Down the Pub

November 26, 2008 -

John Heald

There are times when I think life would be a lot less complicated if I was an animal ….a deer for example, wandering the woodland waiting for someone called Billy Bob from ESPN2 to come and shoot me in the head. “Why a deer?” I hear you say ……. well ……. because then, all I would need do to establish myself, as the superior being in a group, is to stand tall and wave my antlers around.

Unfortunately, men cannot do this, partly because we don’t have horns and partly because the human equivalent is the penis. And if you start waving that around in a Starbucks, it will end very badly. All men will claim they don’t jostle for the high ground in a group of other men, but this is bollocks. We all do. Some by using wit, some with the enormity of their wallet and some by demonstrating their IQ is higher than a Rastafarian monk who just smoked an entire marijuana bush………. And then you have those who think it’s all down to the size of the engine in their car.

I met one chap today as I waited in the Waitrose (a UK Publix-type supermarket) for Heidi to go and buy toilet paper, hemorrhoid cream and other essentials. As you may remember, I did have a Range Rover but sold it recently because FOAGAPB (Friends of Al Gore and Polar Bears) decided that I was a monster and that my car needed decorating with eggs.

Well, I had every intention of buying a Mini or a Smart Car or one of those Toyota Piranha thingies…..but Heidi is now with Thingy and she needs a big car ….. so ……I bought another one. So far I have been egg free but that maybe because its been too cold for any demonstrations in my village ……… can’t demonstrate about global warming when its only 2 degrees outside with a light sprinkling of snow on the ground.

Anyway, there I was parked up, listening to a talk radio station discussing if it’s OK in today’ s society to say “Merry Christmas”……..don’t get me started on that one ….. when a chap parked his Porsche Cayenne Turbo next me. He looked at me as I sat in my car and I knew exactly what he was thinking. My car is bigger, more powerful and more expensive than yours.

If he had been a deer he would have been scraping his horns up and down the side of my car………I just hoped he wouldn’t get his thingy out and start swinging it around. I had the window open because, even though it was a cold and frosty day, I wanted to enjoy a Monte Cristo Number 2 — and if the man in the Porsche could have, he would have gotten out an even bigger cigar out and smoked it.

He looked at me and as he did I turned my head and nodded to him. Now, just as I did that the DJ on the radio was saying that saying “Merry Christmas” may upset certain people. This made me very angry and I think that maybe the man in the Porsche felt that the anger was directed at him and the sight of a cigar-smoking, snarling Jabba the Hutt had the man in the Porsche starring at his shoelaces until Heidi appeared with the toilet paper, hemorrhoid cream and some foodstuff.

This had been my second example of “man stuff.” A few hours before I met the man in the Porsche, I received this e-mail on my Facespacebooktube thingy page thingy.


I am a Cruise Director for $£”&* $£”!&*&% and have read your blog for some time. You have given me the inspiration to write my own blog and as you seem to delight in making fun of the cruise line I have worked for since 1998 I intend to do the same to you and Carnival.

I am going to open a large blog of whoop ass and it is heading your way. Just thought that I would give you a heads up on what’s going to happen

Kind Regards

&$” *&%*
%^$£ $%^&*

Now, I have thought long and hard about if I should publish the name of the CD and the line he works for but decided not to give him or it free advertising. I wish him much success and I am sure it will be a great blog. I am sure he will have fun on his blog and I look forward to seeing the large whopping of my arse.

Seriously, good luck mate and if I can help in any way just call me and I will tell you to bugger off……..kidding……..seriously, I wish you lots of luck mate.

The Queen Elizabeth 2 is as we speak docking in her final resting place in Dubai. Peter Shanks, Carnival UK commercial director, is there and I hope he will send us one of his brilliant reports soon.

Here is the last part of Big Tex’s notes from the Carnival Fantasy. Please join me in thanking him for his dedication and hard work and for allowing us a look at what is happening onboard ……………thanks, mate, and see you in February.


The last week has been a lot of fun for me (but it was quite a bit of work, as well). I really enjoyed being able share my life with you, and hope that you had as much fun reading my entries as I did writing them.

I would also like to say thanks to you John for allowing me the chance to do so. Along those same lines I would also like to say how much I admire and respect you and what you do. It’s not easy coming up with something entertaining and interesting to write every day, but John, you sure make it look that way.

So, after thinking for hours about what today’s topic would be, I figured I’d actually tell you what it’s like to write one of these, for me anyway.

10:16am – Opened a new word document and put the date at the top (always a good start). Stared blankly at the screen for nine minutes.
10:25am – Wrote the first two paragraphs (something about Thanksgiving and what I’m thankful for). Realized halfway through that I didn’t like what I was writing and was going to delete both paragraphs as soon as they were finished, but still felt compelled to write them anyway.
10:30am – Repeated this process for 43 minutes, again and again and again.
11:13am – Closed the document and decided to work on it later.
11:30am – Went to the gym, while running on the treadmill went through at least 40 different topics to write about, didn’t like any of them because I didn’t see how I could make them funny.
1:00pm – Called Gary the ACD and asked him to give me a topic. He was no help, kept saying something about “where the sun don’t shine.” I can only assume he meant his home country of England (which would be difficult for me to write about since I’ve never been there).
1:12pm – Wrote the first two paragraphs, decided I liked them and they’re still there.
1:14pm – Banged my head on the desk multiple times, the thought process being that I might be able to knock something loose in there.
1:27pm – Came up with this idea.
1:28pm – Decided I didn’t like this idea.
1:29pm – Decided I liked the idea and was going to go with it.
1:30pm – Changed my mind and started writing about Thanksgiving.
1:38pm – Decide I didn’t like the Thanksgiving idea and deleted what I had written.
1:39pm – Closed the document and decided to work on it later.
2:56pm – Began writing the timeline of what it took to write this blog.
3:30pm – Stopped writing for boat drill. Took my camera with me so I could take a photo with the Captain. He refused, said that he needed to shave before we could take the picture.
4:15pm – Began writing the timeline again, although not sure if I should be doing this or the Thanksgiving thing.
4:30pm – Finished writing. Went back to get the picture with the Captain. He was doing maneuvers and was unable to shave, therefore unable to take the photo.
10:47pm – Received a call from the Captain. He would be unable to take the photo tonight. We would have to do it tomorrow night.
5:38pm – Finally got the photo with the Captain.
6:00pm – Downloaded the photo and placed it in the document.
6:03pm – Finished the timeline.
6:05pm – Sent the whole thing to John, Stephanie and Vance.
6:06pm – Wept openly, sucked my thumb, and realized I should have written about Thanksgiving and what I’m most thankful for…namely, this week being over.

Baby Huey and Herve Villachaize…uhhh…me and the Captain.

Until February 7,


So, Heidi and I emptied our mailbox today and we were overjoyed at the gifts and cards. We received cards from Paul Pietrangelo, Carol Schoenberger, Russell and Claire Broski, Bill and Dottie Crandoria, Cliff Phalen, Ronald Bricker, Patrica Pascale, The Butchko Family, Tony and Gloria Covillo and Eddie Portman. We also received a beautiful baby hat for the thingy and shower gel for Heidi all from Cruisin Grandma and beautiful necklaces and pendants for Heidi, my Mum and Heidi’s Mum from Big Ed.

We also received a card telling us about the sudden passing of regular blogger Linda Jensen’s Mum, Betty Stouffer. Betty was a regular cruiser and I am looking at her obituary in the newspaper clipping you sent Linda………..and I, of course, remember Mum well from her many cruises. Heidi and I send our deepest sympathies to you and the family and I hope you have many wonderful memories of your time together on the ships of Carnival. We are thinking of you.

Heidi and I thank each and every one of you for all the mail, including the eight other letters I did not mention just now that were also received today. These letters of comment about past voyages have all been read by me and I will make sure that I reply to each and every one of them. Obviously, I cannot be the guest relations department, but I can make sure that the right people hear your comments and that you are all contacted ASAP.

Thanks also to Cruisemom (Sandra) who sent more Swedish Fish………….thanks so much and Heidi is munching on some as I write.

So, to recap……..lots of cards and lots of gifts for Heidi and the Thingy………but bugger all for me.

Please send:




Seriously, many thanks for all the cards and gifts and you will all receive something from Heidi and I very soon

Heidi has this image of pubs as nice places to go. You sit by a roaring fire and talk to other people who will become friends and invite you round to their house for tea and cake. Me……I hate pubs. Maybe because I don’t drink and begrudge paying £3 ($5) for a diet Coke. I also hate pubs because in the UK it’s the law that you must play the hemorrhoid of sports………darts.

I loathe darts. If I do go to a pub I want to go with my mates for a bit of banter….Why would I want to spend my time in the pub, standing up, doing math? Darts is a game for people who can’t make conversation, or who are so bored by seeing the same faces night after night that they have to do something apart from talk and drink warm beer.

We’re told that Henry VIII was a keen darts player and I can understand that. He didn’t have a PlayStationXbox and needed something to take his mind off an alarming collection of sores that were multiplying in his underpants (having been married 6 times) and in between having rumpy pumpy with everyone of his serving wenches.

But now, anyone who can’t think of what to say to their friends while in a pub can spend their time texting other friends who aren’t there. Even that is better than bloody darts.

Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m not very good at it. My ability to hit the treble 20 is governed not by hand-eye coordination but by the laws of averages and probability.

Mostly, I fail to hit the board at all, or the dart bounces back and pierces my shoe. And then I’m expected to stand there, with my foot nailed to the floor, trying through a haze of pain to deduct eight from 257.

The other thing I hate about pubs is the food. Nowadays we have things called Gastro Pubs which serve plates of drizzled swan and peacock scrotum……on toast. Honestly you would be better off eating the little blue tablets in the urinals.

British pubs should sell British food. Spotted Dick, fish and chips, shepherds pie, dumplings, steak and kidney pie and ploughman’s lunch………they just don’t anymore and that is a real shame. There is a famous restraint in London called Simpson’s in the Strand. It is one of the last bastions in the UK where you can get real British food and if you are ever in London you must go there. I know George Hamilton is a big fan as are my friends Mr and Mrs. Bentley…..the Yorkshire pudding is the best….apart from my Mum’s.

Then you have city centre pubs where men go to meet girls, not realizing that all girls in city centre pubs have thighs like tug boats and morals that would surprise a zoo animal. Show me a man who married a girl he met in a city centre-drinking pub and I’ll show you someone who’s made to wait in the loft, playing darts, while she entertains lorry drivers in the front room.

Anyway, as I said, Heidi loves English Pubs and therefore last night we went to one.

The village of Dunmow where live has two pubs…………I won’t mention their names in case the landlord or the regulars happen upon this blog. Most North American’s country pub experiences are permanently scarred by An American Werewolf in London. There’s a pub in that film called The Slaughtered Lamb into which the heroes of the story enter, one cold dark night, only for the whole place to go totally silent while everyone turns to stare at them menacingly.

I was, therefore, slightly apprehensive about my first visit and decided to walk straight back out if anyone was cross-eyed or warned me against going into the forest at night. As it turned out, the place was totally deserted, apart from the grumpy landlord who was watching television and didn’t really “do” conversation. I introduced myself and he asked me what property I was living in to see if I really was a “local.” He was six-foot-plus and had one of those old high-necked fisherman’s sweaters on as though had come from the set of “Most Dangerous Catch.”

He then asked me what I did for a living. Now, I didn’t want him to know what I did. This may sound strange, but honestly the last thing I wanted was for him to tell everyone in the place that I worked for a cruise line and then have to sit in the pub and answer cruise questions all night even though most of the regulars were probably huge Cunard fans. I know this because most of the men were wearing blazers and pink shirts and drinking gin and tonics. So…..I told him a little white lie…..only a really small one…..but a lie nonetheless…..I told him I was a male prostitute……and he said…..”How much?” …………kidding

I told him I was a writer and I wrote a column each day for an American travel publication. Upon hearing this I listened to the landlord’s opinions on America, its new president whom he referred to as “bleeding Socialist” and how he loved Montana and Utah but hated New York.

I asked him why he hated New York expecting to hear that someone had been rude to him, etc., but he then said something which took me by surprise. He told me that he didn’t like it because it was too busy and then he clarified this by saying “I love to walk and I couldn’t get going. It was too busy and I had to take big steps and then little steps and then a few more big steps and then lots of little ones again.” This made sense.

Here was a man who owned a pub in the middle of nowhere and I can imagine him taking huge long walks through the English countryside……….but in New York……….he had to take big steps ………then lots of little ones.

So, trying to get friendly I changed the subject and mentioned the fact that I had seen our local celebrity in the Village this morning…..some of you may have seen her years ago on NBC. She was the original host of a program called The Weakest Link and her name is Ann Robinson. She brought the show to the USA and Canada I think. She has a reputation of being strict but fair on the show and I actually like her. Anyway, Heidi had seen her shopping in the High Street the other day and mentioned this to the landlord and he immediately launched into a verbal assault on the village celebrity.

“Terrible, arrogant, rude, ginger bitch, never came into the pub once, thought she was better than us, swanning around the village in her convertible Mercedes. She’s not liked round here.”

I nodded, in what I thought might be a nice, non-Mercedes driving manner and mumbled something about “disgraceful behavior” and “terrible.” I didn’t want to get on the bad side of this guy, as he could probably turn the village against me…. And be burned as a witch.

Your Friends
John, Heidi and The Thingy

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.