Friday, April 16, 2010

The Travels of Becky & The Baroness II

In The Promise of Happiness, Becky and the Baroness finish their cruise in Trondheim, Norway. "Getting that lady into the tender was a delicate operation involving careful lifting while Becky hovered over the plastered leg, in a panic that the tender would give a lurch and it would receive a thump which would undo all the good it had been doing....the Baroness was seated at last...they made the short trip to the shore. Here the same procedure had to be carried out, although it wasn't quite as bad because there were no stairs to negotiate." The Baroness wasn't carried on or off the tender while in her wheelchair...evidently someone picked her up and moved her by hand, which seems like a safer and easier prospect than having to carry a wheelchair with occupant, down a narrow ramp/stairs and then lift the whole thing onto a small, bobbing boat. My friend Teresa was very brave to agree to it. I don't know that I could have done it, especially knowing that if I got dumped in the water I wouldn't be able to swim (I can swim, but with her disability she can't).

In Trondheim, Becky gets a little free time, which she uses to do some shopping and sightseeing. Not too much shopping - she doesn't have much money, and she needs to save up so that she can make a home for Babe, I mean, Bertie and Pooch. One of the places she goes to is the Nidras Cathedral (that's how Betty - or the typesetter - spelled it). Wikipedia has an article here about the Nidaros Cathedral.


  1. You know, I find myself wondering if Betty Neels herself was in a wheelchair for this particular trip to Trondheim. I mean, you know that all of her "fictional" travels are based on real-life trips that she took. Why have an older woman in a wheelchair if she herself didn't have some experience with it?

    After all, she was in her 70s and 80s when she wrote many of these books!

  2. Betty would have been about 70 when this book came out. She might have been in a wheelchair, but then again, she might have traveled to Trondheim on a ship that had other people in wheelchairs. All of her little details, like getting ashore on a tender would have been quite easy to observe. Maybe she shared a dinner table with an older woman in a wheelchair...