It has been a while since I last posted, so I thought it was high time I put finger to keyboard and brought you all up to date!

JW and I have been on an amazing journey. Readers of previous posts will know that I have long held a desire to travel up to the North Cape and, at last, I have achieved my ambition!

 Last Autumn I booked a cruise for us with Fred Olsen which would take us up the coast of Norway to the North Cape and back again. I had never cruised with Fred Olsen before, but had always enjoyed the two day crossing to Norway with them, when I was a frequent visitor in the 60s and 70s.

We had never booked a holiday so far in advance before and in the few months before we went I began to get rather nervous, after all it was quite a chunk of our savings and JW is a compliant rather than eager traveller!

There seemed to be various omens fuelling my nervousness. First JW, usually the most organised of people, mislaid his passport and had to get a new one, then the tickets arrived and the cabin number had changed. With bad memories of our cabin “update” last year with another company, my heart sank. The next was finding that the coach travel would entail going into London and out again, rather than being picked up close to home and settling back until we arrived at the port.

The final straw was on the evening before we were due to travel and the shower unit sprang an ominous leak. Fortunately JW is a handyman and fixed it, but I left all the insurance documents out for Jennie and she promised to keep a close eye on it!

I really felt superstitious when we waited for the taxi to take us to the coach station, but it arrived on time and the traffic flowed so well that we were almost in time for the earlier coach!

We managed the transfer across Victoria coach station and then we were on the Fred Olsen coach, two hours later we were boarding the beautiful Balmoral.

The check in formalities were simple and we were soon being welcomed on board by friendly crew members and shown to our cabin, where our stewardess was waiting to show us where everything was. I need have had no fears about the cabin, it really was an update this time, a bigger cabin on the main deck within easy reach of all facilities. Our luggage had arrived in the cabin already. 

Soon after we arrived on board there was the mandatory boat drill and then back to start unpacking before dinner.

We went up to dinner wondering who our table companions would be. Would we like each other? We had been so spoiled on our first cruise with companions who have become friends. All fears were allayed when our lovely waiter, Carlos, introduced us to Pat and Tony. They were great fun and I hope will remain friends with us for many years. Pat and I had the added bonus that we were both nurses, had both been midwives on the district and both worked as practice nurses so we had a lot of common ground. Tony and JW both enjoyed playing “long suffering husbands”

Later that evening we settled into our comfortable beds and looked forward to the next two weeks. Oh!  and Jennie texted to say that there had been no more ominous drips!