I select the same suitcase that I used for a 16 day holiday. It’s just about big enough for a weekend away as Andrea.
Shoes, makeup, wigs, boobs all take up space.
Tina arrives at about 9:45 on Friday morning and we set off at about 10.
The traffic starts off ok. Gets worse. Even worse. Then better.
We pass a few of Eddie’s girls.
Take a detour round about Doncaster.
Pull into the hotel at about 3:20 pm.
A chat with Kay, who organises the weekend followed by check-in and selection of seats for the gala dinner.
The room is large with a nice big bathroom. Nice big mirror.
It is hot.
The sun shines directly into the room.
No air conditioning.
Local legislation forbids messing around with the safety catches on the windows.
After a shower, shaving takes a while.
Foundation takes a whole lot longer.
I guess that most guys have never tried applying foundation cream in a hot hotel room. Whilst perspiring.
However, weather you’ve tried it or not, you’d maybe guess that foundation and perspiration don’t get along so well at all.
Starting on the right, I pat it onto my chin.
Round my mouth.
The perspiration doesn’t make a sound, really. But it’s there.
On my forehead.
Running down my face occasionally.
In the mirror it isn’t looking too good.
Perseverance isn’t always the better part of valour.
There is a time to retreat and regroup.
I’m going to have to start again.
At which point I discover that my makeup remover is in Windsor, whilst I am in Harrogate.
Tina to the rescue!
The foundation comes off and Andrea starts all over again.
As time passes I learn new things.
The foundation is more robust than I thought.
This time I do the lower half of my face.
Apply the powder.
Brush off the excess.
As the perspiration drips I can dab it off without totally destroying what’s there.
I get into the habit of using tissue to dab away the moisture as I continue with my face.
Eventually it’s done.
Not at all perfect. But I guess that it never is. Even more imperfect than usual.
Unwisely I use two shades of eye shadow as well as eye liner and mascara.
Lipstick and gloss.
By the time I’m dressed complete with hair I feel as though I am melting.
Time for dinner.
We head for the bar and find seats near an open window in the restaurant.
Slowly it starts to feel cooler.
We chat with Sarah and her partner from Stirling.
Coffee in the lounge.
We chat with Jean in the bar.
Saturday we have breakfast.
Makeup is much easier.
We look at a few of the things being exhibited in the hotel reception area. Wigs, jewellery and clothing.
A friendly guy from M&Co has a chat with us.
My ankle is sprained from walking on a stony beach on holiday.
My ankle is sprained from falling over on a stony beach on holiday.
We drive into Harrogate and park the car.
At Debenhams we take the elevator to the first floor and admire the handbags. And dresses. And skirts. And blouses. Pretty much everything.
Nothing especially takes our fancy.
We wander around in the summer sunshine.
Superdrug provides me with makeup remover.
We have a drink at Wetherspoons.
A sit down and chat in the shade.
And a stand up in the shade.
And a walk back to the car park.
Back at the hotel, Tina buys me a birthday Pimm’s.
And it’s time to prepare for the gala dinner.
It’s very hot.
But not so hot as Friday.
The food is great.
The karaoke is amazing.
I’m not planning to dance.
But I can’t resist.
Flats replace highs and we boogie. Ankle holds up well.
The dancing ends and we retire to the bar.
There are a group of golfers from the Newcastle-upon-Tyne area staying at the hotel.
As we sit chatting we’re joined by one of them.
Never seen anything like it.
A hotel half full of of guys who are girls … or girls who are guys?
He has lots of questions.
Tina slowly learns to understand Geordie.
Gents or Ladies washroom?
Who else knows?
How do they react?
How does it feel?
His name is Malcolm.
What does Tina’s lass think of it all?
And my lass?
Times like this seem important to me.
The whole weekend.
The opportunity to communicate.
Building bridges of understanding and acceptance.
Thanks again, Kay, for putting it all together!
There’s also an account of last years trip to Harrogate here.