Life

When the nursing home beckons, you could do worse than go on a cruise

Sources close to my heart say that you'd never know you were on the ocean on a cruise; there is always a wealth of exciting things to do – eat, drink, drink, eat...

There’s a doctor on board and, if the worst comes to the worst, what could be handier than a sea burial?

MY SISTER and I are discussing what we might do with a windfall. No, no, not of the autumn apples variety. I have had my fill of apple picking now – wasn't that a Robert Frost poem – English O-level, 1977?

Funny how I can't remember my cash card number but whole spiels of poetry and catechism spill out of me at the drop of a cardinal's biretta.

Who made me? God made me.

Why did he make me? To know, love and serve him on Earth so that I can be happy with him forever in heaven.

“My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree...”

Back to the windfall. I have given up on baking tarts... they are never quite the same as his mother's.

“I shall go on a cruise,” I tell my sister. This is a bit rare for me, as I hate boats. Even watching Titanic had me clutching my stomach and reaching for the sick bag. But that might have been an overdose of Celine Dion warbling My Heart Will Go On.

And this summer in Italy, Capri was a boat too far. I liked the idea of it... but preferred to just leave it out there, floating on a distant horizon.

However, sources close to my heart say that you'd never know you were on the ocean on a cruise; there is always a wealth of exciting things to do – eat, drink, drink, eat... the food is so mighty that you waddle back like Billy Bunter.

Apparently, when the nursing home beckons, you could do worse than get on an ocean liner and sail into the distant blue – there's a doctor on board and, if the worst comes to the worst, what could be handier than a sea burial? Phoot, straight out the back of the boat and let's go sleep with da fishies.

My other half is a bit “glass half empty” on the cruise idea.

“Legionnaire's disease,” he mutters, shaking his head. “Norovirus. Think of all those stories about cruise ships that are locked off in quarantine with horrible vomiting and diarrhoea bugs.”

Tis being so cheerful as keeps us going.

“I fancy a cruise,” I tell my sister, “But only on a big big big boat as I don't like the ocean.”

She laughs and says a work colleague recently took his first cruise to somewhere Nordic. Never again, he swore. It was a bit of a silver surfer adventure.

“When he opened his cabin door to get to breakfast in the morning, the traffic jam of blue rinses in electric three-wheeler buggies was a sight to behold. It took him all day to clamber through and get to the fry up,” she said.

Apparently the only joy was the stopover at an Italian port where he and his companion bought up as much cheap wine as they could carry, then retired to their little cabin to get very very elephant's trunk.

Mmm. The wine sounds like a right little adventure.

Meanwhile, the summer holidays are drawing to a close and those of us venturing back to the chalk face are observing a suitable period of mourning.

Italy is a distant dream.

It is also a time for household repairs and updates.

Thus, there was the day of the family dental appointment – see column on root canal. There was also the day of the car service – thank you, my wonderful mechanic, you know who you are; now get out and start practising for that Tour de France cycle up the Alps.

And then there was the boiler MoT. We also have a marvellous boiler man – so good that I don't like to share his phone number because he's impossible to track down. I managed to snare him in town: “I'm talking to you from Argos,” he said.

He came to service ye ancient boiler when I was at work. It should be a wonder of the world. But he keeps it going.

“He's lying on the ground with both legs stretched out under the boiler shed and there's oil dripping all over his trousers,” says my other half who's ringing from the phone at the safe distance of the living room window.

The news is not good. Apparently a second little mouse has crept into the boiler hut and met his fate inside the engine which, says our boiler man, to the uninitiated little rodent, could appear like a giant hamster wheel. The first mouse was flattened.

It was a sorry story for the second too.

“You need to stop the mice getting in,” advises the boiler man.

That's the man of the house's job.

“Put up a big notice: ‘Warning: Danger: mice keep out,' “I advise him.

Or what about a sign: “I hate meeces to pieces,” says my other half.

Anyway, the ancient heating system is strictly his area of expertise. Let the battle with the meeces begin.

“Winter is coming, Jon Snow,” I tell him. “Come on baby, light my fire.”

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