by Jack Adams, Social Secretary
The 2015 presentation weekend trek started for us, that is Theresa, Rob, Val and me at 06:00 on a very cold Thursday morning with a couple of inches of snow. However, the journey was not too bad until we reached the M42. We decided on a comfort break at Tamworth services; unfortunately the traffic had different ideas and it took us 40 minutes to cover the last 3 miles. Needless to say we were all relieved when we pulled in.
We arrived at The Toorak at 13:15 and our rooms were ready for us; after unpacking our luggage it was down to the sports arena for a well earned drink or three. Thursday evening was only attended by 11 people so we enjoyed a relatively quiet meal in the main restaurant. We then embarked on the starlight room for bingo and a few drinks. The bingo players in Torquay must be much better than the north east, as we never won anything.
On Friday morning after a very filling breakfast we walked - the other three walked while I limped - into Torquay. I was pleasantly amazed to find an old motor torpedo boat, along with other old naval vessels, moored up in the marina. It was just a pity they were not open, as I would have loved to look round them. After the girls had dragged Rob and me around the shops, Rob and I decided to retire to a Weatherspoon’s pub, only for a sit down, I promise.
By the time the girls arrived, we were all feeling a bit peckish. As we were having a large evening meal later, we decided on a small snack, and I chose a hot dog with a small potion of chips. I don’t know if any of you have tried one of Weatherspoon’s hot dogs, but they are an experience: when it arrived, we all just stared at it as it was over 18 inches long and the width of a savaloy. By the time I was finished, I was absolutely stuffed. So much for a light snack.
Our Friday evening meal was attended by almost all our group. Unfortunately, Karen Bower and her delightful children, Harry and Imogen, were delayed and did not arrive till after 22:00 due to a motorway crash; thankfully they were not involved. After another unsuccessful game of bingo, we were entertained by a group who must have been on an all-inclusive booking, as every one of them I saw had a wristband on and signed for their drinks. Unfortunately my help-for-heroes band did not count.
We returned to the Arlington bar and met up with Eddie and his delightful friend Sarah, and later my old mate Colin Jones. We managed to make it to around 23:30 before bed called.
Saturday morning was the AGM, and then the following committee meeting, with Tea Bags Tetley commenting he missed out on emails as he did not own a “tippy tappy.” For the more technically-minded, that is a PC. This meeting was the quickest I have experienced and we finished around 11:30. During the meeting we recruited two new committee members in Meriel Shotton who is our new Minutes Secretary and Russell George who will take over from Jeff Chambers as Treasurer: Welcome to the pair of them.
Our party drove up to Babbacombe to visit Bygones. This looks like a normal shopfront until you get inside, and then it takes on the proportions of a Tardis. It covers three floors of memorabilia from the early 1900s, even a penny arcade with authentic slot machines, Rob was particularly taken by the extensive model railway. All-in-all it was well worth the £15 per couple entrance fee. After calling in at the old station sale rooms, it was back to the hotel for a session in the Jacuzzi and the sauna before taking a dip in the pool, after which Theresa looked like Shirley Temple as her hair goes into tight curls when wet.
The presentations this year were conducted by Jeff Chambers and Chris Hatton, our new answer to Ant & Dec. They did a fantastic job, especially Chris who was very nervous as this was his first time. Theresa and her side-kick Val went around selling raffle tickets, and were helped by Henry Cole and his cousin Zoe, and Imogen and Harry Bower, to pull out the winning tickets and stick them on the prizes. By the end of the night they had raised £235, a fantastic amount for the number of people present.
As usual, Sunday morning comes around all too soon, and after a large breakfast it was time for saying our farewells to everyone and heading home.
The journey back was a lot easier than the journey to Torquay, with sunshine most of the way and no traffic hold-ups.
So that is it for another year. It only remains for me to thank all those who attended, as without their continued support the Association would cease to exist.