Saturday, July 30, 2005

TWQ: Your Ten Top Songs

This weekend, the flavour is very musical, as I ask:

What are your top ten all time favourite songs and by whom? Can you say why?

Here are my choices:

1: Hey Jude by The Beatles: Strictly the version sung by them in 1968, and not any pop concert covers. A great classic.

2: American Pie by Don McLean: Only the full 8 min 27 seconds version here. Have you worked out all the meanings? Do you know all the words? Easily the best to hum along with.

3: Whisky In The Jar by Thin Lizzy: Put the volume up high for this one. It's the best for all those who wanted to air guitar. Brilliant.

4: Summer Breeze by the Isley Brothers: The perfect summer record to play in the warm sunshine.

5: Dancing Queen by Abba: Their best record that gets me singing it long after. It was a pleasure to hear it in the stage show 'Mamma Mia!'.

6: San Francisco by Scott McKenzie: What can I say? A perfect record.

7: A Whiter Shade Of Pale by Procul Harum: Voted by many as the best record of the 1960's.

8: Something In The Air by Thunderclap Newman: A wonderful song; just right.

9: Something by The Beatles: A great song often imitated, never bettered.

10: Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler: This tearjerker from 'Beaches' is beautifully sung.

Now it's over to you....

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Dixon Hill (Part Two)

Beverly is hurriedly treated my wound with a 20th century plaster when the two gangsters burst in.

They look at the four people with me.

The greasy one eyes Beverly and Deanna appreciatively.

"I like your taste in broads, Hill." he says, "The brunette has some great pins, and that redhead is sumpin' else."

Both Beverly and Deanna look disgustedly at him, as if he is something they accidentally trod in.

The big man looks at Data.

"Hey, Rico, look at that weird guy. Have you ever seen anything like him?"

"Nah, Kelly. Hill, you've got an odd taste in friends."

"I am a Frenchman." Data states simply, as if that will solve all our problems.

"Oh yeah?" says Rico, "Well I guess there will be one less Frenchman in the US after tonight" he adds with a dirty laugh.

Rico turrns to me, "Well, Hill, I guess it's time to plug you, your pals and your broads."

As he is about to shoot, Data rushes up between us and a bullet bounces off him, causing no damage. He then grabs the guns and crushes them. Rico and Kelly look astonished.

"I guess you French guys are pretty tough." says Rico.

We call the police. The Captain arrives to take them away.

"How come you can land yourself in jams all the time, Hill." he says, "If I were you, I'd choose another profession."

After he takes them away, the holodeck program ends and just the room remains.

"What a relief!" says Beverly, "You can come to SickBay and be treated."

"Then I've got a girdle to get off!" adds Deanna, falling off her high heels.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Dixon Hill (Part One)

When there is nothing happening on the Enterprise, and are just waiting to meet with another starship, what better to to than relax on the holodeck?

I'm setting up the program to be my favourite detective from the 1940's, Dixon Hill, and giving him a case to solve.

I've invited Data, Geordi La Forge, Beverly and Deanna along as well, while Riker and Worf look after ther ship.

We're all dressed up; I've got my trenchcoat, Data & Geordi looks like gangsters, and Beverly and Deanna look like a couple of molls in their fishnet stockings.

I enter my office with the others to see my secretary. She is a dozy blonde who is polishing her nails.

"Any calls for me, Lola?"

"Errr, no, Dixon...I mean Mr Hill." she says in a squeakily high voice. She then looks at the four others with me, strangely, especially Beverly and Deanna.

"Who are the skoits?" she whispers.

"Just some business acquaintancies."

Once we are in the office, Data begins to shuffle his feet a little and pulls his hand out of pocket suddenly.

"What are you doing, Data?"

"I am trying to enact my part; am I not what you call 'a missile'.?"

"Don't you mean 'torpedo'?" asks Geordi.

"Data." I say, "With your pale skin, you are a foreigner from abroad, probably a Frenchman."

Beverly says, 'These clothes ache, and these five inch stilettoes are impossible to walk in: however did women wear them?".

She falls on to the floor as she tries to walk.

Deanna agrees, "And these girdles are torture devices."

We get a call from Riker.

"Trouble, Captain; we're passing through a very strange cloud. I don't know whether you ought to know."

"You were wise to tell me, Number One, keep me informed."

There is a sudden flash everywhere, and the program carries on.

I try and get in contact with Riker, but can't.

"Computer. Cancel program."

Nothing happens.

That's the golden rule; never be in a holodeck program when passing through a cloud. Everyone knows what will happen.

Lola's voice comes through the intercom,

"Two men to see you, Mr Hill. They say they've got a score to settle."

I hear a shot and run outside. Lola is slumped over the desk, dead.

Two tough villains are there. One is a greasy sort with a trilby and striped suit. The other is extremely wide and looks the size of a truck. neither are the sort I would like to meet on a dark night.

"Time to meet your maker, Hill!" says the greasy one.

He shoots his gun and hits my shoulder. Blood trickles out.

I run into the office.

"The safety procedures are off in the program."

"The only thing we can do is let the program play through." says Geordi, "And try to stay alive!"
That's easy for him to say when it's me they want to fill full of lead with their gats.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Borg Weekend Seminar


Hello again.

Following last week's message, I am pleased to tell you how well we have done since then.

Two people have already volunteered to hand out pamphlets that will be headed 'Be A Borg Today' You'll be able to spot them with their trendy badges that say 'It's Cool To Be Assimilated.'

We've also had a couple asking about the 'Customised Numbers' program. 'Seven of Nine' appears to be very popular. Naturally, we can only take one of these designations in each Cube. Hurry now, before all vacancies are taken!

Naturally, there were one or two dissenting voices to my last message, but we won't we hearing from them again. I sent a couple of drones to pay them a visit. They soon changed their minds and are now enjoying a happy life on my own Borg Cube.

What I'm really excited to tell you is the launch of our Weekend Seminar!

We are inviting you to come and spend the weekend in one of our Cubes. You can bring the whole family, as there is a playgroup and bouncy castle for the children to play in while the parents talk to our representatives.

During the weekend, you'll get to know just how a Cube operates; you'll go round the entire Cube, including our Assimilation Chamber...we'll make sure you don't miss that!

It'll be a weekend you won't forget!

We had an enquiry about medical plans as a Borg. Rest assured, you pay absolutely nothing; all parts are replaced free should you suffer any injuries.

You will have your own regeneration chamber supplied completely free. When you talk to our representative, we'll show you a map of a Cube, and let YOU decide where you'd like your chamber to go!

Who else would do this?

When it comes to the time to go home after the Seminar, we'll be looking after you.

No need to worry about going back at all!

So tell you friends and family; bring them all along to the Seminar.

We're all one big happy family here.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

TWQ: Earliest Memories

The Weekend Question (TWQ) this week is asking you to think back a long way...

What are the earliest memories you can remember; where were you, and what were you doing?

Here is my answer:

The earliest memory I can recall is being taken up to the local town visiting my grandmother who lived nearby. At the time, the town still had a pre-war image, and hadn't changed too much from the early part of the 20th century. Though they were old, they were all thriving. In the route to the indoor market, I can recall survivors from the war in bathchairs. In 1974, the town was completely modernised, and all the old shops swept away. Now, the new shops have moved out, and there are just cheap tatty shops there. The town currently has one of the lowest qualities of life in the country.

Now it's over to you...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Enterprise Enquirer

I'm in my office right now, reading the latest issue of The Enterprise Enquirer. It's the scandal-full publication that circulates the ship.

Let's see what's in it this week:

'JLP 4 BC?' Rumours are around that JLP, an important member of the crew has a 'CRUSH' on BC. He can't get to know her enough because of her annoying son WC.

'WR's Secret Girl' It's strongly thought that WR has been enjoying secret assignations with DT whenever possible. What WR, who has an overwhelming ambition to have JLP's position doesn't know is that whenever he goes for a conference, DT spends a lot of time with W!

'GLF's Vacation' GLF, who had a recent vacation on Rigel IV, has been 'selling things' in the area where his hotel was. It was noted that his large suitcase had a lot of Latium on his return.

'D's Dress Code' One of the members of the crew, D has been dressing very oddly lately. He dresses in a 19th Century deerstalker hat, smokes a pipe and says "Elementary". His friend GLF joins him a lot; he may be dressing up just to humour him.

'Men beware..LT is around!' LT, an Ambassador for her home planet B, is using her role to hunt down for a new husband. She is the mother of DT, and once considered JLP as a prospective candidate. If the person she she's doesn't suit herself, she will introduce him to her daughter.

'JLP's Vacation With WC' It's been thought that JLP, who was forced to go on a boat vacation with WC tried to drill holes in WC's cabin! He later realised he was drilling into his own cabin and nearly flooded it out.

Who wries these pieces in 'The Enterprise Enquirer?'

These are all lurid stories, that are completely untrue. Who are the paper referring to in their stories; they never say.

A group of initials will never help!

I guess I'll never know who the stories are talking about.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A Day At The Office

There is a part of the Enterprise that few people know about; many members would deny it even exists.

Down near the very depths of the ship, where no one goes, is the office.

It is said that sad, lonely souls, with no future, inhabit this area.

To fulfil my role as Captain, today I'm going to visit the office unannounced. It's the one place on the Enterprise I've never seen, so let's see it.

The door eventually opens and I walk into a wall of smoke. People are sitting at their desks; all have a persistant cough.

They walk around silently with their heads down, their faces despaired.

The smoke comes Cyrelian tobacco, which all staff in the office smoke as a result of trying to fend off the boredom. and intense stress.

In each section, workmates are trying to gain favour by doing errands for the boss who just reads, with their feet up.

Over at the copier room, an ancient 20th century photocopier coughs away, spewing letters with a stain. the level of radiation coming from it is 100 times permitted levels.

The Stationary Supplies Room door opens; a man and woman emerge, adjust their clothing, have a slight giggle and return to their desks.

I go over to one Departmental Head.

"Who are you?" he asks, then coughs.

"I'm the Captain of the Enterprise!" I say in amazement, "Don't you know me?"

"Never had reason to. cough, No one tells us anything down here. We just got put on here when the Enterprise was built, moved the equipment on, and that's the last we heard of anybody."

"Where was the equipment before?" I ask.

"Different starships. Cough. It was once on Captain Kirk's ship."

"Just how far back does this 'equipment moving' go?"

He thinks for a while, coughs and says, " must be around 1982."

"This all needs to be cleaned out and new equipment put in, so that you can work in a better environment." I dec;lare.

The Departmental Head looks shocked.

"Please don't do that, Captain, I beg of you. Cough. We are happy here, and would never get used to 24th Century technology. Let us stay the way we are."

I reluctantly agree and make my way out.

That's one part of the ship I don't want to see again. It can remain hidden from the world.

As I walk out of the door, I hear coughing behind me, and walk out again into pure air.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Borg Recruitment Notice



I'm sorry to interrupt your usual reading, but we have installed this special recruiting message in all journals.

Have you ever thought of joining the Borg?

Yes, I know we've had a bad press, and our invasion of Earth and the battle of Wolf 359 was rather hasty.

We're just asking for a chance to put our past problems behind us, wipe the slate clean and start again.

Here are all the wonderful advantages you will receive as a new drone on a Borg Cube.

FREE cybernetic implants!

FREE assimilation!

Your own customised choice of designation within a specified group. If you want to be Sixteen Of 25, it's yours!

You have the chance to fly in an advanced state-of-the-art Borg Cube with transwarp technology. Far superior than anything else around today.

If you are a member of a race we haven't assimilated before, then you get extra-special VIP treatment. You will be looked after especially by myself, so we can 'get to know you'.

If you are on your own, think of all the friends you'll be making! Millions of voices all in the Collective waiting to meet you and be part of them. Where else can you get such universal friendship?

There have been a few troublemakers around; we need your help to get them out of the way so we can enjoy Borg dominat...I mean harmony. Species 8472 will not be friends with us.

Can you help us wipe them out?

Don't dismiss this lightly. Think about it. Talk to your family and ask them to come along. We do a special 'family assimilation' session. Lots of fun for all!

Thank you for your time and patience; if after this, you're still not quite sure, just remember the company motto.

Resistance Is Futile.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Weekend Question: Best Books

This week, the Question has a literary slant as I ask:

Which five books are your favourites and why did they have such a strong impression on you?

Here are my choices:

1: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. This French novel is wonderful, as we see one of literatures most famous adulteresses in a quiet town overspend money, come to bankruptcy and a tragic end. The detail of provincial life is fascinating.

2: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. The recently written novel is narrated by Mary Boleyn, who was the younger sister of Anne Boleyn. Historically, she was with Henry VIII before Anne. With a mix of fact and fiction, we see Henry tire of Mary and moving on to Anne, who will do anything to get what she wants. She then starts to fall from favour. A real thriller.

3: The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy. This classic novel tells of a man who sells his wife at a travelling fair. Years later, he is the Mayor of a local town, but his past catches up with him, and his world starts crumbling around him. A moral lesson here, with a tragic end. A fine story.

4: Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. This novel comes alive when reading it. The constraints of how a novel is usually written as this is a very experimental work. As the story weaves, the reader becomes emeshed in the life of the character. As a visitor of London, I saw it in a new light as it tells the events of a single sunny day in June 1923. A challenge to read, but well worth it.

5: Clarissa by Samual Richardson. This novel, written in the early 18th Century is one of the longest in the English language. It is written in letter format, and tells of Clarissa, a toung lady who is being enticed away from her home by the evil Lovelace. With this unusual format, we can get right into the minds of all the major characters. Another worthy read.

Now it's over to you....

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Mirror Universe (Part Three)

It's getting very dangerous here in the mirror universe.

I've had five attempts on my life in the last hour; fortunately, Worf has been able to help me with the assassins.

Now, however, he tells me the frequency is getting so bad that he wants a pay rise and double holidays, otherwise he will switch to Riker's side.

That's Klingon honour and loyalty for you.

Riker has taken the ship to the Palarus system; he says he has now been given instructions that the Captain already received to destroy the people of the fourth planet.

I send the Palarians a secret transmission telling them to be on the alert. I'm known for my ability to send these thing without anyone noticing.

Riker catches me right away just after I send the message.

"We can't surprise and destroy them now; you will be executed for your treason." His one eye bulges in anger.

Data comes up from behind and knocks him out.

"Why are you helping, Data?"

"Because you are NOT our Captain. We need him back, and I am loyal to him, not to Riker. Go out in the shuttlecraft on the reverse course and re-enter your universe. The Captains should switch round."

I get on the shuttlecraft and depart; it heads for the preset co-ordinates.

What a day it's been!

I enter the split in space....suddenly I'm in the brig!

"Help me! Why am I here?"

Riker comes in, thankfully without his scar and now with two eyes."

"Number One, I'm glad to see you at last. I've been in this mirror universe, but now I'm back. If you can release me, we can get..."

"You don't expect me to believe that, do you?" he says, "You'll stay in there until we can figure out how to get our Picard back."

"But I AM Picard!"

He walks out, and Beverly enters.

She gives me a smile and winks at me.

What was THAT all about?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Mirror Universe (Part Two)


The Cap has been acting very weird today.

Yes, I know he's a little on the eccentric side, but he was even more so now.

Has he been having too many of those pills Beverly has been giving him.

When he disembarked from the shuttle, the first think he did was a ridiculous salute; he clenched his fist to the chest and held his arm out.

The Cap then looked at my face in puzzlement.

"Riker, we have to go and obliterate a peaceful planet; let's do it."


So here we are, now on the Bridge; I notice that the Cap has a tattoo on the back of his head; it shows a planet with a dagger through it. Not exactly tasteful. He must have had it done while drinking a few Bajoran Brandies.

The Cap looks at the wall and then talks to Worf.

"What has happened to the Empire symbol? Don't you know removing it is punishable by death?"

Worf looks at me in bewilderment.

"Are you working for Riker, now, Worf? If you are, I'll have you killed."

"Sir, I am loyal to you.."

"Good, now Riker, set a course for the Palarus System. I have had news from the Empire that we are to destroy the people on the fourth planet as they are not paying their taxes."

He sees Deanna.

"You're a sly one aren't you? Don't think of trying to kill me on behalf of Riker. Just because you're the First Officer's Woman, it doesn't mean you will find that any easier.

Deanna chokes on the chocolate cake she was eating.

Beverly comes in; he look at her.

"Why are you dressed like that?" You'll never retain your post as Captain's Woman if you wear those sort of clothes. He kisses Beverly, slaps her on the bottom and leaves the Bridge.

Beverly blushes, but has a slight smile.

"What has happened to the Captain, sir?" asks Worf.

"Err...I'm not sure, Worf."

"That is not our Captain, sir" says Data., "I analysed him while he was he and found he has a different biological signature to anyone else here. He is from a different universe."

"In that case, Worf, have your security teams pick him up and put him in the brig until we know how to change them round."

"Howw is OUR Captain getting on?" wonders Deanna.

Neurotic as he is, I can't see the Cap lasting a while; about as long as a Romulan in a Klingon bar on a rough Saturday night..

Monday, July 11, 2005

Mirror Universe (Part One)

Everything seems pretty much run-of-the-mill so far. After an interminable conference, I'm coming back to the Enterprise in a shuttlecraft.

Time to eat a few sandwiches.

Suddenly, the whole vehicle is rocking as if it's ran out of dilithium crystals. Maybe I should have filled it up at the last Starbase?

I realise it's not that, and that there is a split in space we are going through...

Everything goes multicoloured, as if it is a New Years Eve disco party in Ten Forward.

Then I see the Enterprise and go towards it.

Hello. Has Riker done a paint job on it while I've been away?

On the side is a giant picture of a planet with a dagger through it.

Not exactly what I'd have selected for a design.

When I board, I am greeted by familiar, but sinister figures.

Riker puts his arm to his chest and then forward. He also has a scar down the right side of his face and one eye missing.

Did he have an argument with Worf again during Poker Night?

All the staff salute like he did.

Deanna holds on to Riker lovingly. She is wearing very, very low slung trousers and a micro top. She has about ten inches of midriff showing, with a small tattoo showing that dagger symbol.

"Which race shall we conquer and destroy now, Captain?" Riker asks?

"Err....let me think about that, Number One?"

He looks puzzled.

"Captain, we have to do these things for the Empire!"

"Yes, Number One. You'll hear from me shortly."

He looks disgusted.

On the way to my quarters, I suddenly see LaForge spring up before me. He is dressed in black, and holding a knife. He also has some phasers and disruptors in his pocket.

"Now you shall die, Captain. Commander Riker has told me it is time for him to be Captain, and as his Chief Assassin, I have been given the pleasure of ending your life."

He is about to do the deed when he is grabbed from behind by Worf, who carries him to an airlock. Once LaForge is inside, he presses another button, and Geordi flies off into space.

A very direct method of ending a problem.

Worf turns to me.

"You really must be more careful, Captain. though I am your Personal Bodyguard, you should not put yourself in difficult situations. Riker and his men want to kill you so he can assume command. Troi may kill you as well."

"Deanna?" I ask. "Why should she?"

Worf looks bewildered, "As she has the position of First Officer's Woman, she will naturally want Riker to go further. Be careful, Captain."

"Worf, I think this is a mirror universe. I'm not the Captain you had before. Talk to Data and see if he can analyse what's happened and reverse it."

He looks sceptical, but agrees.

I enter my quarters.

Beverly enters. She has low-slung trousers and a micro-top, as all the Enterprise women do here. Her red hair is down, she has a pierced navel and that dagger tattoo.

"Welcome back, Jean-Luc." she says, and kisses me full on the lips.


"I try to take my position as Captain's Woman very seriously", she seductively says.

Ah well, I guess I can stay in the mirror universe a little while longer.

I wonder what the mirror Picard is doing on my Enterprise?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Weekend Question: Quick Questions:

As I've answered the questions on Nina's page, I thought I'd reciprocate by putting the questions up this weekend on mine. If you wish, post the same questions on your blog. I've deleted three questions that were originally on hers. Have fun!

I've just changed the questions slightly after the first four comments.

1: Who are you?
2:When and how did we meet?
3:What brings you here?
4:Why do you keep coming back?
5:Give me a nickname and explain why you picked it.
6:Describe me in one word.
7:What was your first impresssion of me?
8: Do you still think that now?
9:What reminds you of me?
10:If you could give me a present, what would it be?
11:Ever wanted to tell me something but couldn't?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Vacation Pictures

Here, by popular request are some of my holiday pictures in Portugal:


This is me!


This is the boat we went on. It's the Douro Prince.


This is me with my father.


This is me in a Portuguese shopping centre in front of a 1949 Riley and 1968 TR6.


This is our hotel in Braga. The grounds are very luscious and green.

I hope you've liked them all.

Finally, I'd like to thank all those friends from around the world who have asked how I am in the event of the atrocities in London. I live over 120 miles away, yet still feel close to it all.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Performance Development Review

What tougher time can there be when it's time for a Starfleet Officer's Performance Development Review (PDR)?

Every so often, some Admiral from Starfleet will come and grill me about my role, and afterwards I feel like I need an extra bottle of stress pills.

This time, it's Admiral Karchov, known as the 'Screwdriver of Starfleet' for the way he pushes people into the wall verbally.

Karchov arrives with a heavy folder filled with facts and figures.

"Hello, Captain Picard" he says, "Or should I call you Locutus of Borg?"

"Excuse me?"

"Well, you were assimilated by them a while ago; you caused the battle of Wolf 359 to take place. We lost many men and ships because of you."

"That wasn't my fault, it was..."

"Still hearing any voices?"

"What voices?"

"The voices of the Collective telling you what to do? Do you think a member of the Borg should Captain a starship....Captain?"

"I'm completely cured from that, Admiral, I assure you of that."

Karchov writes a few things down in his book and looks at me.

"How often have you broken the Prime Directive this year, Captain Picard?"

"I haven't done that."

"Really? What about stardate 53326.5? On that occasion, you rescued a group of aliens and put them on another planet."

"Their civilisation would have perished otherwise."

"That is not the Federation's concern; and what about the Temporal Prime Directive?"

"What about it?"

"How many times have you been time travelling, changing history and knowing about future events?"

"All of these occasions were very necessary, and some saved humanity from destruction."

"Do you think that was a good excuse, Captain?" He writes more in his notebook and shakes his head, adding, "That will be all for now. Starfleet will be monitoring your performance from now on. There have been some comments from some of the Admirals. Watch what you do."

I stagger out of the room and go to SickBay. I order a case of stress pills for the next week.

There's a strong possiblity I might need them.

Monday, July 04, 2005


We're a little busy right now. The Enterprise has been engulfed by a mysterious cloud and cannot move. However, we think we know the solution.

Have a conference in the Ready Room and talk about it.

LaForge chips in with reversing the polarity of the warp core, which will create an anti matter fusion device and scatter the cloud.

Not that old chestnut again. He fails to mention that there is a 90% chance the ship will explode.

Worf suggests a direct approach.

"Launch a full spread of photon torpedoes together with tetrion particles and destroy everything in sight. It is a good day to die."

Why do I always feel depressed when I listen to Worf?

Beverly thinks we may not be able to handle the casualties if we adopt such a procedure.

"Not even if we activate the Emergency Medical Hologram?" I ask.

Beverly mumbles a few disparaging words about the EMH.

Deanna Troi is having empathic thoughts and thinks the cloud is alive and might be trying to communicate with us.

Riker suggests that I pilot a shuttlecraft into the heart of the cloud.

Is the man mad?

Data finally says something.

"The Counselor might be right about the cloud being alive. Perhaps if we show we are a peaceful ship, it will let us go?"

"How do we do that, Data?"

"I have no input on that matter."

Troi interrupts by suggesting we all go in a yoga trance and think peaceful thoughts.

Worf disgustedly adds, "I still think we should obliterate it."

Ten minutes later, the entire crew of over 1000 is sitting in a harmonic trance in a lotus position with a peaceful "Ummm" coming from them all.

As we do, the cloud gradually vanishes away.

Everybody gets up, with the problem over.

"Excuse me, Captain." says Worf, irritatingly, "I have some aliens to kill in the holodeck."

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Weekend Question: Vacations

As I've just returrned from Portugal, I thought the Weekend Question should have something to do with vacations, so here it is; it's a two-answer one.

What was your best and worst vacation experience?

As ever, here are mine:

The best: In Egypt (1992), I went to see the Pyramids of Giza with the Sphinx. Though I knew the pyramids were huge, I didn't know just how big. All the pictures do not do it justice, and the giant pyramid had me gaping in wonder.

The worst: Though I nearly put the dysentery outbreak on the 1992 trip (above), I'll mention the awful food on the boat in Russia. We went there on a river cruise on the Volga between Moscow & St Petersburg. It was an old Soviet boat that had hardly changed. The crew looked like they were still in the KGB. The food was 'typically Russian', with dishes like porriage

that had to be sliced with a knife and fork. Most of the food was uneatable, and I came back ill, with a nasty cough.

Now it's over to you....

What Happened

Some of you have asked about what really happened in Portugal, so here it is.

The Duoro Prince was a beautiful boat with 24 cabins that took us up the Duoro river and back. We went through 4 dams and visited varios places along the way.

There were some wonderful towns in which we got a taste of Portuguese life; folk singers and folk dancers came aboard. At one stage, I was invited to dance with them. Why do I take up these offers?

The weather was very warm. The hottest it got was 41 degrees (112F), which was overpowering. Even when it was windy, it was still baking hot.

The food was great; at the times I wasn't partial to it, the waiters would change it for something else.

My father and I spent a week on the Duoro Prince and three days on a tour extension. It was the latter that turned out not to be so good. The hotel was miles from the city of Braga, and virtually deserted. If we wanted to go to the city, we had to use a taxi.

The worst part came when my father fell over a large concrete stone in the street near the end of the vacation. There were many of these, and they were hard to see. The Portuguese are not very good on safety procedures. As a result, my father got a cut on the arm and a black eye. His glasses were twisted as well.

Fortunately, he is alright. His eye is now healing and he will get a new pair of glasses from the insurance.

All in all, we agreed that we had a great holiday week on the boat; it was only on the tour extension things started going wrong.

I'll try and get some pictures in the near future.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Vacation Chatter

The Enterprise is almost ready to set off again after being checked out again. About to set off for new frontiers, strange new worlds etc.

What do I find the crew talking about?

Where they've been on their vacation.

Why is vacation chatter such a neverending source of talk? One person trying to beat the other on where they've been and what they did there.

LaForge tells everybody about what he managed to get up to on Rigel IV. His voice goes quiet when I get near, as if it's not fit for a Captain to hear.

Riker & Troi are giggling again; he winks at her secretively. They think I don't notice anything.

Worf is a foul mood as he lost in the final of the tournament he was competing in.

"My opponent committed an illegal move on me, which the official failed to detect. As a result, he won. Clearly, he is a man without honour."

Have I heard that before?

Data has returned with a new bag of sub-processors. He tells me that it is a back-up positronic circuit that he will install in his head later in the day.

Ah well, whatever takes your time up.

Beverly looks around and asks if she can have a quiet word.

"It's about that incident in Portugal, Jean Luc. Are you sure you're all right?"

"Of course I am, Doctor; why shouldn't I be?"

"No reason."

"Err..where is Wesley, now, Beverly?"

"He's gone back to Starfleet Academy"

"That's good to know....I mean good luck to him."

Now I can relax and fight some aliens.