Published on March 13th, 2017 | by Ann Rickard


Don’t Break My Toe-Tappin’ Heart

Something strange happened to me.

It occurred between a chorus of Achy Breaky Heart and a verse of Harper Valley PTA.

And on the highseas, if you don’t mind.

See, strange?

For a number of years on a number of cruises I have sat in the background and watched as passengers shouted “bingo”, joined in trivia games and played cards and … got into the ultimate of cruise activities … line dancing.

If I am honest (and I am) I have always watched these cruise activities on the sidelines with a gin and tonic and an expression of smug amusement.

Not nice of me, but I am guessing those of you who have never actually shouted “bingo” or done a boot-scoot would have observed too – and suppressed a snigger yourselves.

But this time, on this cruise, I was determined to get involved in as many on-board activities as I could – apart from wine tasting, gourmet dining and spa pampering, all activities in which I am a world champion record holder.

It was on board Emerald Princess, a cruise from New Zealand to Sydney and there was a lot of line dancing going on.

I sat it out on the first day.

I kept my face straight as the passengers learnt the steps from an exuberant instructor and then toe-tapped and stomped and kicked and swayed about, trying to keep in unison but ending up in a clumsy muddle as the ship rolled across the roiling Tasman.

But on the second day, I became a participant.

A virgin line dancer.

I stood at the back of the 100-plus people, horribly self-conscious even though it was obvious not a single one of them was the least bit interested in me.

They were all too busy enjoying themselves.

Well, as I said at the beginning of this amusing little tale, between Achy Breaky Heart and Harper Valley PTA I started to feel weird.

This was fun.

Great fun.

Was it the enthusiastic clapping?

The whooshing grape-vining?

The cute cupid-shuffle?

The happy twirls?

The jubilant whooping? Or was it the country classic songs we all say we hate but secretly love?

I couldn’t work it out. In my lowly opinion, line dancing has always been up there with nerdy, daggy, embarrassing.

It wasn’t until it was all over and I had a rosy glow from body movements I had never done before that I realised what it was.

The simple joy of joining in. Of being a participant in life.

And best of all?

Not giving a toss if there was some judgemental old woman sitting it out in the background watching me with a gin and tonic and a smug expression.

About the Author

is a Noosa (Australia) local and author of six successful books, all humorous travel narratives. In 2005 Ann won the prestigious ASTW’s Australian Travel Writer of the Year and in 2007 she won the ASTW Travel Book of the Year. Ann takes a culinary tour to the South of France in June every year . Ann writes travel, dining and columns for the Sunshine Coast Daily and is the Life editor of the Noosa News. Ann also maintains a well read and popular blog site. Ann’s travels have seen her explore cuisines all over the world.

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