Well, what a fabbo weekend I've had for a Barnsley bird. First of all I was guest after-dinner speaker for the mayor's inaugural banquet on Friday night. Given pride of place next to the mayor herself and opposite Dickie Bird (who is always lovely, gentle company). Gorgeous food. Just wish I could have taken a pic of the giant Yorkshire pudding starter - but I didn't have a wide enough angle lens on my camera. Fabulous. I had to come home early and miss the dancing - alas - as I had a long drive the next morning. So nice to be treated so well - I even had an escort out to my car carrying the huge display of flowers I'd been given. So much good feeling and laughter in one room - a wonderful start to the Mayor's year I so hope. She's such a great woman - raring to go, down to earth and a damned hard worker.
She was quite honestly gorgeously stunning. She pressed a huge diamond and a magnum of champagne flew across our heads and smashed into the side of the ship wall. Then there was a huge explosion of silver glitter showering us - absolutely fantastic.
Champagne reception at 6.15 (more champagne - yawn... - ho ho) Then dinner at 7.15 - salmon platter, fillet steak and trio of chocolate desserts and coffee for me (diet starts today - oh my yes) with a lovely jolly table of people and Dame Shirl behind us.
Then onto the deck for the fireworks - even complimentary pashminas were given out (do these guys not think of anything?) Dame Shirley was to introduce them - and as she stood on the podium she just belted out Diamonds Are Forever, totally impromptu - it was fabulous - SHE was fabulous and everyone was wearing big daft beaming smiles.
The fireworks were magnificent - it was a clear, beautiful sky just waiting to be filled with sparkles. We stood watching them nursing glasses of port and cheering - it was faultless. Then went down to the Curzon to watch the brilliant Overtones - an a cappella group. Then up to the crows nest for champagne and dancing (though I was on fizzy water by this stage as I was driving the next day - bugger!)
Managed to sleep, despite being on such a high, and then it was time to wake, pack up - way too soon - and force a P & O breakfast down to fortify us for the drive. Sitting in that restaurant reminded me why I cruise - drinking coffee, watching the world go by, letting the calmness seep into me - and that was stuck in Southampton docks! Throw in a bit of ship motion and a couple of dolphins and even heaven would be a come-down. They really are my favourite ships. I can't wait until I'm on one again. For a bit longer next time :)
Twitter was full of us rounding off the day by saying how gorgeous everything was, how lovely to meet everyone for the first time, or again. I'm even being followed by Olly Smith now (on Twitter, not in a stalkerish way around town, I hasten to add). But then Olly Smith is directly responsible for introducing me to icewine - and he can do no wrong in my eyes.
There was a bit of a drop in spirits when I saw the pics and realised I looked more like Ricki Lake from Hairspray than Amy Winehouse - but then they catapulted right back up there again. And here's why :) I'm being asked to mentor the YOUNG CREATIVE WRITER OF THE YEAR in a joint competition with The Clothes Show and Simon and Schuster - where you can win VIP tickets to the Clothes Show here. So how nice is that?
As for now - well, I have a viewing on my house tonight, so I'm just about to sign off and scrub the floors. Back to earth with a bump :)
There's still time to win a P & O cruise for yourself and a friend and some Olly Smith chosen icewine - see my post below for details. You don't enter, you don't win. And someone has to... good luck!