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a blog by Chris Barrow

Don’t use golf clubs for conferences

This is Ufford Park just north of Ipswich, where I stayed for 2 days last week whilst presenting at a VDP conference (that’s baby dentists).

Can I first of all say that my hosts, The Eastern Deanery, could not have been more welcoming and hospitable – every need was catered for and I was frequently “checked on” to make sure that my trip was a pleasant as possible.

Can I secondly say that my audience of 60 were polite, welcoming, attentive and participative – even after their Thursday night booze up which, for some, didn’t end until 4.00am Friday morning.

But the venue was truly horrendous:

  1. budget rooms constructed of cheap materials

  2. my first sleep in a hard bed under an army blanket since I was in the Church Lads Brigade as a teenager

  3. lousy internet access – a weak GPRS signal in my room and wifi that didn’t work in the conference centre

  4. inedible food – my steak on Wednesday evening tasted “off” and the monkfish served at Thursday’s dinner was tasteless, overcooked and awful – in fact I would recommend this place for a weight-loss programme

  5. teenage catering staff who didn’t give a damn and had no customer service training

The visit was saved by the welcome from my hosts, by the fun I had with the delegates and by the excellent customer service of some of the more mature staff.

I had planned to stay over Friday night to avoid traffic – but I was so keen to escape that I pulled out of the gates cheering at 4.30pm – and tolerated a 7.5 hour drive “just to get away”.

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