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Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Pointy Toilet Paper

During our recent cruise, Edward our stateroom steward used to service our room in the morning and do a turn-down service at night, complete with chocolates on our pillows. As part of his visit to our room he’d make the tissues and the toilet paper pointy. Every time we went into the bathroom, he’d folded the toilet paper to a point.

When we arrived home, I complained to my husband that I wanted to be on holiday again and boo-hoo – my toilet paper wasn’t pointy. I wanted pointy toilet paper!!

I know most hotels and motels make their toilet paper pointy, and I wondered why. It came up in conversation when my brother-in-law and his wife came for dinner a few nights ago. My sister-in-law used to work as a Meticulous Maid and she said they made the toilet paper pointy so they knew they’d cleaned the toilet.

Yesterday I went to the restroom and low and behold, my toilet paper was pointy. I looked around for Edward, who I seriously loved and wanted to bring home with me, but alas the paper folder was my hubby. He knew how much I wanted pointy toilet paper and had crept in and done it for me. He’s such a sweetie, and he definitely made me laugh.

What is your theory on pointy toilet paper? Why do you think the hotel room attendants fold the toilet paper to a point?

A Shipboard Tour

During our cruise, we did a ship tour. We had to pay for the tour, but it lasted for four hours and we received several gifts from the departments we visited, drinks and canapés and a photo with the captain so we were well pleased.

Behind the scenes on a ship is absolutely fascinating. We started in the Princess Theatre and learned about the lights, the dancers and singers and the costumes. During the course of the cruise, we saw four cabaret-type shows. The sheer number of costume changes amazed me, and when I saw how small the changing rooms were I was even more impressed. Many of the costumes were very heavy as well.

We visited the laundry, which is below the water line and is a very busy and steamy-hot place. The laundry is in action twenty-four hours a day to keep up with all the onboard washing and ironing.

The anchor is immense and has several backups so it doesn’t become loose at the wrong time. The printing shop where they print everything from menus to daily newspapers and the ship newspaper (The Princess Patter) to TV guides is also small and staffed by two people.

During the course of a cruise, a team of photographers and videographers constantly photograph the passengers. The place where they print the thousands of photographs is also small, and it’s amazing that they manage to get the prints done. All repairs to the photography machines are done onboard, so the head of department needs to be a jack-of-all-trades.

Next was the galley, which is spotlessly clean and incredibly busy during service times. It’s a very delicate balance trying to work out how much food it will take to last the length of each cruise. On the cruise we were doing food and supplies were taken aboard in Sydney and Honolulu. There was a fair amount of consternation amongst passengers when the ship ran out of bananas. Most of the passengers came from Australia and it seems Australians love their bananas! The store rooms and chillers were crammed with meat, fruit, vegetables plus raw and canned goods. The workers are rotated to avoid boredom.

We visited the engineering department, where they generate electricity for the ship, before heading to the bridge to meet with the captain and his officers. We finished with drinks and canapés.

During our visit to the galley, we received a chef’s jacket each. I put mine on today while I was cooking vegetarian chili for dinner. It made me feel very “chef-like”. I even managed to get it dirty when I opened a can of kidney beans. The juice shot over my chef’s jacket, my face and glasses, so it’s now officially christened!!

Here’s a photo of me in my chef’s jacket.


Back From Holiday

I’m back! The Pacific cruise was wonderful–relaxing, full of new experiences and fun times. Quite frankly, I don’t think I’m ready to face the real world again. In the real world I have to cook, do dishes and make my own bed. Hubby had to drag me onto the plane to fly home from Sydney. Once we emptied the suitcases, the pile of laundry was downright scary, but thankfully that’s almost under control now.

Here’s a sample of what we saw on our holiday. This is the island of Moorea in Tahiti. The photo was taken from the ship. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Moorea sunrise, Tahiti

Snapshots of Auckland

Shelley is busy with edits, so here are some photos of places she’s visited during the last two weekends.

Sky Tower

This is the Sky Tower, taken from the Auckland Domain.

Auckland War Memorial Museum

This is the Auckland War Memorial Museum. I came across some people practicing playing their bag pipes. This shot is also taken from the Auckland Domain.

Marina and Paratai Drive

My brother-in-law has purchased a new boat, and we went to check it out. This is the view of the marina from his boat. The houses at the top of the hill are on Paratai Drive. This is the most expensive and exclusive real estate in Auckland with views over the harbor and Rangitoto Island.

Don’t forget – The Scarlet Woman tour continues at Amberkatze’s Book Blog. I’m talking about both Scarlet Woman and leopards and giving away a download from the Middlemarch Mates series.

Time for a Drink

Camera Critters

We came across these mountain goats on the side of the road near Mt. Rushmore. Hubby and I were more excited about seeing them than the president’s faces. The animals ignored us as they took a drink from the water that trickled down a rock face.


To see more photographs of animals visit Camera Critters.

Don’t Go Wine Tasting On An Empty Stomach

After our memorable Cook Strait crossing, we didn’t have much time to have lunch. We grabbed a Subway sandwich each and ate them on the way to our first stop on the wine tour.

There were thirteen of us, and we managed to cover a lot of the world with passengers from New Zealand, Australia, England, Norway and the USA. On the South Island side of the strait it was fine and sunny, so my brother-in-law got the weather right. The Marlborough region sees a lot of sunshine—usually grabbing the highest amount each year—so it’s excellent for growing grapes.

Our first stop was at Drylands, one of the larger vineyards with ties to Australia and the USA. We started with a welcome glass of sparkling wine and gradually worked our way through the list. I like wine, so I sampled most of them—both red and white. Most enjoyable.

The second stop was at Framingham. After another eight or so samples here, and I started to feel the wine. This tour was unlike the samplings I’d done before. Obviously it pays to go on a tour rather than turn up with just hubby. The people behind the counter were most generous with their samples, and we purchased a bottle of Framingham Marlborough Classic Riesling here. For those of you who enjoy wine this is a classic New Zealand, off-dry style wine with rich fruit and a juicy acidity. It has complex varietal characters of lemon citrus, mandarin and stone fruit with a long mineral finish. It’s best served with Asian style cuisine and seafood. Sounds good, right? I intend to have some tonight with my dinner.


Our next stop was Nautilus Estate where Mr. Munro and I purchased a carton of wine. Nautilus is shipping it home for us. Our quiet bus was growing progressively noisier, and there was much more chatter and laughter by this stage. I was pacing myself, skipping the odd tasting, and I made inroads on their oil/bread samples.

Our final stop was Hunter’s. Hunters is an older vineyard and one of the first in New Zealand to take their wines overseas and scoop gold medals at the wine shows. Mr. Hunter died tragically early in a car accident (age 38) and his wife took over the running of the vineyard. Her name is Jane Hunter and she has received many wine awards, including the inaugural award for women winemakers, world wide. She also has an OBE.

I loved the Hunter wines. In fact there was only one I disliked. Yep, I admit it—I was decidedly tiddly when I left, but I wasn’t alone. We drove to our last stop, the Makana Chocolate Boutique, with the music blaring really loud Beetles and Queen classic hits.


So, I leave you with a tip—if you intend to hit a wine trail, it’s a good idea to have a hearty meal first. Your head will thank you for it!

Have you been wine tasting before? Do you like wine, and if so, which one is your favorite?

Hello Deer

Camera Critters

This photo was taken at the Rocky Mountain National Park. As you can see, the elk is wearing a tracking device. We saw quite a few elk during our travels.


To see more photographs of animals visit Camera Critters.

Rock ‘n Roll, Baby!

During our recent trip to Wellington, we decided we’d like to catch the Interislander ferry across the Cook Strait to Picton. We wanted to see a few of the sights instead of hanging around the city for the entire weekend. The weather wasn’t too good with lots of wind and rain, but after considering the weather forecast, and ringing my brother-in-law who is a weather guru, we decided to risk it and book the ferry plus a Marlborough wine tour.

The cancellation of the first ferry and the subsequent delay while they loaded extra cars and passengers on our ferry should have been a warning. But no. Mr. Munro and I happily boarded, found a good seat and settled in with a latte each. We were delayed about an hour before the ferry set off. The first part of the journey as we left the harbour was okay, but the moment we entered the open sea, it was all on.


Rock ‘n roll, baby.


The ferry went up, slammed down, tossed a little from side to side. The ferry was a big one, but the waves were crashing over the bow. And to think I’d wondered about all the white paper bags on each table in the cafe. Within minutes, passengers were grabbing bags and throwing up. I have to admit the crew were really good, whisking bags around, going around and offering aid and small chips of ice to passengers. At no time did the ferry smell like vomit, which was pretty amazing. Luckily, both Mr. Munro and I are good sailors with cast iron stomachs. We watched everyone else, and when the bars reopened when we re-entered calmer waters, we had another coffee and enjoyed the passing scenery as we entered the Marlborough Sounds.

Cook Strait separates the North and South Islands. It is about 22km wide and is known for its wild waters.

Are you a good traveller? Do you get seasick? Airsick? Other forms of motion sickness?

Gone Fishing

Camera Critters

The Columbia River is a huge river and we spent some time driving beside it, driving over it on the Astoria Bridge (longest bridge in the USA) and looking down on it. No doubt about it, the river is impressive. So is the wildlife. This is a heron fishing in the Columbia River.


To see more photographs of animals visit Camera Critters.

Coolin’ Off

Camera Critters

One of the animals Mr. Munro most wanted to see during our last trip to the US was a bull moose. We came across this one while driving in the Grand Teton area. It was a hot day and he was ambling down the small waterway, ignoring all the tourists taking photos of him.


To see more animal photographs visit Camera Critters.