Saturday, April 12, 2014

Miniature Entry: Life at Sea


At present I am aboard the Cunard liner Queen Victoria, sailing from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale via the Panama Canal.

If you've been reading for a long time you know I love Cunard ships, past and present. I am supposed to be having (on doctor's orders) a complete rest from work but of course you know I wasn’t going to climb aboard without any knitting.

So I've taken to doing a little in the Winter Garden, in the mornings. As you would expect, it's a surefire conversation starter. The passengers are in the main fairly elderly. I wouldn't be surprised if a few of them knew Queen Victoria personally. When she was a little girl. I couldn't be happier–this is my crowd. We tend to like the same music and the same movies.

I was clicking away a few mornings ago as we headed for Costa Rica and a flurry of tropical print hove into view. The person in the print stopped, then dropped into the next chair. She was English, ambiguously eighty-ish, artfully preserved.

"That," she said, pointing at my knitting, "is very impressive work. My father was a knitter, so I know."

Whereupon we started chatting.

She is doing the World Cruise, Southampton to Southampton. This is something like her forty-fourth Cunard voyage. (The brand breeds loyalty.)

"Of course my favorite is and forever shall be the QE2," she said. "They'll never build another like her."

I nodded. I never sailed in her, mind you. I only saw her, once, back when I was on the Minerva II and she docked beside us in Malta. I remember that seeing C-U-N-A-R-D on the side of ship for the first time gave me chills.

"But may I say something? I'm going to say something."

She leant toward me and through her dark round sunglasses I could feel her glare. "You young* people," she said firmly, "have absolutely no stamina and no idea how to have a good time. No. Idea."

I raised my eyebrows.

She pointed towards the windows above us, which belong to Hemispheres–the ship's disco. "They will close that bar tonight at one o'clock and you will all go to sleep. Ridiculous. Ridiculous! On the QE2 we never dreamt of bed before sunrise. A party every night. Until sunrise. We knew how to have a good time. You young people, I don't know what's wrong with you."

"Well," I said, "the seventies were different, weren’t they? All that cocaine would keep anybody awake."

This time her eyebrows went up. She leant even closer.

"You'd better believe it, kid," she whispered. "You'd better believe it."

 *Yes, on this ship I'm young. I'm quite possibly the youngest person aboard not scrubbing pots or being looked after by the Cunard nannies.

Note: The lady in the photograph is not the lady in the story. She's another lady, with whom I danced rather madly one evening.


Lou said...

Sigh. I dream of the life you live.

Barb Matijevich said...

Love this so much. Thank you for posting it--it is perfect. Now get some rest!

Allison Mosley said...

Brilliant! Happy sailing and knitting!

Blonde said...

I want to be like her when I grow up! ;-)

Anonymous said...

What a delightful post. Glad that you met such a marvelous person and shared her with us. - Joe-in Wyoming

Ms. B said...

Love it! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

What a stunning photo! I can't stop looking at it. But then I think, can she really walk in those heels? Did she dance with you in them?

RubyC said...

I hope you are relaxed and taking it easy. And like someone said, I want to be like her when I grow up. I would like to be like you when I grow up. Please take the time to de-stress and enjoy some recoup time. We love you, but want you to be healthy and take care of yourself first and foremost.

RubyC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kmkat said...

What a great story!

Adrienne Martini said...

I kinda love this.

Kelly H. said...

Please do share more miniature entries of your life at sea!! What a wonderful tale you've told!

Kate said...

I love reading about your cruising, waiting for the next post.

Idiosyncratic Eye said...

Ah, the people one meets ... and the stories they have to tell. :)

Pam Sykes (aka Pretty Knitty) said...

I love your miniature entries. And I hope you are getting the rest you need. :)

Anonymous said...

Pls don't tell us you took a cruise and managed to get on without Dolores and Harry!!!

Lee in iowa

Anonymous said...

That. Is. Awesome.


poodletail said...

That's it. "The Greatest Story Ever Told". Thx, Franklin.

Anonymous said...

Take care of yourself and feel better soon. We need you.

janetcc said...


Anonymous said...

I don't know if there could be anything to top that story, with that picture, but keep the stories coming, Franklin. You do have the best encounters.
-- stashdragon

Emily (MLE) said...

More! More!

You brighten my life.

Beth V. said...

I have never been on a cruise, never wanted to go, really. But you are making me change my mind. Bon Voyage!

Anonymous said...

So sorry to read that you have not been well, but what a great way to put the zing back in your step. What a great itinerary! With knitting! More cruising posts please

Sandy said...

Dear Franklin, I do love you! From one old soul to another I would fit right in with you and the elderlies! I am forever the youngest (at 48) in knitting clubs, quilting clubs and church gatherings. And I love being around all the old broads with their knowledge and stories and no nonsense ways!

I hope you are feeling better soon (doctor's orders indeed!) and that you have no need to return to the doctor for a follow up. Rest, knit, and dance wildly. It sounds like a brilliant cure all.

Stephanie said...

Sounds like you are having a lot of fun! At 30, we were definitely "young" for a Princess cruise out of Rome that traveled to Egypt, Turkey, and Greece, but a moving hotel is a great idea. (sjn821 on Rav)

soxanne said...

Wow. Have you seen the movie, "The Great Beauty"? I think you just met someone from that movie.

Linda said...

More news, more cruise snippets (hear my glass banging on the bar?)!

Mary Jane said...

I love the photo. She is just as i imagine Dolores would be if Dolores were human. I love how her collar shape mirrors the shape of the chair.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Have you already passed through the canal?
I´m a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama and I currently live quite close to the canal. Perhaps I can wave to you as you pass through the locks in Panama city. :)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kat Knits said...

Ooo, I love, love, LOVE her heels! Probably wouldn't be able to wear them (twisted ankle from several years ago that likes acting up), but damn! Love.

Nancy said...

you are so good.

Nicky said...

Im jealous ! hat a fantastic time you must be having.Pls show us what you are knitting on this wonderful cruise.

Anonymous said...

What a really, really cool story - thank you!
(Hmmm...I wonder if you have any more Cunard stories?)

Lindawd said...

Franklin - Reading your stories make my heart happy!
But please rest, relax and take it easy.

Kathleen Lawton-Trask said...

I sailed on the QE2 once, the last summer she did the transatlantic voyage. We went NYC --> Southampton and met many, many doing the world cruise. Like you, I get along with that generation. It was a fabulous time.

Sharon in Surrey said...

Sounds like you're having a blast!! Knitting & old Broads! My kind of holiday. Mind you don't hurt yourself trying to keep up now . . . .

Anonymous said...

Everyone has a story. Thanks for sharing this one, and I can't wait for the next... Do take care, and enjoy.
jill in Ontario

K-Mac said...

Are you ABSOLUTELY sure that you and David Blomenberg were not separated at conception? (This is a great compliment to you both, should you not be aware.)
-Ken McCamish

suntik putih said...

cool sir

Sean Passean said...

I love that you dropped the coke comment on her...most of us whippersnappers would just be "respectful" hahahahaha
What a great story :)

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It's like you are living in Doctor Who...

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