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a blog by Chris Barrow


It’s so glamorous, this travelling life. I have made a resolution to stop complaining – but….. I get to bed at 11.00pm, after my 17-hour day – and get to wake at 2.00am to the sound of noisy revellers in the corridor outside my hotel room. Needless to say, I cannot get back to sleep in this crappy West End hotel room – cramped, stuffy and claustrophobic. After 90 minutes of thoughts in the dark, I decide to get up at 3.30am and put my pants in the trouser press attached to the wall inside the wardrobe. As I release the lever, the whole unit just collapses to the ground in a heap – its broken and nobody has taken the trouble to report or repair the fault. And another thing… Last night, we returned to our hotel to discover that the dinner menus I had painstakingly distributed to our delegates were useless as no dinner reservation had been made at the hotel. The restaurant manager did his level best but it was a lost cause. We descended into the basement “restaurant” at 7.30pm to discover what looked like the dining room in a rest home, with the overpowering smell of a fish market. “Dinner” was a hot buffet of school dinners. My heart sinks as everything we have invested into the afternoon – on brand standards – collapses. After a short discussion with Simon and Ernie, I walk down Bolsover Street, about 75 yards, and turn the corner to see a traditional Italian trattoria on a nearby corner. I approach the manager with my unusual request – “desserts, champagne and coffee for 19?” – and he replies “no problem” – the angels have finally taken pity on me. We march our delegates out of the basement, down the street and into an environment which suits our style. A disproportionate moment of disappointment is transformed into delight – and the point is well made on all concerned. It’s actually been a great day professionally – my meetings have been inspired – but what we have had to go through to get there……… At 5.45am the night porter arrives with a plank of wood and an old broken ironing board cover and suggests that if I lean the plank against the desk I will be able to press a shirt – when I get wifi I will send you a photo of this ridiculous arrangement from my iphone. This is London’s West End and goodness only knows what this room is costing. This travelling life sucks – and must change. My sense of humour is expired and my health is wearing out.

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