Maureen: Red Nightie Day – Holiday Options does Comic Relief

Maureen: Red Nightie Day – Holiday Options does Comic Relief

Maureen Hill is a regular columnist for Travel Weekly and works at Wessex World Travel, Gillingham, DorsetCreatures of the night


Anyone visiting the offices of Holiday Options recently would have been forgiven for thinking they’d stumbled upon a performance of The Pyjama Game as staff members did their bit to raise money for Comic Relief.


The stunt was the brainchild of Annabelle, who suggested the day be spent by all in nightwear, with everybody paying for the privilege.


I suspect the event may have cost people even more than the participatory fee. After all, how many chaps do you know who a) own nightwear at all, or b) have anything in good enough condition for public viewing? Marks and Spencer must have had a field day.


The vast majority of staff voted that Paul in agency sales should wear a baby doll nightie but he declined, claiming that he hadn’t shaved his legs, and instead opted for white boxer shorts with the motto ‘Beware of the Long Trunk’ (can’t imagine he bought those in Marks and Spencer, although times have changed, I know), coupled with a white fluffy dressing gown and his slippers.


I think the outfit suggests a Jekyll and Hyde personality: seemingly soft and unthreatening, but altogether more predatory under the wrapping.


Goodness only knows what Edwina’s nightwear said about her – she turned up in a velour tracksuit. I can only imagine she has the kind of dreams where she’s always running away from something. Possibly Paul in the scary boxers?


I wanted to ask how those who go to bed wearing only a little perfume and a smile got on, but perhaps those secrets are best kept private.


The day was a great success and the gang celebrated with a well-deserved round in the local pub. Imagine the look of surprise on the faces of the punters as they turned up. They must have thought their drinks had been spiked. I only hope they remembered to change for the commute home.


When I asked why sales director Rupert Diggins had failed to take part in the event, I was told he was abroad at the time. However, as one spokesperson put it: “Rupert always looks as though he’s just fallen out of bed, anyway.”


Well done everybody, and congratulations on a great sum raised for Comic Relief.


Getting to the bottom of it


An old client of mine called me recently to tell me of the fabulous time she’d had in Malaysia, where she had been visiting friends.


“I felt I got to know the culture,” she said, “right down to the nitty gritty.”


When I asked what she meant by ‘nitty gritty’, she explained that it had taken her a while to get to grips with local loo conventions. “They don’t seem to use loo paper at all,” she said, “so I took to carrying a roll in my bag. That ‘when in Rome’ attitude’s all very well, but when it comes to the WC I am English, through and through.”


I told her that I remembered my own trips to Malaysia vividly, but I never went near a toilet that didn’t have a little old lady outside selling loo paper as that, at least, offered hope of a dignified experience.


Toileting customs across the world are certainly different and I know the loo paper issue is one of the major points of variance.


Too many times I’ve been caught out by my Western assumption that the little Labrador puppy had spread his love across the world. Now, older and wiser, I wouldn’t travel anywhere without a discreet pack of Andrex (the roll’s way too bulky). I understand that in Japan they have vending machines selling loo paper.


Which reminds me of something I read about Japan’s efforts to reduce loo paper usage in its effort to combat global warming.


Research showed that posting toilet poems or mottos at eye level in public loos reduced the amount of paper people used by 50%. And I don’t mean those ‘if you sprinkle’ kinds of rhymes no, these are little slogans drawing one’s attention to the paper.


Dare I say ‘poo-etry in motion’?


A job too big?


Finally, I must thank Keith at Qantas Holidays, who, having read a recent column in which I confessed to being unable to resist a man in uniform, offered to call round in odd job overalls. I’ve checked in the mirror. One man is not enough. I need the whole DIY SOS team to put it all back together!


Maureen Hill works at Travel Angels in Gillingham, Dorset

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