Saturday, 23 June 2012

Bubbly on Board

I dropped into the office last Tuesday (19th June) for some wages and, when talking to the girls at their desks, was struck by the bottle of bubbly (not literally, of course, as in "and God bless all who sail in her...") which was standing on the desk among the keyboards and monitors. I decided not to refer to it as it probably was nothing to do with me. A very fetching bow of ribbon was tied around the neck, just below the cork. An occasion then, but what precisely...

Katerina eventually called to me while I sat waiting close by, "John, we have a proposal for you on Thursday."

"Hmmm," I thought, "this sounds interesting. Maybe some very impressed guest has gone back to the office after coming on one of my trips and given me a glowing report." Chest swelling in readiness, I replied with a look of humble surprise on my face and waited for further information to follow. It did, but was not at all what I'd begun to expect that I'd hear. Katerina proceeded to fill in the blanks:

"On your Lazy day Cruise you'll have a couple who are staying at Kolumbia. The thing is, the man is going to propose to his girlfriend and we want you to take this bottle, keep it at home and take it aboard the Magellanos with you. Captain Adonis is aware of what's going to happen and will set aside one of the below cabins for the couple. At your signal, the man will take his girlfriend down to the cabin and surprise her with his proposal of marriage. Romantic yes?"

Romantic, yes. But not quite the kind of proposal I'd almost decided that I was going to hear. "Yes, John, we're making you a partner!" or "We propose to double your wages!"  Perhaps, "Well done, escort of the month!" Ho hum, never mind, chickens counted early again. Still, rather fun though and sooo romantic.

So, for the next couple of days the bottle graced the inside of our fridge at home and on Thursday morning the 21st (...longest day of the year, again! Where's my life ebbing away to then?) Ι slipped it into a bottle-cooler and placed that inside my shoulder bag before leaving home for the day's adventure.

Katerina had gone on to explain that the prospective bridegroom would give me a nod as to who he was and that I'd have to surreptitiously take him to one side and explain about the cabin. Easier said than done. As I walked the guests from the coach to the quayside I was frantically trying to work out ways of accomplishing the deed without the girl in question sussing anything untoward. Apparently the couple had already been together for ten years, so I had actually expected two thirty-somethings. I was, however, surprised at the relative youth of the couple when I clapped eyes on them. I was only able to deduce correctly which couple (of several possibilities) they were by the fact that they were staying at the hotel whose name was printed on the ribbon around the neck of the bottle. I was very relieved to note that they were the only two people coming with us from that particular hotel (The Atlantica Aegean Blue) on this occasion.

Walking aboard along the gangway, Adonis excitedly whispering sideways into my ear words to the effect of: "Which ones are they Gianni? Does he know we have a cabin for them to use? You'll have to point him out. You'll have to give him the signal so he can come below and we can show him the cabin which we've prepared!"

I tried to assure Adonis that all was in hand, which it wasn't really, but I didn't want him freaking out with nervous excitement, like I almost did! Pretty soon the guests were all "camped" around the boat and we were casting off. I made all the initial announcements regarding what they could expect of the day, where they'd find the boat's toilets and bar and some other stuff, then set about a brief tour of the decks to get a fix on where the couple were. Once I'd located them, sitting as they were right beside Adonis where he'd settled into his seat behind the ship's wheel on the top deck, I made my approach, trying to look nonchalant and mentally conjuring up ways of getting my quarry aside in a way which wouldn't alert his girl.

Rather unimaginatively I whispered to him, "Could you come below for a moment?" Talk about inventive, eh? Following his ever-so slight nod, I retreated down to the main deck and back into the cabin to await his arrival. He arrived seconds later and assured me that the girlfriend hadn't sussed anything. I showed him the cabin, in which Adonis and Ilias had placed the bubbly in a packed ice bucket, along with a huge stainless steel platter of ruby grapes and chopped water melon, plus serviettes. Standing beside the ice bucket were two real glass champagne flutes, aah. Following our suggestion that he wait until we'd departed our first swim stop at Stegna, which meant we then had a full hour's cruise on the boat before dropping anchor again in Lindos Bay, he retreated back to her side to rustle up some excuse as to why we wanted to talk to him. Not sure what he said, but it worked and she evidently was still none the wiser.

Once we'd weighed anchor and were under way Adonis, Ilias and I watched Kyle (that's his name folks) to see when he was going to make his move. For an agonising several minutes nothing happened. they carried on talking in hushed tones and looking at the magnificent coastal scenery that we pass as we head south. Finally, they were on the move. They climbed down to the main deck, came into the cabin and Kyle showed Amy (I know, you've already got there haven't you) the waiting privacy of the cabin. Once they were inside you could have been forgiven for thinking that Adonis and Ilias were expecting a baby to be born any second, they were that expectant. I couldn't help thinking that if she said no maybe I'd get to drink the bubbly.

They were in there for perhaps fifteen minutes, during which the two crew were almost frantic with expectation, old romantics that these Greek are, when they emerged all smiles and both sipping from their champagne glasses, the deed done and the proposal accepted. they emerged on to the deck and climbed back up to the top, where they started explaining what had just happened to the other guests whilst sipping their bubbly and Kyle offering a sip from the bottle to one or two. I too did manage a sip at this stage. Have to admit I asked him though!! A kiss on both of Amy's cheeks later I joined in congratulating the pair of them as we all wished them a happy life together.

Their apparent youth was due to the fact that they'd been together as sweethearts since they were both 14 and still at school. Pause here for another "aaaah" do you think?

Have to say that, as I sat and chatted with them later they both came over as pretty sensible about life and they clearly knew and loved eachother well enough to know what they were doing. When I asked about how long it may be before they actually tied the knot they replied "Maybe up to another two years yet!" No sense rushing it now I suppose.

All in all, it was a really nice twist to the day. On the coach going back later all aboard gave them a cheer in response to my brief announcement, for the benefit of those who'd been so zoned out on the boat that it had all gone over their heads while they went about the serious business of chilling out, that Kyle had proposed and Amy had accepted. She'd even told me that she'd been hoping he'd pop the question some time soon.

So, as they fly off back to Staffordshire, join me in wishing every happiness to Kyle and Amy. Kyle's surname is Adams and Amy's is Walthall. I reckon there's a definite aristocratic ring to "Amy Walthall-Adams", don't you agree?

(By the way, I rather stupidly didn't have my camera with me. But Adonis did take a few photos, which he's promised to upload on to his Facebook page. So if you want to see them, keep a watchful eye there. As of this post being published, he hasn't done it yet though)


  1. Oh how lovely, lucky lady eh? But the best partnerships start at a very early age, I think.......coming up to 42 years together in our case!(Remarkable considering the fact that I'm sure I'm still only 25!)
    Love the fact there is a real Greek 'Adonis', is he as handsome as he sounds?

  2. You can decide for yourself. Check out the post "Cicadas and Cruising".

    1. More clothes than the traditional Greek Adonis!

  3. Ahh, how sweet, and all at sea !!!