Thanks everyone for the comments and good wishes.
This has been a day to remember. Simon, I thank you for last night’s party, although parts of the evening are still a bit fuzzy in my memory. Nothing like a good three hours of sleep to ward off a hangover.
The short ride to Harwich through the mist was like a journey back in time. I spent the afternoon in a cafe building blog pages. Wait ’till you see ’em!
The evening’s pub was a rough fisherman’s place (although fishing has died out here; there was only one true fisherman in the place). As always, I entered and expressed concern about security for my bicycle. “Wheel it in here!” they said.
Adrian, the apparent kingpin, said, “Whatever is In that case is doing us absolutely no good in there, Yank.”. At his signal the bar man killed the music. I didn’t know what they were expecting, but I chose The Gal I Left Behind Me. I had no idea that the piece had words at all, let alone a half-dozen verses. And so profane! Three measures into the first tune there was dancing. These are my kind of people! Soon there were more ales lined up for me than I could ever drink (Adnam’s Bitter, my new favorite) . I did my best. I played and sung myself hoarse. Paul fetched his guitar. The poker game, the dart game, the pool table, the bar, the tables, everyone clapped and hooted. They made me sing Rough and Rowdy Ways twice. In the end, Adrian and Alan, out at the curb, argued about the best way for me to get to the ferry dock, three miles off.
I made it somehow. I hit a hedge, got stuck in it. Someone helped me; I think he had a uniform on. We laughed so hard. His name was Beverly, no kidding.
Moments ago I left England. No words could have prepared me for this experience. This is the largest ferry in the world. There are 1200 cabins, room for 500 vehicles. The elevators serve eleven decks. My cabin is like a movie set. It’s on the top deck; my porthole is centered astern. It’s four feet wide.
The restaurant I am sitting in is rated among the top fifty in Europe. It’s among the finest dining I have experienced, works of art, impeccable service. Not recognizing the dessert offerings, and already amusing both waiters with my Yankee nonsense, I ordered a banana split. They didn’t miss a beat. I should have taken a picture of it. Fine art. Tasty, too.
Alright, now I’m sounding like a hick who never traveled first class before. Come to think of it, that’s exactly what I am. I should go to bed, but downstairs the bar is hopping. I think I’ll start with Sailor’s Hornpipe.