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17th September, 2015

A French Interlude

We departed from Southampton for a three day cruise to Guernsey, Le Havre and Cherbourg, a little taster for new folk and time enough for me to get my feet back under the table after taking leave and before we head off west to Canada on the 21st.

With an anchor port the day after departure it was pretty busy operationally and perhaps a touch interesting for the ‘new bees’, but all went well, the weather Gods were kind to us and getting folk ashore and back was not a problem. While they explored I seemed to dig down even deeper into the paperwork mountain and that cavernous hole of information that my office computer had stored during my absence.

I did, however, manage to get ashore with Mrs R the next day in Le Havre. We took the trip to Honfleur, a delightful medieval town on the opposite side of the river where most of the buildings looked as though they had come out of a film set for ‘The Musketeers’. Needless to say it was somewhat commercialised, but the local officials over the years have ensured that the feel and appearance of this once important port has changed little. The old harbour, now full with modern yachts, was surrounded on three sides by cafes and bijou restaurants, well populated with diners sitting outside in the early autumn sun. Cobbled streets led to half-timbered buildings converted into small tourist shops, private residences and the occasional ancient church. We came across a couple of weddings, and as we crept in the back of one we witnessed the reverend on his pulpit in full song, more contemporary swing in tone than religious I would have suggested, but quite delightful.

It was a pleasant Saturday afternoon interlude and we didn’t sail until 11pm, by which time our guests had either gone to bed or were enjoying the last of the evening’s entertainment. Cherbourg came and went, a beautiful day with light winds and warm sunshine, and all those not on organised excursion were apparently quite happy mooching about in town for a few hours before returning to sit in the sun.

A dull and wet morning in Southampton brought us all back to reality. However, over fifty of the passengers are to remain on board for our next adventure, joining well over five hundred embarking guests for a crossing of the ‘pond’, and to an area of the world few have visited before.

Captain Philip Rentell

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