The earlier speakers left the ship in Antigua and Barbados and the new troop arrived before we left St Maarten.
You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I told you that we had a "Celebrity Speaker" aboard. I showed you a photo and asked you if you could name him. He was called Paul Fletcher. He had played football for Bolton and Burnley and had later been CEO of those and other clubs. His claim to fame was that he had been involved in building new stadia at those clubs and had also been on the committee involved in the redevelopment of Wembley. Some of us found it difficult to understand why Cunard had invited him to speak and why they had called him a celebrity.
General Sir Simon Mayall KBE CB is one of the new troop. He is a brilliant speaker. He is an expert on the Middle East and has been a Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Defence. Yesterday he gave us the complicated background to the troubles in the Middle East under the title History and the Crisis of Isis. Tomorrow it is the Ottomans.
We also have a naval historian speaking, Captain John Nixon. Today his topic was Captain William Bligh of the Bounty fame. The Mutiny is one of my favourite topics as a result of our day at Pitcairn Island in the early part of 2014. Tomorrow his topic is another man near the top of my list of great sailors, Admiral Lord Cochrane. Brother in law David Holt had lent me a book on the great man and I packed it when we went off round the world. I forgot about the book until we arrived in South America. Cochrane's exploits kept coming up during lectures and I'm sure I reported on him on the blog back in February 2014.