1968: Norway: Day 15 – Black Prince – Hornchurch

Woke to a very calm, silky smooth sea. What a contrast to last night. Everyone very pleased and we went off to breakfast, having given Gareth his first. Lots of very cheerful looking people about, all glad the night was over! Had grapefruit all round, rolls (lovely),  Dutch butter and Dutch marmalade. Gareth gnawed the edge of the table in a rather embarrassing way – as if we had never fed him. Sea so calm it was more like a bus ride. Went to the lounge afterwards and had a talk with a girl and 14 month old baby. She turned out to be married to someone working for ICI – they’d been to Australia and know Shirley and Bill. Small world. They had been camping too, and very pleased with the way the baby had behaved.

After a while, put Gareth in the cabin for a rest, which he settled down to quite cheerfully. Returned to the lounge and heard some interesting facts: last night’s wind was force 6-7 and considered rough by the crew. The cars were sliding about down below and had to be roped down. The ship was on manual control as there was so much shipping about in the North Sea. We had made up fore leaving late and were doing 21 knots. Coast of England clearly visible – it had been too wet to see it on the way out of course – Lincolnshire at first, then down East Anglia. Andrew was very pleased to see it, and busily drawing pictures. We had some food to eat down in the cabin, and fortunately we were able to put things in the car in plenty of time before we had to leave. This made life much easier, and we were able to dispose of the extra parcels of booze etc. Watched the approach to Harwich, lots of ships about. Lightship Royal Sovereign being towed to the mooring, dredgers busily working, ‘Princess Beatrix’ en route to Hook of Holland and ‘Prince Hamlet’ and ‘Winston Churchill’ being loaded up. We backed in to Parkestone Quay, near the freight containers quay, drove off (4th) got promptly to the Customs, where all was very swift, and drove out first, stopping at a garage for petrol almost immediately. Drove to Brentwood, collected cats (swearing profusely, Pierre in a bass voice) and arrived home 3.0ish – house full of flowers (Shirley I suspect, bless her) all clean and tidy.

The holidays over – back to the washing!

Without wishing to be smug, we feel rather pleased with our calculations. Food was all exactly as needed, and nothing we felt lacking, except possibly some potatoes, which were scarce and expensive. We were glad to have taken basic commodities like milk, crispbread, cornflakes etc. otherwise Whit weekend night might have been difficult. Clothes were ok too – we coped with extremes of temp and humidity and quantities were adequate. All the first aid required were elastoplast (1) and seasick pills.

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