PARIBC at Torquay – March 2024

P.A.R.I.B.C. down in Devon:  Sun 03rd – Fri 08th March 2024. (Report and pictures)

36 hardy, (or should that be fool hardy?!), souls signed up for the first Club trip down to Torquay, in Devon, unsure of what they had let themselves in for…despite the 400 emails they received, telling them all about the trip!  But what unfolded was a very entertaining week away, with a mix of bowls and days out.  We stayed at the Toorak Hotel, (part of the TLH, 4 hotel complex), based on a bed, breakfast and evening meal stay.  Although looking and feeling a little “tired”, the hotel and rooms were clean and adequate, so in most cases, did what they “said on the tin” and the staff were very helpful and couldn’t do enough for us.  The maze of corridors and walkways between the hotels was soon mastered and ensured people’s fitness levels were maintained!  On the bowls front, we had 4 matches, played on the hotel’s own four rink, indoor green, winning 1 and losing 3, against the various other Clubs, (including Angel IBC), that were also there for the week.  Plenty of good and perhaps plenty more bad woods were delivered, yet only one wrong bias, done by Tom Heward, who then got his good lady Christine, to pay the fine for him!  Unbelievable!  Trying to understand how each rink played, proved tricky at times, even for all our stars, but all seemed to enjoy their efforts.  One man who was particularly happy in the first match was skip Dave Sutherland, as his Oppo skip, played in a hat and they spent the whole match, discussing the full merits of hats and headwear!  Up in the “The Cage”, otherwise known as the bar and viewing area, the non – players, enjoyed many a chat, whilst passing on their encouragement to those bowling below on the green.  Away from the so called “rigours”, of not only the bowls green, but also the afternoon quizzes, the use of the 2 massive indoor swimming pools, gym and huge games room, then the sea front and beach area, as well as the main town of Torquay, were visited daily.  Also, as all bar one, of the party, were holders of OAP free bus passes, many local attractions in the surrounding areas were visited and numerous tales of adventures out and about, were the topic of discussions at the meal table, each evening.  Food wise, there was plenty of choice and portions were generous and at breakfast you could certainly have your fill, (and more), to set you up for the day, although the toast making machine, did see the queues building up!  But this was just another place to have a chat and make new friends!  After the evening meal, the brains, (in the loosest sense), of many were tested again, at the evening quiz, before a session of prize bingo, (well done to Deidre Williams and Linda Searle our big cash winners), which then led into the evening’s live entertainment, where many of our ladies were up and dancing the nights away.  After this it was either off to bed, or a few more drinks were quaffed, over a game or two of cards.  Thus a good week, that looks like being a possible goer for another trip, next year, if we can find somebody to organise it?

An early Sun morning departures from the Club saw, 33 of the 36, depart via coach, (3 going by car), for a fairly quick journey, across 5 counties, to arrive in an overcast, but dry Torquay.  The 12 crates of Newcastle Brown Ale that accompanied Mick T Smith and Dave Sutherland on to the back seat, were soon necked and that was before the coach had even reached the M25.  Luckily a pit stop at Fleet services, was planned, so this meant refreshments could be topped up.  On arrival, the usual settling in process to the hotel nearly took its toll on Maureen Osborne and her carer for the week, Patricia Wells, as their room was away from the main group.  So after an hour spent venturing to all 4 hotels, they were eventually routed back to the main hotel for their rooms.  Nothing like getting their full weeks steps allocation in, all on the first day.  We all then had a quick roll up on the indoor green, before smartening ourselves up, (the gents that is, as all the ladies looked very glam, all week!), for our first evening meal.  Unfortunately during the week, one man was to be found wearing more of his food than eating it.  Namely the Club Prez. Dave Elliott, who on day one found himself with a lap full of mixed veg, thanks to, what they call in ruby parlance, a cunningly disguised, missed pass from fellow Director Dave Cook, (or was this a case of the old saying, “too many cooks…”?), then on day two, as the Prez acknowledged yet another new female admirer, (there are so many), so his raised waving arm, caught the waitress as she leaned over to deliver yet another tray of veg.  So rather than go for a pee, Dave had a pea, (quite a few), at his seat, luckily they weren’t the mushy kind!  On day three, the hotel brought in a straightjacket and a converted a baby’s high chair, so the Prez could sit at the end of the table in safety, for both himself and his dining partners.  Other featured highlights of the trip, mainly centred around 2 of our lovely ladies, namely Maureen Osborne and Soozie Moreton………

Despite having, as mentioned, her own carer and room buddy, in Patricia Wells, Maureen Osborne, managed to get lost each and every day.  Even getting from her room to our restaurant, (a distance of less than 50 metres, in a straight line), proved like something like out of the BBC travel programme “Race Across The World”.  On one occasion she turned the wrong way out of her room and went to every other hotel’s restaurant, before 2 hours later, security staff had to lead her to our restaurant.  For the rest of the week, the Devon and Cornwall Police helicopter was put on standby, as well as the Devon Council search and rescue teams who had to take on another 50 volunteers, once it was known she was down for the week.  They also suggested we either get her micro chipped, or have a tracker fitted.  Unfortunately the responses as to where such a tracker would be fitted, are too rude to publish!  Thanks to all 35 tourists who cared for / searched for Maureen each day and night, especially Patricia and Julia Edwards, with the latter taking her back to her room each night.  Julia has previous in this field, remember the incident with hubby Peter and him turning up for an away match, with no woods, no shoes and no top!  We have started a Go Fund Me page to try and purchase an assistance dog for Maureen, with all donations, no matter how small, welcomed.  Maureen also thrilled us on the dance floor, with her dance moves, (changing light bulbs, stacking boxes, pushing doors), although her lifting of her top to cool down, was not a scheduled move…or at least I don’t think it was?  I never knew that they still made girdles in that type of solid metal, incorporating the asbestos and fire resistant fabric and material, but obviously they do!  You live and learn!

And speaking of dancing and undressing, we come on to Soozie.  She was normally first up on the dance floor, getting all our other ladies up and shaking their bits…don’t ask!  She was even dancing in her seat during the bingo, to the sound of the bingo machine, so the lady was born to dance.  Anyway, at one stage after an exertive half hour, she had got very hot, so decided to disrobe, removing a T shirt from under her main top, without taking the main top off, think “Mr Bean” sketch on TV.  Anyway, come the end of the evening, so she was cold and decided to re – robe, and put aforementioned T shirt back on, again without taking her main top off.  This proved a more tricky move for her.  So we had 45 mins of arm movements, body contortions and face gurning, an act that would have won “Britain’s Got Talent”!  Now as a very shy gent and having led a very sheltered and  reserved life, on matters of the female form, I certainly learnt a thing or two, and the video when posted on YouTube has already garnered half a million likes.  Soozie also has a lucky rabbit and hubby Chris was saying nothing, but this also proved a major talking point.  Anyway, enough said and probably better to say no more and leave that one, to your own interpretation and imagination!  Equally, there is the incident with Soozie walking into Torquay, to go to the town centre, wearing odds shoes, but that is a whole half hour TV show in its own right!  But throughout the whole week, day and night, whenever and wherever I saw Soozie and hubby Chris, I always saw them smiling and laughing, so it seems they certainly enjoyed the trip.

Obviously all the other tourists, had their quirks, but these all just added to the weeks entertainment, where laugher was certainly high up on the agenda.  Not enough time or space, to mention everybody in full and what they did, (so you can count yourselves lucky if you haven’t been mentioned), but a few points to note, include, Henry Longhurst and Bill Duncan meeting for a breakfast pint, each morning,  to discuss what their two wives, (Patricia and Judy respectively), would be wearing each night, to avoid an outfit clash, after the first night doubling up; Phil Cook knowing the quickest route to every bar in the complex, from wherever he was sitting; Maureen Osborne teaming up with ex PARIBC member June Clayton, (now living in Somerset), for a “quick” chat, that produced enough hot air and energy, to power up and re – charge the whole of the Torquay area electrical grid, for the rest of March and John Clayton, trying to get on the bus using his Sainsbury’s Nectar card, his Tesco Club card and is driving licence, i.e. showing every card, bar his free bus pass and so throwing the one bus an hour timetable, into total confusion!  On the final night and with the young waitress having the hump big time, with our party, for some unbeknown reason, the tour party very kindly presented the tour organizer, with a very generous financial pressie, (“Thank you all, very muchly”!), that was certainly not deserved, but was most gratefully accepted.  After all, it doesn’t matter how much work or effort he puts in, without the people signing up for the trip, then nothing will happen.  Many thanks to Deidre Williams who sorted all the coach travel “bits” out for me and to Mick T Smith for taking all the pics, which you can see below…look at all those smiling people, although looks as if a few have fallen asleep in the group pics?!  But perhaps biggest thanks go to all those 35 people, who signed up for this trip, to ensure that it took place.  One or two minor problems arose, but I like to think all enjoyed themselves and had a good time, but I could be wrong?!

Kind regards, a man now needing a holiday, to recover from this one!

Page Last Updated on 20th Mar 2024