21 November 2010

London Meet Up - 20 November 2010

So after the brief taster last night.... here is a more full detailed report from my own point of view. No doubt the other people that attended will also bloging about the meet up from their own perspective and we will post the links to these posts as we get to know about them.

So my day started on Tunbridge Wells railway station, there was a bit of a feeling of deja vu about this. Back in the mid 1980's when I bought my first Filofax, I used to commute to London everyday from this station,  I've rarely used this station since I stopping commuting to London every day in 1988. So the start of the day brought back memories of sitting on a train looking through a 1980's Filofax catalogue trying to make sense of it before I bought my first one back in 1985!!! The trains yesterday were running late due to engineering work, so nothing has changed really... so much for progress!!

Alison and I sat chatting with some people also travelling up to London for the day and the journey passed quite quickly. I had jotted down directions from the station to different locations and between those locations in my Filofax, so I was confident of not getting lost.....

After we arrived at Charring Cross we headed for Covent Garden for a very quick visit to the Apple Store so I could buy an iPod Touch, I would have ordered it on-line, but we weren't in any one place long enough during our UK 'tour' / holiday. That done, we then headed over to Tate Modern, much along the route we would be following back to the Neal Street store. It was a bit of a cold damp day, nothing like the lovely weather we had back in April when I met up with Laurie, so we were walking at quite a brisk pace.

I had a 'fully laden' camera rucksack with my camera, a bunch of Filofax organisers and other goodies as well as my netbook... mad I know but 'just in case'. We got to Tate Modern at about 12:45 and had a quick comfort stop and then we found a bench outside of the Cafe to sit at to wait for people to appear.

BillyNoMates waits to see if anyone is going to turn up!!!

Everyone (Oni, Karen, Kyla, Adam, Sharon) arrived within a few minutes of each other and Alison managed to get a table reserved for the eight of us without too much difficulty. We all trooped in and everyone was comfortably chatting with each other whilst we ordered food and drinks etc. Having eaten in the cafe before I knew the food would be good and also good value for money.

[Click on any of the photos to see a larger version of them, and use your 'back' button to return to the post]


L to R: Karen, Sharon and Oni

Oni

Steve, Kyla and Alison (Steve's wife.... the hand of Philofaxy!!)

Not every restaurant has Starters, Main, Filofax and Desert Courses

Once the main course had been eaten and the plates cleared out of the way.... out came the Filofax organisers and the fun really started!!! I don't recall who's came out first... but I think it would need a 'photo finish' to detect which was the first etc.. because once one was out on the table being shown so the table just filled up and we were passing them around and walking about to chat and look and comment about them all.

Sharon and Oni looking through Adam's impressive A5 Filofax


 
Karen at the far end looking through Sharon's 'Craftofax' and Sharon, Oni and Adam

 
Kyla with someone's Filofax Mini... she thought it was so cute she sat holding it like that for several minutes!

Time seemed to fly, because I suddenly realised that we were supposed to be at the Neal Street store for about 4pm and it was now 2:45 and we hadn't ordered deserts yet!!

So Filofax Organisers were repacked in to bags and desert was ordered and consumed and then we got the bill out of the way and then we headed off for Neal Street as a big group of 8 people. I felt like the Pied Piper... leading at the front and making sure I hadn't lost any of the party... people were all chatting and joking with each other I don't think they realised the distance we walked. But all of us got to Neal Street together. 

The Shop

We gathered outside of the store just after 4pm, it was a little too dark and crowded to take a big group photo... but I did jokingly say 'Now boys and girls take deep breaths before we go in'

And I wasn't far wrong, even I was quiet seeing so many Filofax Organisers in one place in so many different colours, it was just breath taking. One of our group (who I won't name!!) was smiling and giggling and hanging on to anybodies arm or hand for fear of getting carried away in the store... it would have been so easy to do serious damage to your credit card in there in the space of an hour!!!


Again we grouped up to look around and discuss the pros and cons of different sizes and colours and styles. It was quite funny in some ways, other members of the public were still coming in to the shop to buy things, I'm not quite sure what they thought of us all laughing and joking and chatting away looking at virtually everything in the shop.



Oh Oni, I can't make my mind up.... do you think I should buy this, it's very beautiful......


Dee the store manager was very patient and showed us some of the newer products and enjoyed chatting with us all. She attended to all of our purchases and when we opened out bags we all appeared to have some 'extra' things in them.... which was very very kind of her and her staff.

Dee showing off the latest range of Filofax Pens

I didn't note down what everyone bought... no doubt they will add a comment. Kyla (CP) had bought a shopping list with her... which on reflection was a good idea, I should have done the same really. In the end I talked myself in to buying a Pocket Chameleon in Black, which I will post about separately in the next week or so. I looked at other possibilities but I decided that that was the one for me in the end.

We also all signed the visitors book in the store and left some 'suitable' comments.


As we all became 'shopped out' we all started planning our journeys home and we all had to say our good byes, but I don't think anyone went away disappointed from the day. I know by the time I got back to Tunbridge Wells I was fairly shattered and I just dived in to the shower and ordered up room service and then we both slept like 'logs' until this morning, but lots of great memories from the day when I started to look through the pictures and comments.

Reflections

When we left Tate Modern people in the group were already saying we need to do this again or at least every 4-6 months... and they hadn't even got to the shop at that point. But I totally agree I would love to meet up again, not just the same people but others as well. Someone even said we should do a meet up over two days!

It was just great fun and everyone got on so well with each other it was if we had known each other for years, not 'minutes'  A mad idea came in to my head (nothing new there!!!) I wonder if we could do a 'Summer Philofaxy Picnic in a Park' may be, although we would be putting a lot of faith in the London/English weather, but it could also be alot of fun.

Whilst we were limited to a total group size of 10 people because of the size of the Neal Street store (quite narrow) the number seemed to work well.  Anyway... as always I will have a think about another meet up and we will see what we can come up with for next time. Having met each other I think some of the people that came along might also be in touch with each other and may be meet up as well, which would be great.

This year has been a great year for Philofaxy (from my point of view anyway), the community ie you the readers are all so great, your support just inspires me on (and I suspect Nan and Laurie as well) to keep coming up with new ideas and things for us to do and share with you all. This meet up is certainly one of the high-lights of my year and it's been quite a year for me already with the move to France etc. The only low point yesterday was getting the phone call from Laurie to say she couldn't make it because of illness.....but there will be a next time Laurie that is for sure...

So thank you all for making it such a great day, and a big thank you also to Dee and her staff at Neal Street for letting us invade her store and letting us handle nearly every organiser on the shelves!!

I'm certainly looking forward to the next meet up....are you?

Oh and one last thing... Alison loved meeting everyone and she even said she is considering going back to using a Filofax again, we got to discuss which size would suit her best over breakfast this morning... guest post in the making I think!!!!

.

17 comments:

  1. hahahaha. I LOVE this post. Although the entire world can now see how much of a Filofax addict I really am!! But as the pictures clearly show, I had a wonderful time meeting all of you amazing people and I really look forward to the next event! I was so excited, like a kid in a candy store.
    Hopefully none of my work colleagues or academic staff will see this post! That's my credibility out the window.......
    :-))

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  2. so jealous of your meet-up - i really wish i could have been there, me and oni had great fun a few weeks back! hopefully i'll be around for the next one.

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  3. Thank you so much for this detailed report! It's just great to read it. I really envy you a lot for this unique opportunity. Hope I could/may join you next time, whatever kind of meet up you plan.

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  4. Update: t.scholtyssek aka Tommes_S

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  5. Oh how lovely! Sounds like you all had such a fun time!

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  6. I'm so happy that everyone had such a great time. I'm jealous that I could not be there, but someday, an international meet up will happen! I loved the photos and to be able to put faces with names. Looking forward to hearing more about it from others.

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  7. Looks like you all had a great time.....and I *love* Tate Modern as well - one of my very favourite places in London.

    Although I wasn't there, I'd like to add that in my experience dee (the Neal St manager) is not only possibly the best resource on Filofax matters nationwide (or further afield maybe!), but is also one of the most helpful, knowledgeable retail people in ANY kind of shop I have ever been to - so thank you Dee.

    I have just one request - PLEASE, if there is to be another meet-up, could the date be set well in advance (I'm talking 10-13 weeks here) for those of us who have crowded diaries to be able to make our plans next time?

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  8. Hi Everyone,
    Thanks for all your great comments, I'm still buzzing from Saturday!!

    David thanks for your comments, my trip back to UK came about because of a change of plan for getting my mother out to France at Christmas. I put out a brief post at the end of August here: http://philofaxy.blogspot.com/2010/08/announcement-possible-london-meet-up.html

    But the shop visit side of things didn't develop etc until quite a bit later. So all comments noted about future meet ups.

    In my case they will be planned much further in advance and now that we have had the first one and we have some idea about what people like etc it will be much easier to plan the next one. A few ideas already circulating in my head!!

    I pack this morning and travel back to France later tonight on the overnight ferry. Thanks everyone for making this trip such a memorable one.

    Regards
    Steve

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  9. Hi everyone, I have to say that the meet up was probably the highlight of my year also. I could not stop smiling the whole day! Even on the journey home my mind was filled with what a fab bunch of like minded people I had just met. To see all those Filofaxes in one place and to be able to touch them both at the Tate Modern Cafe and in store at Neal Street, was heaven. I have to confess that I think it was my Gharani Strok that made the first appearance on the table, I just couldn't wait any longer I was bursting to see what everyone had brought along. And like CP I also felt like a kid in a candy store when we made it to the Neal Street store. To see how everyone uses their Filofax is so inspiring. Adams Classic A5 seemed to breathe a life of its own. I was so caught up with the excitement I forgot to sign the visitor’s book. I did manage to purchase inserts that you just can’t get down south so came away very happy. Let’s not make the next one too far down the track. I think we should meet up earlier next time so that we have longer to chat. All in all, a fantastic day.

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  10. I LOVED reading about the meet-up. Looked so much fun. Every-one looked so excited to be in the Filofax store - you could see that clearly.

    I also recognise Dee from my trips to the Neal St store. She is so very helpful and knowledgeable. I think another trip for me is book in Spring.

    Do you have links to the other blog posts about the meet-up (I presume other members of the trip have blogs). Thanks for sharing,,,

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  11. I too am jealous that you all got to meet up but really glad you had a fabulous time! It would be great to do a meet up in the States as well. My hubby had a great idea,,,,,what about an east coast cruise where we all bring a sampling of our Filos?

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  12. Adam needs to do a guest post on how he uses his A5 to show all of us who didn't make the meet-up!

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  13. Oh, and one more remark: I love that first picture, with Steve waiting on that bench all alone. It really yells "OMG, please let somebody show up" LOL

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  14. Judith: LoL, yes I put that one in for that reason alone!!! But I had a lot of faith that they weren't going to let me down... and I wasn't disappointed, it was a fantastic day.

    Must start thinking about the next one, and making it even better....

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  15. It would be a silly quiz... but we could have a 'how many Filofax organisers can you count' type quiz for this post.... and before you ask no I don't know the answer!!

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  16. Just curious, I found your blog browsing for filofax-info, and lots of info on your blog! This store, is this an actual store anyone can visit? We will be in London 1st week of July and I would love to surprise my daughter who will be going to university this fall. It would be awesome if she could pick out her own filofax in a store. Hope you will answer my question ;-)

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  17. Hi Brigitte
    Yes the store is open 6 days a week as far as I know. It is close to Covent Garden underground station and the staff there are extremely helpful. Even if they don't make a sale they are just happy that you have gone away better informed about the product range.
    We couldn't recommend them enough. That's why we keep going back there!
    Say you were sent by Philofaxy...
    Regards
    Steve

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