A week away after a busy first half of 2023 is just what’s needed and a cruise to the Norwegian fjords fits the bill.
As we both run the office together, when we’re away we close the shop and an ex-travel agent friend, Mary, takes the phones – screening any unimportant attempts to disturb our week of peace.
We’ve no sooner hoisted the anchor than a text arrives from Mary.
She’s had a call from a lady who was given a quote for the USA over five weeks ago and simply must book it today – do we want her details?
I ask Mary to get the client to email us with her final requirements, names and DOBs and I’ll get back to her ASAP.
Email arrives and it’s completely different to any of the three previous quotes I’ve provided.
I reply to say there’s no way I can help until I’m back on Monday.
“Well, as you obviously don’t want my business, I’ll be going somewhere else,” she retorts.
“No problem,” I reply, before the ink on her email is even dry.
Fast forward to the last day of the cruise and an email arrives from the client asking me what time I’ll be in on Monday…
I decide not to respond and celebrate my decision with another drink at the bar…
Cruising is a wonderful way to travel and, as I’m someone who’ll talk to anyone and is more than happy working through a cocktail list while people-watching, it’s an ideal break for me.
If asked, I never say I’m a travel agent, as I get sick of the: “Oh, is it free for you then?” comments, or the “What’s the price for a seven-night fjords cruise in 2028?”
I usually tell them I’m a postman or tax man. On one occasion, I said I was a taxidermist.
I’m on my barstool next to two Texans, Joe and Barb, both at least mid-70s.
Barb is immaculately turned out, with a handmade rhinestone jacket that blinds you when the light hits it, while Joe is in double denim.
As I watch Barb getting stuck into her sixth glass of Chardonnay, I’m reminded of an episode of Dallas, where Sue Ellen is holding on to her glass like her life depends on it.
I find Barb interesting, though, so plod on with the conversation.
During our chat, it’s soon established that:
1 They love England.
2 They’re surprised and a little disappointed that I didn’t know Princess Diana.
3 Everything is bigger in Texas – and I presume that includes wine glasses and rhinestone factories.
Our conversation comes to an abrupt end when Barb falls off her stool, indicating it’s time for Joe to take her back to their stateroom, but not before they make a promise to meet up with us later and ‘do this again’.
I can’t wait…
Read more Secret Agent tales here.