Turkey and Tinsel trip to Torquay

 36 members and friends set off from the Cornmarket on a very wet Monday morning to travel by coach to Torquay.  Despite the weather, our spirits were not dampened as we sped down the motorways. Some of us were Turkey and Tinsel veterans whilst others joined us for the first time.  All were pleased to see the coach festively decorated by our driver Darren. We were at the hotel “The Majestic Templestowe” in record time for 3pm.  Even though 2 other packed coaches arrived at the same time, the check-in was the fastest and most efficient ever known. Once we were settled in, it was time to explore and appreciate the amazing Christmas decorations in the hotel.  This is positioned at the top of Torquay, giving a lovely sea view over the magnificent Torbay. Our first evening was Christmas Eve and before dinner we were           invited into the ballroom to meet the entertainment manager and         enjoy a glass of mulled wine. Dinner, as were all the meals, was well planned and delicious.  Afterwards, we tried our luck at cash bingo, followed by music from the duo “just for the record”.  The evening concluded with a “Star Cabaret”, the hilarious Steve Laister. Tuesday was Christmas Day and we visited Babacombe Model Village not far from Torquay.  Everyone agreed it was well worth seeing, being a charming mixture of rural scenes, towns and villages. In the afternoon we had the chance to explore Torquay itself for shopping or sightseeing.  Happily it was a sunny day and we could   enjoy the seafront. Our meal in the evening was Christmas dinner.  We were met at the dining room entrance by Santa and a bagpipe player in full Scottish regalia.  We then had the “Turkey Parade”.  The hotel staff, led by the piper, marched round the dining room three times followed by the Chef carrying a platter on which was a large plastic turkey.  Everyone cheered and whistled at this bizarre but most enjoyable ritual. Most people came to dinner dressed in their Christmas finery which added to the festive spirit  and a great time was had after the nightly bingo session when we had Showtime with the hotel entertainment team.   This was followed by the Torbay Brass Band leading a  Christmas sing a long and then the star cabaret act, Simon Rees.  You have to have a lot of stamina when you “Turkey and Tinsel” !! Wednesday was Boxing Day and we visited Plymouth via scenic  Dartmoor, stopping on the way at delightful tearooms for morning coffee.  We all managed to enjoy this despite the usual massive breakfast at the hotel.  We went past the gloomy prison where no one needed a comfort break!In Plymouth, some of us toured the Barbican harbour area and as the sun shone there was plenty of time to visit the Hoe with its historical associations with Francis Drake. After dinner we were invited to don fancy dress for the Grand Parade.  Kettering Caledonian members were the main entrants.  President Mary appeared as a Christmas tree and John as a reindeer.  The two elves with rosy cheeks turned out to be Jeanette and Carol.  Veronica twinkled like the star she is and Shirley cut a dash as a pirate.  The glamorous fairy grandmother, Joyce, exuded charm over the whole proceedings.  The compare was so impressed that all the competitors were each presented with a bottle of champagne! Thursday was New Year’s Eve and we made the most of our last full day and the sunny weather by visiting Paignton.  This popular seaside town is full of interesting shops and charming cafes.  We all had a good saunter, with some walking onto the pier to watch the rollers breaking on the beach and having a go at (successfully?) the usual  arcade games. That night we celebrated New Year’s Eve and after dinner we had one final game of bingo, we were then entertained by the Majestic Templestone Production Team. On Friday which came all too soon, we travelled home to Kettering with happy memories of our pre-Christmas treat.