Return to London

Growing a business has ups and downs.  But some times, if you’re optimistic enough about your day, all your little plans get buoyed along on a tide of serendipitous coincidences.

I jumped on my Local train to London.  South West Trains were running a promotion, £15 return to London, as long as I stay for the evening! A summer promo that’s accidentally dribbled into a drizzly October?

The right neckware on the right train...

The right neckware on the right train…

Recognising me by my personalised neckwear, Owen Calvert-Lyons Artistic Director at the Point, Eastleigh’s progressive theatre, introduced himself. A great start to the journey as, together with the Arts Council and English Heritage, the Point are commissioning SplashMaps to make a dedicated map to celebrate 600 years since the Battle of Agincourt.

Road to Agincourt Map commission

Road to Agincourt Map commission

I raced across town to Excel for an exhibition and back to Great Portland Street to meet with the amazing marketing agency, Engine.  Great to learn how solid research can be used to convert customers. Let’s see!

Then M&S and John Lewis to add to the London shops already selling our satin range of map scarves.

Finally for my trip to town I followed my A to Z SplashMap to Brompton Junction (Long Acre, Covent Garden), home of the folding bike where they fell for the Map and the idea of our premium presentation tin.

Splashmaps Tin

SplashMaps’ presentation tin

Then finally to the best Map Shop in London, Stanfords,  to check my stock and discuss business with their buyer before meeting author of the “Great Escapes“, Barbara Bond at her book launch.

Barbara Bond and me at the Great Escapes Launch at Stanfords

Barbara Bond and me at the Great Escapes Launch at Stanfords

For reviving the stories of silk maps in WW2 she was rewarded with a fabulous satin London A to Z escape (okay, visitors) map which just seemed, well, appropriate.

Well, the train ticket wouldn’t work until gone 7pm, so I got to meet web guru, Simon Spencer, who advised me on forward calendars for scheduling all soc media and on-line promotions and Justin, now an aged Brian Cox look-alike Hipster who’d just re-discovered his past life featuring in Sleeper videos (look for the curtained youth playing “pin-ball” … ahem!). Great to meet old friends at the Cross Keys pub where the beer is sensibly priced and the atmosphere more pub-like than most pubs!

Even the eventual stagger to the train and the other half of my return to London was fun.

Clare teaches me how to tie scarves on the train home

Clare teaches me how to tie scarves on the train home

Not expecting to meet anyone else I indulged in my secret pleasure of fast food before realising the woman sitting next to me was Ordnance Survey sophistocat Clare Hadley.  Stylish as ever, she was able to fill me in on ladies scarves and at least 35 ways of tying them!

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