Tuesday, September 10, 2002


GloucesterI return to Gloucester, packed and prepared for Judith's move. 

Final Packing

hallSitting roomThe last couple of rooms, the cellar and Judith's bed are emptied.

Packing is completed by midday.
Sitting room empty apart from Cheese plantThe last items to be packed are the houseplants.
Pickford's VanBrent being an apeThe Pickford's van leaves the cathedral close for the ferry port at Swansea.

The Journey Begins

The cats are dosed with Valium, prescribed by the vet. They seem quite lively on it. Judith is also using 'Happy Spray' - a cat pheromone aerosol which has a calming effect, apparently.

The cats have brand new and very large carriers. Maud is driven with Judith, Sebastian with Nick.

We leave in good time to get the overnight ferry from Swansea to Cork. This alternative is shorter by road, and we feel is kinder for the cats. The boat departs from Swansea at 21.00 and arrives in Ringaskiddy, Cork tomorrow morning at 07.00.

We enjoy sunshine - a lot better than yesterday's rain. We drive through the Forest of Dean and on to Wales via the M4. 

Sebastian's meowing doesn't annoy me - I can't hear him over the "music" some rancid teenager left in my CD player. The meowing cats have a stop at the first motorway services we come to.

We're at Swansea docks by 15:30, good and early. A "revitalised" area of urban decay.


Room for one van and one car?We watch the dock ramp being set to match tide as the ferry docks. "It's like a millpond." comments the ramp operative.

The Superferry, registered in Kingston, Jamaica, is operated by Greeks. This must be miserable for them, plying between Wales and Ireland. The Mediterranean is so much nicer!

Ferry docksSeveral years ago our friends Nick (BS) and Emma had an unpleasant time on this boat. The food was not good.

They recommended: "Bring your own! - It's not like those nice Norwegian ferries!"

I would concur.

Cheap and adequate food is offered on the help yourself middle deck restaurant. We couldn't face the pretentious Acropolis bar. It's less of a disappointment when you can see the food your obliged to eat before you've paid for it.

We order peas, fish and chips; sit down, and consume our reheated frozen food. The boat silently moves out, ten minutes early at 20:50.

Paddy's bar on the boat is a comfortable place for a pint. The barman has an irritating habit of arbitrarily ringing a large brass bell.

Cabin GPS

Our cabin, number 309, has 2 bunk beds but no water for washing.
I whinge to a member of staff hiding in a kiosk full of keys.

"You must be from 309. Hasn't the plumber fixed it yet?" the key master asked me.

"Apparently not." I reply.

We are allocated the neighbouring cabin 311. This is bigger, four berth room, with fully working disabled access toilet. The steward helps us move our bags. He stops. He's seen my Global Positioning System receiver.
"Would that work in Poland?"
"Yes. The G in GPS really does mean global."
I give him a demonstration - well it passes the time. 10 minutes later he is relieved to be allowed to go.

That'll learn him.

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