What's Floating Around

What’s Floating Around Cloud 9? 30 May 2016


Welcome to another week and following the amazing CHS Awards last week which we ran in Leeds, we’ve handed over our blog this week to the fantastic Andy Johnson who kindly hosted the ceremony for us.

The Mysterious case of Poirot, the fire drill and the locked car park

It was a night that would have taxed the “little gray cells” of Agatha Christie’s most famous detective.

It started inauspiciously enough.

I got to the Manchester Mercure Piccadilly Hotel at around 5pm to rehearse, as I was hosting the CHS Awards 2016.

It started to get a little bit Belgian just before dinner was due to be served.

There we were in all our DJ and posh frock finery (I went for the DJ as opposed to the frock on this occasion) and the fire alarm went off.

Nobody moved a muscle. There was no announcement. Eventually after a good 15 minutes we were told to make our way out. So we ambled into the foyer. We hung around a bit. Someone said it was a false alarm so we made our way back in to sit down. Only to be ushered out straight away saying we had to vacate the building.

So we shuffled out to Portland Street and stood outside in the drizzle for another ten minutes. People then started to drift off down the car park ramp and we were eventually re-united with other guests at the side of the hotel – complete now – with two fire engines. Again, no official word, no practiced drill, just a few harassed members of staff in fluorescent vests looking totally flummoxed.

The nearest we came to actual danger was when two girls nearly got ran over by a bus trying to take a selfie with a fireman in the background.

Eventually we drifted back inside and got back to our tables at 9pm, when I was supposed to be doing my thing as MC.

Then the Poirot thing happened.

Martin Gaisford had come up to Manchester as a guest of the indomitable Paula Kelsey, a true force of nature and boss of the events company Cloud 9.

A trained actor, Martin was roped in at the last minute to do the Voice of God bit, announcing the nominations.

It was only when we were chatting afterwards that I found out that not only does he run a very successful murder mystery productions company, who have performed for Stella McCartney’s hen party celebrations and at Richard Branson’s Lake Como residence, but he is also the UK’s No 1 Hercule Poirot lookalike.

Even he was at a loss to solve the mystery of why the fire alarm went off and how inept the hotel were in carrying out a half-decent fire drill.

Nevertheless, the evening was a great success. Showcasing the fantastic venues and events in the UK.

Cast your eye over a few of the winners, including, The Coniston Hotel & SpaHorizon LeedsThe Grand Hotel York, Ardencote ManorThorpe Park Manor and Solent Forts, and you can see what a vibrant sector it is.

So well done to all of them, Paula and the team at Cloud 9, and the CHS Group UK.

The drama wasn’t over though.

I’d parked next door in the Piccadilly Plaza, Because of the delays, I got back in the teeming rain to discover the car park was locked.

Hercule couldn’t solve this problem, so I rang NCP’s emergency number and within 15 minutes, they had sent a man with a van to get me in and get me home.

Great customer service,  so thanks NCP!

Even Agatha Christie would have struggled to make this one up!

You can read more about Andy at www.andyjohnson.tv


Our thanks to Andy for a great job and we wish you all a great week ahead!