Friday, 15 June 2018

Hull - Zeebrugge on P&O Ferries, 62 times!

I am a big fan of the P & O Ferries service between Hull, East Yorkshire and Zeebrugge in Belgium. I think I have done this trip 62 times but, to be honest, I lost count a while ago.
Daily, a ferry leaves Hull at 6:30 in the evening and transiting the North Sea overnight arrives at Zeebrugge the biggest port in Flanders around breakfast time the next morning. Supper on board is always followed by some entertainment usually in the shape of a duo, one a singer the other a guitarist or keyboards player. My trip last week was very different.
Within seconds you could tell that this thirty something vocalist was more than a few cuts above average. She performed alone apart from the computerised backing track. This girl was amazing. We tried to guess her accent and thus her background to no avail and during the interval we struck up a conversation with her. She was easy to talk to and very laid back.
'I don't think you're British' was the only comment or guess I could make.
'You're right, I'm Australian! Born and raised in Brisbane.'
This was the first time in fifteen years and over sixty trips that we had ever had an entertainer from overseas. The lady is an absolute diamond and is an Elizabeth Debicki ('Jed' in the Night Manager) double. I kid you not. Her name is Karenina Angelique. Google Karenina for yourself and you'll see what I mean. Karenina will be singing on the mv Pride of Bruges until the end of July. I can sense another trip coming up before then. Well I need an excuse to give her a signed copy of Sunburnt Poms Tales of Oz don't I? 

Until next time....

15th June 2018

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Connections are everywhere

A while since my last blog and a fair bit's happened, got a call from Keri Jones who produces the Great Destinations Radio Show. Keri skype interviewed me about my book 'Sunburnt Pom's Tales of Oz' which he had chosen to promote on his show. The ten minute clip went out over 86 radio stations, mostly in the UK but also on UKWA 88FM in Perth, Western Australia. I was chuffed I can tell you!
Depending on which figures you read then 40% of Brits have relatives Down Under. That seems high but this was brought home to me recently in two entirely separate circumstances.
I was on a coach recently between Bristol and Taunton (yes you've guessed it there were engineering works on the train line). Striking up a conversation with the lady sat next to me she was about to return to Melbourne to finish off a forestry study as part of her degree course. Unbeknown to us two students in front of us were earwigging and turned round to say that they were both visiting Australia within the next few months. A gentleman on the other side of the aisle chirped up that he had a son in Perth. That's four people all within six feet of me with Australian connections. 
A fortnight later I was visiting a sick cousin, Peter, in York District Hospital. When Peter chirped up 'I'm half-way through your Australian book' the Staff Nurse who was pushing a medicines trolley announced 'what book is that? I've got a brother in Perth, he's an anaesthetist! A lady visiting her husband in the bed opposite exclaimed that they had two daughters and three grandchildren, also in Perth. When the third bloke in the ward told us he had two sons in Fremantle we all just looked at each other!
Suddenly that figure of 40% started to feel like an underestimate.

Until next time....

Mark AKA The Sunburnt Pom

11th June 2018