CRUISE FIVE
OF THE WHEATEN PRINCESS
UK and SPAIN
TO THE
BY A P
GOING HOME
                
            Part One
 G
CHAPTER 7
CONTINUED IN PART TWO
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED TO A P - 2011
As they left Spain, they all hoped for a calm voyage home with no rough seas - especially those who were not the best 'sailors'.

Lt Kelsie G had plans to keep everyone entertained on their homeward journey, and the roaring success of a fun contest on a previous Cruise made her decide to have the same again - but with a few variations!

It was announced on the Ship's Notice Boards two days after they had sailed, and it was obvious from the way the Purser's Office was mobbed the next morning, that they would have plenty of takers, both boys AND girls this time!

Lt Tucker, the Purser, and Lt Kelsie were kept busy most of that day, taking entries for the competition. Dasher, the Chief Steward, also volunteered to help with the paper work. This was to be a fun occasion for all, even the crew were able to join in the contest if they wished!

Here is what the Notice said:
ANNOUNCING  A  RACING  COMPETITION!


   FEATURING ELECTRIC-POWERED RIDE ON VEHICLES



                                       To be held ON DECK

                                     ON SATURDAY AT 2pm


       All entries must be made at the PURSER'S OFFICE 
                               no later than 10am FRIDAY. 


PRIZES WILL BE AWARDED TO FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD PLACES.



                               FIRST               -           $300

                               SECOND          -           $200

                               THIRD              -           $100


Entertainment Officer - Lt Kelsie G
Some had reservations, especially when they saw the vehicles they'd be driving (Each candidate went into a draw to decide which vehicle  would be theirs in the race.) Hannah decided that nothing but a Cadillac would be good enough for her, and as there were no Cadillacs, she elected to be an observer.  Hurley elected to sit on the side lines and record the event on video, and take photographs for the contestants to keep as a memento of this Cruise.
And so it was settled. All entries were in by the due date and the deck was being prepared for the race.  As before, certain crew members would be placed along the route to report on the progress of the vehicles taking part. It would be run in  heats, and the winner of each would compete for the final placings.

There was an area along the route for enthusiastic spectators to stand and 'cheer on' their favourites, but most chose to be at the starting post, and the finishing post.

The first to sign up were the couples; Sadie and Reese, Darcy and Murphy, Katie S and Bailey B,  Brandi L and Jake, Molly and Felix  and Lola and Barnaby.

Not all were thrilled with the vehicles they had drawn, but Lt Tucker assured them that they were ALL capable of the same speeds, even though they MAY not have appeared to be so!
WAIT FOR THE FIRST TO END THEN
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THE DAY OF THE RACE
 Among the first to rev up were little Lola and Barnaby. They had been granted a head start due to their tender age. No one objected.

The starting whistle blew, and they were OFF!

To the sound of loud cheers, they got off to a good start.

Barnaby and Lola  stayed in the lead with Felix and Molly  close behind. Pressing hard on them were Bailey B and Katie S in their fire truck. Beside them was the Cop-car with Jake and Brandi L, searcing for an opening to move up through.  However, any chance of that was stopped swiftly by a very fast moving pink sedan, with Sadie at the wheel!  Murphy and Darcy were right on her tail.

At the first checkpoint Sadie had taken the lead, with Barnaby and Lola second, and the Cop-car of Jake and Brandi L in third place. Fighting for the fourth position were Murphy and Darcy, Bailey B and Katie S, and Felix and Molly were looking for a way through.

By the time they reached the second checkpoint, the order had changed yet again. The 'little engine that could' had taken the lead, followed closely by the fire truck, driven by Bailey B, who was trying to get to the front while Felix swerved from side to side to prevent it from happening. In third place was Murphy and Darcy, and tied for fourth were Sadie in her pink car, and Jake in the cop-car. Poor Barnaby and Lola were bringing up the rear.

At the third checkpoint there had been a change of leaders. Bailey B, in his fire truck, had taken the lead, and Sadie was in second place.  The others were bunched up behind, trying to find a way through.​​

At the finishing post, the spectators watched a magnificent fight to the finish. It seemed to be anyone's race as first one, then another vehicle pressed to the leading position, only to have it snatched away by another competitor.

​​Then, something quite amazing happened. Like a bolt, the little red and yellow car appeared from nowhere and zoomed to the lead through a timely space between Sadie and Felix. There was no holding it!

​​Flying on to win the first heat was - BARNABY AND LOLA!

In second place was​​ Felix and Molly, and third was Jake and Brandi L.

The two little kids were overjoyed to have won the heat, and of course, they would now go on to compete in the Final.​​

​​Keeva ran up to hug them. Oh, she was so proud of her two adopted babies.
THE SECOND HEAT
1, 2, 3- AND THEY WERE RACING!​​ 

Shooting straight into the lead was MacKenzie Jane ​. (Cody held on tight. This girl was DEADLY  behind the wheel!)

Coming up behind were three cars ​​- Budley and Katie T in the Cop-car, Finnegan and Shana in the Jeep, and Boomer and Nico in the Fire truck. Right on their bumper was Guinny, with Emma M in the little Engine.

At the first checkpoint​​ MacKenzie was still in the lead, but the formation behind her had changed. Now Finnegan and Shana were in second place with Guinny and Emma M close third. Fourth place was being fought out by Budley and Boomer, who seemed to think it would scare the others into giving space if he rang his bell loudly enough!

Things had changed at the second checkpoint. Now Boomer was in the lead (bell still clanging) and​​ Budley was in second place with Guinny running third. Mackenzie and Finnegan tied in fourth position.

The final stretch was coming up, and​​ there was no change in the positions as they passed the third checkpoint.

But things were about to change.​​ Budley and Katie T in the Cop-car surged to the front and held the lead, while second and third places were fought out between Guinny and MacKenzie.

They passed the post in this order:​

Budley and Katie T​​, - MacKenzie and Cody, - and Guinny and ​Emma M.​

Budley and Katie T​​  would go on to compete in the Final.
THE THIRD HEAT
They prepared for the third heat - after which the winners from the three heats would compete in the final race.

Again, there were five vehicles with
 two competitors in each. Charlie & Brandy G, Bailey Y & Rudee, Griffin & Brady, Tater & Teddy, Eoin & Barklee all thought they could win the third and final heat.
The whistle sounded - AND THEY WERE RACING!
At the first checkpoint Charlie and Brandy G  were in the lead, just holding off Griffin and Brady, who were pushing their way through aggressively.  Eoin and Barklee, Bailey Y and Rudee, and Tater and Teddy  were fighting it out for third place.

At the second checkpoint things had changed dramatically again.​​ Now a jubilant Eoin was flying along at an incredible speed, and poor Barklee was holding on for dear life. Who would have thought a little 'puff engine' could move so fast!

Tater and Teddy were in second place with Bailey Y and Rudee close behind.​​ Charlie and Brandi G were struggling to get past as they were level with Griffin and Brady who were determined to hold onto their position. It was a tough race!

As the third checkpoint came up, the positions were the same, except that Griffin and Brady had made it through to third place.​​

Just after the third checkpoint, Eoin encountered a problem​​ when his navigator, Barklee, almost fell out as Eoin screeched around a corner on three wheels. That loss of speed cost him the race.

As they came up to the chequered flag ​​the lead was a substantial one, held proudly by Griffin and Brady, who roared home as winners of the heat. In second place was Tater and Teddy, with Charlie and Brandy G  in third place.

Oh, but what a disappointment for poor Eoin, (and poor Barklee!)  who had been making such wonderful progress! Still, that's racing for you!  Never predictable!​​

Griffin and Brady  would compete in the final race.​


                                                                 -----------------------​

They stopped for a break before rolling the final race.​​ Everyone needed to take some refreshment before tackling the 'big one' which would decide the winner of the contest.

After 20 minutes, the three finalists returned. They chose to drive the same vehicles in which they'd won their heats.​

Keeva and Buddy were watching closely as little Barnaby and Lola prepared for their final drive in their little red and yellow car.​​ The adult dogs were kind to them, but this time, the kids requested that they NOT be given a head start, as it was not fair to the other finalists. They all thought what noble little pups these two were, and Keeva beamed with pride.  She had come to regard them, and LOVE them, as her very own, and so had Buddy, who was never far away from the lovely Keeva.  

​​Everyone suspected that there would be Wedding Bells there when they returned home, and of course, a double adoption of two little Puppy Mill survivors!

                                                               ----------------------​​
The time had come. The drivers and navigators climbed into their cars, and waited for the starting whistle. Barnaby & Lola  had drawn the inside lane. In the centre was Budley & Katie T, with Griffin & Brady on the outside.

A loud shrill blast pierced the air, and they were off to the excited cheers of the many spectators.​

With only three vehicles, it was easy to overtake, and right up to the second checkpoint this seemed to be the pattern, first one, then another was in front. It was anybody's race.​​

As they approached the third checkpoint it was Griffin and Brady in the lead, with Budley and Katie T  right on their bumper-bar!​​ The two little kids were making space to go through. Barnaby was a smart lad, with reflexes and responses that were swift and accurate, and he handled that little car like a Champion.

​​​Everyone was impressed.

The final phase of the race saw the changing of leaders so frequently that it was impossible to predict who might fly past the chequered flag first!​​ But in the last stretch, there was no room for guesses. BARNABY AND LOLA HAD IT IN THE BAG!  They had a clear lead of a good three lengths!

Second  past the flag was Budley and Katie T​​ - and almost tied with them was Griffin and Brady in Third Place.


OH, WHAT A RACE!​

The children posed in front of their car for pictures, as Lt Kelsie G put garlands of flowers around their necks and gave them a loving hug as well as their $300.​​  Even the others who had tried so hard to beat them came forward to congratulate them.

​​In a way, they had ALL been WINNERS!   

Keeva came to greet them, and they fell into her embrace with delighted little squeals.​​

What a WONDERFUL experience it had all been.​​
The call went out for those competing in the second heat, and MacKenzie and Cody, Budley and Katie T, Boomer and Nico, Finnegan and Shana, and Emma M and Guinny  boarded their vehicles.

It was interesting that someone had been taking bets for the race, and Captain Sydney wondered who it might be, but he decided to turn a blind eye, as everyone was having so much fun.​​

Some interesting comments were being made by the competitors, as they awaited the starting whistle.​​

The surprise was when Cody agreed to let MacKenzie Jane take the wheel. (Now that can't have been an easy decision for the lad!)​​

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THE EVENING ENTERTAINMENT
As a special celebration for the winners and place-getters in the big race, a treat in entertainment was arranged for that evening.

The first performers were a surprise to everyone - none other than the WINNERS themselves!

Little Lola and her brother Barnaby came onto the stage in their formals. A gasp of delight echoed across the Lounge because they looked so darn cute!  Were they going to recite a poem Keeva had taught them? Or perhaps sing a Nursery Rhyme?

Singing was right, but it was no Nursery Rhyme they belted out! In fact, it was a VERY well performed version of an old popular song, and it was so appropriate to the occasion!
After some dance music, Kelsie G announced that they were to receive another treat this night. She kept them in suspense, and the Band struck up with the old tango -  HERNANDO'S HIDEAWAY.

What a HOOT! These kids were not only brilliant drivers, they were talented singers too! Kelsie G, the Entertainment Officer, wondered what other talents they had that were yet to be discovered!

They were cheered back onto the stage to sing an encore, which they did! Oh, how life had changed since they'd escaped that cruel Puppy Mill and 'happened' to get onto a van that was delivering to the Wheaten Princess!

What an adventure it had been for the two little abused orphans. They thought warmly and lovingly of Keeva, and of Buddy, who they hoped would become their new Mom and Pop when they arrived back in New York - only a couple of days away now.

Their thoughts returned wistfully to their birth Mommy. A little tear tried to squeeze out of their big brown eyes, but they closed their eyes and said a little prayer to her, wherever she might be - saying how she needn't worry about them now, because they were beginning a whole new, wonderful life, and they would NEVER forget her or cease to love her ....

Keeva came up and sensed their mood. She gently took them by their paws and whispered something - who knows what - but it made them both smile.
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The choice of music gave everyone a clue as to 'who' they might be seeing next. And they were RIGHT! Onto the stage with slow, elegant movements, came the SPANISH DANCERS!

Jimmy and Scooch thrilled them again with an exciting Tango  with a little spicey Flamenco thrown in!
Scooch
 Jimmy
​​Everyone tapped their feet to the music and some even 'sang along' - and every time they came to the bit that goes 'Hernando's hideaway - ole' they shouted the'OLE' with great gusto!

This was something which Jimmy seemed to appreciate and find inspiring, because he danced more adventurously, carrying out some spectacular lifts and throws, and catching Scooch as easily as if she were a bouquet of flowers!

When the dance routine ended, the audience literally got to their feet and yelled out BRAVO! OLE!  and ENCORE!​​

Kelsie G whispered to Sydney that she wondered if Jimmy thought he was in the Bull ring!​​

They left the stage after two encores, and Scooch looked like she was glad to have a break from being 'tossed'!

But what magnificent dancers they both were! No one would ever forget this night.​​​​
                         
                                                                   ---------------​​

​​

The final performance of the night was fittingly, THE THREE BALLERINAS
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There was the usual hush as they flitted onto the stage. They were like fairies, and their movements to the beautiful music were nothing short of magical.

You could have heard a pin drop in that crowded main lounge.​​ Every eye was fixed on their faces, their feet, their graceful movements. They swayed like ferns in a summer breeze, and their leaps were like soaring larks, reaching for the heavens. Oh, they had never been better!

When the last notes faded and they fell gracefully to the ground like falling petals, there was first, a silence, which in itself spoke louder than the the fanfare of trumpets, and then - and THEN, a slow rumble as folks got to their feet. This was followed swiftly by a murmur which became a roar of many voices raised in praise - cheers, and clapping, and foot stamping which echoed around the room. WHAT A RESPONSE!

Darcy, Khaki and Brandy G were overwhelmed, and was that sparkle in their eyes make-up, or was it tears of joy?​

Several of the audience ran forward, onto the stage, and hugged them.

This, from their fellow passengers and members of the crew, meant more to them than the wild applause in the countries they had visited, and in those cities where they had performed. This was special. These were THEIR people showing their appreciation, and their love.​​​​
And so another day came to a happy close. Soon they would be in home waters, and soon this wonderful adventure would come to an end. In just one more night and two more days they would be passing the Statue of Liberty once more.

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, but endings are often so sad. They hoped this one would be a specially happy one to remember, always.
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