Royal Princess South Queensferry–Edinburgh Scotland 22nd May 2018

Today, Royal Princess anchored in waters close to South Queensbury in Scotland. We had to travel into the port by tender and on shore-side we had a lovely view of the ship. My dear friend Arlene, met me in South Queensbury  and we had a wonderful day together in Edinburgh.




Our first stop was for coffee at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art where we started to have a catch-up. It was lovely to see my friend and to share such a lovely day with her.







The gardens surrounding the art gallery were stunning.




Natural beauty !!





These sculptures stood in the peaceful gardens.




We then made our way to the Royal Yacht Britannia which is moored at Leith. We parked the car in the multi-story car-park which was close by and it was free which was very unusual.This picture of Britannia adorned the lift gates from the car-park.




As we queued to get on Britannia, we passed this lego model of the yacht.  It was excellent.




Britannia is special for a number of reasons. Almost every previous sovereign has been responsible for building a Church, a castle, a palace or just a house. The only comparable structure in the present reign is BRITANNIA.




It was very special to walk around Britannia where the Queen and her family have spent some of their happiest times.




This is where  the Queen would enjoy a cup of tea when on board Britannia.




The Royal Yacht Britannia is a wonderful vessel and the Queen enjoyed immensely her times travelling many places around the world.The Royal family were keen to explore the outlying areas of Scotland and the annual trip provided a welcome break from Royal duties and the gaze of the public.




This is the Rolls-Royce Phantom V. This official State car was presented to Her Majesty The Queen in 1960 and is on loan with kind permission of Bentley Motors Limited Crewe, Cheshire. They could have given us a lift from Crewe !!




This is a classic stylish sitting room that I am sure the Royal family enjoyed many happy occasions whilst in this lovely room.




The Queen had her own bedroom on the yacht. She has a 3ft single bed and the curtains and bedspread appeared to be Liberty and William Morris style.




Prince Philip also had his own bedroom with a single bed. The furnishings are more masculine in style.




The only double bed on Britannia is in the Honeymoon Suite and the double bed was introduced by Prince Charles when he married Princess Diana.





There are many family photographs in the rooms of the yacht. It did give the feeling that the yacht was a real home to the Royal family.




This is the laundry and I guess it is where the Queen did her washing and ironing !!




This is the medical centre. In fact it is like a mini-hospital.




The formal dining room is the largest room on the Royal Yacht Britannia and many important special people have dined here – Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton and many more world leaders and celebrities  have also dined in these splendid surroundings.





The tables were set to perfection !!




 Six members of the crew of Britannia share a cabin – very cramped !!






The engine room is a maze of equipment to keep Britannia on the move.





A guide on the yacht took this photo of me and  Arlene. My hair took off in the wind. The bell was highly polished.




We had lunch in the Royal Deck. This is the area that the Royal family would play games and relax. The serviettes were adorned with the Royal crest.





Lunch was delightful in this very royal establishment and was a fitting end to a wonderful day with my dear friend Arlene.





On our way back to the port, we spotted Nessie on the side of the road. He was colourful and made an attractive picture.



This sculpture caught my eye as I walked back to the tender to get to the ship




Arlene dropped me off at the port and we made a promise not to leave it so long before we get together again. We had a very special day indeed and the Royal Yacht Britannia was perfect for our very memorable day.


We have a day at sea tomorrow and then on Thursday, we dock in Le Havre France. We hope everyone is well at home and other places as well. Thinking of you.


Lots of love and God bless from Sally XX and John XX

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Royal Princess Scotland Greenock 19th May 2018 Royal Wedding


Today we docked at Greenock in Scotland – truly a very special day as Prince Harry is to marry Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel in Windsor at 12 noon.- the weather is glorious and then at 5.15pm the F.A Cup Final between Manchester United and Chelsea will kick off at 5.15pm so we have a lot to fit in.





Prince Harry is to be The Duke of Sussex as from today and he will take Meghan Markle as his Duchess of Sussex when they are married shortly in St George’s Chapel.




Beatrice and Eugenie  get it wrong yet again. Lovely young girls who always fail to impress !!




Meghan’s mother who looked lovely but so alone – the only relative of Meghan attending the wedding. She shed a tear at the sight of her beautiful daughter marrying her Prince.




Meghan’s dress was beautiful – elegant, plain and a very long veil. Harry wore his formal army uniform. They make a gorgeous couple.




The music was wonderful and varied. These boys will have great memories of their important part in today’s proceedings.





What a beautiful couple !! Harry looks nervous.





The Episcopalian Bishop was a real disappointment. He spoke of love but went on too long and he didn’t hold our interest . Shame !!




And now is the time for the all-important wedding vows !!




The Duchess of Sussex serenely is very Royal indeed !!




And now for the fun and celebrations as the wedding procession makes it way to Windsor Castle for the festivities with their friends and family



We had our own wedding celebration on board Royal Princess with wedding cakes !!




We then walked into the town of Greenock after the Royal Wedding and before the Cup Final – Manchester United v Chelsea and the kick-off is 5.15pm.


We passed the Great Wall of Greenock and wishing well which is the 8th Wonder of the World !!! Throw a penny – hit the bell. Make a wish only time will tell. Best of luck from Greenock Scotland.









This attractive sculpture is at the edge of the town of Greenock which is approximately 45 minutes from Glasgow and approximately 2 hours from Edinburgh.





This fine gentleman  is wearing Scotland’s national dress. Tartan is a woven plaid typically associated with Scotland. By the late 17th century, tartans were used to distinguish the inhabitants of different regions of the country but the Dress Act of 1746 attempted to bring the warrior clans under government control by banning the pattern. The law was repealed in 1782.




There were many beautiful bags, ties and purses made of tartan and Harris Tweed – gorgeous colours.


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And of course we can’t forget Scottish shortbread. there are other Scottish favourites – Haggis – a dish of minced meat and oatmeal cooked in sheep’s bladder. Stovies are potatoes and onions stewed together




Back on board Royal Princess – a local Scottish show performed in the Princess Theatre. It was most enjoyable. These three musicians played well known Scottish tunes.




These lovely girls entertained us with the Highland Fling.




No Scottish show would be complete without pipers and drums.




We had a great day today apart from Manchester United losing in the FA Cup Final. We have a day at sea tomorrow and then we are in Invergorden for the day on Monday.


We are thinking of all our friends and family at home and other places as well.


Lots of love from

Sally XX and John XX

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Royal Princess Dublin Ireland 16th and 17th May 2108

We docked in Dublin this morning and our great friend Bill met us at the port and took us into Dublin to meet up with Mary also. It was such a beautiful day. The sun shone all day. We very much enjoyed the drive around the city with the River Liffey to our left.




We had to cross the Liffey but this bridge was only for pedestrians.




 The statues commemorating the Potato famine which took place between 1845 and 1852 are quite haunting and a very fitting memorial. In 1845 people in Ireland no longer owned most of their land. A plant disease called ’Late Potato Blight’ severely impacted the potato crop in 1845. Famine became widespread.





During the famine, about one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland causing the population to fall by between 20% and 25%. The sculptures certainly are a reminder of the great losses that were suffered by the Irish during this period.




In contrast, there was definitely no famine today. Mary and Bill took us to Peploes for a very special lunch. We enjoyed the delicious food, the craic and catching up on all the news in Cavan, Crewe and Dublin !!




After lunch Bill took us to the Little Museum of Dublin which is situated next door to Peploes Restaurant. It’s advertised as – the best museum experience in Dublin and it didn’t disappoint.




Joan was our guide and she was terrific. She was knowledgeable, humorous and passionate about Irish history. She involved the young people who were on the tour and that’s when we found out that Ed Sheeran was playing in Dublin in the evening.




The museum is indeed small and stories of the history of Dublin  are told through hundreds of photographs. There are some artefacts as well however the collection of pictures is exceptional. There is even a photo of Brendan O’Carroll’s Mammy who will have been an influence on Mrs Brown’s Boys !!




Abortion is currently illegal in Ireland and in a few weeks there will be a vote as to whether the people want to legalise abortion. There are major campaigns on both sides and there are posters everywhere – some to vote no and others to vote yes.




Dublin is full of elegant 18th Century Georgian architecture. These doors are typical of some of the finer houses in Dublin with beautiful Georgian doors.


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The Mansion House was built in 1710 by the merchant and property developer Joshua Dawson after whom Dawson Street is named. Dublin Corporation purchased the house in 1715 for assignment as the official residence of the Lord Mayor. It is the oldest free-standing house in Dublin.




This monument is an entrance to St Stephen’s Green which is a historical park and garden located in the centre of Dublin city .It is an important public resource in the area and provides an oasis of green calm in the middle of a bustling city.




Dublin has over 1000 pubs and these have been at the centre of Dublin’s social life for hundred’s of years. St James ‘s Gate Brewery was founded in 1759 in Dublin by Arthur Guinness and is today the largest brewer of stout.


Irish whiskey is whiskey made on the island of Ireland. The word whiskey is the anglicised version of the first word in the Gaelic phrase uisce beatha, meaning ‘water of life’. Irish whiskey is now the fastest growing spirit in the world according to the Distilled Spirits Council.




 Back at the ship, we enjoyed a truly authentic Irish show with dancing and music with traditional instruments.




The girls gave us a flavour of Riverdance. They were great.




The musicians were excellent. The man playing the uilleann pipes was a champion. It was wonderful.




The highlight for me was the male dancer. He was exceptional and it made a fitting end to a glorious day.




Bill and Mary made the day very special for us . We appreciated greatly their generosity and we enjoyed the craic and spending time with them in Dublin..


Tomorrow, we will be in Belfast – a first for us and we are looking forward to it. We’ll say goodnight now and hope  everyone is well at home and other places as well.

Lots of love and God bless

From Sally XX and John XX


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Royal Princess Cobh Co Cork Ireland 15th May 2018

Today we docked in Cobh, Co Cork in Ireland. From 1848-1950 over 6 million adults and children emigrated from Ireland – about 2.5 million left Cobh making it the single most important port of immigration. It was not uncommon for there to be a special farewell for emigrating sons and daughters – many of whom never returned to Ireland. This special farewell was known as an ‘Irish Wake’. Ships also called to transport convicts to Australia and the great ocean liners continued the task of carrying the Irish to new lives in new lands.




Cobh is the second largest natural harbour in the world. Sydney Harbour in Australia is the largest. The motto on the coat of arms of Cork City is ‘Statio Bene Fide Carinis’ which means ‘A Safe Harbour for Ships’.





Cobh was previously known as Queenstown and sadly this was Titanic’s last port of call on April 11th 1912. 123 passengers boarded Titanic from Queenstown Co Cork.


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This is the famous statue of Annie Moore and her two brothers.They left Cobh on 20th December 1891 on the S.S, Nevada. Annie was the first person to be admitted to the United States of America through the new Immigration Centre at Ellis Island, New York on 1st January 1892. A statue of Annie Moore was also erected at Ellis Island, New York.






This is a memorial to the 1198 lives that were lost when the Lusitania was sunk off the Cork Harbour during World War 1.





Walking through the town, we saw some beautiful woollen fabrics probably from the renowned Blarney Woollen Mills. The colours and textures were beautiful.




This is the Cathedral overlooking the harbour. It is an imposing building standing on the horizon.





Our ship the Royal Princess is huge – 3500 passengers and about 1500 crew. It’s 5 years old and has many beautiful features.




The Piazza is gorgeous. It goes up the middle of the ship rising 3 floors.




They have live music playing  in this area – dancing and easy listening music.




Tonight we ate in the Crown Grill – a speciality restaurant for steaks and seafood. John had a steak and I chose lobster.


Here’s John. He scrubs up well !!





My meal was presented beautifully.


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We could hear the string trio playing just outside the Crown Grill. It was lovely to listen to the classical music as we enjoyed our special meal.  




The waiter took our picture together.





We finished off the evening by seeing a live show in the Princess Theatre called ‘ Colours of the World’.We enjoyed it very much. The singers and dancers are very talented and it was a fitting end to a lovely day in Cork.




We are now on our way to Dublin where we will be there overnight. Hope everyone is well at home and other places as well. Thinking of our friends and family.


Lots of love and God bless from


Sally XX and John XX


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Royal Princess Guernsey Monday 14th May 2018

Yesterday, we embarked Royal Princess in Southampton only to find that the majority of passengers are American, Canadian and also many Australians. New Zealanders and also many passengers are from Asia. We are definitely in the minority ! Our first stop today is in the Channel Islands – Guernsey – our first time visiting here.




Today, we anchored near to Guernsey and we went into the capital of Guernsey St Peter Port by tender. It took ages because there was a problem with a tender belonging to another ship called the Columbus. We eventually got into St Peter Port. The weather was beautiful and we had planned to take one of the public buses around the island but we queued for so long we decided to just walk around the town and it was very pleasant.



Near where the tender docked there was an imposing sculpture of Prince Albert denoting the close links of Guernsey to Britain. St Peter Port like the rest of Guernsey became the property of England after the Battle of Hastings in 1066




Guernsey has a large marina with many boats moored there. The island of Guernsey is 9 miles long and five miles wide.



The island pledges its allegiance to the Crown but is considered independent. It has its own equivalent of Parliament – the States of Guernsey – and its Deputies pass legislation which broadly follows that of the UK , but is not committed to doing so. The yellow telephone box shows they are independent !!





German forces occupied the Channel Islands for nearly five years during World War II. Slave labour built the Underground Hospital and Munitions Store. It is the largest remaining structure from the Occupation in the Channel Islands.





The registration numbers on the cars are numbers only – no letters !!




 Guernsey lies eight miles off the coast of France and is the second largest of the Channel Islands. The islands of Herm and Sark offer a traffic-free paradise – cars and bikes are banned. Herm is just one and a half miles long and under a half a mile wide and is the smallest of the Channel islands.





I’ve never seen a blue mail box before. This must be distinctive to Guernsey and the Channel Islands.




After exploring St Peter Port, we made our way to catch the tender back to the ship.The queue was huge and we were waiting longer and longer for the tender back to the ship. We stood for one and a half hours  and we caught the sun. It was miserable.





As we were standing in line – these tulips caught my eye swaying in the breeze.





At long last it was our turn to get on the tender. We’ve never had to wait so long before.




John had an orange and this swan appeared !!




Here is John relaxing in the warm sunshine on our balcony.




It was our first time in Guernsey today and apart from having such a long wait for the tender back to the ship – we had a most enjoyable and interesting day. Tomorrow we dock in Cobh, Co Cork in Ireland.


Lots of love from


Sally XX and John XX

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Oriana 17 Praia de Vitoria The Azores Saturday 7th January 2017


Tuesday 3rd January, our good friend Dudley came to our apartment in Crewe to take my brother Tony, John and I  to Keele Services to pick up the coach that would take us to Southampton. Luckily Dudley managed to get all the luggage in the car. I don’t know how but he got us all in and also all the cases. We got the coach OK and had a pleasant journey to the port of Southampton. In the Terminal building, we met up with our friends Anne and Peter. They had travelled on a different coach from Bolton. my brother Tony was travelling on his American passport and apparently American citizens require a visa to enter Brazil and even Brazilian waters. The admin guy for P&O pointed out that Tony would have to leave the ship in Tobago if he didn’t have the required document. British citizens don’t need a visa for Brazil. Getting a visa whilst onboard would prove difficult. Now Tony has dual citizenship. His British passport was in Virginia US. He contacted his daughter Allison, my niece to go to his house and see if the British passport was in date. He wasn’t sure if it had expired so we waited in anticipation. We were worried.


After four days at see, we came in to the Azores. We were supposed to have the day in the Ponte Delgada but the Captain changed route because of a bad swell. I was delighted we had never been to Praia da Vitoria before.





It was nice to see land and this attractive lighthouse in Praia de Vitoria.





Tony looked out before we went ashore.




We took the free shuttle in to the town and our first stop was the market-place. This Christmas tree was different but it should have been taken down yesterday – 6th January, Twelfth Night !!




These pumpkins have unusual colours – rather nice shades.




These fish were on sale in the market. I guess they were swimming in the ocean last night !!




I didn’t like the look of these tomatoes !!




John didn’t come ashore today. He didn’t feel too good so he had a rest. Tony and I stopped for a coffee and got the code for wifi which was a bit hit and miss.




Two coffees cost 1 euro 60 cents – very cheap and good too. Along the street we saw coffee for 50 cents – even cheaper.


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These hand-made pyjama cases caught my eye. I think the girls at my needlecraft class would like them too.




Historic Praia da Vitoria is one of the most modern towns in the Azores, located in a large bay on the east coast. This attractive town boasts an appealing layout and there is an interesting historic square with many narrow and parallel  streets lined with colourful old houses featuring the characteristic sash windows.




The road signs were made from these very decorative tiles.




We walked to the Square and this stunning building looked very grand.




The statue on top of this elegant column was in the centre of the Square and looked magnificent.




We saw this small church from the distance.




We didn’t expect to see flowers in bloom at this time of the year in January but these were bright and colourful.




Tony was fascinated with the patterned cobbled streets. They certainly were very attractive in design.




The day was overcast and the palm trees still looked fabulous. We went to the supermarket and walked back to the shuttle bus.




We made our way back to the ship on the shuttle bus and John was on the promenade deck waiting for us.




We have a lovely table by the window in the Oriental Restaurant and we are on Second Sitting at 8.30pm. We have such lovely company with Anne and Peter every night,


Here I am with Anne.






John’s looked after very well. He gets to choose his meal the night before so that everything is gluten-free.




Here is Peter and he has the cheese every night !!


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The shows on board Oriana are very good and this is the Headliners Company. They do great song and dance shows. We enjoyed the tribute act ‘Killer Queen’. I have entered this picture in the Camera Competition – Around the Ship. I don’t suppose it will get anywhere.




Good news from my niece Allison – she’s got Tony’s British passport and thankfully it is still in date. She is going to post it to the Port Agent in Bermuda – our next stop. The only problem is that 12 ins of snow is forecast in Virginia. We are ever hopeful.


Well. I’ll close now. We are looking forward to arriving in Bermuda on Thursday 12th January. We are overnight there until Friday 13th. I say we haven’t been here before. John reckons we have. Hope all our friends and fa ily are well at home and other places as well.


Lots and lots of love

From Sally XX , John XX and Tony XX

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Monaghan Rehabilitation Unit 2016

 I was admitted to Monaghan Rehabilitation Unit from Cavern General Hospital on 11th May 2016 after having had a stroke on 3rd May. I received the best of care from all departments and I made a good recovery as a result of the Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language and Nursing input,I made such a good recovery and naturally,I am very grateful.


I visited the Unit recently and was quite overwhelmed at the welcome I received from everyone. It was wonderful to see the team again and appreciated very much Caroline taking the time out to join us. John and I enjoyed the visit so much . We had a great time and thank you all so much for the beautiful plant. I shall try and keep it alive !!


I took some pictures before I left to remind me of the happy experiences I had at Monaghan Rehabilitation Unit.





Here is Grainne.  She brought round breakfast most days. I usually had cornflakes and prune juice of course !!! Just take a look at the tea-pot How big is that ? She was always smiling and after breakfast she brought round coffee about 11 am, or you could have soup !!!  Then lunch happened about 12.15pm. You got to choose what you had for meals. Evening meal was quite early – about 4.30 pm. Then about 7pm during visiting times another lady brought delicious sandwiches and a hot drink.






Here’s Sarah and Kate from the Occupational Therapy Department. Kate didn’t want to have her picture taken but we managed to persuade her. Sarah was my Occupational Therapist and she did great work with me. She tested my strength in my arms when I was admitted and then she did it again periodically to see if I had improved. When I started to go home at weekends, John was very nervous of me doing anything and she even rang him up and said I could make a cup of tea  and I started to do some ironing. She encouraged me to be independent in personal care and eventually I was  able to shower and wash my hair. She gave me a three-legged stool that I could have in the shower. It was great to see her and congratulations are in order for the new baby that is going to arrive in the New Year.



I shared a room with Bernadette and we got on great. We enjoyed the same rubbishy programmes on the tele – Corrie, the Chase, Eggheads and Bernadette liked Emmerdale. I was in charge of the remote on the grounds of length of service – I was in the Unit about 48 hrs longer than Bernadette !! Patricia kept the Unit  spotless. We always had a chat when she came round.





 I went to visit Bernadette at her home in Emmyvale after we left the Rehab Unit on the day of our visit. She was delighted to see us and we had great craic. It was great to see her again and she was pleased to see us.




 Sarah came to share the room with Bernadette and me . We all got on very well – right and often sharing strawberries and mandarin oranges. There were always treats knocking about and we enjoyed them. Here is Sarah with Siobhan who looked after us royally. She was always keen , thorough , smiling and willing as were all the nursing staff.





This is Doreen. She did my blood sugar each morning when she was on nights. One day, I gave her a terrible fright  when Ireland scored in the Euros. The match  was on the tele and when they scored, I yelled and shouted so much –  she came running down the corridor – she thought someone had fallen.  I felt awful but Doreen was fine about it and saw the funny side of it and we laughed !!.




Here is Clare and she is on duty when Grainne is off duty so she looks after our breakfasts and makes sure that we have the right meals. I was on a soft diet so meal-times were complicated knowing who was on what sort of diet.






 Here are Christina and Patricia. My cousin and her husband brought me the most beautiful arrangement of flowers which they had bought at Patricia’s son’s florist shop. They were absolutely gorgeous and looked lovely in the room. We enjoyed them very much.






Here we have Margaret and Kate is with her, Margaret was my Physiotherapist whilst I was in the Unit.. She was fantastic and devised my exercise programme so that I would make a good recovery and be as independent as possible. She was at a meeting on the day of my visit so I didn’t get to see her and I believe that Congratulations are in order for her recent promotion – so very well deserved. I am so pleased for her

It’s good to note that Kate didn’t want to have her picture taken again. Somehow she creeped in and managed to her photo taken.




Here I am with Irene, I made scones. Kate taught me in Occupational Therapy. I wasn’t able to bake before I came to Monaghan so she did a great job !!





  Oh here we have Kate again – I forgot she hates having her picture taken . She really looks as though she’s not enjoying herself !! She’s with Susan from physiotherapy and also Margaret, my physiotherapist. Margaret devised the exercise programmes and regularly reviewed them and I had to do exercises in between sessions.

 Margaret was really significant in my recovery and I was lkucky to have her planning my care.




Here’s Janet giving out the medication. The nursing staff worked during the day and they also did night shifts. The same team worked round the clock.






 Guess who is in the middle  –  It might look like Kate but she doesn ‘t like having her photo taken. It can’t possibly be Kate again !!! She’s with Mary who is in the Occupational Therapy Department and Janet makes up the trio !!



  Scones are just about to go in the oven. Funny how so many people call in to the kitchen when there is an aroma of cakes and scones, Yummy !!





 Joe was another patient in the Unit. He is with Susan, a physio assistant. I watched Joe, in the gym and I saw his progress from learning to stand to being able to walk up and down the corridor. It was wonderful to see the improvement in other patients.




Pauline is a physio assistant and she encouraged me when I did my exercises. Her speciality was obstacle courses. She always found things for me to walk over and around. Margaret is a nurse and one of her tasks was to give out medication and to do my blood sugar .




 Franceta is the Speech and Language specialist . The title does not give a good description of her profession. I thought a speech and language specialist would be a specialist in speech and language but that is only part of the story. She gave me sheets of words to repeat and I had to exaggerate facial expression when talking on the phone. It was hilarious  and humour was a big slice of the therapy !!



 A major part of Franceta’s work was to do with swallowing and she also gave me exercises to improve very slight drooping down one side of the face. I also had numbness down the side of my nose and Franceta gave me cotton wool balls that had to be dipped in very cold water and gently massaged down the side of my nose. Franceta put me on a soft diet because of the effect on the swallowing and I really was delighted when I progressed to regular diet. Pehaps her title would be more accurately described as : Speech, language, Swallowing and Facial Effects Specialist !!! I enjoyed my time with Franceta. We laughed a lot.





 Siobhan and Marie  also worked in the Unit. We got weighed every Monday and Siobhan would do this when she was on duty. One of her daughters made her First Holy Communion when I was in the Unit. We enjoyed seeing the lovely pictures of this special occasion. Marie was the Line Dancing Queen. She’ll be pleased to hear that I have started back at Beginners Line Dancing and I’m enjoying and I guess it’s doing me good.



 Vidal Sassoon eat you heart out – what Patricia can do with a hair dryer is nobody’s business. I loved her doing my hair. She always made me feel so good. She just had the professional touch !!






 Fionnuala has a  beautiful smile. She was on the nursing eam




Nurse Sheila is with Sarah who shared our room for a short while.





Here we have Mary, one of the nurses with Sarah, the Occupational Therapist. Mary was always encouraging. She inspired confidence and created a lovely atmosphere within the Unit.





No blog about Monaghan Rehabilitation Unit would be complete without a picture of Anthony. He was always smiling and kept reminding us  how much work he did !! We always enjoyed him being around.. His happy disposition was indeed therapeutic !!


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Marie is a physio assistant and she often put me through my paces in the gym and we went outside – up and down the hill. I had to carry a bag or a book. They think ofm everything. This picture was taken the day I was discharged from the  Unit.




Well, I’ll close now. Just to let you know that John and I are thinking of you. I’m doing OK. I do Pilates at the gym also Aqua-fit and the line dancing of course. I am back driving which has made a big difference and I ’m going to America for 10 days for Thanksgiving on my own ( John doesn’t fly). I’m going to see my two brothers, three nieces  and their children so I’m excited.


Hope you’re all keeping well and I know you are all doing a great job at Monaghan Rehabilitation Unit.


Lots of love and God bless

from Sally Harte XXXX

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Ventura 2016 Camera Competition


I attended all the Camera Club talks which were actually very useful. I didn’t know that I had scene modes on my camera. I always put it on automatic. Anyway, they had a photograph competition. There were 4 categories :


At the Beach, Food Glorious Food, Crewe at Work and Reflections.


I decided to go through my pictures and I entered the following photos :


At The Beach : I entered three pictures in this category.









Food Glorious Food : I chose three pictures for this category.








When I was entering my pictures, the photographer said ‘ Oh that’s a good one’ so I said ‘Stick it in then’ so there were four pictures actually entered for Food Glorious Food’.




The next category is Reflections and I entered these three pictures for this section.








The final category is Crew at Work and I chose three pictures for this group as well.









All the pictures had to be entered by 10th February and the results were to be given out at 10am on 12th February. I got up in time to attend the Results. John wasn’t bothered so he didn’t attend. There were different commendations. The first one was ‘Special Mention’ then ‘Runner Up’ ‘Second’ and ‘First’. I think that’s how it went.


Well one of my picture of ‘Crew at Work was shown on the screen for a Special Mention and it was this one:







They said that it was ‘Thinking outside of the box’ so I was very pleased.


The standard of photos was very high but I enjoyed taking part so I was shocked when one of my photos was an overall winner in a category. I don’t expect that you could guess which one it was because I certainly wouldn’t have done.




This was the winning picture for the Food Glorious Food category. I was thrilled.







The first prize was a large print on a canvas of one of my own photos or one taken by the professional photographers. I managed to persuade John to pose for some formal pictures so that we could have a nice one put on to the canvas. He reluctantly agreed and we chose one that we had taken near the piano.


I appreciate the photographer commenting on this picture because it wasn’t one that I would have thought of putting in for the competition. However, I enjoyed taking part and seeing all the other entries. There were over 500 pictures entered. It was a very popular event.


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Tour of Ventura 2016

I am a bit nervous about doing a tour of Ventura because my friend Michael ‘googled’ it when we first came on board and he knew his way round better than we did and we were on the ship and he was in Sandbach !! Also my friend Joan has been on Ventura a few times so I had better get my facts straight !!




This is the Atrium. It is the central feature of the ship and is visible from Decks 5, 6 and 7. In the evenings there is ballroom dancing on the floor area and once they had line-dancing there.




Off the Atrium is the Library. Well I might query the word – library. How many books constitute a library ? This has to be the smallest library ever and I think we could nearly have as many books at home !!




There are a variety of shops around the Atrium.




You can buy clothes, jewellery, watches and handbags ‘galore’ !!


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Costa Coffee is also off the Atrium. This is where you can buy speciality coffees but you can always get a free one in the buffet area or in your cabin.




We enjoyed the outside deck – three times around the promenade deck is 1 mile and we very much enjoyed the warm weather and the sea breeze.


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Safety is all important when you are at sea,




The Arena Theatre is where they held the main evening shows which took place at 8.30pm and 10,30pm. We went to the late show because we had our dinner at 8.30pm.




The Arena is a fabulous theatre and we saw some great shows. P&O have their own company and they performed 6 different song and dance shows which were very enjoyable. These young dancers have so much energy !!




There were many visiting performers who got on and got off the ship at different ports. My favourite was Gareth Oliver who was a ventriloquist. He was hilarious. We had singers as well and also musicians. In the main, the entertainment was fabulous.




This is the Havana Night Club. We only went here once to see someone doing Neil Diamond.


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The Havana is a popular place to go and hard to get a seat.




The Waterside is the Buffet area where you can eat virtually at anytime. We usually went to the buffet for breakfast except when it was a port day and we generally went to the restaurant.




You can have a nice view of the ocean whilst you are having your meal.




We went to the restaurant for afternoon tea just once. They cater for coeliacs and diabetics a bit too well !!




We had our evening meal in the Bay Tree Restaurant at 8.30pm. Fixed dining is at 6.30pm and 8.30pm also you can have Freedom Dining when you go to a different restaurant at a time of your choosing or you can eat in the Waterside buffet or any of the specialist restaurants. In fact you are spoilt for choice. Here is John with Cathryn who is the Head-waitress in The Bay Tree and she looked after John’s gluten-free diet a bit too well !!. She was marvellous and we will miss her.




This is Mario and Stephen – our waiters and we were so well looked after. We were treated royally every night !!




This is the Epicurean Restaurant at the White Room. We had a lovely meal here one evening.



The Tamarind is another entertainment area where they had cabaret acts and some lectures during the day. .




The lectures were on very boring subjects – like Climate Change and the History of the Theatre which I thought would be interesting – oh no !! The lecturer sent me to sleep. He was awful !!




There were cabaret acts on in the Tamarind Club in the evening. We enjoyed very much the resident band – Serious Sounds.




This is the Reception. I suppose this is the hub of the ship where everyone goes if they have a query about anything.




There is a large photographic department on board. They took photos at every conceivable opportunity. They also had talks on how to improve your own pictures. I went to them all. They were excellent. These young people are so knowledgeable.




You can hunt for your pictures or they have screens that you can look for yours on the computer. Everything is ‘high-tech’ these days.




I like the art-work that is around the ship. It is modern and quite ‘quirky’.




Fancy painting rails of shirts !!


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Our first tele was just like one of these these. My older brother Henry had emigrated to America in 1958 and we didn’t have a television when he left so I guess we got our first TV about 1960 – black and white of course.


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This sculpture is situated in the Atrium. it caught my eye.




These modern pieces of art are displayed on Ventura.


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There are at least 3 swimming pools on board Ventura. I didn’t go in any. I can only swim in water that I can stand up in and I was nervous but a lot of passengers did make use of them.




Three times around the deck is a mile. We enjoyed walking around the deck when th3e weather was lovely and warm with a cool breeze from the water.


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These are the balconies. We are in the cheap seats !!




This is the view from our cabin.




There are lots of lovely places to sit around Ventura.




There are lovely flowers around the ship.




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They had a Strictly Come Dancing  show where passengers took part in the competition.




The judges bore a striking resemblance to Craig, Len and Bruno !!




The dancers weren’t very good but the judges were very kind.




Paul alias ‘Craig’ said ‘This certainly wasn’t a disaaaarrster daaaarling ‘ and gives a perfect 10 !! The judges were excellent.




Yesterday was ‘Chocoholics’. It was the chocolate-lovers Heaven. They even catered for diabetics and gluten-free. Unbelievable !!




We have had a wonderful holiday and hopefully, we are now set up for the cold weather back home. Appreciation to all friends and family who have taken an interest in our Blog. We say ‘goodbye’ to the Ventura and then in a few hours we will be back to reality.




The Ventura is a wonderful vessel. We have certainly enjoyed our cruise to the Caribbean and you never know, we may come back again one day.


Love to everyone at home and other places as well’


From Sally XX and John XX



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Ventura 2016 Ponte Delgada

Today we docked in Ponte Delgada in the Azores. This is the largest city on Sao Miguel and the principal port of the eastern group of islands is Ponte Delgada




There were many sailing boats in the harbour. It was a dark and dismal day.




This shop was artistically decorated on the outside.




We came across the Church of Saint Sebastian which is a 16th century parish church.




The church is whitewashed like almost all the other buildings on the island.




This church has a southern facade of Renaissance design.




Valuable vestments embroidered in gold are on show.




This attractive arch is a focal point in the centre of Ponte Delgada.




There are also old forts, commemorative pillars, statues and busts that all mark famous dates and names in the history of the Azores.




Ponte Delgada is an old town of characteristic narrow roads and winding cobbled streets.




The buildings are whitewashed  with wooden balconies.





There is a lovely , safe and friendly atmosphere in Ponte Delgada. Sao Miguel ( St Michael’s) has been christened ‘The Green Island’ and its very fertile soil has earned the island its popular nickname.




The black and white pavements and facades are very distinctive in Ponte Delgada.




The Azores are a remote Portuguese volcanic archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean  consisting of nine islands divided into three groups.




We stopped off for a coffee at this nice hotel and got chatting to a couple who are also on the Ventura,




The weather wasn’t very good today – cloudy and drizzly. John decided to go for a walk.

Here he is walking around the Promenade Deck. They have put out the hazard warning sign !!




He thinks he has won !!




Tonight, we had booked to have our dinner at the Epicurean Restaurant at the White Room. There is a surcharge for this restaurant and usually, we don’t bother because the food in the Bay Tree Restaurant is so good and we like it there. Anyway, we decided to go for a change and it was fabulous. We were not disappointed.




John chose steak for his main course. It looked delicious.


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I had dover sole for my dinner. It was cooked on the bone and the waiter took it off the bone. I really enjoyed it.


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My diabetic dessert was called ‘Elements of trifle’. It was presented beautifully and tasted just as good. John had rice pudding for his dessert and he enjoyed it too. 


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We now have three days at sea and then we will be in Southampton and on our way back to Crewe. Hope all our friends and family are well and we look forward to catching up with everyone.


Lots and lots of love

From Sally XX and John XX

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