Bits and Pieces

January 3, 2008 -

John Heald

Ouch………….that really hurt. Yesterday I was doing my job as a man and taking the rubbish (garbage) bags out to the yard when I slipped on the ice that had formed on the decking and that was me on my bottom and I appear to have sprained my ankle which when I put weight on it going down stairs feels like tiny insects are munching on the bone………….and do you know whose fault it was that I slipped and now look like I am 90 years old when I walk down stairs…………………… you know who is to blame ………………its The Duchess Of Cornwall…………………Camilla……………..the bottle didn’t break when she christened the Queen Victoria………………I was there ………….. therefore ……………..its the curse of Camilla.

Good morning and of course it has nothing to do with the Duchess that I fell but as she is being blamed by my friends in the British press for 80 people becoming sick with Norwalk or a similar virus onboard the Queen Victoria the Daily Mail decided to blame Camilla and call it “her curse” ………………because the bottle did not break. Now, how about writing that the ship has been welcomed in every port like the Royalty she is or that on the same day the National Health Service here in the UK informed everyone to wash their hands after visiting public places.

Oh well, next time I see Camilla I shall blame her for my swollen ankle. Seriously, I thought she did a wonderful job and let’s blame her also for the obvious success that the Queen Victoria has had and will continue to have for what will be a long and historic life.

Heidi and I returned last night from Holland after a wonderful visit. We spend some valuable time with her family and New Year’s Eve was memorable for the thick blanket of smoke which covered the country as every household fired a volley of fireworks on the stroke of midnight. The following day Heidi and I went for a drive and a walk to see two incredible dykes.

As you know, Holland lies below sea level and serious flooding as in 1953 when thousands of people died is a constant danger. These two dykes have been built to stop the flooding and as the water of the North Sea gently kisses the dykes, Holland can rest easy in the knowledge that these amazing feats of engineering will protect them. I have heard lots about these dykes from a friend of mine who I spoke to on New Year’s Eve and who said: “You must see them.” I am glad I took his advice. Heidi and I had a wonderful walk on top of the dykes listening to our iPod thingies and with the sun high in the winter sky and the crisp cold air felt so good. We were listening to our iPod thingies and while Heidi listened to her Poof Daddy and her Beeoncea, I had Billy Joel and  Bon Jovi singing me in to the New Year.

What a way to welcome in 2008, beat that George Hamilton.  
Here are some photos of our time in Holland. Unfortunately, the ones I took of the dykes are blurred and that’s me in the doghouse.  
John in Amsterdam

Heidi in Amsterdam

The ” River Amstel ” in Amsterdam

The ” River Amstel ” in Amsterdam

John in his favorite cigar store in Holland with the owner John Andringa and his lovely daughter Georgina

There are lots of bikes in Amsterdam……..everywhere…..

The Flower Market in Amsterdam (note the prices….50 tulips for 5 or 7,5 Euro….)

The Flower Market in Amsterdam (note the prices….50 tulips for 5 or 7,5 Euro….)

Fireworks in Holland on New Years Eve

Our fireplace at home
Today, Heidi and I finished the schedule for the Bloggers Cruise activities, this is the first time we have hosted a cruise like this and I am sure it will be a learning curve for the cruise in 2009. I have tried to include as many Meet and Greet gatherings as possible and still allow me to be the Cruise Director. We have over 1,000 people registered as Bloggers and I am so humbled that so many people have given up their valuable time and hard earned vacation to cruise with me. I promise it will the best cruise………ever.

Look out for these forthcoming interviews.  
1. AIDA – We will interview one of the top executives of our sister company and find out what makes this cruise line so wunderbar.

2. HOW IT IS BUILT – I will be interviewing a top executive from the world’s premier ship builder Fincantieri. Rather than me post the questions, I thought it might be good to give you the chance to ask how, when and why ships are built at the yards across Italy. If you have a question please submit it via the blog with the heading “FINCANTIERI QUESTION” by January 12th and I will choose a dozen or so questions to put to the ship yard.

 3. INVESTING IN THE WORLD’S LEADING CRUISE LINES – Find out from one of our experts why this year could be the one where you decide to invest in Carnival Corporation and become part owner……..and my boss!

 4. CREW MEMBER INTERVIEWS – These were very popular so look out for more personal interviews with some of the best crew in the world.

 I have read all of your comments and will spend Monday answering any that I have not replied to yet. If you feel that I have yet to reply to an important question or comment, please resend starting your posting with those immortal words “JOHN PLEASE REPLY.”

I will reply to them all on Monday as I will be banished from 90% of the house as Heidi begins the packing process for our return to the U.S.

It has been three years since Heidi and I cruised the Caribbean and although our hearts belong in Europe we are both excited to revisit the great ports and see old friends. Heidi is looking forward to some sun while I am looking forward to some fajitas, jerk pork and other delights.

Thank you all for your New Year’s wishes and I have yet to say Thank You to the many hundreds of you who have send cards and gifts to us over the last few weeks. Your kindness and thoughtfulness is remarkable and a big thank you also from Alan for all the Get Well cards. We will hopefully be able to say thank you in person to many of you this year as you cruise with us and that opportunity will give us both great joy.

That’s it for now, I hope you enjoy the photos from Holland.  
Heidi is telling me now that I have to go to the ER about my ankle as it is quite swollen. I have told her “No” as I hate hospitals and there is obviously very little they can do.

My dislike of hospitals goes back to my first medical in 1987 when I arrived in Miami. During the medical one of the first examples of English being different to American was evident when the nurse came into the cubicle where I sat waiting and asked me for a stool.

I stood up and offered her the chair I was sitting on thinking she wanted to rest her legs………..she was not amused and explained a stool was……………..well……………you know. I had never heard that word before and thought I was being a proper gentleman offering her my chair. The medical then got worse as I told her that nobody had told me I would need to poo on command and that I doubted I could go.

She then gave me a supasatory, probably spelt that wrong but you know……..the thing that……well……… put up…. anyway, she handed me one the size of a pizza box along with a cup the size of something an Espresso coffee is served in to deposit my sample…………………….I remember saying something about the cup being too small and needing a bucket instead but Nurse Kranky continued to be not amused.

I remember sharing this experience with a chap called Brynn Roberts who was on the same flight as me and shared the hotel room and the medical experiences I am describing. Brynn went on to the Holiday as an Assistant Food and Beverage Manager and had a successful career with us for many years. I remember him returning to the waiting room in the hospital looking pale and ashen faced. I asked him what was wrong but this young man from the valleys of Wales just shook his head and I thought he was going to cry. It can’t be that bad I thought and when my name was called I entered the room thinking what a big baby he was.

I rejoined Brynn a few moments later as pale as he and with tears in my eyes trying to shut out memories of the last few minutes when Nurse Kranky and her rubber glove had gone where no man had gone before. It was amazing that after that experience we didn’t just get on a plane and fly home………………..but we didn’t…………………..however, since that day I have a hatred of hospitals and anytime I have to go to one I stick a sign on my bottom that says “exit only.”

Your friends  
John and Heidi

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.