest very finest morsels of the best worms that the garden can provide.


    So... nothing to report... just another boring morning on the fringes of suburbia... next job... wash the "summer-seat!" 😇🥶






    Hope all are well!

    • Like 14
  17. 29 minutes ago, brian1 said:

    Eating a bacon roll in 5 mins is not a Guiness world record


    The World Record for cooking up bacon rolls is held by Primo Food in Australia... 2,091 rolls weighing well over 13 kg cooked up at the same time in 2014...


    Not a lot of people want to know that!


    Gregg’s, Victoria, will need an advanced order if anyone needs that many early one morning! Better add an extra cup of coffee as well...






    • Like 1
    • Haha 2
  18. Reasons to be cheerful...


    1, Sun Shining✔️

    2, Birds singing✔️

    3, Sky blue✔️

    4, Not a cloud sight✔️

    5, Blood Pressure perfect✔️

    6, Blood Sugar superb✔️

    7, Weight on target✔️

    8, Complete Grocery Delivery confirmed✔️

    9, Nuthatch on bird feeder✔️

    10, Bluebells beautiful✔️


    Hope everyone has their own very special list!

    • Like 10
  19. 7 minutes ago, kalos said:


    Morning , I can tell you they do but only after they have counted their flock .

    How do I know this ?  Well apart from the day job I also worked for MI5 

    and would go out undercover dressed as a shepherd.


    Yes I was a shepherd's spy   !!!  🙃


    Have a good day everyone 🙂


    In that case you're the person to tell us... if a shepherd spy is caught... would s/he be a bit sheepish! And... in answer to the interrogation, would the replies be a bit wooly? And finally... is a meeting of shepherd spies called a flock?

    • Like 1
    • Haha 12
  20. 4 hours ago, Spence55 said:

    Saga plc remains a mess. The share price fell yesterday by almost 4%. The cruise division was the best performer, with underlying profits before tax of £35.5 million. That was to be expected given the general demand for cruising, and an influx of disillusioned former P&O customers. It’s significant that there have been no Director share purchases since October 2022. They have of course been awarded free ‘incentive’ shares. There are numerous metrics to assess a company. If we view the cruise divisions underlying PBT in isolation and apply a generous multiple, its vale still falls well short of the company’s net debt. As for the entirety of the company, the markets rarely get it wrong. We’ve removed Saga shares from our spreadsheet. A considerable loss can be crystallised at a future date to set against chargeable gains. 




    But the ships are beautiful, well organised, clean. tidy and well managed! That's some of the reasons why more and more people are booking and are will to pay more for the privilege!


    We have three cruises booked with SAGA while there is still space on the ships... there have always been those who've cast doubts about SAGA for whatever reason... but the fact is that more and more people are booking with the company, the ships are fuller and fuller, advance bookings are surging ahead and  those folk who like SAGA's offer are willing to pay more for it.


    After all... we buying holidays... not trying to play the stock market. So, like most folk, we're far more interested in ports of call, food, entertainment and quality of service.

    • Like 8
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