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Friday, 9 October 2015

So my journey starts

Friday 9th October 2015

Sue and myself had a pleasant day in Frinton today with a mooch around the shops, lunch, then a sit on the front 

We had just sat down to watch a bit of TV, when Colchester hospital called, and we booked my first session of Chemo for Friday 16th October, so further updates from then.

Another call from Colchester hospital, need a blood test before chemo ( to get a base line )
Normally this would not be a problem, but without transport it's a different story

Tuesday 13th October 2015

My GP surgery had managed to to find me an appointment for a blood test, but not in the surgery in the village, where I could walk to, but at the Kirby Cross Surgery which is 3 miles from where I live.

Helping Hands to the rescue !!!

Helping Hands is a local charity, that provides services for anyone over 60 or who is disabled.
Thery provide transport @45p mile ( min £5) 
Now they ask for 48 hours notice, but this time they pulled out all the stops and managed to find a driver ( they are all volunteers ) in a few hours, and I got my blood test.
This morning was not a good one for me. As I had servere ache in my leg joints which was not pleasant, but it did manage to leave the joints as the morning wore on.


Friday 16th October 2015

Soon to be off to Colchester hospital for my chemo, yesterday morning did not think I would make this today, as I did feel very crap, and even had to go back to bed. 
But I did improve during the day, and today , I'm fine. 
So it's into battle with Mr C with the chemo.

A little tip for any male about to undertake chemo, if the the back of your hands are quite hairy. I always shave the backs of my hands. This stops the pain of hairs being pulled out slowly as they remove the cannula 

So arriving at the Mary Barron suite I was surprised when I was called in from reception as I was very early. But Heho, nothing is ever as it seems and I did have a long wait.
They had to adjust the dose of one of the chemo drugs, as my blood results showed a border liver function.
But the transfusion was very quick, and soon round 1 was over, and on to round 2 on 5th November. 

I have not had too many side effects, other than I have been a bit wobbly the day afterwards.

So I think that's all for now, see you all on bonfire night

Bye bye 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

I'm back ( well maybe )

If you had read my last blog, you will know that things medically had gone a bit down hill for me.

Well I think the big man upstairs has smiled down on me.

I actually do not feel feel like someone who is going to "pop his clogs" in the next few months, and I'm not doing too bad.

I have had 5 sessions of radio therapy on my spine and brain. 

I went to see my Oncologist yesterday and they have performed even more tests on the bone marrow they extracted earlier, and he confirmed that I have " bog standard " ( non smoking related ) Lung Cancer.

So my Oncologist is very happy with the way I am at present, so we are going to attack Mr C with a course of chemo to keep him at bay.

Mr Oncologist even said I could take a cruise, and it just so happens I still have the transit of the Panama Canal on my bucket list. We are going to see once I have finished the chemo if we can find a cruise, and more importantly an insurance company, that will insure us, without me getting a mortgage.

I have also decided to blog whilst I take my journey with Mr Cannula for my chemo, but I promise it will not be gruesome 

So until I start,

Bye bye 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

And Goodbye

And so the time has come for me to write my last blog.

You will all know that my battle with Mr C started in 2009 with CLL, and I and the doctors thought it was returning. 

Well it seems it was all a bit more serious than that, and it had turned into stage 4 lung cancer, that had spread to my brain and bones. 

So the prognosis is just a few months left, which of course has meant a curtailment of our cruises, and my blogs.

So this will be my last blog, as I say goodbye, and thank you all for taking the time to read the blogs.

So fair weather sailing to you all, and may all your seas calm. 

And until we met in that big cruise ship in the sky. 

Bye bye.


Saturday, 6 June 2015

P&O Britannia B508 Photos

As promised, here are links to my photos

St Peter Port here

La Coruna here

Bilbao here

La Rochelle here

Views around Britannia here

Sunday, 31 May 2015

P&O Britannia B508 Cruise Review

7 nights from Southampton calling at

St Peter Port
La Coruna
Bilbao
La Rochelle 

Please remember that this review is my thoughts on the cruise, they are neither right or wrong, just my views.
Also, any observations made, are not moans, but just observations


The Ship

Britiannia had been a long time in the making, and was much publicised and eagerly awaited by many.
Your first thoughts as you board this grand lady and enter the Atrium is WOW.
All the photos and videos you may have seen, cannot prepare you for the view.
We all know she is the biggest of P&O's fleet, but she is a "step change" from Azura and Ventura.

There is a real contempary feel throughout the ship, with a "square" theme being picked by carpets, light fittings etc. throughout the ship.

Some observations now, I do like the overall colour scheme, I'm just not sure how it will cope with the heavy footfall. 
Now Britianna has only been in service a few months, but the light grey carpet in the corridor to the Epicurean and Crows Nest is showing the sign of dirty footprints. 
Another example is the white armchairs in the bar area of Sindhu that are looking the worst for lots of backsides sitting on them.
At the other end of the colour spectrum the tables in the Glass House which are a dark wood finish ( but they are not made of wood ) have lots of scratches on the tops of the tables.  

As there has been so much written about them already, I will just mention the lifts.

Having spent many many years in IT, I would like to meet the person who wrote the algorithm, as the sequencing is very strange indeed, but not the end of the world.
The lack of lifts in the centre of the ship, never did seem to be a problem to us, and never really thought about them.

The glass house is situated in the atrium on deck 7, I'm not convinced on the location, it's  good for people watching during the day but not so for eating, although the space at the rear of the bar is better. 
As I said in my blog, we once ate in a side room, which I did not like at all. I can't talk about Ventura, as we have not been onboard since the glass house took over, but on Azura, it has a real "buzz" about it, and sadly I did not find the same here. 
Sindhu however is enormous, but works very well and the side booths give it a great feel.
One of the major improvements IMHO is the horizon restaurant, the buffet on deck 16. Another enormous space that works really well  and serves good food. Never was there the normal " bun fight" to get either food or a seat, even at breakfast on disembarkation day. 

We did not use the limelight club, so cannot make any comment.

Our cabin was an inside on deck 15 forward, which was a good size, and as I'm sure you are aware, the dreaded shower curtain has been replaced by a proper cubicle with a door. Well done P&O

I don't think we had any seas to "try"  Britiannia, but we had no movement. Above us was the crows nest and for an insomniac like me, at 0400 the dragging of chairs across the floor ( well that's what it sounded like) was not welcome.

On deck, there were always plenty of sun beds, and no need for the sun bed police. We had booked this cruise last year whilst on Oriana for the Northern Lights cruise. At the time, we did not know that it was half term week. So you can imagine we had teenagers down to little tots on board.

A warning here, if you do not like loud up today's music ( unusually up to date for P&O) and very noisy children, especially when playing table tennis, then the upper decks may not be for you. They were not being unruly, just doing what children do.

The Weather

Was OK'ish but was warmer last month when we were in that region

Entertainment

We did not see a lot as I currently have a few medical issues, which cause early nights. But Jeff Stevenson and Rob Lewis that we did see were excellent.
Sue was disappointed that we never made it to any quizzes, but there is always next time.

Food

We had freedom dining, but only made it to the restaurant  for the priority lunch on embarkation day. We ate twice in Sindhu, and twice in the glass house, plus we tried the Epicurean, all of which were excellent. We also used the buffet a couple of times for the theme nights. so no complaints in any department there.

The Crew

I know I have read some reports recently of surly crew, and if they were on Britannia, then we never found them.

Conclusion

Did we enjoy our cruise ? Yes.
Would we sail on her again ? Yes, but not in school holidays again, but for us that is no different to Azura.

I will post links to my photos later, but on our return, we have a bit of a family issue so have to go away again for a few days.

This will also be my last cruise blog ( bar the photos) for about a year. I said above about the medical issues I have. Well my consultant has said I need some treatment now, hence the lack of cruises.

I will still be blogging, but this time it will be about my medical journey ( it will not be gory ).
So if you want to join me, please just "bookmark" my blog and drop in from time to time.

Thank you all for you comments, on the blogs, and as Arnie said 

I'll be back

Ray 

Saturday, 30 May 2015

P&O B508 Part V

And so we reach our final port, that is La Rochelle, before we start our last sea day en route to Southampton. And it turned into a bit of a media frenzy.

Our tour was not until the afternoon, so we sat around the Atrium as the weather was not very good, and I typed yesterday's blog.

I think it must have been Britiannias maiden call here, as suddenly there was a posse of local dignitaries along with a camera crew and radio interviews that came through the Atrium 

So after lunch, it was the main event of the day, our tour with Eric Lanlard


And what a genial host he was, and very witty with it. His English is as you would expect from someone who had lived the last 26 years in the UK.

He did raise a laugh when he told us all in the coach, before we left the terminal, that we would all be "squiffy" on our return.

Besides the walking tour, we went to an hotel by the harbour, for wine matching with patisseries.


When we boarded Britiannia, we were informed that a film crew would be onboard, filming for promotional material. They boarded in Bilbao, and were on deck that afternoon filming. And yes, they joined us for the tour.

We also had Martin Roberts with us, who is he I hear you ask ?


He is one of the presenters of the BBC programme " Homes under the hammer" and although is on a family holiday, got roped into the filming.


So after several glasses of wine and the tasting of the patisseries, and a Q&A session with Eric, it was time for this now lively band of passengers to return to the ship. The tour was running slightly over schedule and we did not get back to the cabin until just before 5:30, which normally would not have been an issue.

However, it was a formal night, plus we had a table booked in the Epicurean for 6 : 30, but we just made it, and found some room to eat after the afternoon's activities.

So all in all, an excellent day !! 

I will of course when we get home write a cruise review, with my thoughts on Britannia, plus links to all my photos.

So until then

Bye bye





Thursday, 28 May 2015

P&O B508 Part IV

And so to Bilbao, we have been here in the dim and distant past, and last year we were in Gexto and took a walk along the the prom.
 
There were local tourism staff in the Atruim giving out advice and maps, and we were soon on the shuttle bus to be dropped off in the centre of Bilbao, where once again more local tourism staff were on hand to give advice. All very well organised

We had no plans on what to do when we arrived, but as the Guggenheim museum was only a 10 minute walk, we went in that direction.
We had seen the building from a hill top many years ago on a tour, so it was great to see it close up.


And what a magnificent building it is, with no straight line in sight.

The queue to go in was not that long, and at only €8 a bit of a bargain.

Inside is even more stunning than the out side, and if you have any interest in photography, then it really is a dream building.


From a art perspective, I am the first to acknowledge that I know nothing about art.

However I know what I like, and what I don't.


Most of the art works I found stunning, but the aircraft hanger sized room with very large sheets of bent steel did leave me very cold, but then what do I know.

The weather had vastly improved by the afternoon, so we sat up on deck 17 in the glorious sunshine.

Then it was time to get ready for our meal in the Epicurean, as we made our way to the crows nest for a pre dinner drink, I thought I would just call in to check the time of our booking, only to find the booking was for today ( Thursday ) Oops.

So this afternoon we have our walking tour with Eric Lanlard, for patisseries and wine tasting.

As its a sea day tomorrow, my last blog will not be posted until Saturday when we return.

I will then write a cruise review following that.

So until then

Bye bye