Thursday, 25 March 2010

Surf PR, a Wonderful Quilt Show and Announcing the Black Knife Cafe Awards!

Online PR

Some time ago, I mentioned Surf PR in a piece I wrote about travel writing and the internet.  I was contacted by a lady called Rebecca from the agency.  I emailed her but she never did get in touch again, or reply to my email.

I didn't mind. I probably wouldn't have wanted to do any of her press experiences right now as I have had to turn down 2 interesting trips in the last month and I seem to be chronically short of time.   But I would have been interested to hear what she said about online marketing.  I've been writing about it in connection with my book on my other blog (which admittedly is different from marketing travel) 

Fantastic Quilts

Lately, the little trips around London have been rather fewer than usual. But I did manage to get to the stunning Quilts exhibition at the V & A. museum. I do recommend this as it puts quilts into a social and personal perspective, as well as showing some unbelievably beautiful examples. (And there's a beautiful book, too - Quilts, 1700 to 2010, Hidden Histories Untold Stories - which describes some of the exhibits, and many more. Definitely on my wish list.

I was very fond of this quilt, which shows aspects of Victorian life. Can you spot the huntsmen and the chimney sweeps?

Still at the V and A, take a look at this queue Look how it stretches away into the distance.

You can see one just like it any time you go to the cafe situated by the wonderful Gamble and Morris rooms.

The museum has won my special Black Knife award for the most disorganised cafe I have ever encountered.

The Black Knife Award 

The V & A cafe has several serving counters for different sorts of food, so if you want a  deli sandwich and a cup of coffee, you have to queue twice, first to get the sandwich made for you, then to get the coffee. And if you want a coffee, a salad and a scone, you have to queue THREE times. As well as this, if you want coffee alone,  you must join this queue, since coffee is only available by the general checkout.  The queue consists of people who (a) want coffee (b) want to pay. The poor harassed staff run around at top speed making coffees for those ahead of you in the queue.  To be fair, there is another checkout-only till but that was shut at the time; still the main logjam is in the coffee.

Since we had previous experience of this place, (and I had spent 25 mins in the queue alongside some Americans who were quite reasonably complaining loudly the whole time) we took our own sandwiches. Yes, I'll admit it. We evilly took our own sandwiches.  We sat in the utterly fabulous Victorian dining rooms and ate them.

I noticed that the other tables in the room were about fifty percent filled with people who were not eating but saving a place for their heroic queueing friends.  Every now and then some poor person not lucky enough to have a place-holder would wander in with a tray of food and not have anywhere to sit.   Nobody cleared away anything in the dining room where we had our sandwiches - except the customers who would pile up the dirty crocks on a tray and try and find somewhere to leave the tray.

It was a bit like the Mad Tea Party. Perhaps this is an idea for the V & A cafe - they can theme the whole cafe with  March Hares and Dormice.

The food is very good but that's not one of the criteria in the Black Knife Awards, I'm afraid.


  1. Love your Black Knife award description of V&A cafe. Sounds absolutely ridiculous. Hope they take note of your blog.

    Can't WAIT to go to their qulits exhibition though. Apparently booking tickets is a must. Did you?

  2. No, actually, we did not book but it was pretty full. Worth booking, I'd say because you need to get close to some of the exhibits to admire the wonderful stitching.


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