Spider Man

September 3, 2010 -

John Heald

Guest: Ms ———–Ref: 848181425A
Cabin: ———- ————–Added-Changed: 09/01/10 – 09/01/10

SPIDER ON TOUR
Guest came to the desk saying that she had been on the Beach Horseback Riding Tour in PVR and when she was on the horse in the jungle part of the tour she had seen a large spider on the tree. Guest said that she is very afraid of spiders and that she nobody had informed her that there would be a chance to see them. Guest is expecting a full refund from the tour. Tasked to Shore Ex Manager


OK, the obvious here is that she didn’t get bitten or attacked by a spider and how the heck are we at Carnival supposed to schedule what animals, birds and insects are or are not going to be saying “hi” to the guests. Obviously she is not going to get a full refund or any refund because despite her being traumatized she did complete the whole excursion. What she is going to get is sympathy because I know how it feels to see something that makes your skin crawl, sweat and feel like you are going to have to vomit. I know this because I have been to Paris.

I guess you have to be a true agrnophobic…….angropobic……angraphob………a true hater of spiders to understand just how this woman feels though and I have some sense of her terror because I am married to someone whose fear of spiders is extreme. Heidi can handle birth, waxing her thighs and pulling of Brazilian rain forests of hair and the stresses and strains of everyday life with calm and assurance. Mention the word spider and she morphs into a straight to video star who is being chased by someone in a hockey mask armed with a chainsaw. And thanks goodness she is coming out to sail with me on Saturday because in the UK countryside …. it’s spider season.

Every year at this time thousands of the godless eight-legged bastards emerge from the gardens and woods around where we live with the sole intention of tormenting my wife and me because I spend each and every day on spider hunt, patrolling the bedrooms and lounge and kitchen armed with a rolled up newspaper.

To Heidi, September is a like a real life version of some video game. Our house is briefly transformed into a sort of zombie house of murder and gore in which dropping your guard, even for a moment, can have terrible consequences.

We don’t have poisonous spiders in England but they do grow fairly large. But nothing compares to the ones I saw in Jamaica. Heidi and I spent our honeymoon in a villa in Jamaica. OK, we took some friends along as well because we could never have afforded this place called Silent Waters without going with three other couples but it was beautiful and we had a great time. However, it is memorable to me because I had one experience that for obvious reasons I never told Heidi about until we were safely on the plane heading back to the UK.

It was around 2 am. Heidi was fast asleep and I awoke with the sudden call of nature. So I went into the bathroom and did my number two’s. As I sat there, still half asleep, a spider the size of a small dog unexpectedly crawled out from behind the toilet and scampered across my bare foot. I reacted like I’d had a taser shoved up my arse. Blind panic took control of my body before the need to stop “going” had registered in my brain……..you can imagine the scene. My scream had woken Heidi who was shouting “John are you OK, where are you?” I am shouting back “Yes, yes, just really constipated, really bad stomach cramps.” There is poo on the floor and somewhere in the darkness lay a huge sodding spider. Now if I had told Heidi that the truth we would have gone home that night. I am not kidding. Seriously, the honeymoon would have been over. The end.

I went back to bed, telling Heidi I was feeling better but it was probably best she use the other bathroom for a bit. The next morning while Heidi was still asleep I went stealthily into the bathroom armed with a size 11 Nike Air Jordan……..but the spider had buggered off. After cleaning up the evidence of the previous night’s horrors (that was not a pleasant experience) I returned to my wife who woke to say how sorry she was that I had the nasty crampy wampies. I felt bad…..but I had paid loads of money for this vacation and no way was I going to let a bloody spider ruin it.

Time for today’s questions………..away we go.

Beansey Asked:
John reply please

Are the waiters and waitresses forced to dance on the podiums during the dances in the dining room? I just got off the Pride and it seemed to me that they all hated doing it. I also find it cheap and degrading for them. I read a discussion on cruise critic where lots of people said they did not like the dances and singing and preferred peace and quiet at dinner. I am one of those but a more worried about the waiters who have to do these dances.

Thanks
Beansey

John Says:
Hello Beansey

Well I guess we have two questions to answer here. Firstly the waiters and waitresses who perform on the podiums are usually the extraverts, the ones who like to strut their stuff. These are chosen purely on a volunteer basis and nobody is forced to do it. Actually one maitre d told me that many want to do it because of course it puts them at the center of attention which is a good thing one would think when you are working in a tipping environment. Now I know that there are some who don’t like the dances and parades, etc. but I think the majority do.

It has been a long Carnival tradition in the dining rooms and it is one that I would never want to see go. These days the waiters are far busier than they used to be. The ships are bigger and they have bigger stations and sometimes it is not always easy to have that time to play the tricks and converse with the guests as in days gone by. Therefore I think that the dances songs and parades are a vital part in what Carnival is all about. I would be interested to hear what others here on the blog thingy have to say. I hope you had a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes
John

Gordon and Samantha Asked:
We want to book the chefs dining experience on the Dream in November. Do you do this and how?

Gordon

John Says:
Hello Gordon and Samantha

That is probably the shortest posting I have ever had. I would kindly ask that you post again please with using this format and filing in the blanks.

Title -chef’s table booking

Ship

Sailing date

Name

Cabin number

Number of people

I look forward to hearing from you soon

Best wishes
John

Judy Asked:
JOHN!!! PLEASE FORWARD ON TO RYAN(Alaska)

We took the cruise on Carnival Spirit and had a GREAT time! We did do the balcony and it was worth it! We went in late august towards end of season (cheaper) but a little chilly-sweatshirt is needed. We drank Hot Chocolate on the balcony and watch the icebergs go by. We also went up on deck-not crowed-and had our picture taken by a guest just as a WHOLE wall of ice fell!!! Was soo cool! Had that in back of pic! The ports were great! We had rain in Ketacan(sp) but ponchos and umbrellas do the trick and we walked on. Saw a stream soo full of salmon you could reach in and have your fill. Went “goldmining” and realllly enjoyed Sitka-Russian town-people never left after the US took it over and was very interesting. We took the McKinley train out of anchorage and stopped in Denali Park overnight. I went horseback riding into the park!! My husband went white river rafting and saw many different animals on shore. We rode train on up to Fairbanks which was a little disappointing as we arrived at 8pm and everything was closed cept for a couple eating places. We flew next day back to Anchorage to come home. Would I do it again-YES! We left out of Seattle-passport is needed because of Vancouver.

The Spirit ship is smaller which we enjoy-not so many people to trip over-and it does as well a job as Princess etc others.

Hope that helped!

JOHN!!! You really need to do new scripts! Pick a new rhythm or something. Different names to call people. In today’s world it’s a sad shame that everyone wants to SUE people! Lawyers make a mint and live well. No un-employment for them. It someone gets hit with a pillow-they will certainly yell whip lash!! And if someone just falls down (drunk!) there’s another law suit! The company is protecting itself from these idiots but at same time taking all our fun away.

SUGGESTION: How about a big dance party???Just a come as you are (done at different times) and limbo? Or something no one can get hurt? I’d like to see dancers showing us how to do the steps-salsa, chacha etc and have a dance! For those physically challenged-how about a eating off your belly contest!? They have to eat food off the big bellies without hands!! While reclining in a lounge chair!!! Or a trivia contest of movies on the big screen-guess what movie it is. How about a BEACH party??? Move the lounge chairs out of way and bring out the towels! Beach balls etc-get the band going.

Just some thoughts!!! Enjoy!!!

John Says:
Hello Judy

Thank you for that wonderfully descriptive overview of Alaska and it once again makes me realize that I must someday soon experience this for myself either as a CD or as a guest. I am glad you enjoyed sailing out of Seattle and this has been one of the most successful new homeports of recent times and the reviews we are getting on this subject have all been excellent.

I agree that the world we live in has made it difficult to do the things we used to do in the past when there were no men and women in high visibility jackets paring over your shoulder. We will soon be introducing new activities across the fleet and it may include the cast dancing outside of the showroom. Your Carnival Dream and the Carnival Splendor have deck parties that feature a show by the cast and these are very popular indeed. I like your idea of a beach party and thanks for taking the time to tell me about them. I hope you had fun and that image of you on the balcony was wonderfully written.

Best wishes
John

David Templeman Asked:
Hi John, (Reply if you like)

I just wanted to follow up on your response.

First, I have to say that I really wish that I would have had the chance to sail with you as our Cruise Director. It seems that you have a particular brand of humor (spelled correctly) that I would enjoy. I’ve been reading your blog now for a while and I find it both informative and funny.

I have to be fair in my review of “your” Carnival Dream and say that there were some real innovations that I found refreshing. First, the ability to view your pictures at those picture viewing kiosks (forgive me if there is a better naming convention for them). As a tech nerd, I think that it is a really cool idea that is long past due. Now… your placement of said kiosks needs some work. Why on earth you put them at the end of each picture display? People gather around them to see their pictures…. and where are they gathering???? That’s right, in the walkway around “The Dream” (or atrium… whatever you want to call it…). I think you could expand on that idea and maybe add the photo link to say an “intranet”… viewable from your cabin or something like that. It does raise some question about “theft”, but a good programmer would be able to write a nice interface to prevent that.

The Pasta bar was to die for. My wife is 100% Brooklyn Italian… and even she was extremely impressed with the food that came out of there (she’s a bit of a “sauce” snob).

The following is one of the “Little things” that I was referring to in my original trip report. One suggestion I would make, and I think it would add a lot to the “friendliness factor”. Upon our return to any other ship we’ve been on, when you walk aboard there was a bunch of smiling faces waiting inside that gangway with a quick “Welcome back, how was your day?” Even when you are dripping with sweat, sand in your shorts… etc. that really sets a tone for the rest of your day. Not ONCE did we hear a “welcome back” from the security, or any other staff upon return (that is until we saw Sparky our star cabin stewardess). It’s just an observation that me, and all my friends made.

Thank you very much for you offer to help us choose another cruise. This is why I keep coming back to your blog…. you’re a nice guy.

I’m researching another cruise for the 2012 summer season. Our friends and I agree that we all want to sail from NYC this time around… so we’ve been watching and waiting for the 2012 itineraries to be announced for the various lines that sail from NY… I really like the looks of the itinerary that the Caribbean Princess is doing (I know… it’s not a “Carnival ship”… but is still “Carnival”… right?)

Sending our best to you and your family,

Cheers!
David Templeman

John Says:
Hello David

I have always wanted a “welcome home” sign placed over the gangway so that after a long non- air conditioned day ashore that sign says exactly what it should, that we are welcoming you home. So far I have never been able to get this approved for the fleet. It’s a small thing that I think would make a huge difference. Being in the security business these days is hard, very hard and I know that our security staff are not “programmed” if that’s the right word to make saying welcoming comments a priority. I am not trying to make excuses for them but it is a fact nonetheless……….I guess the same way as you rarely hear the airport security wish you a nice flight. However, there is though no excuse for the rest of the crew not to do this and bravo to Sparky for doing so. I will certainly make this known to the ship’s senior management. I am glad you found the new photos purchase system useful and we are looking to introduce this on other ships soon and make even more changes to our photo service. I agree with you by the way, it would be brilliant if guests could view their photos from the stateroom TV’s.

The Caribbean Princess is a beautiful ship and the Princess product is superb. I know that more and more of carnival’s 2012 season will be introduced soon. Please let me know if you have any questions and thanks so much for the kind words. I hope we do indeed get to sail together soon.

Best Wishes
John

Bill Heck Asked:
Hello John: Please Reply

The planets are in alignment and we will take a family cruise on Carnival Conquest, Western Caribbean. We have a grandson that will be 15 months old and is coming along. There will be eight of us. Four cabins.

The Carnival website advises that babysitting is available from 10 PM until 3 AM. Hmmmmm.

I am wondering if there are any arrangements that can be made for babysitting during the evening dining?

I plan to have one night at the Steakhouse with the gang and don’t know how a 15 month old will fit in. He is on the verge of speaking American English and has a great set of lungs. He and his pit bull wrestle for a talking ball he has.

It is a lot of fun to review the day and plan the evening over the evening meal and everyone needs be included. But, apparently one person has to stay with the infant and miss the party. Maybe we can rotate.

Your Friend
Bill Heck

PS. I still use the mouse pad with the two fat bastards and the good looking woman on it.

John Says:
Hello Bill Heck

I remember that photo we took and I am glad to see it still has pride of place on your desk. Unfortunately we don’t offer babysitting during the dinner service hours as the staff are with the Camp Carnival kids having dinner on Lido Deck. They do offer babysitting from 10 pm – 3 am and on port days during the day as well. Now I know that it may seem a bit intimidating to take your grandson to the Steakhouse but you know what, it shouldn’t be. They will provide a high chair and I have every intention of taking Kye there next week so I will let you know how that goes. I am sorry that we can’t provide this service but I am sure things will work out. Do you need my help with table request? Please let me know if you need anything at all.

Best wishes to you and the family
John

Janey – (OKGIRL) Asked:
John, (please reply)

So much to smile about in today’s blog. My 1st two cruises were on the Festivale in 83 and 84, sadly I don’t get credit for one of them as my embarkation photo was lost in a fire 🙁 But you are right she was incomparable. And the Italian officers in their Speedo’s lounging by the pool made this country girl drool.

I am thrilled to hear that you and the girls will be on our Carnival Magic for her TA crossing. This will be a 1st for sister and I and I can’t wait for those 6 days at sea. We booked as soon as the schedule came out.

Since Galveston is my homeport I’m thrilled to be sailing our new ship back home. I am disappointed though that the ship is going to overnight in Galveston and then sail on Monday for a special 6 day cruise.

I wanted to B2B with the 1st cruise out of Galveston. Any chance that we can overnight on the ship and/or be part of the festivities that will be taking place in Galveston on Sunday?

Anyway, my menu selections would be Wilted Spinach & Mushroom salad, potato soup, Lamb and Bitter & Blanc.

Happy cruising, we’re 43 days out from our Conquest Crazies Cruise!!!!!!!!!!

John Says:
Hello Janey – OKGirl

I was very happy to see that you are going to be on your Carnival Magic’s trans-Atlantic voyage. The six sea days will be crammed full of activities and I am already thinking about what we need to do to make sure that we have something for everyone. Unfortunately, the night before the first Galveston voyage is not part of our trans-Atlantic crossing sailing and therefore we will have to disembark everyone. Still, I know that Galveston is a wonderful place and maybe Host Mach will organize something ashore for the cruse crazies. I am so glad you are having fun reading the blog thingy and I will see you next year.

Best wishes to you and your sister
John

Sally Hardeman Asked:
Hi John–

Love your blogs-they are great. Will be sailing with you on October 17, 2010 on the Carnival Splendor. This is my 2nd cruise with Carnival, first being on the Pride the year it first sailed-wonderful ship and vacation. I will be traveling with my friend Ann and are booked in Cabin 1058 on the Panorama deck. Currently we are on the waitlist for early seating-would it be possible to get a table with maybe 4 others by a window-would really appreciate it. Looking forward to meeting you and also a great cruise!!

John Says:
Hello Sally Hardeman

Thanks for the kind words and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog. I will be seeing you soon and I know you will have a great time on the Carnival Splendor. I will certainly ask the Maitre D to see what he can do to accommodate your request.

I will see you soon.

Best wishes
John

Joshua Glen Tibbs Asked:
John, PLEASE REPLY!

I have finally decided to write on your blog to ask for your help. I was hoping that it wouldn’t come to this, but here we are. I booked the Carnival Magic May 22, 2011 sailing for our family. There are a total of six of us traveling. My partner and I are in one cabin, my parents in another, and my aunt and uncle in a third cabin. We did a lot of research and decided on the May 22nd sailing for two reasons. It was during the vacation weeks I have already bid for next year and because we were so excited about getting to visit Florence via Livorno after watching your video on the Carnival website describing the various ports of call for Europe. After booking a total of three cabins we decided to book our airfare through British Airways for next year so we could have all of our travel plans finalized. Much to our surprise, we received an email a few days after finalizing our vacation plans that our itinerary no longer included Livorno (Florence) and we were given the opportunity to rebook on another sailing. This is where it becomes frustrating. In order for us to rebook to another sailing, we would have to make a change in our airfares resulting in a $275.00 per person penalty for a total of $1,650.00. This does not include the difference in the higher cost of the airfare. I have contacted numerous individuals in the Carnival Guest Solutions office and no one has been able to help. I have asked for Carnival to pay the change fees in our airfare so we could rebook on another sailing. We were more than willing to pay the higher fare, but it is asking a lot for the guest to also have to pay a $275.00 change fee per person per ticket. I am frustrated because several responses have been “Well, you should have booked your airfare through Carnival”. I would love to do that, but when your costs are at least $400 higher per person I have to do what will save our family the most in the long run. In other words, it seems as if they are only taking care of the guests that booked their entire package with Carnival. I wish we would have been aware of the change before our airfares had been purchased. I am a Platinum member of Carnival and have always spoken very highly of Carnival. I work for an airline and am always praising Carnival to our passengers because of your wonderful service, but this situation is very disturbing to me. I relate the changing of a cruise itinerary to an airline itinerary. If a guest has booked a certain itinerary on Carnival, they expect to visit those specific ports of call to which they booked unless weather arises. The same is true for an airline itinerary. The airlines have never allowed, hypothetically speaking, a passenger to book a flight from Chicago to Baltimore and then have that particular airline to arbitrarily change their destination to Boston. It makes no sense!

I have rambled enough and am hoping you are able to give a little advice or possibly help us with this important matter. You are our last hope.

Sincerely,
Josh Tibbs

John Says:
Hello Joshua Glen Tibbs

Thanks you for taking the time to write to me and I totally understand your frustration. I know we are working on a comprehensive excursion package from Savona and I will hopefully have details about this very, very soon. However, Florence and Pisa are around 150 miles from Florence so it looks like we won’t be offering any excursions there, I am so very sorry. Meanwhile I have sent your comments to one of our Vice Presidents and someone will be contacting you forthwith.

I know how disappointed you are and I am truly sorry for the inconvenience. I will though do everything I can once you are onboard to make sure that this voyage is one you will always remember. Please let me know if you need anything at all.

Best wishes
John

Stacey W Asked:
John (PLEASE REPLY),

I wrote a month or two ago regarding the Carnival webcams (and didn’t see a reply yet) and also a few months prior to that (where you stated you thought the webcams were in working order, but in actuality, although there was a picture, it was from this fall and nothing recent- and you told me to contact you again if there were issues with them).

I know a lot of the people from Cruise Critic, and I’m assuming others as well, enjoy viewing the webcams and it’s (in my opinion) a valuable marketing tool (“Look…see all these people having a fabulous time onboard?!”). I’m confused as to why they’re not, and haven’t been, working consistently for the past 9 months or so (the Freedom and Liberty…Freedom has a picture that has the date on it from last month, and the Liberty has the correct date but no picture, just a little red “X” at the top left corner of both forward and aft cams).

I’m also curious as to why Carnival doesn’t have direct links to the ship’s webcams on the corresponding ship’s Carnival.com webpage (I’m looking at this website: http://www.kroooz-cams.com/carnivalindex.html) OR a page on the website for all the webcams. ???

Thanks,
Stacey

John Says:
Hello Stacey

I apologize because after checking it does appear that some of the webcams were frozen. I have just been informed though that this problem has been repaired and that all the cameras are working. We need to keep a better eye on this as you are correct of course when you say how important these webcams are. I am also told that we are working on having direct links from our carnival.com site so that everyone knows exactly where to go to find them.  We certainly can and must improve in this area and we will. Please keep an eye on them and if you see any more problems please let me know.

Thanks again for letting me know about this.

Best wishes
John

That’s all for today and I will be back with more on Tuesday. There will be no blog on Monday as the office is closed for Labor Day weekend but I will be on my Facespace page with some little thingies throughout the weekend. I do though want to reply to this comment that was posted two days ago.

Tom
You have nothing to complain about. If you were in Afghanistan getting shot at every day and your kid looked out the window when you deported then you would something to whine about.

Grow up!

John Says:
Hello Tom
Each and every week I am a CD on the ships I pay tribute to the men and women who have served and continue to serve. I would never ever dream of comparing what I do to what the brave men and women of the armed forces do. However, leaving my wife and daughter 5,000 miles away and the feeling of guilt that goes with that is something I will not apologize to you or anyone else for feeling. If it comes across as whining I apologize but I miss them very much as I do my parents. My apologies again for making you upset but telling me to grow up…….well if growing up means becoming a man who doesn’t miss his family then I hope I never do.

Let’s take a break shall we and while I grow up I am going to invite you to watch a British couple who were with me on stage during the Marriage Show. They have been married 68 years and as you will see, the lady is not frightened of saying exactly what’s on her mind.

Giving money to charity is one of my favourite things. I can see why Elton John’s and the Bonders of this world………….sorry…….the Bonos of this world are so into it. Watching money disappear from your Barclays account, and into that of some noble cause, is a rewarding and somewhat thrilling sensation. Wow, I think. That money’s now full of goodness and power. In my account, it would just get wasted on things like cigars and underpants. But now it’s in a place where righteous people will do good with it. Heidi and I sponsor a child in Africa and support a program for the homeless run by the Salvation Army.

It was then very frustrating for me to join the ship a few weeks ago and find out that there were 40 mattresses, blankets and clothing waiting to be disembarked to an orphanage in Mexico. As you know from a previous blog thingy this was due to El Redo Tapeo and the desire of Las Customs to charge massive amounts of money in duty. But thanks to the great idea from PA 007 our resident Superspy who suggested we contact the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association who cut through the el redo tapeo like a knife through hot butter………the duty was dismissed and in P.V. operation mattress could take place.

The captain and officers and I met with the people that run the orphanage and even the local newspaper sent a photographer to document what happened. What a wonderful feeling to be able to do something, just this little thing, to help these kids. Next week we have invited 20 of them to spend have lunch and a ride on the slide and that will be a thrill I am sure for them……….and us.

Here are a few photos and I should you warn you that these photos contain images of me in a pair of shorts. Viewer discretion is advised.

Yes Heidi………..that is really me doing manual labor.

Hurricane Earl is knocking on the door of North Carolina and the east coast. I know there have been some itinerary changes and that even as I write the marine operations department and the ship captains are looking carefully hour by hour and what needs to be done.  There may be itinerary changes and I’m sure there will be a few who will shout and scream at anyone in a white uniform. The majority will though understand, expect and in fact demand that their safety is the number one concern……..which of course it is. Let us all hope that damage is light and that there are no injuries and that Earl buggers off very quickly.

It’s a difficult morning here in Cabo San Lucas or……not in Cabo San Lucas in this case. That’s because we missed the port today and are at spending the day at sea. It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining and yet the sea was full of swells. This meant that putting guests on a tender that is pitching and rolling is very dangerous indeed and so Captain Pagano decided to cancel the port. I feel truly sorry for the guests. Some had been up since 7 am waiting to get on the tenders for their excursions.

Most have taken it well however we have had a very vocal group of 10 people who have been extremely abusive to the Guest Services team. So I went down to the desk, pulled the group aside and let them have a shout at me. They did. I apparently am a *****ing **** s**t ****er. These sorts of things don’t get to me. I know they are upset and just want someone to shout and scream and swear at and I would rather than be me than a 20 something guest service associate. In between suggesting I fornicate with myself they told me that the only reason they took this cruise was to go to Cabo. Again, something I am familiar with and again that’s not true of course ….. it’s just frustration.

I do feel so sorry for the guests and we will keep them entertained. However, the guests I feel the most sorry for are Tyler and Kerry who were due to get married on the beach today in Cabo. They are next on my call sheet.

The guests though have had a great time I think and slowly I am beginning to understand the Californian guests. They are different though. I don’t want anyone to think that they don’t have a great time because they do. I don’t want anyone to think they don’t have fun and participate in the shows because they do. I don’t want anyone to think they treat the staff badly because they don’t and I don’t want anyone to think I am not having a brilliant time here because I am.

But there is no escaping that when you have an audience of mostly Californians that things are different. I have mentioned the casual smart dress code on elegant night but apart from that it is hard to document this with a specific. Personally I think it’s the laid back Californian way and I am learning more about that each day I spend with them here. But let me say once again, I am having a great deal of fun here and have some more changes to make that I think will suit the ship and the people that cruise here.

The Punchliner comedy club was in full flow this week and for the most part it was a big success. We had mostly very funny comedians, two of whom had not performed on a Carnival ship before. One will not perform on a Carnival ship again. But that aside there is no doubt that this addition to our fleetwide entertainment lineup is a huge hit with the guests and when you cruise please make sure you visit the Punchliner.

Now you see I was going to tell you how much I was looking forward to seeing Heidi and Kye on Sunday but after Tom’s posting I will give you a watered down version. I have missed them and like the little boy who has never grown up that I am ………….I cannot wait to see my girls.

So after spending 15 minutes on the phone today talking to Barclays security department (whom I think are all ex CIA and MI5) telling them my mother’s maiden name, my birthday, my post code and the secret password I was cleared to remove funds from an ATM and pop off in Mazatlan and get some toys for Kye. So off to the machine outside the Gift Shops on deck 5 I went but just as my hand moved toward the keypad to enter my pin, a voice in my head whispered: “You don’t know what it is you fat idiot.” And it was right. I didn’t. I scanned my head, but nope…….. My pin had vanished from my memory. It was gone.

I tried inputting something that seemed about right. “INCORRECT PIN,” said the screen. I slowed my breathing to clear my head. Rested my hand on the keypad a second time. Tried to remember. Performed a finger dance. “INCORRECT PIN”…..oh for f**ks sake. I knew a third guess would mean that I would be back talking to the KGB at Barclays again so I walked away.

I went back to the cabin, and tried to think. The number had to be in my head somewhere. After all, I’ve only got one card. One pin to remember. And I use it all the time when I am home in supermarkets, restaurants, ATM’s, even Latvian lap dancing clubs. I realised that I’d better remember it soon or I wouldn’t be able to function in modern society and Kye would indeed have just one of my socks and a solid gold plastic ship on a stick to play with.

Yet the harder I thought, the more elusive the number became. My brain had deleted it for no reason whatsoever. I knew it wasn’t a birthday or a memorable date like 19.5.80….the day I had my first proper grope of Sally Pool’s breasts. And so I had no choice but to call Heidi who obviously knows my pin. But this meant I had to tell her about the El Walmarto fiasco and the fact that I had forgotten my pin which would result in a bollocking. Which it did.

So with my pin number now written on a piece of paper which yes, I later destroyed, I returned to the ATM machine. I put in my pin number……it worked……I asked for $200……it buzzed and whirled as though it was making a cappuccino and then suddenly it stopped and my money popped out. I went to the El Walmarto and bought Kye things to have fun with and as I stood waiting for a taxi I decided to call Heidi and tell her that her thick husband had completed his mission. There was no answer at home and then I remembered she was going to a neighbor’s house for dinner. So I thought I would call her on her cell phone……but bugger me……….I couldn’t remember her number.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend and let’s close today’s blog with a thought and prayer for those in the path of Hurricane Earl

Goodnight and see you on Tuesday
John

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.