• James Eric Fristad

While "Highland Cathedral" plays

Updated: Mar 31

Maybe it's one of those angel things people talk about, too casually in my opinion, that Pandora is playing the piece titled Highland Cathedral just as I'm starting to write this. On which angels topic, a day before our departure there was a Prosecco Tasting opportunity happening on our ship. And I like that particular version of bubbly stuff, better than champagne anyway, for some reason ... so I went. Stood next to a truly interesting gal (yes, I admit it, she would have made a fascinating conversation companion anywhere) who asked our presenter specific questions that needed asking, in understandable yet educated vocabulary--about how and where to serve which variation of prosecco. Interesting. The thing is that as conversation developed she asked where was La Mia Sposa, and I explained the situation. Carol (name) tuned in at once, suddenly refocused intently, and assured me she had ~35 years experience in evaluating exactly such conditions. So Michele hobbled up to the adjacent lounge and C did an evaluation on the spot. Confirmed what we suspected and helped explain what our encounter with the ship's doctor next morning, would be about. Remarkable and beyond remarkable, as I told Carol, that we should happen to be standing in friendly pose among the thousand-plus people aboard, where there existed such a suddenly perplexing situation for Michele and me. M and I slept a little more peacefully that night after this visit, and I think the doctor appointment was smoothed somewhat for our semi-mobile patient.

So here we are in Old Lisbon (all of it is prettyold, but this Alfama District survived the devastating earthquake better than most), and outside the world continues to turn. To turn and be traversed and explored by some and just ridden on its ordinary orbit by others who continue to continue. For both of which groups I have great affection, I find. And on the topic of setting forth, this capture from a little earlier today.

Do double-click (or double-poke if it's your cell phone screen) to get an idea of the size of this thing. Depending on where you search, its capacity is around 6,000 passengers. We have watched, from our nosey-neighbor windows, comings and goings of mainly British peeps entering and exiting Portugal customs across the street. Or does one say peers? Men in shorts and tropical shirts, women in sleeveless tops and practical shoes. Hahahaha, and other modest attire. No really, they were out there.

We heard back from our travel agent re tickets for return. Ouch. Because of comfort concerns swirling around area of hip-owie, it's Business Class. And because it is so close to the time we really need to be underway, there simply aren't any "cruise fares" available. They occupy a whole other more economical plateau. Ow, ow. Ow. We did choose to let Oceania offer us Future Cruise Credits instead of a cancellation, which hopefully they will do. Easier for them and better for us should we decide to do more seafaring.

So yes, we are coming home early, a generous six weeks sooner than we had hoped -- and in considerably more pain. I confess that images of places we will never see beyond Eric's imagination, keep drifting past: ghosts of things undone but wistfully held onto, digital captures I shall never seize, Blu-ray videos I shall never ever make. Meanwhile the thing is to get this infirmity repaired and therapy underway, so life can become as normal again as possible. I will probably write another epistle in this format, or so. But the mood has to strike (as those who have done such a thing can attest) for it to be satisfactory for the reader and satisfying for the composer.

Meanwhile this picture taken just this evening in our living room of four days.

Honestly the sofa had this puffy encouragement just sitting there.

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And then


une fois encore