Festivals, Europe and British Cartographers
I was stopped for pulling more than my fair share of “Silly” beers from the Eurostar lounge. I love the Belgian stuff but I really needed the bottles for my evening to come. The stewards off-hand dismissal made it the first time I’d felt small for a fortnight. But there are worse places to be brought down a peg!
I’d spent the previous 2 weeks reviewing innovation projects with the European Commission and building those important contacts across Europe for our immanent International launches. Now I was headed through the tunnel toward London (where good Belgian beer is literally 3 times the price!) and on to Sheffield and ultimately Bakewell, the home of the tarts in the Peak District (er, puddings as I was often reminded).
Arriving at Grindleford, an unmanned station at 11pm, I acquainted my brother with the fine Belgian stuff (I won’t be talked out of good beer when the fridge is full!) whilst I enjoyed a Jamesons at the local hotel before retiring to our tent.
It was the L’Eroica Festival. A magical festival of challenge and spectacle as fabulous retro bike races ran alongside a feast of great music, themed stalls and scrumptious food. The planning of the event was meticulous. Everyone was on theme for the Italian event’s first visit to the UK.
Retro sits easily with us. After all we’d pretty much swiped our idea from the 1940’s escape and evasion maps. A map with 4 knots (known as a Sidcup by Douglas Adams) makes a handy mid-century escaping-holiday-maker outfit.
After three 11 hour days of trading, map hurling and tug-a-warring, we felt pretty pleased with ourselves. We’d made heaps of new friends and a book of new contacts. We’d sold out of our Eroica maps on day 1 and made a big dent in all our Peak District and Tour de France maps. Certainly lessons to learn there, but definitely overridden by the positive feedback from our new friends in the North.
The partying was as strong as the trading and the whiskey (thanks in part to our friends at Godspeed) so that, by the time our friends from the CTC (Mark and Rhia) had helped us load-up and haul out at 4pm on Sunday I was relieved to ride the trains home and relax into my presentation for the British Cartographic Society on Wednesday.
Meeting with the Manufacturing Advisory Service on Monday was a useful distraction from catching-up with the business as usual and investments we’d made into our new Web site (Surely that’s a part of another story?).
By Wednesday I’d worked myself into a frenzy from having lost all muscle memory on how to tie a bow tie for the dinner, and hacked-off the event organisers a treat with a very late slide submission from myself and our partners at Steer Davies Gleave.
I met Josh, Claire and baby Leo a few minutes before we were to deliver our talk on the Tour du Nord Maps. Whilst Leo tested the map’s child resistance Claire tweeted and Josh and I told our story. It’s been great being in partnership with such capable people. The maps are stunning and so tailored, in absolutely every respect, to getting people onto their bikes and out of their cars. It was a proud moment to stand behind the map and watch the cartographic fraternity pour over them with open glee.
During the evening festivities it was great to dine with my favourite retailer and the Hydrographic office chaps (disappointingly beardless!) and of course, my old boss at the Ordnance Survey plus some of their new cartographers (look out everyone! these guys will make a difference!).
So many futures for our unique cartography, our integration process, data store and particularly the whole concept of maps designed for the REAL outdoors have come to light in the past week. New partnerships, customers and new markets are all in the pipeline thanks to a couple of weeks out of the ordinary.
[…] So why a SplashMap? Lindsay tells me the breathable fabric means her child stayed dry despite the hot day of the road test (see pictures) and I bet that specialist rainproof fabric will pay dividends for rain, mud and perhaps other little accidents too! Oh, and it’s a stunning area of the Peak District they all love. (We loved visiting too!) […]