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Saturday, 21 May 2016

Doris Visits London in search of Royal Mistresses

Mistresses to British Royalty, or Royal Mistresses just happens to be the one woman show of actress Jean Heard who plays Doris Shades in Shades of Bad. Now, she walks us round London and reveals the haunts of Royal trysts. How did we get there from Shades Of Bad?

The drama web series Shades Of Bad has won Jean Best Actress twice and is now well into season 3.

There is now a well established travel show spin off. Doris, as Jean, or Jean as Doris has reviewed cruise ships, been to many of the Caribbean stops and has videos on ski resorts. Click here for the list.

Obviously there is a travel show film on the Fjords in Norway on the list, but unlike the other travel films which are purpose shot, that is a collection of film out-takes and views from when they were shooting the Norwegian episodes of Shades Of Bad the web series which are now going out weekly. Click here for the first Norwegian show.

However, it is odd that a London based travel show ignores the jewel of London. Add the train of thought that Jean Heard has a series of five one woman shows called Royal Mistresses, it was obvious that the team should trek into London and see just where these little elicit meetings took place. Her show is booked via Jennie Storr, her agent at the famous The Speaker's Agency.

There are some fantastic surprises in the films like being allowed to film in the famous Rules Restaurant for the Lillie Langtry film and finding the table where she sat with Edward VII.

Discovering that there was a tunnel from the Drury Lane Theatre to the pub opposite for Charles II to see Nell Gwynn.

The fantastic statue of Queen Alexandra who had to share Edward VII with many mistresses, including Alice Keppel who was the great grandmother of Camilla Parker Bowles! In Edwardian high society, affairs and mistresses were more acceptable than divorce!  We visit Clarence house, once home to King William 1V, previously the Duke of Clarence who had a 20 year affair, and 10 children with Dorothy Jordan.

On top of that there is a film on Buckingham Palace and the area.

If you are not all Royalled out by then Doris, Jean, went up to Edinburgh for the Queen's 90th birthday and does a full tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia.  One of three films in Edinburgh, Doris also found a take of Lillie Langtry while in Scotland, That appears in the Lillie Langtry film.

Monday, 2 May 2016

PONTA DELGADA, SAO MIGUEL, AZORES is the transatlantic stop for many ships.


Ponta Delgada is situated on the volcanic Sao Miguel Island in the Azores. The amount of rainfall (a lot) means that the vegetation is lush. Be prepared for showers even if it looks bright because the weather can change in an instant. One moment hot sunshine. The next a downpour and cold wind.

Sao Miguel is nicknamed the Green Island because of its fertile soil, and this is due to the temperate climate.

We left the terminal at the ground level exit, and followed the pedestrian walkway to the town centre. There are many ways to explore. you can hire bikes, cars or even a tandem. The narrow streets are winding and cobbled. The town square is charming and on many of the streets you will find a church.

The mosaics on the cobbles are very pretty and in the middle of the square there is a pavement cafe. The tourists are catered for, there is a horse and cart ride almost constantly running around the town. I hope it's not the same one, otherwise those poor horses must be pretty tired.

The language spoken is Portuguese and Ponta Delgada puts you in mind of Lisbon.

Some of the churches are quite beautiful. The altar in Igreja do Colegio is definitely worth a look, as is the statue of St Sebastian on the high altar in the 16th century church of Sao Sebastiao . It definitely reminded me of Liberace!!

The sand is the black volcanic sand. The water is sparklingly clear. it is easy to see the fish. We went down to the waters edge and met Bruno who runs a company called Best Spot diving, He is friendly and enthusiastic about his trips. There are many interesting wrecks to see as well as the varied marine life. If you want a diving adventure contact him in advance at bestspotazores.com His team are qualified marine biologists so they know their stuff.

Another place that is well worth a visit is the botanical gardens. Full of bamboo trees, beautiful plants,caves, and even a play area for children. I had my jumper on and off so many times while we visited Jardim Antonio Borges because the temperature kept changing . This is why the vegetation is so abundant and colourful. There are many birds there, the bird song is beautiful.

There is an open top bus that leaves from the quayside. It is busy early on in the day but if you leave it quite late you practically have the bus to yourself. Make sure you don't miss the ship though!

When I revisit Ponta Delgada I plan to try out the 27 hole golf course. Although I must remember to put my brolly in my golf bag for the occasional shower.

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P&O AZURA cruise ship tour and review

The tour of P&O Azura is one of our many films, please visit our YouTube channel and subscribe free.

P&O AZURA cruise ship tour and review is below at the end of this blog. In it I tour the cruise ship Azura walking through all the major features of the ship. This was done on a tour of the mirror like still Fjords in 2015 and then on a Caribbean cruise in 2016.

This adds to the many films I have of cruise stop destinations from Fiji to Barbados, and gems like Bequia or botanical gardens. These help you orientate and choose before you travel.

I have also listed the cruises, by their cruise number in playlists that contain the films of the cruise stops in order.  I wish I had started earlier as I only have stills of Asia, India and previous cruises in the Mediterranean but I am playing catch up. Next I am off to St Petersburg in Russia.

I have tried to list most of the new Caribbean season cruises with playlists on our channel, please subscribe to the channel and help circulate to those interested in cruises.

For those of you who have never cruised then I hope this helps you. The ships are all totally different so it is a case of finding the cruise you want. Within the larger ships no two people will have exactly the same experience. You can be exclusive and you can party and play.

Some people prefer a small ship, others a large ship which is more like a city.  The Azura came into service in 2010 and was named by Darcey Bussell. It has so many features you will find it hard to discover them on just one visit.

The Azura is a mid size ship that takes 6 minutes 11 seconds to stop when at 24 knots.
Normally the ship only turns at one or two degrees to correct course, but the Azura can go over to 35 degrees. She can carry 3145 tonnes of fuel and at 23.5 knots is using 260 tonnes per day.

There are 900 cabins with private balconies and a number of staterooms. It has stabilisers that go out when seas are rough.

Cruising can be a totally casual affair, buffets and never needing to dress. Or, they can be an excuse to dress up and engage in formal nights and visit the fine dining spots. Cruising can be about 'Food Heroes'. Like many celebrities they can be found visiting on some cruises and they leave their mark and menus. Select dining and fine wines are part of cruise life like dressing up for formal nights. The Atul Kochhar's Sindhu restaurant, Olly Smith's Glass House, the Epicurean experience, the Beach House and others are all mentioned. If you need more information take a look at the P&O Fine Dining page. 

With a shopping centre, medical centre, laundry, and every other facility you would need, the Azura
normally has about 1174 crew to 3000 passengers. P&O have a great web site and list many details and crew there.

Azura is a stylish ship that was built by Fincantieri in Italy, started in 2008 finished in 2010 and has a gross tonnage of 115,055 MT, its displacement is 53,967 MT. Length is 288.6 meters and width is 36 meters which is 2 meters too wide to go through the Panama Canal. The bridge is 50.5 meters wide. Deck 15 and above is made of aluminium, the decks get lighter as you go up. The heavy plant, engines and sewage pumps, propellors and fresh water making equipment put most of the weight at the bottom. Fresh water is made by 3 large evaporators that can produce 90,000 gallons per hour.

If you are thinking of a first cruise, then the Azura is not a bad choice. You can then decide if you wish to try a smaller or a larger ship, or, it's sister ship the Ventura. Here is my tour, please share.

Links for playlists are as below....

AZURA A630 there is a playlist of stops for P&O AZURA A630
AZURA A631 there is a playlist of stops for P&O AZURA A631
AZURA A632 there is a playlist of stops for P&O AZURA A632
AZURA A633 there is a playlist of stops for P&O AZURA A633
AZURA A701 there is a playlist of stops for P&O AZURA A701
AZURA A702 there is a playlist of stops for P&O AZURA A702
AZURA A703 there is a playlist of stops for P&O AZURA A703
AZURA A704 there is a playlist of stops for P&O AZURA A704
AZURA A705 there is a playlist of stops for P&O AZURA A705
AZURA A706 there is a playlist of stops for P&O AZURA A706
AZURA A731 there is a playlist of stops for P&O AZURA A731

Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, Totola, Miami, Canaveral, Bequia, Azores, Key West, Fiji, Norway, Mediterranean, Baltics, Canaries..... take a look....

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