Back To Earth With A Bump!

Sunday 12th November 2017

Ouch! Upon touching down in Dublin Airport a few days ago, I had a sharp shock. It was bloody freezing! Had I taken the wrong plane leaving Palma? Was this Antarctica? When did it get so cold?

I soon realised that this lowly temperature was actually “normal” for the time of year, and quickly calculated that I hadn’t experienced winter since 2014. Although I’ve been known to complain on occasions when sailing around the tropics that it’s too hot, I certainly hadn’t missed winter. Next stop the nearest department store to buy a big jacket, woolly hat and some thermal undies…

It seems like I’ve been off the ship a month already, although in reality is only been a matter of days. It didn’t take me long to get homesick though and miss everything bar the boat drills. Thankfully I’ve been staying with my good friend Sally Ann, so she arranged a little trip out on a friend’s craft to make me feel more at home.

2 days out and I’m already back in a life jacket!

It might look like I’m wearing all of my entire wardrobe at once, but I can tell you that I was still bloody freezing. The Lough Derg in November is not a warm place and after bombing along it at full speed I now have wind burn on one side of my cheek that actually makes it look like someone punched me in the face!

M/S Marella Inflatable

When not skiving off larking around on dinghies, I’ve actually been working quite hard in my new rule as temporary “office assistant”. In reality I’m far more like an inept work experience girl and my starring role has been at the shredder, destroying documents that I’ve incorrectly typed. It’s actually the second shredder already as the first one I accidently destroyed with the sheer volume of mistyped sheets of paper. Woops!

Despite my incompetence, I’m really enjoying my new role and am learning lots of things. After 36 years of dodging it, I’ve finally learnt to make a cup of tea. And I haven’t managed to break the photocopier. Yet… Lots of positive things to add to my CV.

In between times I’ve still been hard at work Toy Tycooning. The Hippomottie Toys are still undergoing their rigorous testing. There’s been daily correspondence about the amount of Newton’s that the zip tag can handle and I spent Friday night reading a 16 page document on the presence of Nickel in metals and the definitions of prolonged contact with skin. Rock ‘n’ roll sista! The good thing is these toys will be virtually indestructible by the time our third party testers are finished with them.

The second Hippomottie book is already on the shelves and the Hippomottie Christmas Story is written and awaiting illustration. Honestly I think it’s the best one yet!! But I’ll yet you good critics be the judge of that nearer the time…

Talking of Christmas, I was lucky enough to actually enjoy Christmas Day for real the other day, as Sally Ann and her family kindly invited me to their “Fake Christmas”. Held on the 10th of November.

The date was selected because all the family were going to be away on real Christmas. It was great fun getting ready the few days before and by the time the turkey and ham were in the oven, it actually seemed like Christmas for real.

Ready for the feast!

The food was beyond delicious. I believe the official description was “Off The Charts!”. I think my favorite but about Christmas was “fake Boxing Day” where I got to spend the day hanging out on the sofa watching all the sport, and the racing which was hosted by non the less than my awesome host Sally Ann. How great to be sitting at home doing nothing whilst she was out in the cold doing all the hard work!

My celebrity friend!

So today it’s another easy day, blogging and dog walking in the sunshine to burn off all those calories, before getting back behind my desk tomorrow. Until next time peeps!


It’s Nearly Holiday Time! 

Saturday 28th October 2017

Well my vacation time is coming up soon, which is fantastic because I’m running on fumes right now. A nice, long, relaxing break it exactly what I need. Somewhat questionably though I’ve decided to take some “work” during my vacation time, which starts the day after I land back in terra firma. I believe the expression is that there’s no peace for the wicked, which would definitely appear to be quite apt.

I’ll be fitting my new “job” around my existing part time role of Toy Tycoon, and even though I might be seriously doubting the wisdom of waving goodbye to my peaceful time off in exchange for hard labour, I’m trying hard to think of the positives; namely being less bored during my holiday and also hopefully being slightly less poor also, as I’ll be earning money instead of spending it. Well that’s Plan A anyway.

I just hope my future “employer” didn’t read my the recent blogs detailing my lack of people skills and compulsive sarcasm/sharp wit…

In preparation for sign off, I’d arranged to sell my wonderful white €99 bicycle (from Carrefour #bargain) to one of the Nepalese security guards. As they say, the course of bicycle selling never does run smoothly, and true to form Jenny’s return from vacation was delayed this week and instead of arriving back at the ship on Thursday, to take possession of my beautiful two-wheeled charger in exchange for a crisp €50 note, her flights have been changed and she’s now scheduled to arrive in 10 days time in Funchal, Madeira, when I will have already departed.

This means that I’ve got to leave my bike in the cabin for the new occupants to get acquainted with, and hope that they won’t mind too much, and hope and pray that Jenny still does want the bike when she finally gets back.

Otherwise my options are a toss up between donating it to the crew welfare for all crew members to access (generous & useful), or asking my super wonderful boss Shane to lock the bike up to a palm tree in Barbados once they cross the Atlantic, and tell me where he’s hidden the key, so that I can collect it when my new ship arrives a few days later (genius & risky). Remember folks there’s always a Plan B in life, and even Plans C, D, E & F if needed…

In other news the eagerly awaited second Hippomottie Book is now out AND is FREE to download on IPad, Kindle, Smart Phone, Tablet, Device, etc. THIS WEEKEND!

So if you want to take a flick through the critically acclaimed Hippomottie Learns To Get Dressed (Hippomottie Adventures Book 2), click HERE for the UK version or HERE for the USA version.

Just Click the BUY FOR FREE but on Amazon or Kindle to download.

Of course you can always just Goggle “Hippomottie” on Amazon and there are some fantastic paperback versions for sale on there too. *Don’t forget Christmas is just around the corner and they make wonderful and practically unique gifts!!!

This one is actually quite good if I do say so myself. It even rhymes. Well mostly. Ok it’s supposed to and fails in parts, but I’ll let you good people be the judge of that and afterwards you can all leave me a lovely 5 star review ☆☆☆☆☆ even if you hate it, because you’re all good and lovely people.

Right I’ve got to go, I’ve got 6 months worth of clothes to wrestle into a suitcase that must weigh under 20kgs. Thanks Ryanair! 

I Have A Little Confession To Make…

Friday 20th October

I have a confession to make. I did laundry the other day and I didn’t write a blog. Sorry! I know you probably would never find out and/or care, but I felt guilty and thought that I confess my sin to you all.

Anyway not that much has been happening since I last wrote, apart from work, work, work, and more work. Today though, I did take a morning off from my day job (becoming a Toy Tycoon (technically my night job is my real job because the casino is mostly only open in evenings)), and ventured off the ship on a shore excursion as an escort.

For those of you not in the know, or those with a dirty mind, being an escort means that you accompany a tour, rate and review the tour and make sure that everything runs smoothly and that you solve any problems like lost wallets or lost guests. It’s not a polite form of prostitution or a way to make a quick buck. Sadly.

Anyway, the tour that I’d selected to accompany was “St. Tropez By Boat”! As if I don’t get enough of boats in the other 364 days of the year…

The tour left from the port of St. Raphaël in France, which although delightful, is sadly too small to accept a ship of our size. This means getting a “tender boat” to shore to start the tour.

For those of you unfamiliar with cruising or its parlance, a tender boat is just a slightly dolled up lifeboat that ferries passengers back and forth from the anchor point to land.

It’s fun the first time and after that it’s just a tedious way of getting outside to the real world and usually a major stumbling block for crew to go ashore at all, as obviously (and I guess justifiably) it’s guests that have priority.

This means we can’t normally get off until nearly lunchtime, by which time we’d need to be in the queue to come back, as tendering shortens crew back on board time quite considerably. All in all its a giant pain in the ass and a very effective way of missing the ship or at least getting in very hot water for missing curfew.

So, back to the tour. With the tours meeting in the Broadway Show Lounge thirty minutes before departure time, it meant a very early start. Now an alarm call at 6.45am back in my racehorse trainer days was definitely something of a lie in. However these days I work until 3am, so anything before 9am is like my worst nightmare.

Upon wrestling my way out from under the duvet and stumbling in to the tiny bathroom, I realised that I resembled a particularly nasty cast member of a horror movie when I looked in the mirror. Excellent. What a way to wow the St. Tropez glitterati…

After my shower, I hurriedly threw on some clothes, picked up my rucksack, which I’d cleverly packed the night before, put on my sunglasses and headed up to the buffet on deck 9 to sample some breakfast for only the second time this contract.

It was so early, and the smell of frying food was so overpowering, that I decided to opt for a packed lunch instead of breakfast. Sneaking my stash of fruit, pain au chocolat, and self made bacon brioche butties into my backpack, I raced back down the stairs arriving at the designated meeting point at a very a prompt 7.28am.

I’d also been saavy enough to check the day’s weather forecast before I’d gone to sleep a few hours earlier. Something that by the looks of it most of the guests on tour had failed to do. I think that they were dressing for the weather that they wanted it to be, not what the weather actually was outside.

As we boarded the tender boat, the sun was only just hovering above the horizon and it was far from warm. I was already wrapped up in my t-shirt, hoodie and puffa jacket, whilst those around me were shivering in shorts and sandals. Amy 1 – Guests 0.

As the boat bobbed it’s way to shore, I was beinging to rethink the wisdom of my booking a tour at all. It was dam early, I was extremely tired and despite my three layers of clothes I was still bloody freezing. 19°c just doesn’t cut it for me anymore.

By 8.45am I was seated on what was already my third boat of the day, but my mood improved considerably when I took the executive decision to start my lunch picnic a little early. I unwrapped the sausages, which were still warm, and scoffed them down along with two boiled eggs and two sugar encrusted bacon brioches. Thanks TUI! (Hey, food in France is super expensive and I’m a poor impoverished crew member!).

The boat ride to St. Tropez took the best part of an hour, which lead to one guest complaining that he wouldn’t have come on the tour of he’d’ve know he was going to spend all day on an effing boat. While my tired body, which also longed to be somewhere else, sympathised with him, I couldn’t help but wonder what he’d envisaged a tour named St. Tropez By Boat would actually be like. A coach trip? A trolley train? The clue is in the fine print people, or even clearly hidden in plain view in the title in some cases…

I also sympathised with the girl who puked into many paper bags for the full 50 minutes, but I wished she’d kept the noise down a bit as it was threatening to curtail my ferocious appetite.

Finally though, we reached St. Tropez and pulled into the port amongst a flotilla of fancy sailing ships and over the top yachts. A sight to be seen that’s for sure.

Upon setting foot on land, we were given the choice of following our tour guide Stéphanie, or exploring on our own. I decided to ditch Stéphanie’s interesting sounding talk and set off for the number two thing to do in St. Tropez according to TripAdvisor. (Number 1 was the beach and I was still wrapped up in three layers.).

The Citadel Historical Nautical Museum was located up a short step hill, but the slight amount of effort needed was worth it, just for the views alone.

The €3 entry fee also made it significantly cheaper than most drinks for sale in St. Tropez, with one cafe I passed advertising an Orangina for a whopping €16. That’s like an entire week’s salary!

The Citadel, which had one been the fort to guarded the port, had geniusly been turned into a tiny but impressive museum, with just about the cleverest use of space that you’ll ever see.

After reading some of the interesting exhibits, there was just enough time for a quick tour around the grounds to check out the many topless silhouetted statues, before stopping to finish off my picnic on a park bench. No €99 croqué monsieurs for me thank you very much, and it was just so quiet and peaceful, such a utopia after another 5 months living on a cruise ship.

With the return trip to St. Raphaël leaving at midday, I decided to take the long cut back to the jetty and walked through the tented regatta area, which was hosting 2017 Festival of Sails. There was some stunning looking craft on show, including some wonderfully crafted old fashioned wooden schooners, along with amazing local artwork and some ridiculously priced polo shirts.

On the way back across the water, the tiredness overcame me, so decided to lay down and prayed that I wouldn’t lose my small slip on shoes to the ocean. Even though the sun was now fully out, it was still super chilly with the wind blowing as we tore across the water and I was again thankful of my jacket. Amy 2 – Guests 0.

Much to the relief of the poor girl who’d been sea sick on the way over to St. Tropez, and also chundered the whole way back, we reached St. Raphaël just before 1pm and were invited to explore the beautiful town, or catch a tender back to the Discovery. Been there done that, I’m going back to bed thank you very much!!

So while the green-faced girl sat on the dock and contemplated booking a hotel room in St. Raphaël so that she wouldn’t have to take the tender back to the ship, I chose option 2 and caught the lifeboat to the final ship of the day, my home vessel of the Discovery, just in time for afternoon tea. I realised that there was still time to fit in a bit of Toy Tycooning before my card dealing shift started, meaning I’ve actually taken time off from sleeping, not from working. Oh Joy! The guests better brave themselves for an extra angry Amy tonight…

RETRACTION: I’m Not A Complete Psycho

Friday 6th October 2017

Having just re-read last week’s entry I thought that I better do some damage control swiftly, before I jolly well end up getting fired. I feel like I made myself sound like a complete psycho in that post, when in reality only one of my multiple personalities has seriously detrimental anger issues.

When working with the guests I can be delightful at times, and often receive multiple and glowingly positive comments. You see I can be as gracious and charming as the next person in short bursts, it’s just the back-to-back cruising guests who stay for two weeks and insist on playing at the tables for ten hours every single night that are guaranteed to catch a glimpse of my darker side.

An odd few guests actually love my sarcastic quips and thrive on what they call “banter”. I find that there’s even a specific time of day that my special brand of humour is best received, which is usually very late at night, during the last few hours of gaming, when the imbibed patrons finally tune in to my idiosyncratic wave length.

Last night for instance, inspired by the need to be lovely and get myself back in the good books, I was a delight. To everyone. For the whole evening! This was certainly a first and now I fear that I’ve set the bar too high as far as everyone’s expectations of my behaviour go and from now on in they’re going to be constantly disappointed.

I discussed the guest’s days, likes, dislikes, dinner habits, answered a barrage of increasingly personal and intrusive questions, all without a hint of sarcasm or disdain. I showed new guests how to play our games and patiently answered their questions about the rules and gave advice on the best ways to win. I even offered hints and tips for the best things to do in the next port of call, pointed out the lights on a passing island and dished out interesting and informed geographical facts about the location, plus helped one old dear find the bathroom just in time before she answered nature’s call all over the floor.

You see I can do it, and I know full well that I can. It’s just the consistency that I struggle with. Every night starts the same way, good intentions, a few polite repartees followed by a message of good fortune, a offer of a drink from the bar and then it all starts to fall apart…

The questions start, the comments about the cards or hand begin, and my brain starts to groan. You see I’ve heard it all before. I know that your one card away from a good combination. I know that you hate 16. I know that the waiter/ess is taking forever and that your mortally thirsty. I know that it’s only £2 to play in your local casino and that a 5 card trick counts in your Grandma’s kitchen. I’m also sure that the service is quicker on other ships, that you’d prefer a “real” roulette table with a “real” dealer/therapist to tell all of your problems to, rather than our funky modern electronic version that pays out money better than an ATM. And as delighted as I am to hear in detail about all 87 of your previous cruises, I’ve actually heard it all before.

And by the way I don’t get to keep the money that the casino makes, the money that you insist that I take from you, but in reality you actually give willingly to me.

I try hard to remain cordial and polite as the questions and comments flood in, but usually after about question number 10 bad Amy takes over and the sarcasm starts to flow.

“Is it a complete deck that you play with here on the poker table?” one gentleman asks?

“No Sir, we take all the aces out before you get here each night.” I reply deadpan.

“I’ve got absolutely no idea what I’m doing!” shrieks one intoxicated lady as she stumbles into a seat on the blackjack table. 

I lean closer across the table and whisper conspiratorially “Neither have I.”

When asked by one of the many wondrous spectators how long it took me to learn how to shuffle like that, I reply instantly with “4 Years at University.”

“Gosh really?” Is normally the response, “I didn’t know that you could get a degree in being a croupier!”

No neither did I, probably best you don’t Google that fact either, I silently smile.

If it was just the lovely guests and their incessant questions that I had to endure each night, then I could probably be slightly more pleasant for longer, but unfortunately our nano-casino is located in a corner of the “Live Room” a delightful live music venue.

Some of the musical talent on the ship is excellent. Some of it less so. Trinity, the three piece ensemble from Manilla in the Philippines, are top notch. Their guitar player is incredible and a joy to listen to.

Igor, the pianist, who represented his native Croatia in the Eurovision Song Contest, is also supremely talented. But even my favourite musicians can get a little repetitive when heard three or four times a day, seven days a week for months on end.

Imagine then my feelings of hostility towards the melancholy solo guitar artist, who has an exceptional talent of making every single song sound whiny.

By now, over 13 months working on this particular vessel, I know every beat of every track in every set. I feel like I could duet with most of the singers, albeit in an out of tune scaled cat kind of way.

Trying to deal cards and explain the vagaries of three card poker to some hard of hearing octogenarian, over the sound of the five piece party band not only gives me a sore throat but a sore head also.

From the time I start work, to the time I finish, there’s a constant stream of big hits, old classics and far too much ABBA. I hear Money, Money, Money played on the saxophone, piano, keyboard, drums and guitar on average 6 times a night.

Sunday nights is “Band Jam” night, a cacophonique mix of all the instrumentalists trying to out play and out sing each other. The 19 minute version of Tina Turner’s smash hit “Proud Mary”, that draws down the curtain on the chaotic set is like a form of cruel and unusual torture. Even hearing the first few bars of that tune is enough to bring me out in a cold sweat.

And don’t get me started on the “Show Team” who come and caterwaul with the band at midnight on a Monday…

Honestly I’m not a fan of music at all. I prefer silence as my sound of choice and can’t wait for the day when a mime artist is signed up to entertain the non gambling guests in the Live Room.

But just as the day starts the same, the soundtrack is the same, the day also ends in the same way. At about 1am, just as the music is starting to wind down, I feel pangs of remorse. These poor innocent folk are on holiday, simply trying to enjoy their vacation from work, life and the daily grind. They don’t deserve my vitriol. I start to raise my game again. A kindly smile, a consolatory sad face when they lose, a non sarcastic joke. I’ll even go to the bar and fetch them a drink in person if they want.

As they cash in their final chips, play the last few hands, I wish them all the best for tomorrow, remind then to set their alarm for their excursion, tell them to come back and try their luck again.

With a good beginning and a good ending, let’s just hope that they missed the middle part and that my cankerous reorts were drowned out amongst the sounds of Tom Jones’s delightful Delilah and Neil Diamond’s well loved Sweet Caroline…

I’m Compulsively Sarcastic

Wednesday 27th September 2017

It’s laundry day again today, so whilst I wait for the antique machine to jiggle my clothes around in the water and return them to me a lot wetter but most probably actually dirtier, I thought that I owed it to you all to write another blog.

I’ve decided that laundry day is a good way of killing two birds with one stone and keeping in touch with you all. Some may wish that I did my clothe washing a bit more often, not just the people that have to be in my close proximity, but those of you that would like more frequent instalments of my insanity.

Thankfully, from my point of view, my uniform gets laundered by the wonderful chaps in the bowels of the ship, meaning that the only washing that I have to endure personally is that of my stockings, smalls and a few pairs of shorts, plus the odd wet bikini on days when I’ve finally made it off the ship and as far as the beach.

Quite honestly working seven days a week doing my “normal” job, as well as nurturing a flourishing miniature toy empire in my “spare” time, is starting to take its toll.

Having spent my day battling with the intolerably slow internet connection, to try and sift through a stack of emails, fix glitches on our website, as well as make Skype calls to China, at a time when both they and I are awake enough to make sense to each other, plus formate the next literary masterpiece into an acceptably agreeable template to be able to upload it to Amazon Kindle, the last thing I want to do is head upstairs to work, in my freshly pressed work attire, for an eight hour stint of dealing cards to overly exuberant and overly intoxicated holidaymakers.

I do actually like being a casino dealer, but the compounding effects of working 6 to 9 month stints without a day off, on top of secretly trying to become a E-Mogul, rather wears thin after a while, and definitely brings out the worst in me.

I know that my job is in the service industry and that being a public facing operative that it’s a requirement that I be smiley, helpful and polite at all times, but honestly have you ever tried to be smiley, helpful and polite 7 days a week for 40 weeks at a time?? I can barely go ten minutes without moaning, pulling a face or rolling my eyes.

I do make a concerted effort at the start of every shift to be charming and pleasant to all whom I encounter but after about daft question number 2, my halo slips and my forked tail edges into view.

It’s like it’s physically impossible for me to answer even the simplest of question without contempt, sarcasm or at least some kind of put down. Even when I do reply honestly in a polite manner, it still seems to come across as dripping with mockery.

For example, the other day, whilst trying ultra hard to be cordial, even though I felt like a heinous b!#ch on the inside, I asked a guest how his cruise had been. He replied that it was awful. Wondering what could be the matter, I asked him such. His response was that he was unhappy with the “boat”. Oh no! How could this be? And responded with the words “Oh dear! Is it not floaty enough for you?”

Well as you can imagine my flippant retort did little to improve his opinion of our delightful ship, especially as it transpired that his ultimate complaint was with the service or lack thereof, namely his difficulty in obtain enough drinks in an expedient manner.

Honestly I hadn’t even meant to be facetious, with my floaty remark, it just came into my head and out off my mouth without even thinking about it. It’s a genuinely uncontrollable affliction that I’ve got.

When someone asks me even the most banal question, my mind instantly fires up with a army of Chandleresque (from Friends) type ripostes. I know the correct answer and what I should say, but I struggle, and usually fail to select the appropriate answer and instead comeback with what I call sharp wit, and what the guests refer to on their customer comment forms as sarcasm.

Apparently sarcasm is the lowest for of wit (I’m reminded of this “fact” daily), but as I always counter, it’s also the funniest. Well in my skewed opinion anyway.

The other day it actually got me in to trouble though, with a guest reporting me to my manager for being, in his words, “An Agressive B!#ch”.

I can’t blame him, in fact I can believe that he was actually the first one to make a complaint about me.

In my defense I was having a particularly bad day and was feeling very under the weather with the onset of a good old fashioned English winter cold, graciously brought onboard all the way from Blightly by one of the passengers no doubt. Plus his wife had also been very demanding from the second I arrived at the table, ordering me to smile multiple times.

She was lucky that I only responded with an albeit aggressive demand for her to tell me a joke if she wanted me to smile, because it had been a choice between that and ordering her to bark like a dog.

Well if she wants to order me to do inane things then it’s only fair that I get to do the same. In my opinion. Which I know as an employee counts for nothing….

So now I’ve got to try and make it up to him and her, which isn’t easy for someone blessed with my condition. But, I need/like this job so I’ll be sucking it up to the best of my ability for the rest of the week, whilst simultaneously trying not to offended any other innocent holidaymakers trying to enjoy their precious time off from work or retirement.

As they say, it’s all in a days work. Although sometimes I question my desire to give up shovelling horse s#*t for a living in favour of a lifestyle that involves interacting with real human beings. Especially the obnoxious drunk variety… 

So if you see me vacantly staring into space whilst on an empty table, or using my “screen-saver face” whilst dealing the cards, please think twice before demanding that I “smile”, for both of our sakes. Firstly you really don’t wanted to be subjected to a evening of my caustic wrath whilst losing your hard earned cash at the poker table, and secondly I’m probably concentrating really hard on trying to deal to procedure, calculate winning bets and ensure gaming integrity. Either that or I’m desperately trying to scour the inner my mind for a word that rhymes with Rudolph for the Christmas Edition of the next Hippomottie book!

Honestly I shouldn’t be allowed to work with real live living people and I apologise unreservedly for my appalling table-side manner…

All I Want For My Birthday Is a 5 Star Review

Sunday 17th September 2017

So whilst my ass jiggles up and down on the washing machine, while I wait for the spin cycle to finish, I thought that I ought to write another blog and fill you in on what’s been happening in my world this week.

The weather has been moderate to say the least and this resulted in a change of itinerary and visits to a couple of alternative ports to avoid the worst of the weather. For the guests I’m sure that it was a major disappointment/inconvenience but for us crew members it was a rare treat of a break from the normal routine.

Instead of San Remo in Italy, we got to spend the day in Toulon in France where on a mountain biking expedition I stumbled upon the only store where I actually like to shop in, the sports and outdoor clothing emporium Décathlon. They sell equipment and clothing for every single sport under the sun, from billiards, to bowling and snowboarding to snorkeling.

What a place! I whiled away a good couple of hours there just browsing and came away a few Euros lighter and a pair of child’s Puma jogging bottoms heavier. I’m not sure what sizes children come in these days, but they must be a lot bigger than when I was small because they fit me with room to grow into and they were a bargain price to boot!

We also had a couple of casino birthdays during the week, including mine, so last night we all went out for dinner in Palma de Mallorca to celebrate. Our resident food connoisseur and casino manager Shane found us a fantastic spot to celebrate and we ate so much that I didn’t think I’d be able to work that night or fit into my uniform.

It was a delicious meal though, my favourite being the lambs liver starter that we shared as part of our tapas, before forcing a 12oz rare fillet steak into my already overfull body.

We decided to call into the nearby casino on the walk back to ship to try and kickstart our metabolisms and fight off the rapidly approaching food coma that I was in danger of irreversibly slipping into. We befell mixed fortunes at the tables, with Shane coming out best of all, with a €600+ win on the electronic roulette table.

I was just happy to win my money back on the blackjack table after a disastrous start which nearly saw me wiped out in the first five hands. The dealer beat me mercilessly, even getting a blackjack when I had 21. Now I know why the guests hate me so much every night. That and my sarcastic quips I guess!!

Not a bad birthday at all, especially considering on the day itself, that I received a huge bouquet of beautiful flowers delivered to the casino and got a big bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk courtesy of one of the players!

If you missed the opportunity to reward me with chocolate or floral tributes, you can of course still make my day by leaving Hippomottie Goes To Space a review on Amazon or Kindle.

If you downloaded the ebook or ordered the paperback version then you should have the opportunity to leave a review automatically or you can just log on to the page here (for UK based people) or here (for US readers). It would really really mean a lot to me and is much cheaper than sticking money in a card!! #WinWin

Other than that everything else is pretty routine. The ship is still sailing from port to port. The book has been well received and we got plenty of downloads during our five day free period. We also sold quite a few hardback copies which was very encouraging. Book 2 is in the final stages of production and will hopefully be ready soon and the Hippomottie toys are coming to life with the help of some special alien technology.

So don’t forget, please leave us a review and Pavel, Amelia K. Amherst, Hippomottie and I will all love you forever!!!

Book Sales & Other Stories

Saturday 9th September 2017

Well about 5 days into my life as a semi-professional author and so far so good! Book Two was actually already written before the launch of book one and is undergoing the painstaking illustration phase.

Book 2 is actually way better than Book 1. Even if I do say so myself. Not just because Book 1 (and those of you that have actually read Hippomottie Goes To Space can attest to this) is really bad, but because Book 2 rhymes!! Mostly… With just a big pinch of artistic license and a bit of pronunciation affection needed in parts.

Book 3 has begun the construction/writing phase but has kind of stalled this week due to my new found fame and lack of time. OK, so the word “fame” might be kind of a stretch but the figures don’t lie. So far the E-Book has generated 177 Free downloads and 10 pages have been read by Kindle Members as part of their free sign up service (Yes I don’t really know what that means either). PLUS 10 actual paperback copies of the book have ordered!

WOW! You guys are GREAT! You’re AWESOME in fact. AND for those of you that are in possession, or awaiting delivery, you now own an incredibly rare Limited (by its own frailties) Edition children’s picture story book. Imagine, once I’m dead, this book will be worth a fortune!

Sadly you’ll have to wait for me to die first, because it seems de rigueur for people to be ignored in their living lifetime and then celebrated and adored once they’re six feet under. Well I’m not planning on dying anytime soon so you’ll have to think of your Book as an investment that will pay for your retirement or put your unborn kids through college. You’re welcome.

Anyway, on a brighter note, everything else is good. The pesky children have gone back to school, so the ship is no longer infested with wild packs of untamed ankle biters running up and down the corridors and stairwells. They have however been replaced by gangs of staggering, drunken adults who ought to know better instead.

Still at least these “adults” are old enough to gamble so they can keep me busy in my work and hopefully lose enough shekels to keep my boss happy and the wolves from the door.

Not much else to report. About to go to the obligatory bi-weekly boat drill, so will sign off with a big THANK YOU and have a great weekend everyone. You deserve it!