After an uneventful train journey to Loughborough, only relieved with a DVD of Black Books and an assortment of food stuffs from M and S, I realised that half the delegates for the Society of Bookbinders training weekend had been on the same train. There followed the usual mad scramble for the lone waiting taxi.
Warora, the nearest town to Anandwan.
As we waved good bye to the unfortunates who had been unable to cram into the taxi I realised the joy of the train. I had arrived on time and with all my bags. B A take note.
I was due to talk at 7.30 and arrived at Loughborough University (the venue) at 4.30. This would leave me plenty of time to set up and relax. After the almost military like signing in process I made my way to the lecture theatre. There then followed the usual intake of breath from the resident tech support guy as I pulled out my Mac. The now familiar 'Sorry mate we only do PC here' and after the customary hunt for a memory stick and the pushing of many buttons, my images were PCed.
Once that particular task was complete I was free to wander the trade fair. Like a market of old I gazed at the wondrous gems that were on sale. The various vendors tempting me with free wine, offers of vast savings and nights of passion. I bought nothing.
Shopping in Warora.
I was allowed food and was escorted to to the eating hall by my good friend David. By this time I was in a state of pre lecture nerves and could only eat a few mouth fulls. Those of you who have seen me eat food may find this lack of enthusiasm out of character. I cannot even remember what I had.
The evening meal in Anandwan.
As with any event of this nature, things began to run out of schedule. Normally this would not pose any problems but I had a 9.30 train to catch back to London as I had workshops in the studio the following day.
Patients at Anandwan.
At last, people began to filter into the lecture hall. The opening speeches and the rules of engagement for the weekend. Finally I managed to deliver the talk about teaching in India. As usual no questions. As usual all the hand outs I had prepared were pillaged and two people (from a total of some 110 delegates) gave their contact details to receive more information. I thank those 3 wonderful people as it is important to have an initial response.
Finally we were allowed to move to the bar area for refreshments and chat while others demonstrated their various skills in areas of bookbinding.
One and a half pints later I was in a taxi retracing my steps of earlier in the day. Was it worth all the effort, the days of practise and the nerves ? Perhaps, as the delegates have time to reflect on the weekend they may remember the talk and consider how they can help. I for one am what we call a slow burner (things taking some time to sink in)
The bookbinding students at Anandwan.
I would like to thank the organisers of the event and the members of the Society of Bookbinders for giving me the opportunity to share what I think is a worthwhile cause.