Torquay

I will never forget last week. When I wrote the previous post, I was waiting to hear back from the garage about my car’s MOT test. Seconds after clicking publish the phone rang. My car’s engine had died. I could either replace it for £1200 or put the money towards a new car. I can’t believe I was freaking out about money before this phone call! I burst into tears on the phone (I really love my car) and said I’d have to think about it.

But I had to think fast, I was due to drive the 250 miles to Torquay in 3 days. I knew I didn’t want to rush into buying a new car so I got consent from the event organisers to hire a car. The problem was, I’m under 25, car hire companies don’t generally give estate cars to youngsters like me. However, with a little eyelash fluttering I was soon driving this beauty:

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Yep, a brand new diesel Vauxhall Astra Estate. Getting the harp in was a bit of a squeeze – new cars always seem narrower on the inside – but I managed it and (a tad gingerly) set off for the South Coast. The car was lovely to drive, 6 gears, a working radio and a really quiet engine all helped to make the journey fly by. Five hours later I had arrived at my destination.

The Riviera Convention Centre, Torquay, was hosting the 2012 Festival Dinner for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB). The reason I had agreed to travel sooo far to do this gig is that the RMTGB, or to be specific, the branch of RMTGB known as TalentAid gave me a grant to cover the cost of my harp. It is because of them that I’m even in this business. So, I thought the least I could do would be to drive down and play during their annual dinner, plus, the exposure surely wouldn’t do any harm either.

I dropped the harp off at the centre and drove the short distance to the hotel. The RMTGB had very kindly put me up in a room at the Grand Hotel overnight. The car park was more like a big garage, with rows of expensive cars so close together it was difficult to navigate my huge car in amongst them – especially as it was an unfamiliar hire car that, if scratched, I would be charged heavily for.

Playing for the dinner went very smoothly, there were 600 people there and I only had twenty CDs to sell, I thought I’d get rid of them all in minutes. Nope. 595 people walked past me and my little CD stall on their way out, five stopped to buy a CD. Wow.

Anyway…

Am I the only one who gets really excited at having a hotel room to myself?

This was the hotel:

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This was the room:

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And this was the view!

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In the morning, the sun was beating in through the window. It honestly felt like Summer. Leaving Torquay was so hard, it was so beautiful. The air was clear, the sea was blue, no clouds in the sky. A complete contrast to Manchester – the weather here is usually pretty grim.

I’ll just put in one more photo that I took just before leaving – I think next time I go to Torquay I’ll have to take a suitcase and stay there a good deal longerImage:

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