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Cruising from the comfort of your armchair proves a thrilling experience for Brookside residents

Taking a cruise liner to explore exciting new destinations has become an increasingly popular holiday choice for travellers in recent times, particularly for those in their senior years. A conversation about such holidays with our residents often elicits memories of far off destinations, trying out new foods, absorbing the local culture and the fun and laughter along the way.

But just because their home is now with us, this doesn’t mean that cruising is out of reach – definitely not in the eyes of our Activities Team at Brookside, an “outstanding” home in Melksham, run by The Orders of St John Care Trust anyway. Residents at Brookside are currently half way through a virtual round-the-world cruise and loving every moment.

Launching from Southampton in mid-September, the cruise has already taken in Spain, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Sri Lanka and Australia. At each port, the home is decorated with pictures, flags and bunting from the specific country, the activities team dress up in local costume, local drinks are served and music is played throughout the day which is traditional to the country being visited

In Italy residents were treated to authentic homemade lasagne and pizzas with tiramisu for dessert and a glass of Limoncello liqueur. Entertainment included employees dancing to the tarantella, a traditional Italian folk dance, which the residents really enjoyed.

Another highlight was the stopover in Greece where homemade moussaka made by our Greek handyman., Greek salad, stuffed vine leaves, tzatziki and grilled chicken were available for everyone to try. Employees entertained our residents by dancing the bouzouki whilst dressed in togas and pupils from Forest and Sandridge School, came into to talk to the residents about Greece and enjoy the food and entertainment. The day concluded when everyone had great fun smashing plates decorated by the residents and made from Plaster of Paris.

When the cruise docked in Egypt, local belly dancers came into the home and residents and employees soon joined in before trying out lamb tagine. kofta kebab, grilled chicken and pita bread.

Sri Lanka’s food options included vegetable curry, Bombay potatoes and chickpea and potato fritters, whilst Australia’s food treats included a barbecue with beef burgers, hot dogs and grilled chicken. On both occasions, residents took part a quiz which was relevant to the country they were visiting.

After all this fun and excitement, the ship is now out at sea for a couple of weeks before docking at Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Las Vegas (where Elvis will be in the building) and Canada. Our residents are already practising their salsa moves for Cuba, and will again be joined by pupils from Forest and Sandridge School, and the tango for when they stop over in Brazil.

The cruise will come to its crescendo in December with a Captain’s Table three course meal and residents’ Christmas Party with a winter wonderland theme, before docking back in Southampton for a well-earned rest. Pupils from Forest and Sandridge school will come into the home once again to join in the fun.

Our residents have had the most wonderful time, many of their families have joined in at the various stopover points and employees have thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Memories have been captured on film and will be treasured for many years to come.

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