Oh, ducky


Since I got back from my Virgin trip to Dubai, I have received e-mails with photographic attachments from my fellow travellers to remind me of all the fun we had, and to fill in some of those ‘missing gaps’.


One was from RCI Travel commercial director Martin Andrew. It’s strange how conversations stick in your mind. I remember a chat I had with Martin and Nigel Fell, director of air products, at Gold Medal. You would think high-powered executives like these two would be talking stats and strategy, but no, we were preoccupied with bath toys.


We stayed at the Emirates Towers Hotel, where attention to detail is second to none – even down to the rubber duck for your bath. When I mentioned how much I liked this humorous touch, the chaps agreed. I confessed to having tested mine for floatability and found I was not alone; Nigel and Martin had played with theirs. Further confessions followed.


One of the two men admitted to playing with an action man diver to make his bathtime fun. I should have told him he was ‘quackers’!


Move over Madge


But back to those missing gaps. It’s only when you get back to the office you hear of the incidents you were absent for. I was very sorry to have missed Virgin Holidays sales manager Keiran Farraghar’s ‘Confessions on a Dancefloor’.


I am told Keiran’s impression of Madonna at the Kasbar club at the Royal Mirage was something to behold. Good as his impersonation was, Keiran does not work out as hard as Madonna, and, having vogued particularly hard, he found himself whispering to the wooden floor boards, unable to get back on his feet.


The old advice from my disco-dancing days holds true: if you’re getting down, you have to make sure you can get up again. No-one else was in any fit state to help the poor man and he was stranded like a fallen giraffe. It was dark, so not only did the others not fully appreciate his Madonna moves, but it was some time before they realised he was stretched out on the floor.


Keiran decided fitness must come first from now on, in case he find himself in a heap anywhere less friendly. He vowed to kick his cigarette habit and, true to his word, he checked in for his flight home, sat in the lounge in Dubai and smoked his final fag. Keiran is still a smoke-free zone, but if you spot him back-pedalling, tell me.


Another man working hard to kick a habit is Andy Tomlinson, head of commercial, for Harvey World Travel. I met Andy during dinner in the desert.


Andy has lost two stones since January in aid of Promised Dreams, a charity funding experiences for terminally-ill children. Anyone wishing to sponsor him can contact him on 01922 702792.


A bit of TLC


With the Foreign and Commonwealth Office taking active steps to ensure travellers know exactly what to expect from our embassies abroad, a gap has been detected by the entrepreneurial team Destination Care.


The company offers care in resorts for clients with the sorts of problems that drive embassy staff to frustration – you know, the everyday tales of woe like lost passports, missing luggage and the like.


With desks at more than 34 airports in the most popular resorts, a team of former holiday reps, managers and translators can deal with issues on the spot, whether they be a medical query, lost luggage or stolen items.


As well as peace of mind, Destination Care offers a comprehensive concierge service for shopping, restaurant reservations, golf tee times and so on, with disabled passengers well served with assistance throughout their holiday.


As managing director Lawrence Assock explains in his e-mail: “Destination Care is the missing link to dynamic packaging/independent holidays – a physical presence and peace of mind for those too timid to trust anything than a package holiday.”


And the best bit? It’s only available through travel agents.


Star struck


Goldtrail sales and marketing manager Joe Lavers called in this week en route home from the BRIGHT roadshow in Bath, bringing good news of a new Bristol flight to Antalaya, Turkey.


He also went through the new brochure with us, explaining what a ‘soft’ all-inclusive was.


Apparently, it means a hotel with a restaurant, bar and swimming pool, plus food and unlimited drink, which certainly sounds like a soft option for clients whose idea of activity (like mine) consists of raising a glass or two.


Joe had been unable to call earlier as Goldtrail had been really busy with the ‘eclipse’ holidays they’d offered to Turkey. It seems astronomers from all over the country filled the aircraft for the historic event, though I don’t believe they all travelled wearing their special dark glasses.


I have to say though for me, when it comes to looking at stars, I’ll stick to my celebrity magazines.


Joe is a great fan of Turkey, although it does get just a little warm for him. The last time I’d spoken to him, he’d burnt himself in 40C heat, sunbathing on the beach under an umbrella riddled with tiny holes. I’ve told him to let the hotel know.


After all, given that clients generally spend more time outside their accommodation than inside, it’s not unreasonable to expect a four-star hotel to come with four-star umbrellas!