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Classic FM and luxury cruises float Patricia Sealey's boat

Ports of call

We discovered cruises 10 years ago because my husband John hates flying. We were living in Botswana and the only way we could get home was on the last world voyage of the Canberra. We loved the luxury and knowing you could see lots of places without always packing and unpacking. We loved seeing the Roman ruins on a Mediterranean cruise. To be able to walk around the Colosseum and the Forum, touch the stones and think these have been here for so long. All open, with no queues. And the size. You don't realise how big they are until you see them.

Favourite music

We listen to Classic FM. My favourite composer is Rodriguez, my favourite piece his Concerto d'arancio. On the Queen Mary 2, a harpist and a string quartet played at lunchtime and in the evenings. My son Marang, 11, has severe learning difficulties. He loves sitting out on the balcony looking at the sea. He was really eager to hear the harpist and she let him pluck the strings.

Best book ever

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I first read it when I was about 25: I wanted to find out how it ended, because when I saw the film we had to leave to catch the last bus. I keep up with Alexander McCall Smith's No.

1 Ladies' Detective Agency books, because they are set in Botswana and they ring true. I've written children's stories about Africa for Heinemann's Junior African Readers. Children in Africa can find books aimed at English readers difficult: they can read the words but they don't know what parks and fairgrounds mean.

Theatre visits

John acts with the Stamford Shakespeare Company. I'll see him play Justice Shallow in The Merry Wives of Windsor this summer.

Cross purposes

My hobby is cross-stitching. The purser's wife on the Canberra ran classes.

I did Queen Nefertiti's head for my classroom display. I've been working for five years on a black and white picture of my husband as Cymbeline, taken from a photograph of him with smoke around his cape. It's certainly not going on a cushion. No one's going to sit on it: it's taken me so long.

Patricia Sealey, 52, is special needs co-ordinator at Belton Lane community primary school in Grantham, Lincolnshire. She was talking to Karen Gold. Details of Stamford Shakespeare Company's summer season on

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