Apart from delivering two sessions of social media training in Portsmouth today the main mission was to check in to my hotel and find myself a bow-tie.
I’m at the Royal Maritime Club which ticks all the boxes for free wi-fi, gym, pool, steam room and free parking. HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, the historic waterfront and the Spinnaker Tower are just a short walk across the road and the room rate is £62 a night. That’s pretty damn good.
You’re not getting four star chain-hotel facilities but the only things that seem to be missing are pointless off-the-shelf mass produced sculptures and lifts that talk to you. Everything here is perfectly adequate in a masculine, naval, kind of way which makes this a bit of a find. A sharper business brain would probably call this a theme hotel and charge double or treble the price.
Unpacking my case I wasn’t surprised to find my painstakingly ironed shirts had un-ironed themselves in back of the car on the A34. No point getting upset about it. Hotels have ironing facilities.
I strolled down to Gunwharf Quays shopping centre under the Spinnaker observation tower, found myself a bow tie at Marks & Spencer and then queued for a Krispy Kreme latte.
A queue had formed behind a young Japanese woman who had asked for some kind of rasperberry meringue thing and the guy manning the stall was crushing ice and whipping cream and God knows what else. I think she could have asked for a frothy camel milk mocha and he would have got it for her. He handed it over and she pointed at the raspberry meringue donuts and said: “no, one of those…”
There was a lot of awkward ‘oh it was my fault, no it was mine’ type behaviour which was very sweet but I was still two places back in the queue and had promised my stomach creamy coffee about ten minutes earlier. Fortunately they didn’t run off together to start a new life. The Japanese woman took her donuts to her family and the guy carefully placed the fabulous looking shake/crush/drink/pudding thing he had made next to the till. He didn’t get the girl but maybe he would get the drink…
There was a jazzy kind of woman in front of me in a headscarf and Amy Winehouse make-up and I knew straight away she was going to scrounge the unwanted raspberry drink. She bought donuts and oreos and then sure enough: “Can I have that?”
He handed it over. Not his day.