Day #164 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Busy day today…

Day #164 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Busy day today…

Most often, we can count on our routine to get us through another day and in part, today won’t be much different. Add a few new tasks and suddenly I find myself feeling busy, as we may have been in times before COVID-19.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2014 when our ship docked in England, enabling us to take a tour of Stonehenge. See this link for details.

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Alternate view of Stonehenge.

I can’t wait for the busy days in the future once we leave India, including cooking, laundry, household tasks and sightseeing. Heading out every two days or so to take photos added to our level of activity and of course, weekly trips for shopping and other errands often occupied our days.

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Additional rock discovered .

Of course, if we ever get back to Marloth Park, we will easily spend an entire day fussing over the visiting wildlife, chopping carrots and apples for them and later chopping and dicing vegetables for our own meals. Gosh, I miss all of that. At this point, we realize and accept we may not be able to get back into South Africa until after the first of the year.

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Tom at Stonehenge.

But, as time passes, we can see other countries may be possible for us while we await for the borders to open in SA. At this point, it’s all about being able to fly out of India and head to a country close in or close to the African continent.

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Me, at Stonehenge. It was raining and we were fairly soaked.

In our old lives, it would have been possible to walk my goal of 10,000 steps a day simply by partaking in day to day activities. It has taken several months for me to build the stamina that I lost after heart surgery but finally, all these months later, I truly believe I will be able to go forward in a way similar to life before February, 2019.

When I think back to a year ago while we were in Falmouth, Cornwall, England, I had a terrible time walking to the local restaurant/pub, all uphill. Now, it would be considerably easier. For us, exercising has been an unexpected benefit of being in lockdown, basically forcing us to get moving as opposed to sitting all day.

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Birds at Stonehenge.

Back to today’s photos…The June, 2020 new discoveries were made by archaeologists regarding the origination of these unusual rock formations as described here from this article:

“June 22, 2020: The mystery near and around Stonehenge keeps growing. The latest revelation is the discovery of a ring of at least 20 prehistoric shafts about 2 miles from the famous Neolithic site of immense upright stones, according to an announcement from the University of Bradford.

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‘Astonishing discovery’ near Stonehenge offers new insight into Neolithic ancestors. Research on the pits at Durrington was undertaken by a consortium of archaeologists as part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project. #DurringtonPits @gaffney_v https://bit.ly/2Nig6UX

Archaeologists say the “astonishing” shafts in Durrington Walls date back to 2500 B.C. and form a circle more than 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) in diameter. Each one measures up to 10 meters (33 feet) in diameter and 5 meters (16 feet) deep.

Researchers say there may have been more than 30 of the shafts at one time.

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Alternate view.

“The area around Stonehenge is among the most studied archaeological landscapes on Earth and it is remarkable that the application of new technology can still lead to the discovery of such a massive prehistoric structure which, currently, is significantly larger than any comparative prehistoric monument that we know of in Britain, at least,” said Professor Vincent Gaffney of the University of Bradford.

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View from the opposite side.

The research was conducted by a consortium of archaeologists as part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project. The University of Bradford was the lead institution, joined by Vienna’s Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology; the Universities of Birmingham, St. Andrews and Warwick; the University of Wales Trinity Saint Davids; and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre at the University of Glasgow.”

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Large stone recovered from the area to illustrate the massive size of the stones.

This discovery doesn’t definitively explain how the rock formations were constructed but, perhaps unlocks a little more information for future scientists to add to their repertoire of data accumulated over past few centuries. It will be interesting to see if more information rises to the surface in our lifetime.

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Zoom in to read this text of the skeletal remains of a man found in Stonehenge.

In any case, we certainly enjoyed seeing the famous rock formations when we were allowed to walk on a paved pathway surrounding the area. For more on this, please see our post from September 3, 2014 here.

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More skeletal remains found in Stonehenge.

For today, I’m glad I had the above information to add to today’s post since I’m in somewhat of a rush to get to work on some tasks, details of which we’ll share later.

Have a pleasant day.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 3, 2019:

Entrance to the Church of St. Mylor in the sleepy town of Mylor, Cornwall. For more photos, please click here.
Day #160 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…The frightening reality…

Day #160 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…The frightening reality…

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Today’s photos are from this date in 2014 while wrapping up our final day in South Kensington, London, England. You’ll find our total expenses for the 15-nights in a hotel below:

Here are our expenses for the 15 nights in London:

Hotel:              US $3,312.26, 1,995.40 pounds
Transportation:          455.29,    274.28
Tours:                        451.81     272.18
Groceries:                 240.34     144.79
Restaurants:              850.46    512.34

Grand Total:     US $5,310.16, 3,198.99 pounds
Daily Rate:         US $354.01, 213.27 pounds

Yesterday, we walked down this road toward Bobo’s Bubbles to do our final two loads of laundry.

Each hour, while walking, I listen to podcasts on my phone. At this point in time, I am not interested in much other than those podcasts that are educational and informational, often a variety of videos from immunologists from all over the world. I do so in an attempt to determine which countries we may possibly visit when we’re able to leave India.

Of course, leaving India is entirely predicated on how India is doing with COVID-19, their infection and death rates which at this point are increasing like a raging fire. Yesterday, by happenstance, I stumbled across this India generated video with a immunologist from Harvard, born in India and interviewed by an Indian news/podcaster.

Occasionally, we spotted a brick building mixed among the white buildings.

This video, found here at this link, This is not a conspiracy theory-type podcasts but a well researched and highly informative report on the statistics for COVID-19 for India and the projections by this highly qualified medical professional. The prospects for us leaving are not looking good.

In essence he’s stating that the reported cases in India, with a population of 1.3 billion, is only reporting 15% of the actual cases when many get the virus, don’t test, and subsequently don’t report their case. In reality, based on statistics gleaned from countries and researchers throughout the world, this could mean there are currently 200,000,000 to 500,000,000 cases in India.

This was the shortest (height) car either of us has ever seen. I can only imagine that getting out of it would require rolling out the door onto the street and then standing up.

This threw me for a loop. I can see why our hotel doesn’t want us to go outside. There is a very high percentage of contagion in Delhi and Mumbai, the two largest metropolises in the country. Opening the airports for international flights is highly unlikely anytime in the near future.

One might think, “Why would they be so cautious for flights leaving India?” The answer is logical. The international airlines are not about to send empty planes to India. To warrant the resumption of international flights it must be a two-way process. India is not about to allow international travelers into the country. It certainly makes sense when worldwide, so much of the virus has been brought into countries via flights from highly infected countries.

South Kensington consists of one pretty street after another with parking always at a premium.

Citizens of the US, regardless of where they’ve been, are on “no fly” lists all over the world and will continue to be so for an indefinite period. The prospect of us leaving India anytime soon is grim.

We accept the fact that if at any point, we cannot stand being here another week or month, most likely we can find a way to get on one of the repatriation flights for US citizens to return from India back to the US. Finding an affordable holiday home in a nice area in the US at this time is impractical and costly, far more than we’re paying here. Also, we’d need a rental car which is outrageously priced in the US for extended periods.

In London, there are no large trash bins for residents in which to place their garbage.  Instead, they place the bags on the sidewalk or street where they’re picked up a few times a week from what we’ve seen.

The alternative would be to find a hotel comparable to this hotel in the US which most likely will be more costly than here. Plus, the travel required to get to a location we’d prefer could result in numerous flights at numerous airports with added risk of contracting the virus. We’d simply be trading one confined location for another. The US is still in the #1 position of most cases of the virus in the world. We don’t want to go to the US due to my high risk status.

At least, here and now, we are as safe as we can possibly be. There hasn’t been a single case of the virus in this hotel. We don’t go out to grocery stores, pharmacies and other shopping. We can get most of what we need from Amazon India which items are sprayed with disinfectant when they arrive and are delivered to our room. We wait a few days to open any package.

Wildwood had a comfortable ambiance, but the food and service was mediocre. See the post here for food photos and prices.

Breakfast is included in our room rate and our dinners are never more than US $20, INR 1463, per night. There is nowhere in the world we’d be able to eat for this low cost. Besides, during these lockdown conditions throughout the world, we can’t justify paying more than what we’re paying now.

Complaining? No. Observing. Reality. Safe. Healthy. We’d OK

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Photo from one year ago today, August 30, 2019:

Look at the numbers of sailboats moored in this bay! For more photos, please click here.
Day #158 in lockdown in Mumbai, India Hotel…Cleaning up old posts…

Day #158 in lockdown in Mumbai, India Hotel…Cleaning up old posts…

Note; We hope everyone is able to find our site. I have no way to get a message to our readers who may be having trouble getting our usual link to load due to the necessity of emptying the cache on your browser. Your computer remembers our old hosting site, Blogger, and not our new hosting site, Hostinger, making it impossible for you to log in. If you clear your cache, the problem will be resolved and no harm is done to your other settings. I have contacted our web developer if there is a way we can handle this on our end but I don’t think there will be. We only hope you’ve found a way to find us. We still are at www.worldwidewaftage.com.

Enjoy our photos, yet again from South Kensington, London from this date in 2014 and found at this link. There are numerous food photos on this particular post from dining out in the area.

Prehistoric creature at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, London.

Since our new site went live a few issues occurred that prompted me to make a tough decision to go back through each and every one of almost 3000 posts, to correct any errors. There are 147 pages, of 17-18 posts each. I will have to go through each post, one by one. I started yesterday from the first post on March 15, 2012 and have completed two of the 147 pages. I plan to do one page per day.

This is referred to as a Football Fish.

Another issue is that all old posts show a duplicate of the main photo at the top of each page. I’ve contacted our web developers today to see if they can correct this. Hopefully, soon this will be resolved. Please be patient with us as we work through this issue and a few other remaining issues.

More fish from rivers, lakes and streams.

At this rate, if I do one page of 17 posts per day, I will complete the editing process in about five months. I completed this same process of correcting old posts about four years ago. However, with the recent transition to the new site, many line and paragraph issues occurred. Also, in reviewing old posts, I’ve realized I’d missed many grammar and spelling errors in my past mission to correct errors. Now, my goal is to correct everything. No doubt, it’s a daunting task which each day will take about an hour.

A lizard that puffs up the frill around the neck to scare off predators. This could be intimidating to say the least.

At first, I thought I’d do this each day before preparing each new post. But now, two days later, I realize I’d rather do it first thing in the morning. It’s not a pleasant task, like preparing a new post is for me.  I’ve always been one to get the difficult tasks out of the way first thing in the morning, leaving me free to enjoy the remainder of the day’s tasks.

“Jaws!”

Actually, I was very disappointed to see how many errors there were in the old posts. I had no control over the line and paragraph spacing going wonky in the transition. But, the typos and grammar errors were all on me. It’s frustrating to face a 3,000 post string of errors when I think back over how hard I’d tried at the time to prepare each post correctly.

Komodo Dragons are found on the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca and Flores. We’ll be spending four months in Bali, Indonesia in 2016, where tourists have spotted Komodo Dragons on occasion. Komodo Dragons are of the species of Monitor Lizards, two of which lived in our yard in Marloth Park, South Africa. Please see this link to see our photos when they made a rare appearance by the pool.

I have no doubt in this new process, I’ll still miss a few corrections, Fortunately, WordPress, as opposed to Blogger. is definitely more aggressive in reminding writers to type correctly and avoid making errors. This is a tremendous help. I’ve been using the apps Gingerly and Grammarly the past few years but even they have missed a number of errors I’d made.

More marine life.

I give myself a break on this due to the fact I realize I am preparing the equivalent of an essay 365 days a year, at times during challenging and stressful periods, comparable to those most recently. These scenarios are a breeding ground for making errors.

We saw a smaller version of similar crabs at the beach in Kenya which is on the eastern coast in Africa.  They moved so quickly, we couldn’t get a photo.

I laugh when texting family and friends over spellcheck changing words to unintelligible words and phrases, often leaving me in stitches. Then again, I often type incorrectly since I’m slow when texting on my phone. I bet many of you relate to this laugh worthy scenario.

Many of us lobster enthusiasts would appreciate a lobster of this size on a platter.

We love technology. But, technology is only as good as our own personal skills to use it. I am not adept at web development, although I played a big role in the design of our new site. I am slow at typing, even after all these years of banging away on a keyboard. Basically, I pick away at a keyboard, in a meager attempt to avoid typing errors. Even that, apparently, hasn’t worked so well.

After many visits by Zebras in our yard in South Africa, seeing this lifelike rendition made me miss them.  Click this link to see Zebras that visited us in South Africa.

I am hoping to get done early enough today to watch an episode of The 100 on Netflix before 3:00 pm when Tom and I try to have time to start streaming a few shows together. We’ll see how it goes. Of course, whatever I do is interrupted by the necessity of walking every hour for at least ½ mile, .8 km,  to reach my daily goal of 5 miles, 8 km.

Some of the displays of Rhino were taxidermy.  There was a sign stating that the horns had been removed and replaced with man made materials.  We saw Rhinos in the wild in Kenya.  Please click here for a few of our Rhino photos from Kenya.

Through all this recent sadness over the loss of my sister and the stress of getting this site up and running, I’ve never missed a day of walking. Knowing this may be beneficial for my heart, is my sole motivator. Consistency is important.

Ah, my heart did a flip flop when Tom spotted this warthog.  The first time either of us had ever seen a warthog was in October 2013, in the Masai Mara, Kenya while on safari.  Of course, later in South Africa, we joyfully saw them each day.  Click here for the first time we saw a live warthog (scroll down the page).

Have a healthy and peaceful day!

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Photo from one year ago today, August 28, 2019:

While on a walk in the quaint town of Falmouth, Cornwall, England, we encountered these vegetables for sale in a front garden. We selected a zucchini and a small pumpkin. We left the money in a jar sitting on the table. For more photos, please click here.
Day #157 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…A lovely meeting in London in 2014…Terror in our favorite place in the world…

Day #157 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…A lovely meeting in London in 2014…Terror in our favorite place in the world…

Note:  If you are able to read the posts on our new site on your smartphone, but not on your computer, laptop, or tablet, please empty your cache and you’ll be able to see us on those devices. If you don’t know how to do this, please email me with the operating system you use (Windows, Chrome, Safari, etc) and I will send you easy step by step instructions. Voila! The problem will be solved!

Today’s photos are from August 27, 2014, while in South Kensington, London from this link.

My lunch salad in the hotel dining room on a very small plate was US $10.77, 6.50 pounds.

Hello, again! Wow! I’m learning more and more each day about using WordPress and I’m liking it. No doubt, I could spend months learning every aspect of it. But, for what we do each day, it’s proving to be a relatively easy and enjoyable process with less system-generated errors than we previously experienced with Blogger.

I’m noticing most of our old posts, moved over from Blogger, are seriously impacted by inadequate paragraph spacing. I am contemplating going back over each of our almost 3,000 posts and correcting them, one by one. If I do 10 a day, I could finish in less than a year.

Liz’s vegetarian lunch in the hotel dining room.

No offense intended to Blogger. Good grief, they served our needs for over eight years since our first post on Match 15, 2012. (See the link here). Overall, it handled the massive size of our site without an annual hosting fee, whereas we now have to pay for hosting. With confidence and optimism, we signed up with Hostinger, a web hosting company for 48 months, hoping good health and mobility will keep us on the move and able to continue posting.

We continue with our plan of posting photos from years past and right now we are working our way through the 16 nights we spent in South Kensington, London in August 2014, thoroughly embracing English culture, art, and dining. The old notion that English food wasn’t palatable has changed dramatically over the decades.

How thoughtful of Liz for this useful set of organic products to prevent and treat insect bites, always my nemesis.

We found English food to be delicious, interesting, and often gourmet with a wide array of international flavors. We particularly enjoyed the popular local “Sunday roast” which generally consisted of meat, beef, pork, or lamb, falling off the bone with au jus, along with a plethora of various roasted vegetables. I skipped the potatoes and other starchy root vegetables and savored every Sunday’s treat, as did Tom.Liz’s husband Dave sent this bottle of beer for Tom.  Tonight, we’ll chill it on ice and he’ll drink a toast to Liz and Dave for their thoughtfulness.

It was a year ago we spent over two months in England and we never hesitated to partake of Sunday roast at local pubs and restaurants. A few times, we prepared our own Sunday roast, using selected pot roast cuts of beef, a meal we’ve always enjoyed with carrots, onions, whole portobello mushrooms with big chunks of fresh garlic and spices. What a treat!

My mouth is watering as I write this. We haven’t had a morsel of beef since we arrived in India seven months ago, five of which we’ve spent in lockdown, dining on the exact same meals over and over again. Not only do we miss an occasional glass of red wine or a cocktail, but also such simple meals as a bun-less burger, topped with crispy bacon, sliced tomato, and onion, lettuce with homemade sugar-free ketchup. We haven’t had a salad in months.

Tom’s Calzone at Bella Italia in the neighborhood.

And this reminds me to get on with the story about today’s photos when six years ago, we met a devoted reader and new friend Liz, who took a two-hour train ride from Bristol to South Kensington to meet with us at our hotel. Again, here’s the link to that post with today’s photos.

Not only was it utterly delightful to meet Liz on that date and share both lunch and dinner with her, later walking her to the train station in the dark, but the continuation of that friendship over the years since that time. Last year, in October, while staying in Wales for 11 days we had an opportunity to see Liz once again, this time with her husband Dave when we all dined at a fabulous restaurant along the river. More on that in October.

My dinner at Bella Italia of two small chicken breasts in a pot of red sauce with a side of grilled vegetables.

Please excuse today’s main photo for being blurred. Guess who took the photo? Speaking of photos, I’m chomping at the bit to be able to take and share new photos. Who knows how long it will be before its possible? It could be many months from now.

As for the above mention of “terror in our favorite place in the world,” we’re referring to yesterday’s fire in Marloth Park that totally destroyed three bush houses and damaged a fourth, supposedly from the cigarette of an installer of a thatched roof. High winds caused the fire to rage so quickly, nothing could be done quickly enough to save the bush houses. Due to the dry terrain during this time of year, there’s always a high risk of fires. We were always mindful when cooking outdoors to ensure safety. A fire could destroy the entire conservatory with horrific consequences.

Liz’s dinner of vegetarian cannelloni and a side salad.

Not much happening today. After a good night’s sleep last night, today I feel refreshed and more energized than I’ve felt in many days. Hopefulness prevails.

Be well.

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Photo from one year ago today, August 27, 2019:
                                     Sunrise over the bay in Falmouth, Cornwall, England. For more, please click here.

Travel day today…Tom’s tiger video…New booking in UK…”Baaaath, England…here we come on May 2nd!…

Tom made this video while bouncing around in the safari vehicle, a bit jittery but worth watching.
Bath, England, is the largest city in the county of Somerset, England, known for and named after its Roman-built baths. In 2011, the population was 88,859. Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, 97 miles west of London and 11 miles southeast of Bristol. The city became a World Heritage site in 1987.
Bath Riverside
We have always heard that Bath is a fabulous historic town. We’re looking forward to exploring.

When we realized we had six months until our cruise from Lisbon to Cape Town sailing on November 10, 2020, from the time we arrived in Greenwich, England (near London) on May 2, 2020, it made sense to stay in the UK or at least four months to comply with the Schengen visa restrictions.
The UK isn’t a part of the strict policy of the Schengen visa, and we can stay anywhere in the UK for up to six months. Ideally, we’d have been able to tour Europe during those six months, but the restrictions only allow us to stay in other countries in Europe for a maximum of 90 days during any 180 days. That’s too limiting for our lifestyle.

Larkhall House Kitchen
The modern kitchen in the holiday home in Bath. Everything we need to begin cooking again after over a three-month hiatus from cooking as we traveled India and cruised.

Subsequently, we’ll stay in England and Scotland for approximately four months and Spain and Portugal for one month each. Although we’ve already been to both of these countries, we’ll be delighted to stay during these periods.

Larkhall House Lounge
The living room is small but has adequate seating for the two of us.

As a result, we’ve started booking holiday homes beginning with England. Yesterday, we wrapped up a little house in Bath (pronounced Baaaaaath by the British) on HomeAway for a 30 night period. Very soon, we’ll book another place in the Cotswolds for another 30 days beginning on  June 1. 

We were surprised to find easy availability for houses in these particular areas, but we believe Conoravirus has resulted in less travel throughout the world. Since we can’t stay “home” to avoid the risks, we continue in our world travels, avoiding areas of most concern. In other words, we won’t be heading to China at any time soon.
Larkhall House Lounge
Another view of the cozy living room.

The house in Bath is small, but it’s an expensive area, and we do fine in small spaces. Plus, we need to “lick our wounds” after this expensive India tour, including the Maharajas Express train and the two upcoming pricey cruises, especially the upcoming Viking Sun ocean cruise. Previously, Viking was known for their river cruises and have now built ocean-going ships, but they are more expensive than most cruises.

Larkhall House MasterBedroom
The bed is only a double, but we’ve managed this scenario many times in our travels.

Next month’s Viking cruise is 29 days, a long time to be at sea, obviously adding to the cost. Still, it does include unlimited internet, beverages, excursions, and meals in specialty restaurants. We’ll bear the only added expenses of US $30, IDR 2192.34 a day, in tips for the 29 days. We’ll have a $600, IDR 43853, cabin credit we can use toward the ends.

The total number of passengers is 930, with a crew of 465. Surely that number of staff will result in excellent service, which we expect from experience with Viking when we cruised the Mekong River with them in July 2016. There were only 54 passengers on the river cruise, but we had an exceptional experience visiting Vietnam and Cambodia.
LarkhallHouse MasterBedroom
The guest room where we’ll store our luggage.

Today is yet another travel day, but this is the second to last time we’ll have to fly to India. Road trips seem so much less exhausting and with waiting time (except for the traffic). We left the hotel at 1:00 pm and won’t arrive at our hotel in Chennai until 10:00 pm tonight. Long day…

May your day and evening be pleasant and rewarding.

Photo from one year ago today, March 5, 2019:

Little stopped by this morning to check out the pellet situation.  As always, it was good. For more photos, please click here.

Boarded the ship today and soon we’ll begin sailing across the Atlantic to the USA!…

Our cabin, friendly and tidy before our luggage arrives.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Southampton, England: From this site:

“Archaeological finds suggest that the area has been inhabited since the stone age.[15] Following the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43 and the conquering of the local Britons in AD 70, the fortress settlement of Clausentum was established. It was an important trading port and defensive outpost of Winchester, at the site of modern Bitterne Manor. Clausentum was defended by a wall and two ditches and is thought to have contained a bathhouse. Clausentum was not abandoned until around 410. The Anglo-Saxons formed a new, larger settlement across the Itchen centered on the St Mary’s area of the city. The settlement was known as Hamwic, which evolved into Hamtun and then Hampton. Archaeological excavations of this site have uncovered one of the best collections of Saxon artifacts in Europe. It is from this town that the county of Hampshire gets its name. Viking raids from 840 onwards contributed to the decline of Hamwic in the 9th century, and by the 10th century, a fortified settlement, which became medieval Southampton, had been established.”
After a light breakfast in the hotel’s dining room, we returned to our room to close the bags and be ready to head out the door. We ordered a taxi to take us to the cruise terminal at 10:45 am, which is a little early, but we’ve gone to the airport this early in the past, and it’s always worked out.
Alternate view of our balcony cabin.  We’re always OK with the small space since we only sleep here.

This was our first time sailing from Southampton, and we had no idea what to expect. As I write this from our hotel room, we’re hoping the Wi-Fi on the ship will be active at the time of boarding, enabling us to complete today’s post, including a few photos of the ship, Celebrity Silhouette.

With approximately 2900 passengers booked for this cruise. Check-in may be slow but nothing compared to the bigger ships with several thousand more passengers. We have avoided those vast ships.  

However, with our Elite(priority) status, we can get into a faster-moving queue, which considerably speeds up the process. The porters take all of our bags away at check-in, leaving us to carry only a computer bag which we don’t want out of our sight and the blue cloth bag containing a camera and a few other essentials.

Another cloudy, rainy day in Southampton harbor.

After boarding, most often, we head to the cafeteria or Cafe al Bacio for beverages. This is when socializing begins. Onboard the ship, we don’t dine as early as we usually do when preparing our meals. Depending on how much fun we’re having elsewhere, we strive to be seated at a shared table by 7:30 or 8:00 pm.

Generally, we won’t receive our luggage to our cabin until close to dinner or after that. Thus, we’re wearing clothing suitable for tonight’s dinner in the main dining room, not dressy but less casual than we might wear on any day. 

The muster drill transpires today at 3:15 pm when emergency instructions are delivered by ship staff. Each cabin has its designated muster drill area, outside on the deck, in a restaurant, or at the theatre.

The lounge area is on the same level as our cabin. It’s unlikely we’ll ever sit here.

Once the muster drill is over, which usually requires about 40 minutes, we are free for the remainder of the evening when the fun picks up where we left off, mid-day.

We check-in for the cruise and boarded the ship. The check-in process was seamless, with no hitches whatsoever. Within minutes of arriving at the cruise terminal, our bags were whisked away.

Tom went to the internet cafe and set up both of our accounts, and now with a good signal, we could finish today’s post. Thanks for your patience in the late posting.

Each day, we’ll be back with more photos and updates on the cruise and the ports of call we visit.

Back at you soon. Have a fantastic weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, October 24, 2018:
Last night’s full moon over Marloth Park. For more photos, please click here.

Southampton, England…A great hotel for two nights…

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The Leonardo Southampton Royal Grand Harbour hotel. (Not our photos).
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Southampton, England:

From this site:

“Southampton is a port city on England’s south coast. It’s home to the SeaCity Museum, with an interactive model of the Titanic, which departed from Southampton in 1912. Nearby, Southampton City Art Gallery specializes in modern British art. Solent Sky Museum features vintage aircraft like the iconic Spitfire. Tudor House & Garden displays artifacts covering over 800 years of history, including a penny-farthing bike.”
The hotel we selected in Southampton for two nights is the Leonardo Royal  Southampton Grand Harbour is located only minutes from the cruise terminal. For these dates, the nightly rate is GBP 180, US $231.  
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The hotel at night.

We used accumulated points in Expedia and only paid GBP 145.50, US $187.06 for both nights in a king room with breakfast included, which we prepaid at booking.

Yesterday, taking our time on the drive and stopping for a light lunch, we arrived at the hotel later than expected. Subsequently, we dined in the hotel’s restaurant.  Unfortunately, the lovely couple, Kim and Keith, whom we’d planned to meet for dinner, canceled due to Kim’s lousy cold. They didn’t want us to catch it, which we appreciated. There are plenty of germs on cruises as it is.
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One of the many seating areas in the hotel.

As typical for hotels, the meal in the restaurant was good, not great, with prices commensurate with what we’ve observed in the UK these past few months. Tonight, we may go out or dine in the bar, which has an excellent menu for my way of eating.  


Food is not so important to us when we have the cruise ahead of us where they’ll make everything befitting my restricted diet. In any case, we don’t make cruising about the food.  

For us, it’s the opportunity to socialize with other travelers from all over the world that make cruising unique—now, situated in the hotel bar preparing today’s post at a table close to an electric outlet without much social interaction. We’ll make up for it soon enough. 

My fast dying laptop (almost five years old) requires that I work with it plugged in with the battery on its last leg. On the upcoming cruise, we’ll have to find a spot close to an outlet. 

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Typical English breakfast served buffet-style in the main dining room.

We’ve been able to find an excellent place to sit near an outlet on several past cruises. Cruising on this particular ship, Celebrity Silhouette is new to us, and we’re hopeful we’ll find a spot close to all the action. 

We prefer not to be isolated when working on the post, especially when other passengers stop by to chat. It may take six or seven hours for me to complete one post with all the interruptions, but we love the interactions with other passengers and, from time to time, crew members.

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Cruise ships are often waiting in this harbor for enthusiastic cruise passengers.

It’s funny how passengers will say when they see us working on our laptops, “Couldn’t you have left the work at home?”  

We laugh and often say, “This is “home” at the moment.”

Yes, we continue with our daily tasks, handling photos, the posts, financial matters, banking, and so forth wherever we may be at any given time. It’s the nature of our peculiar lifestyle.

I don’t have anything in the way of photos today. It’s raining, and we don’t care to walk in the rain, nor do we want to pay a taxi to take us around when we’ve already returned the rental car.  

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This is where we’re seated now as we prepare today’s post.

Yesterday, when we arrived and couldn’t get a signal on the phone and thus we drove around Southampton (population 253,651) and had a good look. After these quiet months in the English (and Wales) countryside, it’s a lovely city with too much traffic and commotion for us.

The cruise will be the perfect segue back to a crowded environment. Afterward, we’ll be on Minnesota highways with plenty of traffic, horn honking, and impatient drivers, typical for any large city.

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Map of our hotel and its proximity to the harbor. Regardless of the weather, we’ll still have to take a taxi to the cruise terminal.

We always say the most courteous drivers in the world are in South Africa. The slower vehicles always move to the shoulder to let others pass on both highways and dirt roads. We’ve never ceased to be amazed by this phenomenon.  

(Yeah, I know…I miss it, and every day I wonder if immigration will allow us to return and if we can rent the Orange house again…and then if “you know who” will return to see me.)

Well, folks, tomorrow is another “day-in-the-life” of these two nomads as we board yet another cruise, this time a transatlantic crossing. 

Happy hump day to all the working people, and happy any day to the retirees!

Photo from one year ago today, October 23, 2018:

Single file, from matriarch to baby.  For more photos, please click here.

Final expenses for two months in UK…Favorite photos….

The four of us in front of a large fireplace.

From this site

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Chepstow:
“Chepstow is located on the west bank of the River Wye, some 3 miles (4.8 km) north of its confluence with the Severn estuary. To the north of the town, the Wye passes through a limestone gorge, and there are limestone cliffs at Chepstow both north and south of the town centre and on the opposite (east) side of the river. The town is overlooked by the inland cliffs at Wyndcliff near St Arvans, about 2 miles (3.2 km) north of the town, and, from parts of the town, the Severn estuary and its bridges can be seen. The historic centre of Chepstow occupies part of a bend in the River Wye, and slopes up from the river to the town centre and beyond. As well as cliffs used for rock climbing, percolation of acidic groundwater has dissolved limestone to produce caves in the area, including Otter Hole, one of the longest cave systems in Britain and noted for its mineral deposits. The climate of the town is affected by its position close to the Severn estuary.

The bedrock of Chepstow is limestone, mudstone, and sandstone, overlain in places with some gravels and the clay and silt of the river’s tidal flats, which are of marine origin and up to two million years old. Most of the rock was produced in a warm, tropical marine environment when Europe was closer to the equator. The rock of Sedbury cliffs and those under Chepstow Castle are carboniferous limestones, hundreds of metres deep in the area, made of particles and shells of sea creatures from 330-360 million years ago. Layered outcrops of darker Black Rock limestone, which makes up a broad part of Chepstow’s bedrock, are very clear in cliffs along Craig Yr Afon, part of the Wales Coast Path extending from Wyebank Road, and by the link road from Bulwark Road to the M48, where the looser reddish Mercia Mudstone (which extends under Bulwark and Sedbury and forms the cliffs at the Severn) and the lighter Hunts Bay limestone are also seen.

The River Wye at Chepstow has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world.[18] The river was established as a boundary between England and Wales by Athelstan in 928. However, after the Norman conquest, areas east of the Wye, within the former Saxon royal manor of Tidenham and including Beachley, Tutshill, Sedbury, and Tidenham Chase, were included within the lordship of Striguil or Chepstow. In 1536, the river was confirmed as the boundary between Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire. Since the early 19th century, housing development has continued on the east bank of the river opposite Chepstow, at Tutshill and Sedbury. Those areas, though located in England rather than Wales, are now effectively suburbs of the town.”

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By crossing this bridge, near the Boat Inn Restaurant in Chepstow, we left Wales and entered England.  
Here are our total expenses for the 62-nights we spent in the UK.:
Expense      US Dollar       GBP
4 Holiday Rentals    $ 8,381.40  $ 6,426.17
Southampton Hotel (2)  $    276.94  $    213.35
Car Rental + Fuel  $ 1,985.64  $  1,529.73
Dining Out  $    675.07  $     520.07
Groceries  $ 1,502.48  $  1,157.50
Pharmacy  $    478.20  $     368.40
Tours  $      42.00  $       32.36
Total  $13,341.73  $10,247.58
Avg Daily- 62 ngts  $     215.19  $     165.28

When we look back over the past two months, mostly spent in England and most recently in Wales, we can’s help but smile, grateful that we changed our usual plan of staying in one location for longer periods.


The two weeks in Falmouth overlooking the Atlantic Ocean’s Falmouth Bay, the two weeks we lived on a farm in both St. Teath, Cornwall and then three more weeks on a farm in Witheridge Tiverton Devon and then in Chepstow, Wales have all been outstanding experiences.

This breathtaking renovated room in Chepstow Castle, may have been used as a bedroom.

These shorter-term stays have definitely inspired us to continue booking short term stays as we move forward into the future. The next bookings we are yet to arrange are for India beginning in February after our upcoming train tour on the Maharajas Express, a luxury train journey from Mumbai to Delhi.


As mentioned earlier, we decided to stay in hotels during our almost two remaining months after the six-night train excursion.  Our next booked adventure is a Viking Ocean cruise from Mumbai India on April 3, 2020, ending in Greenwich, England on May 2, 2010. 

The four of us in front of the Raglan Castle.

From there, at this point, we have no plans other than the cruise on November 10, 2020, departing from Lisbon, Portugal, ending on December 2, 2020, in Cape Town, South Africa.  We’ve yet to hear back from immigration if they’ll let us return.

The two castles presented a different perspective of life in medieval times.

Once we hear from immigration, we’ll be able to book plans between May 2020 and December 2020. It makes no sense to book anything until we know if we can return to South Africa.

In the interim, right now we’re thinking in terms of the upcoming two nights in Southampton and the upcoming 15-night cruise to the US.  Tonight, while in Southampton, we are having dinner with Kim and Keith who found us and our site from reading Tom’s posts on Cruise Critic several years ago. 

Ken and Tom at Chepstow Castle.

As the time nears to our two months in the US, we get excited at the prospect of seeing family and friends in Minnesota, Nevada, and Arizona.  We’ve yet to book flights for these locations, preferring to “play it by ear” while we’re there.  It will all work out, one way or another.

In a matter of moments, we’ll be heading out the door to make the two-hour drive from Monmouthshire to Southampton and begin the next phase of our travels.

Our two castle tours were delightful, especially with friends Linda and Ken

We’re so grateful to be in a position to continue to treasure our life of world travel for however long we can and for the opportunity to share it all with our readers.


We’ll be back tomorrow from the Leonardo Royal Southampton Grand Harbour hotel, a stone’s throw from the cruise terminal, rated four stars.  It looks fabulous online at this link. Of course, we add photos in a few days.

We were very content with our Shirenewton rental, conveniently located to downtown Chepstow.

As for our above total expenses for the 62-nights we spent in the UK, we’ve yet to add fuel for the trip to Southampton and meals for two days, nor the upcoming cruise.  We’ll do a separate “total expenses” when the cruise ends.


May your day be rich in experience and love.

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Photo from one year ago today, October 22, 2018:
The next day Tom and I and Tom and Lois visited Lisa at her home in Marloth Park where, as a volunteer with Wild & Free, she rescues and releases bush babies.  Such dedication.  For more photos, please click here.

Final full day in Wales…Packed and ready for Southampton…

Out to lunch at the Cripple Creek Inn with Linda and Ken after visiting Raglan Castle.

From this siteFascinating Fact of the Day about Chepstow:
New housing development in the twentieth century took place to the north and south of the town centre, and more recently beyond the A466 road to the west of the town. The town developed rapidly after the opening of the Severn Bridge in 1966, which replaced the car ferry between Beachley and Aust and allowed easier commuting between Chepstow and larger centres including Bristol and Cardiff. Over £2 million was invested in regenerating the town centre in 2004–05. This scheme, which includes sculptures and other public art, encountered some local criticism over its high cost but gained several national awards reflecting its high design quality. The area beside the river has also been landscaped in association with a flood defense scheme.

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We’re wrapping up the 11 days we spent in Wales. Our bags are packed in a manner that will make it easy to unpack for the cruise. The final bag to close is the third supplies and toiletries bag and the backpack with our laptops.


Overnight last night I backed up my computer on our portable hard drive which surprises me it still works after purchasing it seven years ago. I’ve already backed up everything to one of two clouds and thus, regardless of digital crashes, we’re covered.


In the past 24 hours, I did a lot of consolidating removing packaging of various new unopened items to already opened items, making more space in the bag.  We do this regularly but I hadn’t done it since we arrived in the UK two months ago.
Linda and Ken each had the duck breast.
As of the end of today, we’ll have eaten most of the food we had on hand since we have no intention of taking food with us onto the cruise, especially based on the fact we’ll be flying to Minnesota (from Fort Lauderdale) in a mere 2½ weeks.  That’s hard to believe how quickly the time has passed.


After I finish today’s post and we’ve had our final late afternoon meal, I’ll begin working on the final expenses for these past two months, entering totals in tomorrow’s post and also on our spreadsheet.


A few days ago we each ordered the latest and greatest Google phones which will serve us well in years to come.  We’ll no longer have to buy SIM cards.  This phone is capable of affordable short term calling and data in 200 countries. 


Once the phones arrive we’ll sign up for Google Fi which has a pay-as-you-go plan that works for us.  They aren’t long term contracts with flat monthly fees but rather plans where we purchase calling and data as needed.  It automatically “kicks-in” when necessary.
Tom’s Italian chicken pasta lunch with garlic bread, of course.

With frequent use of our laptops using WiFi provided in holiday homes, we don’t have much need for data on phones other than for navigation while driving.  With Google Fi, we’ll only use the phone feature for short calls from wherever we may be in the world since there are fees based on the country we are in. 


We’ll continue to use Skype and Messenger for free calls.  We plan to cancel our current phone number plan with Skype which enabled us to make calls to any landlines or cell phones anywhere in the world.  But, there too there are monthly fees and costs for any calls that aren’t Skype to Skype.

The plan is such that Tom and I will need to use What’s App or Messenger to call each other. Otherwise, we’d have to each pay $.20 a minute based on our combined plan, which can add up quickly.  Texts are free so we may text one another while we’re apart anywhere in the world.
My delicious lunch with three grilled scallops and a few slices of gluten-free sausage.

With my current phone almost completely dead, I’m looking forward to being able to add apps.  My current phone even with an added data card doesn’t allow for the addition of many apps.  With the new 128 gig phone, I am looking forward to downloading every app I choose. 


We’re signing off for today to get back to packing some odds and ends and soon get to work on tomorrow’s post.  We’re leaving at 10:00 am and will upload the post before we depart.  We’ll see you tomorrow with the “numbers” and some favorite photos.


Happy Monday!

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Photo from one year ago today, October 21, 2018:
This male stole the warthog kill from the females, eventually leaving the remains for the hungry females. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…Raglan Castle…A look inside medieval times…Wonderful dinner with friends…Two days and counting…

When the four of us walked across the drawbridge over the moat at Raglan Castle it was easy to imagine the circumstances under which they needed to close off the castle.

From this site:
Fascinating Fact of the Day about Raglan, Wales:
By 1632, a Court House was established in Raglan. “The jury to meet at the Court House at Ragland the 25th March next by ten of the clock under peyn of xls. apeece* (see below) to have a view and inquire of lands in Landenny (Llandenny) and Ragland late of Philip David Morris”, (Dec. 1632). Subsequent leet courts refer to the liberty of Raglan and in 1682 the hundred of Ragland is mentioned. Court Roll excerpts reflect the issues of the day: In 1680, ‘The bridge called Pontleecke upon the highway leading from Raglan towards Chepstow to be out of repair. Moses Morgan fined for not spending 14s of the parish money towards repairing the stocks and whipping post in the parish of Raglan’. In 1695 the repair of bridges is still under discussion, ‘The bridge called Pont y bonehouse in the town of Raglan, 1695. John Curre, gent., steward’.

There is no longer a direct train service to the village, the local railway station having closed in 1955. The railway station buildings have been removed to St Fagans. The village continued to be an important thoroughfare in the 18th and 19th centuries, which explains its three substantial coaching inns the Beaufort Arms, the Ship and the Crown where the mail coaches would stop.

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*By 1632, a Court House was established in Raglan. “The jury to meet at the Court House at Ragland the 25th March next by ten of the clock under peyn of xls. apeece to have a view and inquire of lands in Landenny (Llandenny) and Ragland late of Philip David Morris”, (Dec. 1632). Subsequent leet courts refer to the liberty of Raglan and in 1682 the hundred of Ragland is mentioned. Court Roll excerpts reflect the issues of the day: In 1680, ‘The bridge called Pontleecke upon the highway leading from Raglan towards Chepstow to be out of repair. Moses Morgan fined for not spending 14s of the parish money towards repairing the stocks and whipping post in the parish of Raglan’. In 1695 the repair of bridges is still under discussion, ‘The bridge called Pont y bonehouse in the town of Raglan, 1695. John Curre, gent., steward.”
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The doorways in Raglan Castle have interesting designs.
Last night’s dinner at The Boat Inn in Chepstow (our second visit) with Liz and Dave from Bristol was sheer pleasure.  We hadn’t seen Liz for five years when we met in South Kensington, London in August 2014.  Last night we met Dave for the first time but somehow over the years of email communication, we felt as if we knew him.
Intricate patterns carved in stone remain yet today. 

I could kick myself for failing to take any photos. The conversation was so wonderfully entertaining, it totally slipped my mind.  We had another fine meal in this highly rated bistro/pub and the hours slipped by.


Finally, it was time to say goodbye.  We each had a long drive ahead of us in the dark.  It was the first time we drove from Chepstow to Shirenewton in the dark but by this time, Tom had the route figured out, and we got back to our holiday home in no time.

The lush green countryside that surrounds the castle is breathtaking, even today with the addition of farms and homes.

Once back in the house, we settled in for a quiet remainder of the night and before too long we were off to bed.  I had a fitful night, tossing and turning, sleeping only for short periods with lots of dreams.

Window panes such as these were an integral part of the original design.

With my phone not working I used Tom’s phone to play solitaire in-between the equivalent of “naps.” It’s so boring I often fall back to sleep before too long but last night was an exception.  Overall, I don’t think I slept more than four hours.

Tom seated on the king’s throne.

You know how it is…we can easily start overthinking during the night to send ourselves into a flurry of worry and doubt.  Although generally speaking, I am not a worrier (Tom handles that for me).  But last night after two glasses of white wine at dinner, my mind was racing.  


I think I should go back to red wine on the upcoming cruise which doesn’t seem to have an effect on my quality of sleep.  On cruises, I usually have a few glasses of red wine early in the evening (at happy hour) and then switch to mineral water for the remainder of the evening.  This avoids any unpleasant after-effects.

A tucked-away toilet (referred to as a “loo” in the UK).

The cardiologist in South Africa recommended drinking only red wine (in moderation, of course) which seems to have a good effect on the heart.  I didn’t drink any alcohol for over 20 years and started drinking red wine a few years ago on cruises.


While we’ve been “at home” in the UK, these past two months, we’ve had no alcohol whatsoever.  It was only this week when out to dine with Linda and Ken and then again last night, that I tried some white wine.  No more of that for me.

More intricate stone carvings remain among the ruins.

Today, we’re washing our final loads of laundry hoping everything will dry indoors on the drying rack.  Some items seem to take three days to dry so we may be pushing it when we’re leaving on Tuesday to drive to Southampton for a two-night hotel stay and again dinner with friends we made who’ve been reading our posts for years.

“A prie-dieu (French: literally, “pray [to] God”, invariable in the plural) is a type of prayer desk primarily intended for private devotional use, but may also be found in churches. It is a small, ornamental wooden desk furnished with a thin, sloping shelf for books or hands and a kneeler.”

At noon, we’re heading back to The Boat Inn for our final meal out in Chepstow.  We made a reservation for the “Sunday roast,” a popular tradition in the UK when one may choose to order beef, pork or lamb.  Tom usually chooses the beef while I go for the lamb.  We’ll take photos to share in tomorrow’s post.

Curved window panes.

Below is the last of the information we’re posting on Raglan Castle where once again, we had a memorable experience with Linda and Ken after touring two castles this past week.


From this site:

“Despite Tudor and Jacobean rebuilding the Raglan Castle we see today is largely the work of one hugely ambitious man – Sir William Herbert.


In less than 10 years this country squire turned himself into arguably the most powerful Welshman of the age. He began his dazzling career fighting in France, where he was captured and ransomed and was knighted in 1452.


Having grown rich by importing Gascony wine, Herbert was made sheriff of Glamorgan and constable of Usk Castle. He played a crucial role in a decisive defeat of Lancastrian forces during the Wars of the Roses in 1461.”

These three windows indicate three levels from which the floors eventually
 wore away.

“The grateful new king Edward IV rewarded Herbert by making him chief justice and chamberlain of South Wales – and grandly styling him Baron Herbert of Raglan. Underlining this meteoric rise young Henry Tudor, the future King Henry VII was sent to Sir William to be brought up at Raglan Castle.


Great men need great houses. So Herbert continued his father’s work at Raglan on an epic scale, creating a magnificent new gatehouse and two great courts of sumptuous apartments. Now he could dispense hospitality with the best.

Poet Dafydd Llwyd praised his incredible fortress-palace with its ‘hundred rooms filled with festive fare, its hundred chimneys for men of high degree’.”
Tom standing in the fireplace in the massive kitchen often used to prepare meals for 100’s of guests.

“Herbert’s final accolade was the most remarkable of all. In 1468 he was created Earl of Pembroke as a reward for his capture of Harlech Castle, the last Lancastrian stronghold in England and Wales. It made him the first member of the Welsh gentry to enter the ranks of the English peerage.


He didn’t enjoy this prestige for long. Herbert was defeated and captured at the battle of Edgecote in 1469 – and brutally beheaded the very next day. The reported death of 5,000 men, mostly Welshmen, in his army makes it one of Wales’s greatest losses in battle.

The body of the ambitious earl was brought back to southeast Wales and buried in the Cistercian abbey church at Tintern. It was left to the Somersets, earls of Worcester, to usher in the glories of the Tudor age at Raglan.”


Have a superb Sunday!  Go Vikings!
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Photo from one year ago today, October 20, 2018:
A group of cape buffalo may be called an “obstinacy.”  For more photos from the “Ridiculous Nine,” please click here.