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Yesterday and today are both sea days as we sail from Southampton to Valencia – a total distance of around 1700 miles, I think. Yesterday’s weather started fine, with clear skies and a slightly moderated wind, but later in the morning there were showers – some quite sharp – so it was another indoors day. We just ambled around the ship, interspersed with spells of quite quick progress when we walked round the promenade deck – four laps at a time seems to be our ration. By yesterday afternoon the bow section had been opened up so we could at last make a complete circuit.

Yesterday we also went to the after-dinner show in the Arena. This was a comedian/musician, and he was pretty good. Certainly the packed house seemed to enjoy him. Last night the clocks went forward so we lost an hour of sleep, but thanks to the calming seas we slept better last night than before. (Talking of clocks, we’ve noticed that the deck clocks all seem to be different and often completely wrong. We saw one this morning that said the time was 4:40 – at around 11 o’clock.)

Today the weather has continued to improve. We’re now in the Mediterranean – we passed through the straits of Gibraltar just after 10 o’clock- it’s sunny, the sea is calm, and the wind has slackened. I think a lot of people feel that their holiday has begun. Certainly the open decks are full – hardly a spare lounger to be seen.

It’s hard to say what it is we do on these mornings at sea, but let’s have a try. Today for example we were in bed until just after eight – just after seven, really, with the clock change – and we went up to breakfast just after nine. Then what with eating breakfast; a post-breakfast cup of tea out by the Terrace pool; four laps round the Promenade; a post-walk glass of orange juice by the Beachcomber Pool; and an exploration of the ship’s open decks, from bow to stern and from Lido to Ocean, including a lament for the loss of the deck space caused by the creation of the Retreat – it was well after eleven before we got back to the cabin. What I do know is that it is extremely relaxing.

Later today we may have lunch in the Glasshouse – we didn’t go there at all yesterday. Then tonight is the second formal night. Tomorrow we should arrive in Valencia mid-morning, and we have a walking tour booked at 11:30. It’s a hard life.

Update: a late, and lengthy, lunch was indeed taken in the Glasshouse. I had a burger followed by a Bakewell tart with clotted cream ice cream; Val had lamb and rosemary sausage with mashed potato, followed by three mini-brownies. Both meals were very tasty. More important, though, was the wine. Val had a glass of Petit Verdot (Ruca Malen estate) from Mendoza in Argentina, and I had a glass of Languedoc Rousillon, labelled ‘Les Hauts d’Agly’ and bottled by Jean-Marc Lafage; both of these were from the full-bodied wines. Val said afterwards that while the Petit Verdot was excellent while she was eating, it was a bit too full-bodied on its own (she had a bit left over). So for a second glass we switched to wines from the medium-bodied selection. Val had the Corbieres that we had on Saturday, and I had a Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile (labelled ‘Perez Cruz’). Then we had filter coffee with hot milk on the side to finish off. And that’s how you spend two hours over lunch on a sea day.

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