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Home again

Rain and grey clouds were not quite the welcome home I was hoping for yesterday. After three weeks of blue sky and warmth, it was a shock to the system to arrive in Southampton in drizzle and winds. Tomorrow will be an even greater shock though when I have to go back to work. Goodbye lazy breakfasts and even lazier days reading in the sunshine; hello household chores, emails and teleconferences.

helicopterStill, we have some wonderful memories of our week in Zambia, walking through the falls, seeing the sun set over the Zambezi river and taking an old steam train across to Zimbabwe. Pride of place however goes to an exhilarating helicopter ride right over Victoria Falls and then swooping over the rim and down into a gorge to follow the twists of the river. Since I was the smallest passenger I got the premium seat right up front next to the pilot. Simply breathtaking!

Library on Queen Mary 2
The library on Queen Mary 2 – more than 9,000 titles available

After that excitement we got a chance to catch our breath with the two weeks it took us to cruise up the coast of Africa back to the UK. We’d never been on a cruise before but everyone told us the Queen Mary 2 is one of the best afloat. I loved the art deco theme throughout all the public rooms and the formal nights where tuxedos and cocktail gowns were required.


View from library of Queen Mary 2
View from the library of Queen Mary 2

In between listening to classic recitals and lectures I found plenty of time to just laze on the deck, watch the ocean go by and catch up on some reading. I tried to synchronise the books with some of the countries we visited or sailed past:

  • Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (South Africa)
  • We Need New Names by No Violet Bulawayo (Zimbabwe)
  • Fiela’s Child by Dalene Matthee (South Africa)
  • The President’s Hat by Antoine Laurain (France)
  • The Fortune of the Rougons by Emile Zola (France)
  • Read all About It by Paul Cudahy (England)
  • The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer (England)

I also finished Life of Pi by Yan Martel that I was half way through when we left for our trip and am part way through Mansfield Park (not one of my favourite Austens but I decided to give it another go).

Pretty impressive eh?

The cost of internet access meant I couldn’t post very often – I did manage to do a review of The Old Curiousity Shop and posted a few general pieces:


Kafka’s views on reading

Oliver Goldsmith’s Vicar of Wakefield

Choosing an author to represent England

Books from Indonesia

I’ll get around to posting my reviews eventually and will also do my best to catch up on all the blog sites I follow.



What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

20 thoughts on “Home again

  • Wow, what a fabulous vacation! I can see why you wouldn’t want to come back.

  • It sounds like a wonderful trip and that you got plenty of books read! It is awful when the holiday is over and real life beckons though.

    • I keep telling myself that if I want to keep having wonderful holidays, the money needs to come from somewhere

  • Wow! This sounds like the perfect holiday. That helicopter ride must have been the most awesome experience, I am sure. And that library on the ship? Drool!

    • it was my first experience in a helicopter Nish. Since I suffer from vertigo I had no idea if I’d be able to go through with it but the odd thing was I had no problems

  • I am pleased to hear you had a lovely holiday, and got so much reading done 🙂

    • I did far more reading than I expected Jessica and that was without really trying

  • I have a whole new respect for the QueenMary after seeing that photo. 🙂

    • It was one of the most popular areas of the ship (after the food court of course)

  • That sounds, looks and reads like the perfect vacation. What a breathtaking view over Victoria falls. I’m also amazed that libraires still manage to find their place onboard cruise ships. Glad you had a great time.

    • I’ve no idea whether other cruise ships have a library but I do know the QM2 is the largest afloat. I heard some people complain there were not many ‘new’ books but I was more than happy with the selection

  • Sounds amazing. I am making my first trip to South Africa in June/early July but have a very limited agenda – time spent with a friend in a small village in the eastern Cape and a week in Cape Town on my own. Leaving lots of room for book shopping, time for reading, photography and writing.

    Oh yeah and an ocean and hemisphere from home… time for the adult kids to grow up!

    • A ‘must do’ trip while in Cape Town is to get to Cape Point – it’s about maybe a 90 minute drive but you’ll also find organised trips. The air is so pure it hurts when you breath.

      • Thanks for the tip. I’ll look for a tour, I don’t fancy driving on what would be the “wrong” side of the road for me in a strange city!

  • Sounds like you had a fabulous trip. And wow, that library! Impressive.

    • I’d heard there was a library on board but was expecting a hole in the corner kind of affair. I should have known Cunard doesn’t go in for that kind of operation

  • It’s never easy to go back to work after any break – I’m not looking forward to it and all I’ve done is a weekend on the South Bank! So I can guess that after such a wonderful trip it would be worse! I’ve never been on a cruise but when I do get round to it will now be looking for a library like that one!

    • I’d never been on a cruise either Col so wasn’t at all sure what to expect.


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