Making a ham of it

It’s a rapidly changing world and as our tastes have evolved, so the airlines have responded by offering the latest in food fashion. However, ask any of your older clients if they’d like a biscotti with their latte and they’d look at you as if you’re speaking a foreign language. Which indeed you are.

Gabbi at Rendezvous Travel Group in Little Chalfont told me about an incident involving her client, travelling on a short-haul flight with British Airways.

The cabin crew served paninis, with a choice of ham or cheese. One of the stewardesses approached the client and asked which filling he’d prefer, ham or cheese?

“I’ll have the bacon,” came the reply.

“No, sir, the choice is ham or cheese, we don’t offer bacon.”

The client pointed at the box in which the paninis were packaged and said: “But it says bacon on the box and that’s what I want.”

The stewardess looked closely before saying: “Oh sir, that’s not bacon, that says!”

Which is how language, the Internet and food were united to make a real pig’s ear of a panini.

Bowled over by the team

As someone who gets easily bored with her own company, I’m all for team-building exercises and have enjoyed many happy days in dragon boats on the Thames, in the jungle wielding a bow and arrow, even making music on panpipes.

I love the collective effort and the rewards of sharing an event with others. So I was keen to hear how the staff of Travel 2/4 had got on when 92 of them went out for a bowling evening hosted by Gulf Air.

Chatting to Kay in reservations, I heard she’d taken the event quite seriously, limiting her alcohol intake so as to have a straighter eye when she pitched her bowling balls. (For me, seeing two of everything might have been more advantageous).

I asked if any of the chaps had worn their kilts, knowing them to be proud of their tartan, and competitive with it. Kay said loose trousers had been the order of the day, but I can’t help thinking this was a missed opportunity. After all, a good following wind from behind the kilt could have propelled those balls on to a lucky strike.

Avril in reservations told me her legs were wobbly and aching after the event and blamed heavy balls for her physical discomfort. I sympathised with her and suggested she try smaller ones in future. They come in all sizes, I’m told.

It seems that part of Travel 2/4’s success is founded on the good working relationships between their staff. They have organised all sorts of events in the past, including a karaoke night which was, by all accounts, a hit with all who took part. The only downside was the reservations staff were hoarse the next day.

I look forward to hearing what they’ll be up to next.

From the hoarse’s mouth

On the subject of hoarse voices, I picked up the phone this week to hear the husky tones of an unidentified man asking me if I’d received an e-mail advising of a 10% discount off Cadogan brochure holidays.

Through a few gasps, the voice identified himself as Danny, our Cadogan sales executive. At first I admit I found the breathy vocals rather attractive, but soon, maternal anxiety kicked in. After all, great as a 10% discount is, it’s not enough to induce that level of breathlessness.

“Are you okay?” I asked. Danny explained he’d been suffering from a number of symptoms, including a sore chest and a persistent cough. I diagnosed inflamed bronchioles and a chest infection and suggested he visited his GP at the earliest opportunity for some antibiotics. A case of not so much NHS Direct as MHS (Maureen Hill Service) Direct.

Fishing for complements

There has been a lot of debate and controversy surrounding shop windows and what appears in them. We at Wessex World Travel are very fortunate to have a large frontage that is imaginatively dressed by Nigel’s wife, Helen.

Over the years, she has produced creative and attractive displays using items she has collected from her travels. Things washed up on beaches around the world have found themselves part of a fantasy created in the heart of Dorset.

Images of far-flung places have been evoked by the use of tribal paraphernalia. I only wonder how she gets all the stuff back to the UK? After all, it’s no fun to reach into your handbag for your keys, only to pull out a Peruvian fertility charm – really, most embarrassing.

Recently, our window has been decorated with sea-side bits and pieces covered in fisherman’s netting. It clearly caught the eye of one visitor who came in and strode purposefully up to Rick.

“Can I buy your nets?” she asked.

Rick looked at her in puzzlement, not knowing what she was talking about. Curtains? Stockings? A helpful colleague pointed at the window display. Rick explained the items in the window were not for sale, but the woman was undeterred.

“I have some lovely glass fishermen’s balls that would look most eye-catching in those nets. Are you sure you can’t spare them?”

Rick’s told her to make a friend of a fisherman and ask if she could rummage through his fishing tackle.

As a marketing device, it’s hats off to Helen; she certainly managed to hook the passers-by with her window dressing. It was just a shame that particular client left in a bait