"Up the mountains we must go...."

“Up the mountains we must go….”

“Dear Tourists,

I guess the idea of a talking, literate donkey might come as a shock to some of you. A bit left field, maybe?

That always makes me laugh, especially when I look at the Houses of Parliament, or the House of Representatives. But enough chit chat; I haven’t got all damned day, so let’s get down to business here.

You wonder why I am so often bad tempered, plain mean at times? Well, allow me to take you through my daily routine.

Every day, I wake up and look out over the sea, and the first thing I see approaching is some giant cruise ship, carrying over three thousand people. People just like you. Damned things always look like a Death Star coming into sight from the surface of Endor. Often wish I could send ’em ‘Return to Endor’. Sorry, just a little donkey humour kicking in there.

It’s already damned hot, hotter than Satan’s breath, and the mountain side is a proper maze of steep, narrow lanes that get harder to navigate the older I get. The guys in charge of me? Hah. Some of them could give cruelty lessons to the bloody Gestapo. Money dances in front of their eyes like some Turkish hussy in a harem; better believe that they are blind to everything else.

Then, of course, you lot pitch up. In your thousands. A tidal wave of sun burnt, polyester clad, flabby jowled,  Indiana Jones wannabes. When you see me, you stop and stare. Your eyes narrow in a way that your fat, podgy. zeppelin hangar of an ass can only dream of. You back off a little. Then you gradually come forward, Wave after wave of you…

You look at me in disgust. Sure, my coat has seen better days. And yes, I’m being buzzed by squadrons of flies the size of stealth bombers. Which, by the way, does nothing at all to raise my joy factor. But you’re still staring at me with barely concealed disgust.


You. In your green and gold stretch kaftan, and your moth eaten flying saucer of a sun hat? You look like a badly wrapped easter egg that some UFO has crash landed on by accident. And you’re judging me? Lord. At least your husband managed to shave. Which is obviously more than you did, cupcake.

When you climb on to me, and your fat, overly fed twenty-three stone frame spreads across me like a jello tsunami, it literally feels like I’m carrying the weight of the world. You have all the artistic grace and agility of a blind gorilla in a tu-tu. I can hear my saddle whimpering from here.

And so,  off we go. If you’ve ever seen the stations of the cross, that’s what it feels like, carrying you and your mates up those long, winding lanes, one after another. Thirsty? You bet I am. With you on my back, I’m under more pressure than the late Luciano Pavarotti’s bathroom scales.

How did I get up there? Slowly. very slowly....

How did I get up there? Slowly. Very slowly….

But eventually, we get there. The summit. You get off, and the mid day heat sears me like a laser beam. Because the sole advantage of having your lardy carcass on top of mine was that it shielded me from the sun on both sides. Sure, we’re at the top of the hill, but don’t expect me to burst into song. I mean, do I look like Julie frickin’ Andrews to you?

And then I am taken back down. Down to where more of you await. So many more. And, as I try and swat yet another Frankenstein’s monster of a fly with my eyelashes, I see yet another cruise ship, looming up over the horizon. Has the damned Galactic Empire declared a public holiday today, or something?

So you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t go all gushy and sad when I see you go. Watching you sail off over the horizon is the highlight of my day. The only one. I often wonder why God chose to populate the Med with idiots, and not icebergs. No level playing field, that’s for sure.

Wanna brighten my day? Sweet. Give me a carrot. Get a diet. We’ll be fine.

Ah well. In the immortal words of Vivien Leigh, tomorrow, after all, is another day.


A Donkey.”


"We were SO excited to be getting on a big ship!"

“We were SO excited to be getting on a big ship!”

Today, we’re very fortunate to be regaled with the informed musings of a first time ever cruise passenger as she presents her- ahem- unique take on the modern cruise experience. So, without further ado……..

“Hi! I wanna start off by introducing myself. I’m Myrtle Ethel Lardburger. I was travelling on this cruise with my husband, Herb, my eleven year old son, Dwayne, and our ten year old daughter, Fergie-Diana. We were accompanied by our good friends, Abe and Patti Fartle. All of us come from a small town in the mid-west called Grimville, where I work as a full time doughnut tester.

Well, let me tell you… I have a huge appetite for my work! So when I go on vacation, I just want to kick right on back and enjoy some personal pampering. I know you’re feeling me when I say that.


We arrive at the ship. Wow, is it big. Can’t remember the name of the damned thing, but it looks like a cross between a disco and a Death Star. Had to go to some boat drill. Complete waste of time. Lucky, Herb had brought his carpenter’s stuff with him. Spent most of the cruise just quietly drilling holes in the bottom of the lifeboats. Fine by me, honey. Whatever floats your boat.

Sailaway party has lots of fun, dance type things going on. Fergie very disappointed to learn that the Macarena is not a kind of biscuit.

Dinner is a blast. We have some old broad named Ophelia at our table. Skinny as a lat. I’ve seen thicker straws. But boy, can that woman eat! And she’s so funny. Never met a woman that put gin in her after dinner cup of tea before. Yessir, she’s gonna be a hoot for sure!


“This is Captain speaking….” Now that’s not the kind of wake up call I appreciate. Boy, does that guy like the sound of his own voice. Drones on like a whole squadron of kamikazes, too.

Buffet breakfast. Oh, the shame of it. Loaded up with bacon, eggs, waffles, ice cream, french toast, mushrooms and hash browns. Why do they have to make these goddamn plates so small, for crissakes?

Anyway… we were gonna get up for seconds, and then we found that Herb was stuck in his seat. Jammed right in there like a possum in a poke hole. Who designs these chairs- Snow White?

So the crew arrive with two crowbars. They are grunting, sweating and trying to lever poor Herb out of his seat. Herb is sweating, too. Well, the buffet was about to close. Anyway, now they are talking about bringing semtex. Then Dwayne-bless his little heart- turns up with one of daddy’s hacksaws.

So we saw the legs off the damned chair. Herb spends the next three days with the rest stuck to his butt. It’s like a codpiece, but on the other end.

Those Mexican parrots knew such atrocious swear words!

Those Mexican parrots knew such atrocious swear words!


We arrive in Cozumel. Nice weather. Read online about how expensive these on board excursions are, so we decide to do our own thing. Pleased we did, as it turns out.

We all book with some local Mexican guy to go and see some ancient French ruins. I am, as it happens, a culture buffer. So we all pile into these little tricycles. Guys doing the pedalling are gasping for breath. They really should exercise more.

They drop us- literally- at the door of this ancient palace. The guides- some guys called Carlos and Charlie- invite us in.

Well, I’m all for local culture, but the shapes of some of the balloons in here are, I’m afraid, just OBSCENE!

There were ancient French ruins, for sure, About forty of ’em. Men and women. Apparently, they got hammered in here on their last cruise, and missed their boat. Some guy offers me a margarita in a goldfish bowl. Oh well, when in France….

Got a bit woozy after that. Woke up back on the boat to find some of those funny shaped balloons in my hair, and three empty yard ,margarita glasses on the table. The steward is standing, looking at me with his jaw scraping the top of his shoes. Might be time to put some clothes back on, I suppose.


I liked the beaches....

I liked the beaches….

Another day at sea. I pass Ophelia at around eight. She’s hanging on to the front of the lido bar with one hand. Got a Bloody Mary in the other. I have to ask..

‘Ophelia, sweetie… why are you drinking Bloody Mary’s at eight o’clock in the morning??’

‘Because the lazy, candy assed bartender wouldn’t get out of bed at seven…’ I move on. She is plainly afloat on a sea called Smirnoff.

Exercise class in the lounge. Delighted to get some personal instructions from the very dishy Portugonese fitness instructor. ‘Good morning, Mrs. Lardburger. Could you please stay in the middle of the ship, and try not to move suddenly…..’ They are so solicitous on here!

Oh dear. Patti got in the hot tub. All of it. She gets a little buoyant lift from the bubbles and comes bursting up into the sunlight. Some brat starts screaming as the sun disappears behind her. Thinks it’s an eclipse. Hear some prissy queen behind me hiss to his ho that it looks like the salvage scene from Raise the Titanic, when the damned thing comes back to the surface. Give them both my special, frosty death stare, then go back to my cake platter. Some people clearly have no class.


We have to go ashore in the boats today. Six of them sink. The screams would have woken the dead. Instead, I am awakened- yet again- by Captain Speaking,,,,

Oh, but this time it’s not the loudspeaker. Hell, no. Some flunky has put a note under our door after knocking. I read it, and, well…

Apparently, we are invited to dinner with Captain Speaking. I can hardly contain my anger and disgust. I pay a vast amount of money for this trip, and now they expect us to eat with the designated driver!! I don’t think so, bubba, Jog on.

Afternoon ashore is nice. Beach is pretty, but bland as a Lionel Richie gig. Enjoyed watching all the German women, lining up to get their armpits braided. Makes it easier to tell them apart from the men, thank the Lord.

Herb enjoys the snorkeling, until some angry old buzzard with a white beard starts yelling, and then throws a harpoon at him.

The gay couple are simpering on loungers behind me. One looks at a well endowed woman, sniggers something about her ‘being turned on more times than Pavarotti’s microwave’. Patti guffaws a bit too loudly. Clearly, you cannot buy class.


The ship had a jacoosy just like this one!

The ship had a jacoosy just like this one!

Cocktail party. Herb puts on his new white vest. I go with my best, black and white polka dot stretch kaftan. Patti goes for a green and gold Lurex number. I love her dearly. How do you tell your best friend that she looks like a badly wrapped Easter Egg?

Anyway, Ophelia is there. The drinks are going down quicker than a drunken hooker at the start of Fleet Week. This woman can rock and roll to a music all her own, she truly can.

Get into an argument with some ancient English dame- at least she thinks she is. Her nose is so far in the air that she leaves snot on the wings of any passing 747. She seems to think that only blue blooded Brits have any travel savvy and sophistication.

Er, ex-cuse me! I’m not taking that lying down. Not from Boadicea’s grandmother. I’m a beautiful person. I’ve eaten sushi in Stockholm, for crissake!

I make my excuses and leave before I lose my dignity.


Sometimes, I am so proud of our children.

Fergie comes scampering up from the Children’s Club, clutching a piece of paper. Her little piggy eyes gleaming like a tractor’s headlights in a swamp.

She’s only gone and won the prize for the child with the hairiest teeth. I filled up. Right there and then.

Later, we find that Dwayne-bless his checkered cotton socks- has gone and won the dwarf throwing competition. He got to keep the dwarf as a prize. Some little feller called Tom. Kept jumping up and down on the sofa in the room. Herb threw him over the side, right off the balcony. Hit the sea with one hell of a splash for a little guy. Oh, well…

And so, our adventure comes to an end. Would we go again?

Well, yes. But we’d like to do something more sophisticated. Like in Europeland. Maybe we’ll wait until they clear those floods up in Venice first. And no wonder Greece is in such a state. Five thousand years, and they still haven’t managed to build an elevator into the Acropolis. Puh-leese… get some civilisation!!”