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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!!!!