February 27, 2017

Struth! Hookers Lips land judge in hot water


David Ellis

TALKING in one's sleep can be fraught with problems – as many a night mumbler will attest.

And a mate who just recently hit the jackpot in fatal sleep-talking revelations, says his wife was probably well-justified in waking him at 2am to demand an explanation as to whose were those "hooker's lips" he was mumbling so enthusiastically about at that unholy hour…

And remarkably when he started blurting out, she accepted his explanation instantly, rolled over and went straight back to sleep. The reason? This mate's both a gardening fanatic and flower show judge, and just the day before his sleep-talking episode, had been invited to adjudicate at a show in America that would include an almost Holy Grail of exotic plants, Psychotria Elata.

For those who don't know, this highly unique plant is a native of Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Panama in Central and South America, and is hugely popular as a potted gift in the United States because of its fiery red bracts – that look just like they could be, as one of its common names suggests, pouting red "Hooker's Lips."

And here was my mate dreaming and sleep-talking of the day he would soon be heading to the US-of-A, to help judge a show of such exotic "Hooker's Lips," and which, by the way, are not just highly popular patio-plants in the 'States for their bizarre shape and colour, but also for their ability to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

And sleep-talkers.



[] LITTLE wonder butterflies and hummingbirds pucker-up to South America's "Hooker's Lips" plants. (Gloriousmind.com)

February 06, 2017

Splashing out at Puttin’ On The Ritz

David Ellis

WHAT do you do when it's your first Christmas Day on duty as Concierge at London's very swanky The Ritz Hotel, and a V-VIP Guest tells you he has a longing for the salty waters of famed Brighton Beach, but that being mid-winter it's too cold – and can you be a good chap and fetch a few pails of the stuff for him to plunge into in his room's bathtub?

In the case of Michael De Cozar you, of course, say "Yes, Sir, of course."

Now Chief Concierge and in his 44th year at The Ritz, Michael still remembers it like yesterday. "One of our porters named Freddie had brought his little Morris Minor motor-car to work that day, so we loaded it up with 25-litre pails and sent him off on the 200km round-trip down to Brighton.

"It took him two-and-three-quarter hours in each direction, and what anyone on the beach on Christmas Day and the middle of winter must have thought at the sight of Freddie in his Ritz uniform, shoes and socks off, pants rolled up and trudging across the pebbles of Brighton fetching pails of seawater, is anyone's guess!

"And I still wonder to this day whether our guest added hot water – or did he just slide into his Brighton seawater bath cold after we'd filled it up for him?

"Whatever, he did thank us most effusively later, telling us how wonderful it had made his Christmas Day."

Anyone beat that for Putting On The Ritz?


[] MICHAEL De Cozar… now Chief Concierge at London's very swanky The Ritz Hotel, and good reason to remember his very first Christmas Day on duty at the hotel's Concierge Desk. (The Ritz Hotel)

[] TAKING the plunge – a guest at London's The Ritz Hotel asked for his bathtub to be filled with Brighton sea water, and the hotel of course obliged –  despite the need for a 200km, six-hour car trip. (The Ritz Hotel)

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