The Orton's on the Nile - 2005


Characters & Coincidences

I feel I ought to pause here a while to reflect on the other people who I met on the cruise, some of whom we shared the week at Sharm El Sheik with too. As mentioned there were about 12 Dutch on board who went off doing there own thing, it transpired that each tour booking had its own guide. I cannot say as I had much to do with them as they kept together pretty much and the only person who seemed to mix freely with them was Luke, who because of the multilingual skills of the Dutch was soon convinced everybody could speak English like wot 'e dun.

There was also a nice lady who had travelled on her own from Australia to visit her daughter and was making a good round trip of it. Poor woman was put with her own guide and not allowed to travel round the sites with our group. She had the bizarre experience of visiting all the same temples at roughly the same time, but in separate transport and with a personal guide. We think this was because of a strong tour guide union! Seriously, it probably is an Egyptian fiddle, one tour guide per group booking even if the group is only one – got to spread the money around.

So back to our group. As briefly mentioned we often found ourselves sharing meal times with Bob, Helen and their daughter Jasmine. Bob had the look of a young Derek Guyler, or even the teacher from the Bash Street Kids minus the moustache, and a dry sense of humour that was pleasantly wicked. His wife was pleasant and Jasmine was quietly suffering her dads embarrassing jokes and behaviour, and also Adam and Luke’s continual bickering.

There was also an outspoken Brummy from Perry Barr who by coincidence had caught the very same coach to the airport as we had, joining at Birmingham. He was first to notice how overpriced the water and drinks were and gave voice to his opinions as only a Brummy can. Nevertheless, he was a good travel companion and not too mean to stand a round. Travelling alone (by choice) he had clocked up a few miles and seen some distant lands, maybe enough to even rival the well travelled Mr. Morris and 2.8125 Litres. He had the look of a Roman centurion about him, but if you were asked to identify the Brummy in a line up he would have been your first choice.

Another loan traveller, but this time let down by an ultra nervous pal was Sean from Derby. Sean was even shyer than me so I found myself in the strange situation of initiating conversations instead of just responding. Sean was a happy lad, about 40 something with the look of a Billy Bunter who never needed glasses and if you could get him to speak had lots of tales of even more exotic shores and journeys. His pal had let him down at the last minute – apparently bottled it because of the bomb attack on Sharm. Don’t think I had ever seen him before, but he had the sort of happy face that looked familiar and I wondered if I had seen him on the wargame circuit sometime.

There were two young girls travelling alone, a slim red head firebrand who spent a small fortune on the phone to her boyfriend and the obligatory fat friend chaperone who was equally wild at times and like to spend time lying with her head in Luke’s lap – face upwards you pervs!!! The red head was attractive enough, but I guess Adam may have been put off by the brace that seemed to be there just to torture her as her smile seemed fine to me.

Then there was the elderly couple, no not me and Annette. A bit of a snob, not that I had much to do with him anyway and the little I saw of him I thought no thing particularly irritating except a mild need to be centre of attention and we all like a bit of that. He dressed pretty much like Peter Ustinov in Death on the Nile and tried his best to be an elderly Ernest Hemmingway look a like. His long suffering wife ( well that’s what they do) was easy enough to get along with (judging from the twenty minutes or so group conversation over a pint) and looked a little like Mrs. Bucket without the attitude.

Then there was Vanessa and Daniel the young love birds from ‘dawn soawf’, London someplace. Daniel was an Arsenal fan and rushed Vanessa of their flight on return to UK to catch the match. Arsenal lost, but no doubt Daniel won. Vanessa was attractive with dark hair and a deep husky Marlene voice. Daniel was the young blood that all women like to meet on a cruise and I got the impression that she had snagged him rather than he had perused her. They were a very happy couple, ah what love can do!

Then there was the men behaving badly bloke and his girlfriend that badly wanted to be his wife. He was so much a bloke’s bloke it was fun to watch. A nice bloke, but damned if I can remember either of their names. She was coming across as a bit on the posh side and desperately trying to tame him without much success. Then there were the two Irish girls. Save the best ‘til last. Not really fair to say that most of the younger women were well within the bound of attractive, but for my money it was the Irish girls that were the thoroughbreds. We shared a table with them a couple of times at dinner and of course on a small ship you continually bump into the others in the group, but again I cannot remember their names. One was in my eyes the perfect build, with a chest Mr. Morris would have died for. She wore a bikini straight from Dr. No and could have rivalled Ursula Andres any day.

Like many Irish they were quick to smile, but unlike the men I’ve met not shifty looking. She too had a plumper pal in tow, but she had a pleasant face and was not by any means over weight. She was the one to have a conversation with, while her pal was the one to drool over.

Then we had Dave, who had some sort of West Country accent. He was a proper Del boy type character with the look of Charlie Drake about him and the same mischievous impish humour. Apparently he was loaded, but by no means a snob. He was a great laugh and first to join in all the stupid bar room evening entertainment games. Sadly he had a younger Pauline Fowler type with him, think they were married, but clearly all she wanted was to spend his money. If I had to pick somebody to walk the plank it would have been her. Quite often she would be off chatting up young waiters or her favourite pass time spending, while he was happy talking to crew or passengers alike.

I don’t think I have missed anybody important, there may have been others, but these are the only ones that stick in my memory. Demographically there were a high number of smokers on board and also a high number of teachers. Vanessa was a head of subject, Daniel an NQT like me, both the Irish girls were teachers and I think there was one other. Bob was an retired Copper, forget what Sean and Brummy did, Ernest Hemmingway was retired diver – allegedly

And there you have it. Bob it turns out lives near to the Gosport Ferry that I used to catch in the army when we were sent down Portsmouth for a week each year and we nearly had a school of teachers on board. It’s a small world on a ship.

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Copyright 2005 D.J.Orton and A.G.Morris