Fading Memories

Legends from our own lunchtimes

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sharing “our” town.
Saturday 17th August - Bruges

There’s been a bit of press lately about over-tourism in the world’s hot spots, and Bruges is not exempt from this influx.  

There’s not a lot of point in popping downtown for a quiet coffee on a warm day in the middle of the summer holidays, when a cruise ship and eleventy-thirteen tour buses have disgorged their passengers, but one lives in hope.

While it was good to be out and about for a bit and to whizz past all those little nooks and crannies we love about the town, it was even better to reassure the other of us that she wasn’t missing aa great deal at the moment, and that next week after the holidays will be a far better time to venture out.


Hit the road Jack
Friday 16th August - Gent to Bruges

We figured there’s no sense hanging around in Gent all alone when we can hang around in Bruges with our mates, so no doubt inspired by last year’s voyage on the Queen Mary,  while the Skipper, Steward and Deckhand readied the ship for departure, the other aboard remained in repose.

The fact that she could do that while lying so close to Mr Perkins’ rumbling is a fair indication of just how unwell her body was, despite protestation from her head that she’s possibly feeling a little better.   

The few hours resting “at sea” didn’t appear to do her any additional harm, and we were welcomed in the already crowded little port to the news that Dave and Ria had preceded us, and that snuggled up beside the “Max” would be a perfect place from which to witness the weekend’s festivities in the park opposite.

Out for a bit of blurry colour
Thursday 15th August - Gent

Without spectacles people of a certain age have to resort to reading only the headlines, or in the case of the Kindle, we can enlarge the lettering to school level “year one”, and by tracing each word with an index finger eventually get the gist of what’s going on.  Being able to read only the headlines doesn’t necessarily work with signs proclaiming “DANGER” or “ATTENTION” though, as the actual cause of the danger or reason for paying attention is lost in a sea of colourful blur.

For this reason, we thought it prudent that the missing spectacles should be replaced as expeditiously as possible with a pair of those cheap magnifying types that can be found just about anywhere when one has no need for them, but which dissolve into thin air when does,

Having a need for them on the Assumption Day holiday in Belgium turned out to be a bit of mistake as it is one of those serious sorts of holidays when everyone takes the day off, sleeps quite late and goes into town, except for the shopkeepers who apparently simply take the day off.   

Wednesday 14th August - Gent

After not giving him a pass mark at shopping earlier in the week, the one who should know better, and feeling a teensy bit better “in herself” as they once used to say, decided to send him to Ikea, where with the aid of digital video conferencing, he might pick up some things for the boat.  

Once again alone in the big outside world, he did manage to find the big blue shop at the end of the tramline easily, but it was then that the troubles began.   Who would have thought that doona covers and pillow slips, sold through a giant international chain would vary in size between countries?  Therefore, after agreeing via satellite link, on colour, texture and myriad other fine points, it was a little disappointing to discover that if there is any Union in Europe it doesn’t extend to size of pillows and bed covers, which varied considerably from the French-bought ones we have on board.  Similarly the hanging shelves in our cupboards are exactly different to the ones currently on sale, so replacements for them were quickly crossed from the list.

The new frypans and plastic squeegee, were some consolation and this remote shopping lark seemed to increase the level of cheer aboard immensely, lessened just a bit when he discovered his spectacles were no doubt still enjoying their journey on the number one tram. 

The World Rushing Past
Tuesday 13th August - Gent

We had planned to see quite a lot of Gent this year, but we’ve had enough practice doing naught to slip back into that mode with barely a whimper. Well fair enough, there was the odd whimper from the aft cabin, but it had nothing to do with wanting to get out and about.

The quiet aboard is punctuated only by that alarm five times a day.  Conversation is mostly limited to things involving medication and food, and there’s a distinct aura of stoicism emanating from back there as another day fades quietly by.  

Meanwhile, outside the world keeps rushing by and having a good time apparently oblivious to our non-comings and goings.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

At least it’s not the plague.
Monday 12th August - Gent

It’s not exactly like a hospital, but it’s so quiet that there’s no need at all for one of us to don his hearing aids.  We are both a little spooked by the book we’ve recently read about the spread of the bubonic plague in the middle ages, and take heart from time to time that thus far there is no bleeding from the eyes or nose, so it probably isn’t that.

No-one’s going anywhere any time soon although in between long bouts of sleep, and the odd paracetamol sandwich, one of us quite bizarrely decided she can’t lie around all day and sent the other off with a list of meats and vegetables which she intended to turn into dinner.  The other perhaps sensing an opportunity, or perhaps just a little overwhelmed at being allowed to go into a supermarket unsupervised may well have forgotten that list or at least forgotten to read it.  

“I’m not in the mood for zucchini or cauliflower”, he thought, and she didn’t specify which kind of onion, which made it all a bit hard really, and besides the only carrots on display had green stuff sprouting from the top of them.   The three flavours of grated cheese on the other hand, and the pack of Rochefort, and the cherry tomatoes would go well with those lardons and we already have macaroni on board……

Baby’s got the Blues
Sunday 11th August - Kortrijk to Gent

Well there’s no crying over spilt milk, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t berate ourselves for our stupidity, which one of us did pretty much all day as he took the boat to Gent while the other slept somewhat less than blissfully on as the virus began to let itself be known in a more well...virulent way.   

We were only too aware of the availability of a vaccine for shingles and had fully intended to do something about it before we left, but in the usual running around it got pushed out of mind, thinking that we’d have plenty of time to take care of it on our return.  We were aware of the risks of contracting it too, and while the probability is quite high for anyone over a certain age, perhaps we thought that the probability in our carefree, laid back world it would be somewhat reduced, and perhaps that’s what the anti-vax mob thinks too and like us, they are wrong.

Of course we have become well informed about the herpes zoster virus in the past few days, and now wait with some trepidation as it runs its course. For now, each time our alarm rings as a reminder to take the required medication, and that’s six times each day, we are reminded that all of this could have been avoided quite simply had we not chosen to be “too busy” to arrange for inoculation.
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