It Was A Very Good Year

December 30, 2007 -

John Heald

Goeie avond………………….as they say in Dutch which translates to …….good evening, which means of course that we are in Holland for the New Year. We took the over night ferry yesterday from Harwich which is in the south east of the UK and arrived at the Hoek van Holland this morning. The ferry which is called the Stena Britannica is a remarkable vessel. She carries up to 350 cars and 100 huge juggernauts as she powers her way across the English Channel.

        Once you drive you car onboard and have made sure the brake is firmly on, you make your way up to your suite. Now, I use the word suite in the same way you would call KFC gourmet food. The cabin was only called a suite because instead of bunk beds we had a double bed and wait for it…………………….a chair…………….yep a chair. Now, you are only onboard for six hours but calling it a suite is like calling me a prime athlete………….it’s just bollocks.

        Anyway, we explored the vessel and I must say there is little difference between their Promenade Deck and that of your 1990’s cruise ship. There are restaurants, bars, cinemas and the place most populated especially by the truckers was of course………..the casino.

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It was Christmas afternoon around 4 pm that I realised that something was not quite right. I had enjoyed a morning at the hospital hosting the radio show (more about that later) and having just eaten turkey, Brussels sprouts, roast potatoes, Yorkshire Pudding, peas, carrots, stuffing and cranberry sauce I sat in a very comfortable chair and prepared to drift off to sleep.  

However, I had a dull headache which had been annoying me since I had woken up and I had put that down to tiredness, etc. but as the turkey and trimmings began the journey to my bottom the headache turned into a fully loaded attack that felt like the entire country of France had decided to hold a party there………..with free ………very cheap wine.  

Then the sneezing started thick and fast and after an hour my handkerchief looked like Shrek had been blowing his nose into it. Anyway, by the time I had left my parents house and arrived home I was coughing, sneezing and generally feeling very sorry for myself.

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The Christmas Spirit

December 23, 2007 -

John Heald

I just returned from what can only be described as hell……………….a supermarket, two days before Christmas when apparently the entire country had decided to go shopping at the same time. Now obviously there was a rumor that France was going to invade and that that would soon be nothing in the shops because people had gone mad………..totally nuts……….”stunard” as they say in Naples.The whole place was a zoo………..and by that I mean people were behaving like animals. I watched bemused as people barged others out of the way to get that turkey before someone else, old ladies who had suddenly gone from sweet and innocent basket-weaving grandmas to members of the Hell’s Angels who used their shopping trolleys as battering rams in order to get to the Brussels sprouts.

I watched as Mums acted as drill sergeant major’s snapping instructions at dad and the kids to go and get various items, all that missing was a salute.

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Christmas Morning with DJ John

December 20, 2007 -

John Heald

I want to share a moment of horror with you all. I woke up this morning and as I was shaving I looked in the mirror and during the night I have developed a full head of hair…………in my nose. I couldn’t believe it. I have never noticed hair in my nose before but this morning I have a small furry animal living in my nostrils. Now, you go through life thinking that your body knows what the heck it’s doing but why has it decided that my nose needs an afro. Anyway, I spent a good ten minutes plucking hairs from my nose this morning and it’s a sure sign that I am getting old……………….I am going to put them on eBay by the way………..bidding starts at $100.

Good Morning from a very cold and frosty England. We had a great time in the Holland and it’s always special for Heidi to spend time with her family. We will spend Christmas here in England and then will spend the New Year celebrations in Holland. Oh, by the way, the next time we go we are taking the car with us and that means we are going on a Ferry from the UK to Hoek van Holland which takes seven hours. We get a cabin and have splashed out and paid an extra £25 for a suite ……………….I can only imagine how this will be and of course I shall share my experiences of our brave adventures with you.

OK, in a moment I am going to hand you over to Heidi who will take over the blog for a few minutes as I want what happened to her told in her own words? So, let’s set the scene. 

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Peking Duck Over Half Moon Cay

December 19, 2007 -

John Heald

What’s the first thing you think of when you here the world Holland?…………..clogs, windmills, cheese, bicycles, Heidi?…………..well you would be right and I bet none of you said Chinese food………..yep, Chinese food and I just had the best Chinese food I have ever eaten ……….in Amsterdam at a restaurant called Dynasty………..correct me if I am wong…….I mean wrong……….but this was the very finest I have ever eaten. I had scallops in a special sauce that only Chef Woo knows the ingredients of and for main course Heidi and I shared the best Peking Duck this side of……well…….Peking.

So, hello from Holland where Heidi and I have come for two days to visit her Mum before Christmas. For some strange reason this blog will feature an eclectic menu of bits and pieces although I will be talking a lot about the environment and we start………..here in Holland. On landing at the world’s cleanest and most organized airport that is Amsterdam’s Schiphol (the luggage retrieval system is second to none) Heidi and I headed for the rent a car desk. We were met by a Dutch lady who had the unfortunate name was proudly displayed on her Avis nametag. Sonja Van Crapper – that really was her name …………by the way Heidi told me that it was a very common name in Holland and actually means a canal lock or crossing……….I was immediately put in the dog house when seeing Sonja’s name I asked her if she knew where the nearest toilet was. ………after the blow to the ribs I received from Heidi, we were asked what car we would like to have within the range we had booked.

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Reality hit home hard this morning as……………….are you ready for this……….. I had to make my own breakfast. After being spoiled and pampered aboard the Queen Victoria this morning, Heidi decided she deserved a sleep in so that was me slaving over a hot toaster as tried to cook myself a gourmet breakfast of a slice of toast. I did consider trying to boil an egg but Heidi has a new cooker called an Arga……….which apparently you need a degree in Physics from Cambridge University just to turn the damn thing on……………..so………….that was me …………eggless……………….and munching on this piece of toast. I used to love jam and marmalade on the toast but unfortunately the sugar levels in these glorious pots are higher than Mount Everest …………………….bugger.So, Good Morning one and all and thank you all for the so very kind comments you have written about the Queen Victoria Blog “wot I wrote”…………….that was pure Victorian London speak there. Anyway, I truly do appreciate the nice words and congratulations and a special thank you again to all those at Cunard who made Heidi and I feel so special………………….Sabrina  🙂

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Queen Victoria………In The Presence of Royalty

December 13, 2007 -

John Heald

It was Sunday morning that we began the three hour drive from home to Southampton and it will come as a huge surprise to you all that it was raining, miserable and grey weather that accompanied us for the entire journey. This however did not dampen our excitement as we began our journey. I was in a bad mood and this was due to the fact that I had to carry a suitcase to the car that was weighed the same as …………well…………..me.”Bloody hell Heidi” I cried. We are only going for two days what the heck is in here?  The answer was, of course, just a look that could freeze the Sahara and I spent the first twenty minutes of the journey with Heidi explaining to me that I know nothing about packing, I know nothing about the pressures of making sure we had everything we needed and she educated me in the art of bringing emergency clothing in case I spilled something down my shirt or someone had the same dress on as her. She also told me she had brought 6 pairs of underwear for me…………I was going to ask why when I realised ……………………. she was probably right to do that …………….there was going to be a lot of eating of rich and luxurious food………there might be problems……………emergency underwear …………….well done Heidi.

Heidi in her dress in the library

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Off To See The Queen

December 8, 2007 -

John Heald

It’s 10:30am on Saturday morning and I sit here at the trusted computer. Heidi is finishing the packing as we are leaving in an hour or so to make our way to Southampton for our adventure on the Queen Victoria.

Since the packing began yesterday Heidi has constructed a force field around various articles in the house and statements such as ” don’t touch that toothpaste, thats for the Queen Victoria trip” ……………………………….and………………………” I have just ironed that shirt, don’t touch it…………don’t even look at it.”

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Take That!

December 5, 2007 -

John Heald

There were 15,000 people, most of them screaming, hysterical ladies and sitting amongst that sea of female hormones gone mad………………was me.

Heidi and I were at the The London Millennium Dome or the 02 Arena as it is now called or as I had renamed it, The Dome Of Hell…………….and it was my fault that we were there, me and my tunnel-sized mouth had me sitting in a dome surrounded by bonkers women.

A few days ago I had asked Heidi what she would like to do for our anniversary and after deciding we would go to a Gordon Ramsey restaurant that she would like to go to a concert. Being the loving, teddy bear of a husband that is me I agreed and thanks to American Express I managed to get to tickets to see………………….Ozzy Osbourne nope…………….Motorhead……………..nope…………………Puff Daddy …………… nope ……….. Jennifer Lopez………….nope…………………The London Symphony Orchestra ……………… nope………………..we were there to see a boy band………yep…………… a boy band…………………called Take That.

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Fame

December 3, 2007 -

John Heald

So, there I was at the checkout thingy with Heidi at our local supermarket with me tasked to my usual job of taking the stuff out of the trolley and putting it on the counter. It should be noted that I am no longer allowed to pack the stuff into bags as I apparently am not aware of the scientific process of not putting certain objects in the same bag incase they cause an explosion………………..and you can bet your bottom that the words “be careful with the eggs” will be muttered every time by the wife. It’s a good thing she says that because otherwise I may start juggling with them.

Anyway, as I unpacked the bacon, the eggs, the toilet paper (luxury by the way) and various other household and food items my sixth sense took over.

Now, I do not have super powers although I wish I could be invisible………….I mean , I was invisible when I was a teenager…………certainly any girl I ever spoke to certainly thought I was……………but I have sometimes wished I was, really invisible.  If I was, there are certain places I would to be invisible in. For example, Buckingham Palace to find out what the “Family” are like eating breakfast, watching TV, etc…………does The Queen eat ribs with her hands, does she ever enjoy a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken? …………. does she read my blog?

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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.