Don't use golf clubs for conferences

This is Ufford Park just north of Ipswich, where I stayed for 2 days last week whilst presenting at a VDP conference (that’s baby dentists).
Can I first of all say that my hosts, The Eastern Deanery, could not have been more welcoming and hospitable – every need was catered for and I was frequently “checked on” to make sure that my trip was a pleasant as possible.
Can I secondly say that my audience of 60 were polite, welcoming, attentive and participative – even after their Thursday night booze up which, for some, didn’t end until 4.00am Friday morning.
But the venue was truly horrendous:

  • budget rooms constructed of cheap materials
  • my first sleep in a hard bed under an army blanket since I was in the Church Lads Brigade as a teenager
  • lousy internet access – a weak GPRS signal in my room and wifi that didn’t work in the conference centre
  • inedible food – my steak on Wednesday evening tasted “off” and the monkfish served at Thursday’s dinner was tasteless, overcooked and awful – in fact I would recommend this place for a weight-loss programme
  • teenage catering staff who didn’t give a damn and had no customer service training

The visit was saved by the welcome from my hosts, by the fun I had with the delegates and by the excellent customer service of some of the more mature staff.
I had planned to stay over Friday night to avoid traffic – but I was so keen to escape that I pulled out of the gates cheering at 4.30pm – and tolerated a 7.5 hour drive “just to get away”.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.