Tuesday, 30 June 2009



Following the death of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcet there have been may rumours going around that 1980’s pop icon Rick Astley has died aged 42.  I have done some research and found an article by ABC News stating that these are purely rumours and are not true at all, they are just hoaxes to get social networking sites talking>  So you can al breath easy, if you’re fans of course!!

Monday, 29 June 2009



Europe is on fire, France, Germany, Spain, even the UK…. the weather’s glorious….more than glorious it’s damn hot!!  But when I say the weather’s gone crazy, it really has, just the other day there were hail stones as big as golf balls in New York, who should be having glorious weather too at this time of year!!  And a couple of weeks ago England was flooded in some parts but today they’re seeing temperatures as high as 30 degrees!!  Here in France it’s now 5.40pm and 32 degrees still, and it’s only June!!!  Guess we’d better enjoy it…It might snow next week!!!!

Friday, 26 June 2009


michael jackson

Michael Jackson dies age 50 of a suspected heart attack.  Loved his music, but for me that’s as far as it goes.  After all his self destruction he was a time bomb waiting to explode.  He will, however, be much missed by his fans.  RIP you poor soul, I’m sure he’ll be much happier where he is now.

Monday, 22 June 2009


michael schumacher Last night’s Top Gear revealed all…….And The Stig is…..Michael Schumacher?????  No Way!!  This morning the world, or the UK at least, is speculating, is he the real Stig or not?  Apparently so, although Jeremy Clarkson has not yet confirmed whether it’s true or whether it’s just a joke to fool us.

the stig

I must say, my money was never on Michael Schumacher, not tall enough and not feminine enough, although that’s debatable!  Besides, where would he ever find the time to be The Stig?  I know he retired from F1 racing, but he still works full time with Ferrari.  I’m definitely NOT convinced…And you????

Wednesday, 17 June 2009



Whilst working in the pursers office I was asked to assist at one of the many shows on board, believe it or not we were actually doing a rendition of Old MacDonald Had A Farm, can’t remember why they were dressed in those costumes! By the way, I’m the one on the right in uniform, in case you hadn’t guessed!!  I did enjoy that but didn’t do it very often as I only worked in the Purser’s Office for a short time.  The rest of the time I was a deck supervisor for accommodation services.  I also did a short stint as Captain’s Secretary, but that was just to fill in for someone who was ill for a few weeks, but that was interesting as well……except for Captains cocktail evenings, didn’t like that, and it was always at the time I’d normally be heading off to the Pig!!!  Ahh, the Pig…….fond memories……at least I always remembered going in, but not so often leaving!!!   Happy days!!!!!!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009



Quite a recent user of Face Book, I hadn’t really taken the time to try to find friends.  But after doing my blog post on my memories of the past and my time working on cruise liners I decided to try and track down some old pals.  I managed to find a few, and a few managed to find me….Trust me not to use my maiden name on FB and a pseudo for my blog!!  Modern technology can be a wonderful thing, so thank you to it for letting me find friends from 20 or so years ago.  If there is anyone out there who was on board QE2 in 1990/1991 I’d love to hear from you, and anyone on Princess Cruises in the late 80’s ditto!!

Sunday, 14 June 2009


coraline What to do Sunday afternoon?  Something not too strenuous, as hubby’s just out of hospital.  So we decided to go to the cinema…comfy seats and air conditioning!  The boys went to see Terminator, but my 11 year old daughter preferred to see Coraline, so dad took the boys and we went to see Coraline.  “I heard it’s scary mummy”, my daughter said as we entered…..Ha, it’s computer animated……How scary could that be???


As soon as it begins it’s rather deep and dark, and as the plot unravels things don’t get much better.  A witch with spider like metal hands, taking out kids eyes and replacing them with buttons before devouring them, leading kids into a false sense of security & happiness..etc…  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the film, and appreciated the vast amount of work that must have gone into making it, but it is definitely not a film for under 10 year olds.  In fact I’d go as far as to say that it even spooked me, well just a little!  But I did see my daughter cover her eyes once or twice, although she won’t admit it……

Saturday, 13 June 2009



In a recent post I talked about my sons moped accident in the garden on Friday last.  I also said how Saturday appeared to be shaping up pretty well, and I was sure the weekend would get better.  Well, it didn’t, it got worse.  Not exactly the weekend, Sunday was good, except that my other son had an asthma attack in the night.  But Monday morning my husband left for work, then came back a half an hour later.  He had collapsed on site with pains in the chest and left arm.  Back to A & E……….


They did all sorts of tests on him, ecg, bloods, scans etc…They kept him in until Friday, but could find no cause for this strange episode, so they discharged him and said to come back if it reoccurs.  I am ecstatic at having him back home, it’s wonderful, but what just happened??  Could it be stress related?  Or a severe attack of heartburn? Or something more serious like angina?  All these questions and no answers apart from, “Take 2 painkillers if it hurts” and, “If it’s really bad, come back to A & E”.  Very strange and very surreal. I’ve calmed down a bit now and am looking forward to a nice weekend with my family…accident & emergency free!!  In the mean time, if anyone has any thoughts on this, I would be happy to hear them.

Sunday, 7 June 2009



Proud to be British once again! Jenson Button wins the Turkish Grand Prix hands down.  He had a bit of a struggle mid way through the race when Sebastian Vettel caught him up after Button pitted, but Button wasn’t perturbed in the least and drove steadily on.  After Vettel pitted himself, he was no longer a threat to Button who was way out in front, cruising to the end!  Webber drove superbly and came in a cool 2nd place hotly pursuited by Vettel, who after craftily disguised team orders, backed off a little to take 3rd place on the podium.  Such a great feeling to hear the national anthem being played at every race so far, as it did last year for our other British driver Lewis Hamilton, who unfortunately is not doing so well this year…….Can’t wait for the British Grand Prix on June 21 at Silverstone…Go teams GB!!!!!

Saturday, 6 June 2009


Sounds a bit harsh, but I’m sure we all feel like that at some point, even if we don’t admit it.  We all have “One of those days”.  Well yesterday was one of those days.  It started out pretty much like any other Friday, except that I had my eldest son at home as the school decided to shut for the day…they do that often!  He had bought himself a moped last week in the wake of his up coming scooter test in July, it was for practice.  Yesterday morning we went out and bought him a new helmet.He was so pleased and couldn’t wait for his brother & sister to get home from school, and dad to get home from work.  Out he went in to the garden to practice on his moped, I was about to start dinner when I heard screams.  I realized I couldn’t hear the whine of the moped engine anymore and ran in to the garden.  There he was on the grass covered in blood…Panic set in.  I carried him indoors, I’m not sure how he’s 15, but when I looked at the damage, double panic set in.  (Note to myself; remember you are not very good in a crisis!)  Anyway, to cut a long story short, he was taken to A & E and ended up having about 20 stitches in his shin…ouch. He is now relaxing and re-thinking his plans to pass his scooter license, i think it has shaken him up quite badly.  Not a good start to the weekend, but, so far, Saturday appears to be going better…Let’s hope that continues!!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


lady melting Fancy a holiday in the Vendee? This s the place to be, check out our holiday cottage at http://laceysgites.chez-alice.fr/ . This week the temperatures have soared and I think today is the hottest so far this year. The mercury rocketed to 31°, even the dog wouldn’t go outside!! Have been trying to water the grass and plants and flowers regularly as everything is starting to wilt instead of blossom.


I feel as if I’m melting, mind you that could be a good thing if I lose some weight…Great weather for tourists though and the beaches are swarming, I’ll bet ice cream sales have soared too, knew I should have bought those shares!! But the lovely part of the heat here in the Vendee is that it’s stays a comfortable temperature in the night, so you can sleep well. We’re lucky, we’ve got a swimming pool so the kids are in it constantly, cooling off…Thank heavens for cold water!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


akims blogspot susan boyle

I was slightly unimpressed this morning when I awoke to the news of the Air France plane crash that killed some 228 people.  Not unimpressed at the crash, but at the fact that despite all those innocent lives being lost, Susan Boyle still had the news headline!!  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that a major air crash is a little more important than a strange Scottish woman getting her kilt in a twist because she didn’t win Britain’s Got Talent!

susan boyle akims blogspot

Well in my opinion she ended up in the right place in the Priory Clinic, but it’s probably just a publicity stunt to keep her in the public eye now that she's been defeated.  Not that she needs it with the likes of Demi Moore backing you and Oprah Winfrey wanting to interview you.  With her voice and the media attention she’s already had, she’ll do just fine…That is , if they ever get the straight jacket off!!!  In the mean time, a thought for all the families of those who lost their lives in that horrific plane crash.

Sunday, 31 May 2009


Anyone remember this wonderful piano playing and funny song by Victoria Wood??  Stumbled across it this morning, I had forgotten how wonderfully funny she is.  She writes all her own music and lyrics, a very talented lady.  Of course this is pretty old stuff, you’ll notice that by the hairstyles and dress sense of the audience!!  Such a shame they never continued with the series she did with Julie Walters, “Wood & Walters”, it was so funny.  Well enjoy the clip and let me know your thoughts.

Saturday, 30 May 2009



Just love this picture of our pool, it was taken by our very first customers who stayed in our gite.  I got up this morning to the most beautiful day, sun shining, clear blue skies, birds singing.  The weather is sooo hot at the moment, I think we are in for a very long hot summer.

The kids are lucky this weekend as there are no customers in, so they’ve got free run of the swimming pool…They need it to cool off in this heat.  Glad the weather is so good as we’ve been invited to a barbeque tonight, so looking forward to that.IMG_8097 

A few pictures walking around the property.  There are plenty of wild shrubs and flowers.  I like that as it attracts butterflies and other pretty insects, all in abundance here.IMG_8096

It’s hard to keep the grass green in the heat of the summer.  Constant watering does the trick, but there are often water restrictions when it hasn’t rained for a long time.IMG_8128

The kids love the outdoors, and as you can see, there’s plenty of room for them to let off steam.  To the right the swimming pool, and the much used swings.IMG_6740

And to finish off, there’s nothing like a good old fashioned French game of “Boules”, before retiring to the terrace for a barbeque and a nice glass of red.

Thursday, 28 May 2009


For those of you who enjoy the apprentice, or even those who do not, or do not know what it is, I was passed this edited video done by an amateur and it is hilarious.  I wanted to post the actual video on my blog but for technical reasons, reasons beyond my control, or maybe I’m just plain dumb, I couldn’t upload the video.  So here’s the link, just click on it if you want a good laugh;  http://cassetteboy.wordpress.com

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!!!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009


IMG_6309 Today is such a beautiful day, the sun is shining and the sky is blue and cloud free.  Some pictures of our village, still and beautifully frozen in time.  The sun is making the grapes grow ready for more lovely French wine.

IMG_6283 When the sun shines on the old church it makes it look brand new.

IMG_6231 The grass is growing and the crops are planted, lots to harvest at the end of summer.

sunny day flowersThe pretty colourful flowers bowing at the suns heat, almost transparent to it’s rays.  Our village is beautiful, and the sun just makes it that much better.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009


I found this map on Face book and was able to pin point all the places in the world that I’ve visited.  Unfortunately i couldn’t copy the whole map as you needed to scroll left or right so some of the countries or cities are probably missing.  When I had finished pinning, I was very surprised to see the amount of places I’ve been, 96 in total in 46 different countries!!  All that thanks to working on cruise liners, notably the QE2 and the love of travel.  What places have you visited and have you ever thought about compiling your own travel map…you might be surprised at the outcome…

Monday, 25 May 2009


susan boyle

Last nights Britain’s Got Talent results didn’t come as much of a surprise to me, and possibly not to anyone else either. Susan Boyle, the singer, was voted through by the viewers first choice, and Diversity, the dance group, by the judges. there seems to be a bit of Boyle mania going around the world and everyone’s talking about her, even here in France I heard them chatting about BGT and Susan Boyle on the radio, and that was local radio! I’m not sure if it really is singing talent that has made her so popular or if it’s more to do with, firstly the shock of hearing that voice come out of her, or secondly guilt because everybody laughed at her before she began to sing, thinking “oh, here we go, another loser!”. Personally, I liked Diversity, young, very talented and very different to any other act. Reckon they might be hard to beat come the final…

Saturday, 23 May 2009


Lewis_Hamilton_2007 Where did that come from??  Just watched the qualifying for the Monaco Grand prix and Button wasn’t doing particularly well, in fact he only just scraped through to Q3, he didn’t do too well then either and it looked like he might not have a very good grid position.  All of a sudden, with just seconds to go, he pulled a blinder of a lap out of the bag and secured pole position once again!!  Sadly, our other British driver and current world champ didn’t fair so well.  It’s a shame really as he had been doing so well in practice, and it looked like maybe Lewis Hamilton would be back on pole for the first time this season, but because of driver error he crashed out in Q1, and will start 16th on the grid.  Not a good starting position in Monaco!!  it’s going to be an interesting race tomorrow, and I for one will be glued to the TV at 1pm when the program starts.  So nice to see our British boys on top again…Go Jenson and go Braun………!!

jenson button

Thursday, 21 May 2009


gite 2 The heat is on to find that bargain holiday deal at the last minute.  With the recession I get the feeling that everyone’s leaving it until late before booking, if they book abroad at all.  The new craze this year in the Uk is not Vacation but Staycation, because everyone is feeling the pinch at the moment.  All we hear about in the papers and on the news is the credit crunch, bills, expenses, businesses going bust etc..  Well, if you fancy a nice holiday in France, at prices that won’t break the bank, then look no further.  We are offering our beautiful, luxury holiday cottage at prices reduced to 2008 prices, for this 2009 season.  We are in a most beautiful part of the Vendee on the west coast of France, a sleepy little village not far from the big cities & towns, and also not far from the sandy, west coast beaches.  A perfect spot for a perfect holiday!  Just click on the link top right of this page for more information and more photos on our own web site, or visit Owners Direct property ref: fr2302.  Well, a girl’s gotta try…hasn’t she??


Wednesday, 20 May 2009


bee I have been a very busy bee today, so much so that I haven’t had a chance to update my blog properly.  Remember the Gite I talked about in earlier posts, well we have our first customers of this season arriving the day after tomorrow so everything has to be ship shape.  It’s also Wednesday, not only are the children off school here in France, but one has an appointment a half an hour away, another is going swimming with a friend and the other has brought a house full of friends round.  So as you can imagine I have been multi tasking again, as all mothers do!

busy bee

But I have to add that as I write this they’ve all gone out, all gone out now that I’ve finished!  The house is quiet now…all I can hear is Deal Or No Deal in the distance.  Ah well, I’m going to take full advantage of the peace & quiet and veg out a bit on my lovely sofa§  I’ll try to think of a more interesting post tomorrow……

Tuesday, 19 May 2009


Yes, it’s the movie everyone’s talking about, and I haven’t seen it.  Unfortunately things take a little longer here in France, and even then you have to watch it dubbed….it’s not the same :( .  i see our friend, (or fiend!), from Heroes is playing Spok, think that’s how it’s spelt, what a great choice of character!  Wouldn’t it be freat if life really was like that.  Transporting from one place to another in an instant, phaser guns and all that…how exciting!  Anyway, can’t wait to see the movie, but I’m afraid if I want to see it in English I’m going to have to wait quite a bit longer!!

Sunday, 17 May 2009


jade ewen1

 jade ewen

alexander rybak1

So Norway did it, they won the Eurovision Song Contest 2009…and very deservedly so!  Alexander Rybak did a fine job on stage and off as I believe that it was him that actually wrote the song.  Young vibrant and with a very catchy tune, i think it was a forgone thing.  Great Britain, though excelled themselves this year with an equally talented Jade Ewen.  i think she has a beautiful voice, kind of reminds me of Leona Lewis a bit.  5th place is not to be sniffed at especially when we’ve done so dreadfully in the past I don’t know how many years!  mind you, I tend to agree with Sir Terry Wogan on that score, definitely a lot of political underhand stuff going on there.  Not that I’m a Eurovision fan or anything, in fact I dropped off before half time but that’s nothing new……..it just gets more boring every year, especially now that we don’t have Terry and all his snide comments.  You gotta love him!!

Thursday, 14 May 2009


ben As I’ve already mentioned I met my husband on board the QE2, so when we got engaged, also on board, we decided it was time to call it a day and ended our cruising lives.  These wonderful beings are our creation, so meet the family.  At the top is our eldest, what a cutie, he is now 15, and growing too fast.  He’ll soon be leaving school, doesn’t seem time yet!  He was born 1 month early weighing just 4.5lbs, and now he’s nearly 5ft 8!


These two are our twins, so lucky to have a boy & a girl, aren’t they gorgeous?  Well I would think that I’m their mum!!  They are now 11, and also growing too fast.  Coping with twins was very hard work at first, especially with a little one biting at your ankles at the same time, but once you’ve found a routine it’s down hill all the way!  They were born 2 months too early and weighed just 4lbs each!!  Just goes to show that good things really do come in small packages!!!


Wednesday, 13 May 2009


chef1 chef

My eldest son has taken a week out from school this week to do his first work experience, (they start them young in France).  After months of swapping and changing his mind about which field to work in he finally decided to follow in his mother’s footsteps and chose the hotel/restaurant trade.  This surprised me as normally he doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, but, and in his words, “I love to eat so being around fine food all day would be good”.  I’m not sure it’s good enough reason to become a chef but you never know.  So he started in the kitchen of a local hotel on Monday.  The hours are pretty cool, 10.30am to 3pm, but invariably I get a call at around 2pm saying that he’s finished early.  Unfortunately I have been unable to get him to do anything else for the rest of the day as he’s too tired after, “A long hard day at work”!  4 hours…4 hours in a kitchen and he’s good for nothing!  I think that maybe next time I’ll sign him up for work experience as a parent..cook, cleaner, manager, chamber maid,  juggler, taxi driver, accountant, referee etc..the list could go on forever, in fact by doing all that he could become a highly qualified person!!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009


qe2me4Whilst there was lots of good sailing weather, this wasn’t always the case. I was fortunate enough to have good sea legs, and I’d already worked on other liners and never suffered with sea-sickness. Unfortunately for others as soon as the ship keeled even just a little, the queue outside the doctors surgery was enormous. I have it on good authority, though, that the good old doc had a very good cure! The weather was particularly bad on this occasion, as we were travelling across the North Sea, originally to Norway, when we got an emergency call that an oil rig had collapsed and people needed rescuing. We were the nearest ship so the captain changed course to try to help. Unfortunately we weren’t much use as the ship was too big and caused more damage than good. A lot of the passengers missed all the excitement as they were ill. If I remember rightly we had a brilliant viewing spot as the Queen’s Grill was totally empty, along with all the other restaurants.

qe2me3 qe2me2 qe2me1

But seasickness or not, it wasn’t all bad for the passengers, as you can see there were some pretty good shows to keep them entertained.


And this is me in one of them….I’m the one in the white uniform, by the way!!!

Monday, 11 May 2009


q1 These two pictures I took in Sydney, Australia, the top one was taken from one of the upper decks of the QE2, looking down on all the people who had travelled to Sydney Harbour to see her sail in, don’t they look tiny.  Strangely enough, whilst I was up there taking that photo, somebody on the quayside recognized me, and I could just here this tiny voice above the din calling my name.  It turned out to be an ex crew member of another ship on which I had worked who was on holiday in Sydney..small world eh??  Below you can see the ship in the harbour with the Sydney Opera House in the background.  

q2 q3 One of many busy High Streets in Hong Kong, look at the signs, if you can see them, it seems that they are very keen to make people leave the country, there are an abundance of Travel Services!!

q4 Ah, the New York skyline as it used to be, pre 2001, on Trans-Atlantic crossings New York was a second home.  And below the famous Statue of Liberty, kindly donated by the French, I might add!

q5 q7

I passed my lifeboat pilots test in Alaska, and also my class 1 firefighting certificate… the fire thing sounds really swanky, but it’s really just the basics in case of a fire on board.  But the lifeboat, I was first in command of my own boat it was pretty important stuff…But thankfully, apart from regular fire drills, I never had to use it!


Above, the beautiful Fjords of Norway, the land of the midnight sun, and they’re not kidding, it gets dusky but never dark.  It got pretty confusing sometimes when there was a party on deck, we lost all track of time and before we knew it, it was morning and time for work!!  Happy days!  And last but not least the beautiful clear waters of the Caribbean, year round sunshine and blue skies…can’t be bad!