Sunday, September 10, 2017

Thank you for all your help and advice.

I love sailing – it’s just those big ships I disapprove of. When I and my friends were in Shetland for that glorious long weekend, however long ago, a Scandinavian cruise ship put into Lerwick on our last morning. The streets were full of disconsolate Norwegians walking up and down with no idea why they were there.

I booked a cruise of the outer Hebrides for next summer, remember, before my poor husband was even buried. (Nothing was left for this year, even in May.) The Majestic Line started with converted fishing trawlers, but has now had a boat of the same size built to their specifications. I think that’s the one I’ll be on. The boss said, interestingly, in the newspaper article which drew me to the idea in the first place, that when you go above 12 passengers you have to go on up to 50 before you make a profit again.

There’s a firm called Noble Caledonia which makes a point of cruising with smaller ships. There must be others. My problem, of course, is that I'm responsible for a cat. I can't just go gallivanting about.

GrannyPurple, your idea of crossing the Atlantic on the QEII and just knitting peacefully while nibbling delicious food, is a very attractive one.

Jane, in My Day (the mid 50’s) there was something called the Donaldson Line which took twelve passengers or so across the Atlantic on what was otherwise a cargo boat. I don’t think they carried a doctor – you had to be under 60 and reasonably fit. My husband came from Glasgow to??? – a Canadian port – in '57 when he was coming over to get married. My mother did the same thing the other way, the following summer, coming over to meet Rachel (who, however, beat her by a few days). Both enjoyed the experience very much.


I’ve finished Miss Rachel’s body – or, at any rate, have declared it finished for the moment – and cast on the first sleeve. Exciting.

Tomorrow I will be having supper at a well-recommended Indian restaurant nearby with Archie and a dear friend. If you don’t hear from me, that’s why. Archie has finished his summer job, and will be flying to Thessaloniki for a bit of summer on Tuesday, before the new university term starts.


  1. Anonymous9:13 PM

    Dishoom? You'll love it. Great staff as well as food, and the breakfasts are fantastic too. We went twice last time we stayed in Edinburgh for a few days. Carol G

  2. Amplifying what GrannyPurple wrote yesterday, my husband and I celebrated an anniversary by round-tripping it on the Queen Mary 2 NYC-Southampton-NYC. In addition to lots of time for personal knitting,there was an informal needleworking meet-up hosted by a member of ship staff. It was at this group that I met several people who use the QM2 for transportation rather than "cruising." In particular, there was a married couple of academics from the Midwest US who headed out each year for a summer of deep digs in the archives of London and Paris. They could lug all their research materials, electronics and musical instruments with them and have a nice week to relax after the school year and before they got to work. Sounded like a great idea to me!

  3. I suspect the Cansdian port would have been Halifax, Nova Scotia. That is where my father arrived and departed from Canada when he ws a WWII plane fettler. He may have come home in 1943 on the Queen Elizabeth but his outward journey in 1941 was more rugged - in the hold of a ship that was a refrigerated meat carrier - specifically New Zealand lamb. They did keep the chillers off!

    1. Yes, almost certainly our Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia and the principal immigration port in the days when immigrants arrived by boat. When I lived in London in the 70s, Canadians sometimes travelled on the good old Stefan Batory, - definitely not a luxury voyage.

  4. Anonymous11:04 AM

    I hate crowded anything but circumstances led me to a short cruise on a Holland-American ship where the average age was about sixty, a nightly string quartet was one of the entertainments, there was a beautiful library and you could actually walk one of the many corridors and decks at certain times without seeing a single soul. At the same time a fun-loving couple dressed to the nines (she in high heels, black and pink satin and a blondish-white beehive, he in snappy tuxedo) happily announced to me that they were in their 90s' as they bustled off excitedly to the dance floor. Nothing felt forced, no crowding ever, and I loved it. If I lived in Edinburgh I would be happy to take care of Perdita for whatever trip makes you happy, Jean.

  5. Anonymous11:06 AM

    Whoops, forgot my name. Chloe

  6. If I got a chance to travel again I would try for a cargo/passenger combination. I think there were around 30 cabins. I wonder if there are any ships like that any more...