Home Alone

December 13, 2008 -

John Heald

Women communicate in the strangest of ways. Heidi is constantly texting her friends …….what they are talking about I have no idea. To men…………texting is a tool for abuse; “u ok u fat bastard?”

Oh, and for passing on jokes of poor taste. This used to be the job of truck drivers who would spread the jokes across the country……they have lost their jobs to texting.
I have learned to hate the phone over the years, especially while on vacation. If the office in Miami wants me they will e-mail or call my raspberry. Therefore, if the land line rings………..I refuse to answer it.

Heidi – can you get that?

John – No, it will be for you

Heidi – I’m in the bathroom

John – Bugger

A few moments later Heidi will come down and the conversation will be as follows.

Heidi – who was it?

John – Some friend of yours

Heidi – who?

John – no idea

Heidi – you mean you didn’t take a name or number?

John – she’ll call back if it was important

And when women do get together in groups and talk live……….what are they talking about? Well, a few nights ago Heidi had a group of friends round for an evening talking about babies, pampers and poo. Luckily, I went to the movies with Alan (The Day the Earth Stood Still was excellent by the way) and when I returned I listened to what they were talking about. During this 10-minute spying session from behind the living room door I heard her and her five friends talk about a group discussion about the dreams they had last night.

The latest fad miracle diet which would take pounds of their bottom and a round robin discussion which included general man bashing about how useless we all are around the house.

At one point my jaw hit the floor when one of Heidi’s friends said she could actually remember being one year old and had clear memories of one year birthday. Heidi and all her friends went “Woooooooooow.”……….If this had been a group of blokes talking and one had said that he would have been met with a chorus of “What a load of bollocks.”

Some of you may say that maybe the lady who said she remembered being one year old may actually do so…….well, how come then she forgot to bring a bottle of wine or some cream cakes to Heidi’s gathering ……every other lady did……….she didn’t. And, this particular lady has the most annoying habit of saying the word “whatever” at the end of every sentence.

When asked how she felt about the credit crunch, she said: “I am so over it now, it’s like, ‘whatever’.” In her world almost everything is “like whatever”.

The poor weather is “like whatever.” The onset of a Christmas is “like whatever.” Do you want coffee or tea….”like whatever”? Mysteriously, though, President Elect Obama “is so like cool.”

You see, the “whatever” lady is much younger than Heidi and her friends but she is an ex-social host/dancer who lives in the area and she was raised in today’s modern way of speaking. I’m sure your children speak the same way; I’m equally sure they deliver longer sentences in a flat monotone with a scorpion tail of rising inflection at the end.

This I suspect has been picked up from too many television programmers. Couple these speech patterns with the “like whatever” that has come from some exclusively blonde and pink valley in Los Angeles and we’re left with an odd conclusion. A girl born in London and raised on a cruise ship has developed an accent from somewhere in the middle of the Pacific.

This is not the end of the world because eventually she will grow out of it in much the same way that you and I at some point stopped describing Emerson, Lake and Palmer as “far out” and Deep Purple as “groovy.”

What she may not grow out of, however, is her insistence that “today” is spelt with a 2 and that “great” somehow has an 8 in it. This new language has now spilt from the cellular phone world of texting into her Christmas cards and letters.

People, like my friend Jennifer in PR, believe that txt spk spells the end for proper English and are furious, but really it’s hard to see why.

Think. When pictograms and hieroglyphics were replaced with letters and numbers, did people paint angry drawings in green ink in the caves of North Dakota, declaring that this new “writing” was the work of the devil? “Imagine having to ‘write’ to a newspaper wn you’ve seen a t-rex? How much easier it is to simply draw one.”

Now our days are filled with distractions. You’ve got to locate a signal for your RaspBerry, download some BeeOncea onto your Eye Pod and still find time to work, cook, clean the house and slaughter a few Zombies on the PlayStationXbox. Speed writing is therefore a damn good idea.

Some people, even without the benefit of long hair and earpieces, were happily writing at 110 words a minute, more than twice what could be achieved if they were writing “properly.” So why, I figured, if this works so well do we still persevere with ABC, the language of the quill? We changed the way we wrote when steel-nibbed pens replaced feathers, so why not change now that silicone impulses have replaced the Biro? You can’t write shorthand blog on a conventional keyboard but you can write txt spk. And it is perfectly legible. “2day i wnt 2 c the dctr who sd my bld prssur ws gr8 but I have Hem/rds.” What part of that can you not understand? A language without vowels: it’s never done the Dutch any harm.

Adopting txt spk as the new alphabet would mean that I could say more each day on my blog thingy. And because. This would be “cool.” And the lovely thing is that if you complained that you didn’t understand I could just say…………… “like whatever.”

Good evening everyone. My drama with Pussy Galore the injured cat is not over. As you may have seen in yesterday’s blog thingy, I found an injured feline in my back garden and after tears from the wife I took it to the local vet. Having spent over $100 on vet bills I received a call from the cat sanctuary this morning……..and I couldn’t believe my ears. I was told by the tofu-eating vegatablist on the other end of the phone that it was my responsibility to pay for a notice to be placed in our local paper saying that I had found this cat and where she was now.

“No,” I said………I have already paid $100 for its surgery and now I had to put an advert in the paper. I then unbelievably received a bollocking from the lady on the phone saying that it could have been someone’s pet and that right now a 11-year-old girl with pigtails is crying into her My Little Pony pillow because Tibbles has buggered off …… or …….as I told the vegetarian cat-loving Ms Henshaw it could have been dumped in a ditch by a would-be axe-wielding maniac.

I then passed the phone to Heidi as I was slowly starting to get annoyed and the end result………..an advert with a photo will appear in the local paper which I will be billed £18 ($30) for. I truly hope it belongs to the girl with ponytails…………….but I have a feeling the owner is as we speak sitting in a dark room buying a new axe on the internet.

Alan wanted to say thank you for having a look at the Southend Lifeboat website …………..over 2,000 of you did yesterday……………you are all so very kind.

Let’s highlight one Caribbean Island today and that island is the one that has a beach for every day of the year…….that’s 365 by the way…………….and that island is Antigua.

People come here for relaxation. By law, all 365 are open to the public. The ones I used to send guests to was Dickenson Bay which is Antigua’s sand central, with a half-mile smile of gleaming white powder, two or three bars and all manner of kayaks, water-skis and wet bikes carving up the blue. Much more romantic is Hawksbill Bay. Its quartet of coves get lovelier the further south you go, though you may have to brave the stares of resort guests, who’ll get a little bit annoyed at the cruise ship guests invading their beach ………but they can bugger off because as I mentioned……….every beach is open to the public although many involve paying an entrance fee.

Of course, the island’s British traditions are everywhere to be seen from the old style English phone boxes to the smattering of English Pubs. The place to soak up the atmosphere is Nelson’s Dockyard, on the south coast. Built in the 18th century so that our British Navy could protect the sugar trade, the dockyard has been tastefully restored, its original stone and clapboard buildings surrounded by period street lamps and tidy flowerbeds. We have a brilliant array of tours available that cover all the usual suspects of island tours, snorkeling, boat trips and relaxing days at the beach. Remember, Carnival Victory and Carnival Freedom are two ships that call to this island of total relaxation.


It was a naked girl, with her back to him. She was not quite naked. She wore a broad leather belt round her waist with a hunting knife in a leather sheath at her right hip. The belt made her nakedness extraordinarily erotic…or at least it did to me. This is James Bond Beach on the island of Jamaica and close to the port of Ocho Rios. This is where the iconic scene from the first Bond film, Dr No, was filmed. Ursula Andress emerges from the sea, singing Underneath the Mango Tree, in that famous white bikini, Sean Connery’s Bond is waiting to surprise her. Now, if you rent Dr. No you will also see the old Boxite pier where many of our cruise ships have docked over the years and those guests who were on the Holiday, Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Sensation may recognize the area Sean is trying to blow up…..here’s a bit of a trivia quiz for you. Can anyone name a movie in which a Carnival Cruise Lines ship can be seen clearly in the background? Here’s a clue………the ship is in Miami ………….any guesses?

On Monday I will fly to Venice to see the Costa Iluminosa and, of course, the Carnival Dream. I will be looking at:





And much, much more.

Of course, I will be sending a full report on Tuesday along with answering all your questions that are in my inbox thingy. I will send a few raspberry blogs on Monday. I am flying Easy Jet…….so I am sure I will have something to tell you. I will have video and photos to show you as well so see you on Monday.

Well, I am home alone. Heidi has flown to Holland for the weekend to be with her mum. It’s only a short flight to Holland, just 40 minutes………….but I still worry about her. However, I have another thing to worry about and that’s not assaulting our dishwasher with a chainsaw. It’s a new dishwasher. And now I am thinking of smashing it into small pieces because when it’s finished washing the pots and pans it makes a beeping noise.

And if I don’t empty it immediately it beeps again. And then again. How stupid is that? It means you’re sitting by the fire, nodding off in front of the television, when you hear the electronic summons and, because you know it will go on until the end of time, you haul yourself out of your chair, pad into the kitchen, open the door and discover, as jets of superheated steam gush into your face, that the beeping was not, in fact, coming from the dishwasher at all. So now you’re standing there, looking like The Phantom of the Opera, wondering what on earth had been making the infernal noise.

It could be anything, because these days everything beeps. Cell phones beep when they are dying. Microwaves beep when your food is ready. Freezers beep when they get too warm. Cars beep if you don’t put your seatbelt on. Captains beep before they make an in-flight announcement and I beep when I make one onboard. Airport golf buggies beep when they move. Children’s toys beep when they don’t. Trucks beep when they reverse. Parking meters beep when you put money into them. Phones beep when there’s a message. Shop doors beep when you open them. Actors beep when they swear. There’s even a beep in the when I click on a web site thingy on my lap top dancer computer.

Now if Heidi was here she would know immediately where the beep is coming from. So you creep about the house, with your melted face, hoping that you’ll be near the source of the noise when it strikes again. Then, suddenly, you think: “Bugger me. It’s a smoke alarm warning us that its battery is dead and that unless I do something about it – right now – everyone will be burned to a crisp.”

Quickly you get a stepladder and replace the battery and just as the cover snaps shut you hear the beep again. This time, of course, you know it really is the dishwasher. So you open the door and it steam-strips the bits of your face that weren’t burnt off the first time. Because actually the noise was coming from the freezer, which has got a bit too warm. ……….AS OZZIE OSBOURNE WOULD SHOUT” SHAROOOOOOOOOOOOON…..so am I shouting ” HEIIIIIIIIIIIIDIEEEEEEE.”


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.