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Am I The Last To Be Asked?!

Today I’m in the Loire. I know, a tough assignment. But someone has to trawl around fairytale chateaux deciding which ones Times readers should visit on their precious holidays.

Generally, I’ve had a dreamy time. The sky’s been a perfect shade of blue. It’s been a steady 28 degrees (hot, but not too hot). I’ve had apricot tart for breakfast three days in a row (disastrous for the waistline, but delightful on the tastebuds). And because there’s Wifi by the pool, after a manic day of trawling around the countryside, I’ve been taking my laptop into the garden to enjoy cooling dips between outbursts about work.

What’s making me particularly hot under the collar today are a flood of invitations for events that there’s no hope of me attending. “We’re organising a VIP trip to Estonia” reads one, “and would love you to come and experience the country’s new spas.” “We would be delighted if you would be our guest on a trip to Malaga, taking in the city’s Picasso Museum and the latest five-star hotel,” says another. And “we’re taking a few key luxury editors to Madrid to experience its finest restaurants” reads a third. “Please join us.”

All perfectly tempting – if they weren’t all in the next two weeks.

Perhaps other travel journalists are more spontaneous than I am, or less busy. But I can’t imagine there are many editors or writers who could possibly go away at such late notice – or, if they’re freelance, get a commission that would secure their place.

Normally, I love getting invitations. Who doesn’t want to get asked to go to the Picasso Museum/eat in Michelin-starred restaurants/try new Scandinavian spas? But instead, these make me feel rather hot and cross.

Not only because they indicate that either the PR is rather chaotic, or has no understanding of how much planning goes into a magazine. But because they make me feel like I’ve been invited at the very last minute, because no one else could come – or a proper VIP editor has dropped out, so they’ve asked me. And that’s not the best feeling.

I think I’d better have another swim.

Lisa Grainger has worked for The Times – from the arts and news desks to The Times Magazine and LUXX – since 1995. When she isn’t working as deputy editor of Luxx, Lisa freelances for publications from Departures and Travel + Leisure to The Times, pens a monthly interview with a leading British craftsman for Walpole, and is sustainability editor at Country & Town House. She has won awards for her travel writing on Africa, and is a regular contributor to panels on conservation and luxury travel. Her compilation of African myths and legends, Stories Gogo Told Me, funds schooling for orphaned girls through the CAMFED charity.

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What Lisa Thinks... "Brilliant news from Wilderness: not only is the conservation-focused safari company opening a gorgeous looking new camp, but one with serious eco-credentials. Let’s hope other camps and PRs take their lead." See press release


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