Maureen: Craig Palmer gets Carr trouble at the Globes

Maureen Hill is a regular columnist for Travel Weekly and works at Travel Angels, Gillingham, DorsetRegrettably I was unable to attend last week’s Travel Weekly Globe Travel Awards – the evening is always such fun.

I enjoy the moments of anticipation that precede the announcement of the winners of each award – it’s the gap between hope and realisation and it always gets to me. I’d make a rubbish Oscar nominee, so it’s just as well that’s ruled out.

Anyway, I hear that a good time was had by all and that all the award winners were deservedly thrilled.

My sources on the Travel 2 table told me that two of their number from the marketing team thought they’d spotted T2’s Craig Palmer chatting at the cocktail party. With only his rear view to go on, they pounced, approaching their unsuspecting prey from behind.

Of course, it turned out not to be Craig at all, but the ubiquitous and inimitable Alan Carr. The chatty comedian was unfazed – it probably happens to him all the time – but Craig has since been nicknamed Alan and is less than amused.

I’d say there are worse nicknames to end up with but I understand that it might get rather tiresome to have to fend off all those double entendres!


Rupert ‘Marx’ your card

If Craig made a good Alan Carr look-alike, then by all accounts, Rupert Diggins, marketing manager of Balkan Holidays, is doing a fabulous impression of Groucho Marx.

Admittedly this is by default rather than design, as his hunched and bent-kneed gait is the result of a recent ski trip in the Bulgarian resort of Bansko.

Rupert admits that the last time he took to the slopes for ski lessons was way back in his glamorous youth – circa 1984 – so it comes as no surprise that, after four hours on day one he was feeling the strain.

Add in to the equation a couple of rather humiliating tumbles and he was starting to regret the lack of preparation.

Rupert is not one to let the side down, however, and certainly not in front of the press pack he was hosting. As he said himself, agents are a challenge on fam trips, but the press are something else! It took real effort to ski and answer questions at the same time, but he got over that multi-tasking hurdle and gave them a trip to remember.

In spite of wrenched knees, sore calves and sprained ankles, Rupert led the eager team through the cobbled streets of Bansko, and the pain of his exertion on the mountain was put behind him as they enjoyed a delicious meal of Bulgarian favourites, including a meat platter followed by a dessert of “strained buffalo milk”.

“They certainly do have enquiring minds,” Rupert said of the journalists at the table. “One asked whether the buffalo were local and another wanted to know how the buffalo had strained itself!”


What a tool

A young man called in to ask if it was still possible to get married at sea. He is planning a surprise for his partner and intends to propose on board a cruise to the Caribbean.

“I’m a bit nervous, actually,” he confessed, “because I’m not certain she’ll say yes. I think she might be commitment-phobic. We’ve been together for a few years but she’s never even broached the subject. What if she says no?”

“In that case,” I replied, trying to lighten his mood, “I guess it’ll be a case of man overboard. “I suppose it depends on whether she’s the sort of girl that enjoys surprises.”

Apparently, she isn’t. “The last time I planned a romantic break it all went pear-shaped,” he told me. “I booked a hotel in Cornwall that described itself as a ‘romantic getaway’ but when we got there, we were shown to a room with two single beds. I went down to the reception to ask for a double room, but the girl just told me to bolt the beds together.”

I nodded sympathetically as he continued, clearly reliving every vivid moment.

“I let rip. I told her the last thing anyone wants to do after a romantic meal out and three sheets to the wind is a spot of DIY. And where was I supposed to get the tool from?”

It was very hard not to laugh and fill in all the gaps where cheap gags might go, but I restrained myself and told him that whatever happened, the experience would be unforgettable but that it might be prudent to pack a life jacket, just in case.

Maureen Hill works at Travel Angels in Gillingham, Dorset

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