MAH JONG BREAKAWAY - Torquay, 2022

On a lovely sunny, crisp winters afternoon in January, 45 of us from several local Mah Jong clubs checked into the Toorak Hotel, Torquay for a 3 or 4 night, half board, Mah Jong holiday. This was a new location this year and our initial impressions were good.

The Toorak (one of four hotels in the TLF group in Torquay) was welcoming and on allocation of our rooms they were clean and spacious with far reaching views towards the promenade and Torbay. Situated a 15 minute walk or 20 minute stroll to the town centre through gardens and parkland, we were ideally located for enjoying some fresh air on the fine but cold sunny days.

If that wasnít enough, we had a guided tour of the AZTEC centre in the hotel complex which was free to use. There was a Spa, Gym, 3 swimming pools (one outdoors so we all gave that a miss!), Studio for daily fitness classes, 10 pin bowling, snooker and pool tables, games machines, bar, Bistro, Starlight lounge with dance floor and an indoor crown bowling green. Such an extensive activities programme; we would never have time to try them all.

The Arlington room was set for our use with 10 Mah Jong tables but first we had a Drinks Reception with a welcome from David Heffill, Ilminster & District Mah Jong Club, who had done a tremendous job organising the Breakaway. Everybody enjoyed a 3 course dinner in the restaurant before play commenced. The clickety click of the Mah Jong tiles soon resonated around the room with everybody playing on mixed tables with players from Ilminster & District, Somerton U3A, Plymouth U3A, Taunton, Ruishton and West Buckland clubs. This was done by pot luck, drawing a playing card for your table number, and worked particularly well for lone guests who may not have known many other players.

There were prizes of chocolates each evening for the first person to achieve certain Max Robertson special hands i.e.: Buried Treasure, Wriggling Snake etc. On our final evening the chosen hand was Imperial Jade. As nobody achieved this, the box of chocolates was opened and shared around the group who by this stage had all become firm friends.

In the afternoons we also had an opportunity to learn about scoring and payment chips/sticks for those who wished to make their game more competitive. Some chose to also play Mah Jong during the day as well. Others chose to play cards or Rummkub in the afternoons for a change and most chose to explore Torquay and its surrounds at least once during our stay. The free use of the AZTEC centre was a real bonus for many who enjoyed swims, saunas and massages. One group even learnt how to play Kurling (indoor Curling).

David Heffill (Mob: 07941 331570) has negotiated another Mah Jong Breakaway for next year with the TLF hotel group. Details can be obtained by ringing David.

See you all next year. Canít wait !!

Gill Lobley, Ilminster & District Mah Jong Club

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