In trouble and strife


Some decisions take a great deal of thought. Buy a sofa and you’ll be ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ for a good three weekends, bouncing on as many corner groups and two seaters as you can find and then weighing up the benefits of stainguard protection.


Choose a car and it could take weeks, even months, of test driving. And when it comes to marriage, why, it’s the same. You wouldn’t want to rush a serious commitment likely to outlast both the sofa and the car, would you?


These, clearly, are the thoughts of Patrick Murphy, managing director of Thorntons Travel in Bristol. After 30 years he finally proposed to his long-term partner Carol, who must have thought the day would never come.


It must be hard to impress somebody you’ve known all those years, but impress Carol he did, when he booked a twin-centre honeymoon in Dubai and Marbella. How touched she was to think that Patrick was taking care of two of the most important things a woman looks for in a holiday, namely sunshine and shopping.


But these men are transparent creatures and she soon found out that the dates coincided with the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GMTC) Emirates Golf Trip and ABTA Convention


I am concerned that Patrick may be sporting a black eye in his wedding photos.


Prêt-à-Porter


Sunset’s Danielle Porter would be the first to tell you when it comes to the search for a partner, she’s still wandering around the showroom. Still, the shop floor isn’t a bad place to start, as she discovered recently.


Having been invited to a posh do at celebrity dining haunt The Ivy, she realised she didn’t have anything to wear, so she hotfooted it to the shops to find something special – you know, the dress that gives you curves in the right places, magically extends your legs by four inches and takes off half a stone in the process.


She found a little black number and nipped off to try it on. It was a quiet time of the day and the privacy allowed her to take her time.


The time you cease to value privacy comes when the changing room door will not open and there is no assistant to help you. In Hennes, no-one can hear you scream…


Eventually, Danielle did manage to summon help, though even the assistant – armed with a multi function tool – was unable to open the door. The security guard couldn’t help either and so they called the fire brigade.


Danielle loves a man in a uniform and was only too pleased to be released by a burly, strong type, though she remains disappointed that he didn’t feel the need to sling her over his shoulder and stride out. If he’d looked closer, he’d have found a whole new fire to put out!


Highway robbery


A burly man in a uniform wouldn’t have gone amiss after WTM a few weeks ago. With ExCeL attracting a record number of visitors you’d have thought there would be a highly visible police presence, but apparently not, to the consternation of Paulo Veloso of Veloso Tours.


Paulo had left ExCeL at 6.30pm in the company of an operator from South America. The pair were looking forward to a travel function they were due to attend later on with a mutual friend.


The friend called to say that he was still at Custom House station and Paulo and his colleague decided to return to collect him.


Alighting at Royal Victoria, they were alone on the station platform. Two men appeared, held a knife in Paulo’s face and demanded the men’s wallets.


Paulo told me that he advises clients travelling to South America of these sorts of muggings but added that he wasn’t prepared for it to happen on his own doorstep, and certainly not in a place where so many vulnerable foreign visitors could be targeted. It hardly bodes well for 2012, does it?


Picture imperfect


On a lighter note, Greta Stonestreet of Bales Worldwide called in to our office to present a very surprised Rick with a portable DVD player that he’d won in the Bales brochure launch competition.


Rick asked Nigel to capture the moment, so Nigel made his way out into the traffic to find the best angle of Rick and Greta posing outside the shop. If the resulting shots are anything to go by I don’t think Hello! will be calling just yet.