Travel Weekly columnist Maureen HillThe combined effects of the World Cup, volcanic ash and the British Airways strikes have meant we are having to pull out all the persuasive stops and battle for every booking. So when you do find a holiday that meets all the client’s criteria, it comes as a bit of a blow when your ‘dead cert’ falls at the first fence.


The wife of one of the two couples I thought were bound to book phoned me to say they would not now be travelling after all. She explained the husband of the other couple had bought a “hot tub” with their holiday money, which meant that, as she and her husband couldn’t afford to travel without them, the holiday would have to be cancelled.


Apparently, arguments had ensued all week but to no avail. “He has said we can go around there and use the hot tub with them, but as I explained to him, I can have a bath at home anytime, but it’s not like having a holiday is it? Also, I’m fussy as to whom I choose to get into the bath with.”


What an excuse; it sounded like a load of bath balls to me.


From maxis to minis


In this column a while ago I mentioned that Speedos are the preferred choice of swimwear for French men. For the uninitiated, or those too young to remember, the speedo was de rigueur in the 1970s and 80s for the muscular hunks on the beach or in the pool.


I may have unwittingly helped to encourage a trend here but it seems the French have led the way and John Lewis has reported a huge increase in the sales of these cheeky little swim trunks, sometimes rather disparagingly referred to as budgie smugglers.


Their rise in popularity has been attributed to Daniel Craig, alias James Bond, as he strode from the sea in the film Casino Royale.


I’m all for elegance on the beach but it seems that as ladies’ swimwear has become more minuscule and attractive, men’s swimshorts have become longer and more ungainly.


I’m not including the fashionable boardshorts worn by the surfing crowd, but these colourful shorts have been misappropriated as sagging havens for the beer bellies of the unfit and overweight.


Penny rolls on


Our Penny has decided to move on. The fact our colleague is approaching a special birthday has influenced her decision to call it a day on the counter and a new adventure in retailing beckons. A life on the open road has always appealed to Penny and she is off to Waitrose to become a home delivery driver.


Not too unlike her job in travel, she will still be meeting people, but instead of delivering the perfect holiday, she will be delivering the weekly shop.


Once the goods are delivered that’s the end of it, unlike travel. Good luck, Pen, and if you can slip a few of my business cards in with the eggs it would be appreciated.