Maureen: Not so heavenly Travel Angels

Maureen: Not so heavenly Travel Angels

Not so angelic thoughts

Our heavenly body increased this week when Travel Angels acquired the Travel Centre in Street, Somerset.

Mary, Ann and Gabriella all gained their wings and are even now enduring, whoops, I mean enjoying the jokes that are coming their way thick and fast courtesy of the punters.

With her divine name, Gabriella in particular is at the receiving end of the public wit. Dubbed 'Angel Gabriel' she has been asked on more than one occasion for a one-way ticket to heaven.

It may get to the point where she's ready to oblige. One well-targeted blow to the head with a Worldwide Kuoni brochure should do the trick.

And speaking of blows to the head, I think I may have sown some potentially dangerous seeds in the mind of a local farmer's wife recently.

She and her husband had come in to pay the balance on their holiday and, not getting out much these days, the old boy took the opportunity to regale me with tales from his farming past.

His wife stood behind him, grimacing and pulling theatrical faces as he recounted yet another hilarious incident featuring him, a sheep called Molly and a wire coat hanger.

"If I've heard that once, I've heard it a thousand times. If I thought I could get away with it, I swear I'd murder him."

"You could always hit him over the head with a frozen leg of lamb like that woman in the Roald Dahl story," I said. "She cooked it and fed it to the policemen who'd come to investigate his death, so they ate the evidence."

We all laughed, but, judging by the look in her eye and the speed with which she left the shop "to get to Waitrose" I'm beginning to wonder if I might end up as an accessory to a heinous crime - and I don't mean her cooking.

Bales bear for baby

My colleague Rick became a grandfather for the first time this week when his daughter Lucy and her husband Graham became the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl, Bethany Mary.

And the timing couldn't have been better, for no sooner had she popped out (well, at 8lb 9oz 'popped' probably isn't the right word) than Rick received a call from Bales Worldwide to inform him that he'd won a 'Bales George' bear in its recent crossword competition.

All at Bales were thrilled to know that George was winging his way to baby Bethany, the youngest recipient to date.

Sunbed squeeze solution

Away from the happy baby news, bums on seats was the problem that presented itself for me this week when a client booking a villa in France asked me to check out how many sunloungers and sofas the accommodation offered.

Her party is a large one of 12 and she was keen to ensure that she didn't encounter a seating problem.

"Last year there were seven of us and the place we stayed in had only one sunlounger. It made life really difficult and we ended up drawing up a rota so we didn't fall out over the issue. Naturally, I'm keen not to repeat that," she explained.

I called reservations who checked with the properties department and eventually established there were no sofas, but there were enough chairs for everybody. But, there were only four sunloungers. The client, unsurprisingly, was not impressed.

"If the property is said to accommodate 12, there should be 12 sunloungers."

I relayed this to the reservations clerk whose best suggestion was that the other eight could lie around the pool on towels.

"They've got me over a barrel," my client said, "though from the sound of things, I'd probably have to share the barrel too. We really like the look and the location of the villa, but this is going to be a pretty big compromise."

I agreed that the operator selling the property on behalf of the owner should stipulate minimum seating requirements, but, anxious not to lose the booking completely, pointed out that inflatables have come a long way.

"You could buy a couple of inflatable armchairs for the pool," I said brightly, "and I bet there are plenty of gents in your party who would be only too willing to let you sit on their lap."

I don't know if the last comment swayed it as she has yet to book.

Maureen Hill works at Travel Angels, Gillingham, Dorset

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