Pressing the Wong Switch

May 28, 2008 -

John Heald

With my diet in mind and knowing that exercise will play an unfortunate major part in what is about to happen I realised that I needed to go shopping. This is because unless I was going to be wearing a blue blazer and grey woolen trousers on the treadmill I had nothing to wear.

As I am not an athlete, a drug dealer or listen to Pee Daddy or Snoop the Dog I don’t own a tracksuit, jogging bottoms or anything slightly sporting. Therefore, I went to a sports shop, it had the word Mega on the sign so I guessed they would have what I wanted.

I asked the assistant for some workout/jogging bottoms. He asked me what sport I would be doing and when I answered that I wasn’t going to do any sport but would be selling drugs on a street corner and wanted to look the part he looked at me thinking I was serious and hoping I may have had some whacky tobacco he could buy.

Anyway, I bought a grey pair and a blue pair and after I had swelled Mr. Nike’s bank balance and buggered off.

The next thing on my shopping list was toiletries. I have a cold at the moment…………..of course being a man and being the worrier that I am I thought it was something much worse.

My nose was full of hot molten lava and if I had sneezed into a can I could have sold it as Campbell’s Pea Soup.

“I have Ebola,” I told Heidi……………….”No you don’t,” she said……………”You have a cold”………”Maybe it’s bird flu,” I replied…………….”Nope,” …………….”It’s a cold,” she said.

Well, unless you can cure Ebola with Tylenol and a cup of tea, Heidi was right, it wasn’t Ebola………….I had a cold.

Anyway, as Heidi was home packing I had the task of buying supplies of toothpaste, soap and all the other joys of the bathroom. This included various creams and potions for Heidi and I could not believe my eyes when I saw the price of some of them.

Now, I should point out that I never go shopping. My wife is a genius, she knows what we are about to run out of and what we need, whereas if I do go to the supermarket I tend to buy what not what I need but what I want…………which is usually a block of cheddar cheese and some spotted dick.

Anyway, today I wandered the shelves looking for Elizabeth Arden Zit Cream and something ridiculously named shampoo thingy called Bed Head and some make up that has been designed by that singer Bobby Brown ………….no wonder the bugger stopped singing……….$30 for a lip stick……………and that was me of to the Revlon counter.

One of the other things I had to buy was some self-tanning stuff for Heidi as we are off to Italy and she doesn’t want anyone to see her legs are a little pale. I don’t want anyone to see my legs because I don’t want to make people vomit.

I remember that I used to care……………I used to want people to see that I was George Hamilton’s brother.

When Alan and I would go to Spain on our budget holidays we would stay in a hotel two years before it was finished, swim in a pool that various drunken Londoners had peed into the night before and drink wine called El Vino from plastic cups…………………..but we didn’t care……… long as people could see we had a holiday tan that was all that mattered……..they would think we were rich and maybe girls would talk to us……….of course………….they never did. Of course, we never actually had a tan, just pink and white stripes on various parts of our bodies……… we looked like a tub of vanilla and raspberry Haagen Daaz.

It’s strange that the suntan thingy has changed over time. In the olden days a bronzed body meant that you worked outside and were working class. Meanwhile, the upper class stayed inside and bathed in milk to try and stay as white as possible. When then did someone suddenly think that a brown sun bronzed body was what the rich and famous should strive to look like George Hamilton’s love child?

Today though, I realised that someone somewhere is having a laugh. Have you seen the price of sun cream…………and is there really a difference between factor 6 and factor 8 or is it like semi-skim and skim milk…………bugger all difference.

Of course, I may have enjoyed sunbathing in my teenage years but now I hate it. I don’t like people trying to save me by pushing me back into the sea and if I do sunbathe I worry constantly that I am going to burn. Why, well personally I don’t believe that a UV-Ray that the sun has spit out and that has traveled through the earth’s atmosphere is going to be put off from burning my body just because I have a bit of coconut oil on me.

Usually, I do burn and in the places that I forget to put factor 300 cream on. One year on holiday in Jamaica I forgot to put cream on the tops of my feet and spent the rest of vacation wandering the beach in my shorts and long black socks.

I watch the people on the ship, especially the younger ladies who spend the entire cruise on a beach chair roasting like a potato. They come onboard as beautiful young people and leave as leatherback turtles which lasts for just two weeks……………….forget sun bathing…….don’t worry about expensive creams…………just get a job repairing the highways of Arizona or as I found a few weeks ago, get a tan by opening the dishwasher why its still running.

We talk a lot about our sister companies here on the blog but rarely do we mention our friends at the Yachts Seabourn. For many of us this will be a line that we know little about but what we do know is that they represent the finest aspects of luxury at sea. One of the first interviews I conducted on this blog thingy was with Seabourn’s top executive Pam Conover and I remember her talking with great excitement about their new ship Seabourn Odyssey and here are some amazing photos of the hull being floated into the shipyard in Genoa, Italy. I will be interviewing Pam again soon so we can catch up on life at Seabourn and get a further insight into this dream of a ship.

Here are the photos:


I want to pause for a moment to ask that you remember long time blogger Jon (missingthesmokefreeparadise) whose Mother passed away unexpectedly yesterday. Our thoughts are with him and the family at this difficult time.

I also saw a comment from a chap who after reading my blog about Bells Palsy woke up with similar symptoms and having read that I had the same went straight to his doctor. I know what you are going through mate and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

So, we are off to Europe and I must admit that apart from my family the thing I will miss most are the toilets. Now don’t worry, I am not going to go into your basic cruise directors jokes about the ships toilets………….I am talking about the ones on land.

Italy for example is hit and miss. You either get a normal white flushing toilet or you may encounter the hole in the ground where, if you have to do number 2 you stand over the hole like a cowboy with no horse…….as for the ladies……well unless you have learnt the ancient art of levitation then you really are in trouble.

Unfortunately, though, when I visited my sister in Hong Kong I discovered that they had tried to improve the simple Water Closet with state-of-the-art technology and in turn gave me the overriding memory of my trip to visit my sister Sue Drip. We had gone out for dinner to the Mandarin Oriental hotel which has a very grand restaurant on the top floor…………but I doubt if I will be ever allowed back.

First of all the seat is warmed by some sort of patio heater located under the seat itself. I sat down without knowing this which means I had to sit there imagining the heat had come from a Sumo Wrestler who had just been in there before me.

Wanting to get out of there as quickly as possible I found to my horror the toilet paper had been replaced with something that Jean Luc Piccard would have used making the Captain’s Log on the Starship Enterprise’s. There were buttons everywhere with instructions only in Chinese.

The first button I pushed made the seat go from warm to scalding hot………my bottom was on fire.  I pressed at another button – which as soon as I did a big cloud of dry ice shot up my bottom……it was bloody freezing…………… So very quickly and with my bottom cheeks closed tighter than my mate Danny’s wallet and panicking I turned a tap that simply redirected the fountain into my scrotum.

In a state of total shock and as I screamed in agony I couldn’t help but think why.

Who would want to steam-clean their buttocks?

Who wants a lavatory seat that can reach the same temperature as the Gobi Desert and then counteracts the barbecuing of the bottom by deep-freezing your private parts?

I now was desperate just to flush and run away but I was too scared to press another button.

Finally I leaned over the unit to see if there was a normal handle but there was none. I couldn’t leave my General Tso’s Chicken just floating there as I knew the next person would know I had been in there and not flushed. Feeling desperate I stood up and pressed another button………….this turned on the music system and unbelievably the cubicle was now filled with the sounds of country music and as someone sung about driving their pick up truck and marrying their own sister I tried one last button and my misery was complete as a fountain of water which supposedly had been meant for my bottom ………shot all over my trousers.

So, tomorrow at 6 am we drive to Stanstead Airport and catch a flight to Naples. We will be visiting some friends and an AIDA ship as well…………..and then it’s off to Genoa and the start of another adventure.

I have enjoyed a mixture of time off and work these last weeks but now I look forward to some time onboard.

I will miss Mum and Dad very much but I will see them in Dover very soon and thank them for looking after Heidi and I ………………and …………I will miss the comforts of my own bathroom.

See you in Italy
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.