Home, Sweet Home

May 24, 2007 -

John Heald

Hello to you all from Southend On Sea in England.

This is going to be a short blog because I am on vacation – sorry, holiday – and I have a cup of tea and a crumpet waiting……………………….I will take a photo of a crumpet and post at a later date.

I will not be answering posted comments today or tomorrow but will play catch-up over the weekend I promise.

My flight was uneventful except that it was on a “budget airline” and I have not seen as much plastic since I watched the Miss Universe Contest. It’s funny but when an “extra medium” sized man such as myself walks down the isle of an aircraft it causes people to look away as if to say “Please don’t put the big guy next to me.”

Today I got my preferred aisle seat and sat next to a man called Guido who was flying to London for a job interview. He started this conversation because he wanted my advice on the best way to get to the West End but luckily we were interrupted by the in-flight safety announcement.  It’s strange but even in today’s world the amount of people who talk and completely ignore what the stewardess says is extraordinary. I guess because I hope that people listen to my lifeboat drill announcements that I will always pay attention to what is said on aircraft.   Anyway, after the safety announcements and the eventual takeoff, I felt that Guido wanted to become my best friend and would have talked my head off for two hours. I know it was rude of me but I put on Heidi’s MP3 player she had given me and completely ignored him. After five minutes, the battery died and not wanting to become Guido’s satellite navigation system I pretended that the music was still playing and every now and then bobbed my head up and down in time to imaginary music.  I arrived at the airport and went through Immigration and Customs and, in my mind, was secretly hoping that some very rich and sympathetic blogger had arranged a brand new Aston Martin to be hired for me. I had even looked this up and found a website that does do it http://www.aston-hire.co.uk/ and, as I walked into the arrivals hall, I looked for an Angelina Jolie look-alike who maybe would be holding a sign that said “John’s Aston Martin – This Way.”  No such luck. 

I went instead to the car hire desk and I was given a “luxury car” which looked like Yoda from Star Wars. I just about have enough room to sit behind the wheel but if the air bag goes off there will not be enough room between me and it to make any difference. Anyway, at least it has air conditioning because it’s 80 degrees in England today.

So, I arrived home and it is great to see my Mum and Dad. I was welcomed with two big hugs and a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich, the perfect homecoming.

I am going to stay with my parents tonight as we have had some problems with our apartment. Heidi and I have a beautiful apartment by the sea. Well, when the sea is in. Because of the tides, sometimes we have a beautiful apartment by the mud. 

I digress. Last month, the apartment above us had a pipe burst and this caused water to flood down three of our living room walls and in the kitchen. It ruined my plasma TV and we have decorators, insurance assessors and the like working on it now. Rather than stay there alone, I am staying with my Mum and Dad tonight so I am not alone and I get a cup of tea in bed tomorrow.  It will be strange sleeping there, as I have not done so since I was 19 and left to work for Carnival.

Tonight, for dinner, my Mum cooked me roast beef and Yorkshire pudding……I had seven and have no intention of checking my sugar level tonight!

Tomorrow, I am meeting my mate Alan and will take a photo of my breakfast, etc., for tomorrow’s blog. Then I will be seeing my niece and nephew and family and a quiet night in after that.

I am very proud of Heidi. She has told me all has gone well and the guests are asking about me, which is nice, as well. Heidi and I hate being apart but we both understand that there is nothing more important than family. 

So, I am off to bed to dream of my luxury car which as I type has stopped looking like Yoda and now seems to look like Camilla (Prince Charles’ wife).

As I am talking about cars, a quick story which I know many of my colleagues always enjoy hearing.

When the Carnival Leg End was in Harwich UK — which is just 40 minutes from where I live — I had a special car for two days. It was loaned to me by a very good friend called Spencer who I miss very much.  Spencer had lent me his FERRARI 360 SPIDER which I proudly parked by the gangway. Everyone, especially the Italian officers, of course, all wanted to sit in it and I refused all kinds of bribes to allow them a drive.

The only person who I said yes to was a man who has been one of the foundation posts of Carnival’s success, Maurice Zarmati, Carnival’s vice president of sales. Maurice is known throughout the industry.  He is quite a character and a real gentleman. Maurice told me he was thinking of buying a Ferrari and could he have a drive. I said yes. How could I refuse such a man as this?

In we got with Maurice behind the wheel. He started up the V12 400 BHP engine, selected first gear and away we went turning out of the pier and started our drive through the port of Harwich. After a few moments Maurice looked in the mirror and alarm spread across his delicate features as he saw what I saw in the wing mirror, a blue flashing light and the siren indicating the port police were behind us and were not happy.

Maurice looked at me as he began to pull over. “Was I driving too fast? I thought I was only doing 30,” he said as he applied the brakes. “Yes,” I replied, you were doing 30 miles an hour……….but unfortunately you were doing 30 ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD. ”

I will write again tomorrow.


Your Friends,

John and Heidi and tonight, goodnight also from Mum and Dad

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.