At the seaside
Conference planners have a range of choices when it comes to choosing a venue for their events, many of which are located in popular seaside towns. I’m here in Bournemouth for the Annual Meeting of the National Federation of Womens Institutes - the WI - together with several thousand of my friends.
Choosing a venue for this event can’t be easy. The traditional meeting place is the Albert Hall in London, popular with some but far from ideal in terms of modern facilities and actually, rather limited in size. So venues around the country are chosen: Brighton, Harrogate, Liverpool and Cardiff amongst others and each has its pros and cons.
I think this is the first time we’ve met in Bournemouth, however.
We travelled down yesterday - two coaches from Gloucestershire - and the first flavour for those attending this meeting for the first time was at Chieveley Services, where coachloads of women from Wales and the west encountered their colleagues from the Midlands and further north. I spotted so many familiar faces - friends from here, there and everywhere and the atmosphere was filled with the fun and friendship membership of the WI brings.
Though I enjoyed the company of my GFWI friends on the coach, I’d booked my overnight accommodation separately and if at any point, I forgot where I am, there were a few reminders here and there in my room!
I’m always intrigued by hotel design. I can appreciate the need for something practical and am not actually a fan of anything too fussy.
I also appreciate a sense of place. Yes, of course have a seaside theme in a seaside hotel! I always find it funny that in the London Sofitel, there are photographs of the Eiffel Tower on the wall - maybe a riposte for that hotel’s address: Waterloo Place!?
Perhaps here, however, someone has gone a little overboard with the windmill motif?
I found myself feeling tempted to start counting them last evening - until I realised the wallaper behind my head would have sent me crazy. That was before I spotted the tagline on the paper windmills there in the corner: “the windmills of your mind”.
There’s a rather more interesting (and fun) photograph on the bathroom wall - the like of which so many of us have in our collections.
A day at the seaside!