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Yesterday was the first formal night and the Captain’s Reception. This latter event was held (for us) in the Atrium at 8:15. In the event it was nearer 8:30 before the Captain arrived – I suspect he was busy at one of the other Receptions. I recall that eighteen months ago we attended one in the Tamarind Club, and also that the Captain arrived very promptly, said very little, and then rushed off! – probably to another instance of the “the Captain’s Reception”.  Last night I think we were present at that other instance. It’s also the case that on our previous Ventura cruise we were assigned to the Bay Tree restaurant, whereas on this cruise we’re in Saffron. I wouldn’t be surprised if the receptions are arranged by dinner location. (What Freedom diners do, I don’t know.)

The reception finished at about 8:45 and we moved on the restaurant. This was a formal night so we were all dressed up, me in my dinner jacket and Val in one of her smart dresses. Dinner was good – we both had a lamb main course – and we drank the first bottle from our New World wine package. This was a red wine, a Tempranilo/Malbec blend from Argentina, and very nice too. It went well with the lamb and I saved the last half-glass to go with cheese and biscuits. I’ll post again later with some details of the rest of the wines in the this package. Back to the formal dinner, and I’ll cover a topic that I know is dear to the hearts of many P&O fans: dress code observance. From what I saw, a very large majority of the men were wearing dinner jackets, and those who weren’t were wearing business suits. The ladies’ dresses were of course all beautiful, and all in all it was a very good dinner. We were a full table last night, as we have been joined by a couple who were stranded on their own on a large table. They were chatty and interesting so the conversation went well.

Now for the Ouch! part. Unfortunately (and also depressingly and annoyingly), my tendonitis has flared up again, which means that walking is both difficult and painful. I’ve posted about this before, here. I have recently been doing physiotherapy for the problem so it’s especially upsetting to have another flareup so soon. This is the third flareup in about two months, after two and a half years without any, so something funny must be happening. But not being able to walk easily brings it home to you just how big Ventura is; that walk along the corridor to the lift, which we normally do so so casually, is currently quite a challenge.

The weather deteriorated during the latter part of yesterday, and by bedtime we’d had rain and high winds. The seas were quite markedly higher – I’d say that the swells were two to three metres – and for the first time Ventura was moving about a bit. But we slept well (the wine probably helped).

Today we’ve been in a grey, cloudy, cool and ultimately wet Lisbon. It’s been so bad that – horror of horrors – the cruise director has cancelled the ‘Sailaway Singalong’. I’m bereft; I don’t know how I shall cope. Add to that the fact that I am having a sober day (this is to reduce the chance of a flare up of my gout, another ailment I’m prone to; don’t ask…) and I’m thrown back completely on my own resources. To cap it all, my wife left me! – only for about an hour. She went for a walk along the river while I sat in the atrium resting my foot after a possibly-unwise trip into Lisbon this morning. (I didn’t leave him – he threw me out – Val.)

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