The English weather seems to have played too much of a factor in recent meet ups, and Saturday was no exception, wind and rain, in the morning, and just damp and grey in the afternoon. I think by the end of the day we were all looking a little wind swept in our damp coats! But there was still plenty of smiling faces around.
With the imminent closure of City Organiser, we had to make a few hasty changes from our original plans for this meet up, so I was flying my the seat of my pants a little.
Sixteen of us (yes the largest group yet!) gathered outside Vapiano in Great Portland Street to wait for them to open at 12 noon. The leading bunch headed straight upstairs and grabbed 3 tables in the corner. I think the format of the restaurant and the way it works using a smart card to store your order details individually was appreciated by every one... especially me, dividing a huge bill by 12 or 16 in this case has never been my strong point! This way is far easier and with four tills in operation at the exit the wait when we left was a short one.
As usual it wasn't very long before the tables started to fill up with Filofax organisers whilst people waited for their orders to be made/cooked. It was good to see people moving around sharing and comparing organisers with others as well.
Everyone was very relaxed even though in a lot of cases it was the first time they had actually met face to face. For instance it was the first time that Ray and I had met, which seemed to surprise a few people! The power of the internet with Skype these days helps you get to know each other so much faster.
I always enjoy meeting people and listening to them talk about things that are obviously of mutual interest. Once again I was subjected to a detailed questioning about the new 2013 range... some people are getting to know about some of the models that we haven't yet officially announced though!!
By about 3pm we left the restaurant and headed for the Filofax Pen and Paper store in Conduit Street, some of the group headed off to look at other shops first, so a reduced number of us entered the empty shop. I introduced myself and assured the staff that we would not overcrowd the shop if other members of the public came in.
We spread out and people were gathering together things off their shopping lists to purchase. A shopping list is essential if you ever attend a meet up. I didn't buy anything myself from the shop, but I saw several organisers being 'examined and checked' before handing over their credit card.
We were done and dusted in about 20 minutes, which was very quick really. We managed to pose outside to take a photograph or two without being run over by the passing traffic.. another hazard we never had to contend with in Neal Street or Bow Lane!
It had by now stopped raining it was still light. Some of the group said their good byes and headed off for an early train. Imy then led the way to the Mulberry Store in New Bond Street. About ten of us went in to the store and the assistant didn't quite know what to make out about the group of people escorting Imy... she must be someone famous... look at all of her assistants! Sadly Imy was not able to purchase the Mulberry organiser she had so long been waiting for. The 'crowd' gasped in chorus... the assistant looked a little scared... Ray and I waiting outside... me with camera looked like two bouncers! I was waiting to capture that magic 'unboxing' photo shot for the 'front page' but it wasn't to be.
Disappointed but not deterred... a few more said their good byes and the remainder again led by Imy with her phone acting as a sat nav headed off for Art box, a small shop in Covent Garden, that you could describe as 'Sticker and Washi Tape' heaven... Again I stood guard outside... making sure the 'Sticker Police' were not about! Lots of Stickers and Washi tape was purchased... but not by me.... my organiser is decidedly a sticker and washi tape free zone!!!!!!
Tired and shopped out and now in over crowded Covent Garden we dispersed in a relatively orderly fashion to head home.. but with just one more visit with Kate and Imy to the Covent Garden Mulberry store.. a very efficient and friendly assistant there sadly didn't have a Mulberry organiser in stock for Imy, but promised he could get one in a few days. Imy decided to order on line.
I melted in to the crowds and made my way to Charing Cross to catch the train back to the cottage in Kent. It had all gone so quickly. As always there were things I had forgotten to tell people and I had forgotten to bring a couple of things to the meet up itself. The train journey gave me time to reflect on the day. What was good, what wasn't so good. How can we improve the 'meet up experience'. When should we have the next one etc etc.
I got back to the cottage just before 7pm and warmed up in the shower and changed in to fresh dry clothes, I didn't feel quite as travel tired as the previous weeks trip to Manchester.
Overall I really enjoyed the day, especially meeting so many new faces. For those interested it was a 50:50 split between those that had been before to a meet up and those that hadn't, so it was a nice split in that sense. I hope everyone else enjoyed the day. I'm certainly starting to think about when we should have the next meet up and what should we change to improve it.
And so to the pictures....
|Kate (TPS) and Susanna|
|Lindsay, Angela, Imy, Tracy|
|Angela (Paper Lovestory)|
|Christa, Alison, Sharon, Paula, Ray|
|Paula, Angela, Tracy, Lindsay, Lorena|
|Tracy, Lindsay, Ray, Steve|
Thank you to everyone that came along to support the event and a big thank you to the staff at Conduit Street for letting us visit as a group.Thank you to Paula for the last couple of photos too.