You are most probably waiting with baited breath to find out if we had a freshly cooked meal last night. Well the vegetables certainly were, however we soon discovered that this was to be a one night only special event; as for the rest of the week the vegetables were back as usual –frozen from Iceland!
Enough of food let’s move on to today’s events. Mr. D. River left the building this morning and Mr Grumpy arrived to take his place.
Apparently he is on the third floor of the hotel, which means that his room is hot - as heat rises you know. Plus the fact that the radiator, which is in the corridor outside his room, is on and in this hot summery weather it is unbearable. Plus the lift up to the third floor on his side of the hotel doesn’t work and he has had to walk up at least three flights of stairs and this is just not on!
Irreverent thought 6. Between you and me he could do with the exercise as his expanded waistline will attest too!
Alongside this is the 45 hours! Now this number has been bandied about since we first met him. Again and again Mr Grumpy has told us on an emotional blackmail rant that he has to find 45 hours downtime for himself during this week’s holiday.
He has constantly told us, trying to appeal to us to let go maybe one of the trips that he is supposed to take us on or suggested that he cuts down the times spent at each place so that he can recover these extra hours.
No-one is biting! If it is as he says, then the company who he works for should send a relief driver to take his place but hey ho the day has just started!
A misty haze covered the sea front when we emerged from the hotel to pick up the coach but the sun soon burned its way through the mist leaving us to enjoy a hot sunny day.
Our first point of call on this two – part, half day trip was to a nearby quaint village. There were eleven of us on the coach and as we settled down into our seats Mr Grumpy explained that he couldn’t drive into the village and that he had to park the coach in the car park just outside it.
Unfortunately on the coach was a gentleman who could only walk with the aid of a walker on wheels, a lady who was in a wheelchair and one lady, who had so many illnesses that I lost count, couldn’t walk for long distances never mind the lady who got lost every day in the hotel as she couldn’t find her room!
Now, my lovely husband and I were fine- we walked through the car park up the hill into the village, which consisted of a few lovely cottages dating back to the 1300’s; a few small shops, two cafes and a pub, which were all closed! We walked along the winding High street taking our lives in our hands as there were no pavements to speak of and the through traffic that whizzed by at a deadly pace was a hazard to say the least.
We managed to survive although the lady in the wheelchair and her companions had to turn back because it was too dangerous and they spent the rest of the time back in the car park where Mr Grumpy was washing down the coach.
Undeterred we found the village green and then the river which, again to be honest, wasn’t all that inspiring so we walked back to the centre of the village just as our fellow passengers arrived. This had taken us all of thirty minutes to see everything that there was to see and we had still got an hour to go!
Fortunately, a café had by now opened so we joined our compatriots and rather than trying to get around the village they asked us questions about what they had missed whilst drinking coffee. Twenty minutes later we were back on the coach. Mr Grumpy was still washing it - but this should have been done in the garage you know but he had 45 hours to make up! You get the picture!
Thought for the day: Remember no one is in charge of your happiness except you.
Our two dissatisfied moaners, who have complained constantly, have decided to stay and not demand a move to the Brighton hotel- surprise- surprise, ‘as it would be too much hassle!’ I’m sure that it had nothing to do with the Brighton hotel being more expensive!
I spoke to the driver before we set off on our first day trip and he commented that all he needed to complete his day was a tin helmet and flak jacket! He had obviously been attacked by Mona and Minnie!
However, the sunshine greeted us and followed us all the way to Brighton where I fulfilled one visit from my wish list; The Royal Pavilion.’
It was magical from the outside full of domes, spires, columns and curly-cues! Just as I had imagined it. Inside the decoration and furniture found in the banquet hall and music rooms in particular were well worth the entrance fee with a chandelier that was simply exquisite!
As a fan of the regency period it was everything I had expected it to be.
But the Pavilion wasn’t the only attraction that we went to see. The iconic Brighton Pier was, to be honest, nothing overly special. Yes it did have attractions, restaurants, deck chairs but it didn’t over shadow any other piers to be found in places like Weston Super-Mare, Blackpool and St Anne’s.
The famous pebbly beach was at first impressive but then, when you looked at Eastbourne and Worthing beaches, they were just the same; so its uniqueness was lost. However, I did wish that I had a giant bucket so that I could collect as many of the pebbles as I could, so that I could take them home for my garden. The pebbles were fascinating with all those different colours, shapes and sizes! Unfortunately I didn’t!
The beach area was busy on the day that we visited Brighton and it was lovely to see so many people enjoying the traditional seaside entertainments such as deckchairs, swimming in cold water, toe dippers and I’m glad to say ladies of the Islam faith freely relaxing in the sun and paddling in the sea wearing their traditional dress.
I watched a Punch and Judy show, which brought back happy childhood memories and there were souvenir stalls and fish and chip outlets galore.
To finish off our day, my lovely husband and I walked down to the British Airways i360 Sky Tower, queued up and enjoyed an aerial ride up to 450ft to see panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside.
We arrived back at the coach to be greeted by Mona and Minnie who had smiles on their faces as they had been assured that there would be a chef working in the kitchen tonight and that we would be given a freshly cooked evening meal. We couldn’t wait!
Thought for the day: Be careful what you wish for!
The first drop off was in Brighton. Now, my lovely husband and I were a little disappointed to find that the tour company had a Brighton stay however our drive into the city wasn’t exactly pretty.
The impressions we got were grubby, litter filled streets and graffiti everywhere, which surprised us. However when we drove nearer to the tourist section the environment improved.
We passed the Royal Pavilion which looked impressive and stopped outside the hotel which was opposite the famous Brighton pier.
The guests who were leaving the coach to stay here were greeted on the coach by a young lady who gave them their room keys and information about the meal times. Porters unloaded their bags and they were whisked off. We would see these fellow travellers again later on in the week.
We then set off for Eastbourne. Now I must tell you don’t believe maps as the positioning of Eastbourne in relation to Brighton is just wrong. The journey took an extra forty five minutes which just added to the weariness that we were all experiencing by now.
When we arrived the hotel was situated on the sea front however our arrival here was completely different. Our bags were dumped on the pavement outside of the hotel by Gregor and considering that many of the 18 passengers were either incapacitated in some way; this did not bode well. We took our cases into the hotel and carried in a few more and then checked in.
Our room was on the second floor. The lift held two people and was a squeeze with the bags but we made it to the room. It was basic; clean and tidy but a little worn out. But hey what do you expect for the money we paid. We weren’t over the moon but it was satisfactory and acceptable.
However grumbles arose from many of our fellow passengers as they obviously expected more. Two ladies in particular were vociferous in their condemnation of the place and service with comments like:
‘No room to swing a cat. '
(Irreverent thought 1. It must have been a pretty big cat! )
‘Our room is too hot! '
(Irreverent thought 2. I’m sorry but you won’t get air conditioning at these prices.)
'It’s too noisy!'
(Irreverent thought 3. Goodness me you have only just arrived!)
‘The rooms, which are not being used, are dusty!’
(Irreverent thought 4. Maybe because they are closed off and are not being used!)
And finally, after the first evening meal;
‘I’ve worked in the hotel industry and owned a pub and the food is from Iceland and micro waved.'
(Irreverent thought 5. As I don’t shop at Iceland, I couldn’t comment!)
These two ladies asked to see the manager who had apparently absconded two nights ago and hadn’t been seen since by any of the staff on duty!
The ladies decided that they weren’t unpacking and were going to complain to grumpy Gregor in the morning, which was something for us to look forward too!
Thought for the day: Be someone’s sunshine when their skies are grey.
Bonhomie abounds on our coach trip to Eastbourne; a seven day jaunt all for £200 for me and my lovely husband. Dinner, bed and breakfast and four coach trips all included in this bargain price! Not bad!
That is until we started. Out first coach set off from Manchester at 8.20 am. We took a taxi which cost us £10.We climbed into the dark cave that was a mini bus and was told cheerily that we were off to Lymm motorway service station to collect our next coach.
Now this would have been okay except that we travelled back all the way past where we lived. If we had known maybe we could have been picked up at a different starting place and saved ourselves some money! But hey ho -off we go!
We arrived at Lymm with time for a drink and toilet whilst waiting for the second coach to arrive to take us on our next stage of our journey. Once settled onto the coach, sitting in our given seat numbers, we were highly entertained by Olaf our coach driver.
“Call me D.River!” he said laughing and to our surprise we joined in with the laughter along our fellow passengers. He was a laugh a minute during the journey. A good start!
We transferred to yet another coach and met Mr Grumpy- not really his fault in retrospect as there were no assistants to help out or answer questions and I’m sure if you have been asked the same question over and over again you might end up being grumpy.
However once everyone had arrived from coaches all over the North we finally set off on journey to Eastbourne. It was now 1pm.
We had an introduction to the coach and how we could use the toilet as long as it was for a drizzle and not a downpour we were fine. Mr Grumpy turned into Mr D. River. His timing wasn’t exactly brilliant so he had to explain the joke to a few of the passengers sitting right at the front, which was more hilarious than the joke!
The journey was fine. I had bought £1 sleep pillow (bargain!) and I actually had at least half an hour unlike my lovely husband who fell asleep and promptly began to snore. I can’t take him anywhere! (LOL)
Two ladies sitting behind Gregor, our driver’s real name, asked him about the hotels he was dropping us off at. We now found out that the coach company had had to combine Brighton tour and the Eastbourne one together and that he was to be our driver for the week.
He then gave review of the hotels and shall we say that our hotel wasn’t glowing!
We’d have to wait and see!
Thought for the day: Today why not let every delicious possibility unfold.
I have never seen so many senior citizens in one place in my whole life and that was when I took a coach trip to Eastbourne earlier this year.
I have never seen so many of them enjoying themselves, what with the dancing and the entertainment in hotels. I have never seen so many people doing the simple things in life like talking to one another rather than being on their mobile phones all the time.
I was amazed and humbled by their attitude to having a good time. Even in adversity with wheelchairs, mobility scooters, walking sticks and Zimmer frames with wheels they were undaunted as they ventured out along the promenade in all kinds of weather.
My lovely husband and I had arranged this coach trip as a week away in the UK for a change. It was a bargain for the price. £200 for 6 night’s dinner, bed and breakfast with 4 coach trips included as well!
We chose Eastbourne because we wanted to visit Brighton, which is close by and one of the daytrips took us there. I had always wanted to visit the Royal Pavilion, as I have been a fan of Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels all my life.
So we booked the trip and for the next few days I would like to share with you our experiences. I intend to add a blog everyday sharing my dairy of what happened. I hope you will enjoy it.
P.S. I have changed the character’s names to protect –ME!
Thought for the day: Start your day with a smile and finish it with champagne!
I’ve just got back from a holiday in America. I fulfilled one of my dream wished and visited Tupelo where Elvis Presley was born and Graceland, the home where he lived. Both trips were great.
However, what I wanted to write about was tipping or gratuities for services given.
It became a big source of debate and discussion with other members of my tour group. All were British and all had the same viewpoint; mainly that you give a tip for good or exceptional service not whenever you are served something.
With the Americans recommending from between 15% - 20% every time you were served there were obviously a few grumbles.
Tipping is actually a wage supplement and Americans expect us to pay this. It is like adding a service tax to your bill every time you are served whether it is in a bar or restaurant.
Some waitresses only earn about $2 an hour which is an abysmal wage and they rely on tips to make up their wages to an acceptable amount but I honestly don’t see why I should subsidise their earnings. Surely this is the responsibility of their employers. They should be paid a living wage. One waitress told us that her shift started at 5pm and she worked until 3am the following morning.
This was $30 dollars plus the tips that she was given. Now she did provide us with exceptional service; willing to discuss the menu, talked about the baseball on the TV and genuinely made us feel welcome, so we tipped accordingly.
However in some places the servers did nothing out of the ordinary and some were downright rude and not interested yet they still wanted the same gratuity. Believe me when I say that they didn’t receive it!
I wondered if this was the same for Americans so the next time we were in a restaurant I looked at the tip that was left by an American family. Their bill was about $35 and they left a $2 tip. This is nowhere near 20% so that is what we left as well.
Call me a cynic if you wish but could these recommendations be directed only at gullible tourists especially the British who are from a nation that doesn’t see tipping as part of their everyday life. The stress that this caused some of my tour group was surprising spilt their enjoyment in a little way.
I also spent a week on a cruise and decided to ask for the gratuities to be taken off our bill so that we could tip when we wanted to and choose the amount that we wanted to leave. This took a staggering £168 off our bill!
We also had to watch out when we signed for drinks ordered on the cruise as the gratuity was already added and some of our tour group didn’t know this as they hadn’t been on a cruise before and so they were adding an extra tip as well.
What made the situation worse was that the servers in some restaurants and bars reminded you that paying a gratuity was recommended and that they even suggested the amount. I found this disgraceful and again was reluctant to tip at all. This was also done by guides who took you round on tours etc. although to be fair their service was in many cases deserving of a tip because of the information that they gave you and their pleasant manners in delivering it.
Now, some of you may be thinking that I am just tight with my money or that I am being petty but I honestly don’t feel that way. To me the employers of these types of establishments should, in my opinion, pay their workers the correct amount for the work that they do.
I am happy to thank someone, with a monetary tip, who has been helpful, courteous and who has tried to make my experience pleasant and enjoyable.
So now over to you; what do you think?
Thought for the day: Choose your own path!