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Coffee but no donuts in Portsmouth

HMS Warrior in Portsmouth Harbour. It was one of Queen Victoria’s black fleet, steam and sail ironclads that were so advanced in their day that they never had to fight a battle. No-one would take them on.

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.

The Portsmouth News

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.

The Spinnaker Tower

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.

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