Category Archives: Family

A merry Christmas to you all

My dear readers, it has been a long hiatus hasn’t it?  My apologies, however it will soon be time to start posting in earnest  again; having not done so for some time it’s surprising what I have forgotten when it comes to the vagaries of blogging, so this will be an excellent way of refreshing my knowledge  🙂

First and foremost, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, full of fun and laughter in the company of your friends and family.

My ‘leave’ has been somewhat disjointed insomuch in between hacking my way around golf courses, doing honey-do lists and relaxing, I have spent some of my time on ‘refresher’ courses in Holland.  Even at my (ancient) age these are still necessary, our industry is constantly changing, requiring further training as it evolves.  For example, new requirement dictate that sea-going personnel have to attend and gain (new) certificates for fire-fighting, seamanship and medical.

As my original qualifications were gained with Noah on his ark, the mere thought of clambering around in boats, stumbling around in zero visibility in a smoke-filled maze wearing fire suits and breathing apparatus,  filled me with foreboding.  This was only made worse when, on the “Amsterdam”, I was being constantly reminded by the younger officers that “I ought to bear in mind that one had to physically fit” to partake in the course, thank you very much…….. Well,I survived.

The training took place in an establishment near Rotterdam, Falk to be precise, culminating in an exercise involving clambering into a life-raft, a wave machine magically transforming a normally tranquil swimming pool into the North Atlantic in winter, ably assisted by instructors spraying water hoses on the assembled personnel, in pitch darkness.  Thanks to their efforts I departed Falk with the most awful cold, which took me 2 weeks to shake off.  No photos of this particular exercise, carrying a phone or camera in such conditions was most definitely not recommended.  😯

I seem to spend an awful amount of time here…

Messing around in boats

Rescue boat about to launch

Er, how does one get into this thing?

Dressed for the part

Rotterdam Maritime museum

Then, later, to the Carnival Group’s Training establishment, CSmart, at Almere, near Amsterdam. This a new facility, quite magnificent, with full-mission simulators, lecture rooms and its own hotel.  (prior to this, we had to stay in a hotel in Almere and be bussed to the ‘old’ establishment).  My course was one of ‘Stability’, quite fascinating and absorbing.

CSmart. Hotel to the right, training centre to the left

The interior of the training facility

Then it was over to the U.K., just in time to hold my newest granddaughter, Lois, weighing in at 7 lbs 3 oz, Mum (Elizabeth) and daughter are doing well.  Gramps, (moi) is over the moon with the new addition to the family.

Gramps and his 12-hour old granddaughter

Violet meeting her new sister

O to be young again……

Soon I will be packing (again) and ready to re-join the “Amsterdam” on her 2017 Grand World voyage and no doubt, photos and posts will follow once I’m settled in.  In the meantime, my best wishes to you and yours.