- by Sue Seaman -
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When I was fourteen, I remember rushing home to ask my parents, if I could go on a school cruise which was being organised. There were a couple of spaces left and I really wanted to go. Mum and Dad agreed, and on November 11th 1969 I boarded the school coach and we set off for Gatwick Airport ready to fly out to Venice to meet our Ship. Our ship, the SS Uganda., (which some years later would be used as a hospital ship during the Falklands War) would take me and many others around the Mediterranean for 14 days.

Picture Courtesy SS Uganda Trust

The kids on board were from schools all over the country. So we were all making new friends. This was especially important to me, as I was a bit of a loner at school and was so often teased about it.

Our days on the ship were filled with writing entries in our ‘log book’ of places we had visited, playing deck games and with free time just to relax and take in the sunshine.

In the evenings there was usually a disco and my new friends from other schools and I would dance the night away and making requests to the DJ to play a particular song.

My friend Gill and I got on very well and when she knew that I had never had a boyfriend she decided she would find one for me.

“The next boy that walks through that door” she said, “if you like him, I'll ask him over.” We were sitting in the cafeteria area and a short boy with dark curly hair came in. Gill went over and spoke to him and he came over. That night I met him and his friends and the girls from his class and we all became friends. They all came from Birmingham.

Often during the evenings there would be a special event on and one particular night there was going to be a fancy dress contest followed by a ‘fortune teller’. Gill asked me if I was going to have my fortune told and like many other girls, I said I was.

A girl in my class - Elaine had entered into the fancy dress contest but she had tripped up some stairs a few days earlier and had injured her leg and foot. Now, all wrapped up in bandage, she said that she would still enter the contest anyway. She was planning to dress as a fairy, but because of her ‘gammy’ leg she would go as ‘gammy fairy.’
Elaine was quite a large girl so you can imagine the picture – wearing a fairy dress, waving her wand and dragging along her big fat ‘gammy’ leg. She had a cheery personality and she hobbled along behind the others in the contest. Of course, everyone laughed and needless to say - Elaine won the contest outright - and well deserved to!

Afterwards some of the girls queued up to have their fortunes told and when it came to my turn, I was told that I would meet someone ‘tall dark and handsome’. Well, it was the usual old ‘patter’ that you would expect to get from a so-called fortune-teller - and it didn't come as a surprise. Then as I left the room she said that I had met him already (but the boy I had met was short with curly hair – so she got that wrong!)
Gill was told much the same thing and I expect the other girls were too. Well the fortune-teller failed miserably, because not one of the boys from Birmingham that we had become friends with matched that description.

In Gill’s class (Gill was from a different school) there were a couple of birthdays during those two weeks and I tried to get myself invited to the birthday parties that were arranged for them.
Unfortunately, because I didn't go to her school they wouldn't let me go. I thought I knew everyone in Gill’s class and because of this, I thought, surely they would invite me. But no, so I was left to while away the time whilst Gill went along to the parties.

Well, the holiday was a wonderful experience but like all good things it had to come to an end. We all had to say our ‘farewells’ to new friends we had made and the tears just flowed that morning we departed.

For a while letters were exchanged between new friends but after a couple of months they ceased. Everyone had got back in to the ordinary school life, it seemed.

Christine, one of the girls from Birmingham did keep in touch and three years later, at the age of 17, I ventured on my own all the way up to Birmingham to stay with her for a few days.
I also met up with the boy I first met on the cruise and went out on a date but nothing really came of it.

About a year later whilst at work, I met Malc. We had all gone down to the local pub at lunchtime and it was there I saw him. He looked at me and I looked at him. He was tall and had long black hair. We started going out together and found that we had a lot in common. Amazingly it out turned out that Malc had been on the very same cruise as me in 1969 on the SS Uganda! He knew Gill – who was in the same class as him at school. I thought I knew everyone in her class – and yet here I was talking to Malc and didn't remember seeing him at all. The funny thing was that he said much the same thing to me. He knew most everyone in my class but not me! We never met on the cruise - but met four years later.

We knew that we were meant for each other and that we would marry. We have now been married now for over 30 years and so much has happened in that time. We have 3 grown up children and a blessed extended family at church. We love serving the one who brought us together in the first place.

Yes, he happened to be tall, dark and handsome - but it was no fortune-teller that brought Malc and I together – it was God Himself. He brought us together years later - to work out his plans for the future.

Do not be deceived by the tricks and deceits of the Devil and those that do his bidding such as fortune tellers, astrologers and spiritualists. The Bible says that we should “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8)

But rather - trust in God and He will fulfill His purpose in you.

Have you got a story to tell? Perhaps you also had a memorable trip on the SS Uganda.? Perhaps you met your husband or wife on board? If you did We could consider publishing your story on this site!

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