The Whinging Pome: Tales from a life in travel retail

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“The Whinging Pome Random Rules, Rule 22: Always engage with those sitting next to you on a flight, but very quickly make an assessment whether such an engagement is going to be worthwhile. If not, apply The Whinging Pome Random Rules, Rule 52: Cease all contact and employ diversionary tactics. If Rule No 52 fails, invoke The Whinging Pome Random Rules, Rule 202: Travel First Class. If you don’t, your children will.”

How many of us have said (usually to ourselves) that one day, we’ll write the great work about our rich, varied and quirky experiences of a life spent in travel retail? Well, now one of our number has: Paul Topping, Flemingo International Director, long-time Alpha Airports Group executive, son of a preacher man and the “wine man of Sri Lanka”.

The Whinging Pome: This Zambian-born son of a preacher man tells his travel tales with a blend of wit, sharpness and with a few playful insults thrown in

For anyone who has seen the irrepressible, ebullient Paul speak at an industry conference – or indeed spent five minutes in his company – it won’t be a shock to learn that he’s released a series of tales that set free his irreverent insights and grumbles about his life on the road. The quote above is just one of many from a series of short stories that are unabashed and that take no prisoners, yet are never anything other than good-humoured.

He’s even chosen a title that every Englishman abroad will recognise: The Whinging Pome (To The Point) with the sub-header ‘Born to travel. Born to whinge’.

“Having undertaken over 600 flights, I have my fair share of annoyers in both economy and business class, enjoying the good, the bad and the downright ugly experiences.” Those experiences come blinking into the light in Paul Topping’s new book.

It was released yesterday at a launch in Colombo, published by R. Parker Publishing and will shortly be available to order in hard copy from Amazon.

The book draws together Paul’s previously written articles under the same moniker. In the book (his first) he meanders across 18 countries in 45 stories, whinging about travel and travellers, and (good-naturedly, we are assured) about his lovely Sri Lankan/Australian wife’s shopping habits.

So, if you want a travel retail Christmas stocking filler from a true industry personality that allies British humour and keen observation in the face of chaos and downright silliness in the world of travel, ‘The Whinging Pome To The Point’ might just be for you.

A very British read: The Whinging Pome (To The Point) was released this week

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