first of all to James Brook for offering us show space for free and to Simon Keynes for his loan of the model HMS Beagle which attracted so much interest to our stand (to the Natural History Museum, too for being such good sports about letting it go mid-exhibition). As luck would have it we were across the aisle from the model's manufacturer Premier Ship Models who were an entetaining and informative bunch to be around. Kos of Kos Pictures was great neighbour too, showing the kind of marine photography that makes you want to smash your own camera, buying us tea at critical moments and for a couple of great contacts. To those of you who love the Patrick O'Brian books, Geoff Hunt the artist responsible for their superb covers was a joy to meet while he was selling and signing at the Art Marine stand. Thanks too to Anna for early show fort-holding. Science director Karen was due at the weekend but was laid low by London winter lurgi.
Perry and I pressed a lot of material into the hands of passersby and talked ourselves hoarse to those who stopped. Everyone who listened to what we plan to do was interested, and were excited either by the science (that got more interest that I'd expected at a non-science event) or by the shameful neglect of our naval heritage that we hope the Beagle will be a small part in putting right. Thanks to the boatshow media interviewed us (right, SailTV asking the questions).
A lot of parents and kids aged 8 and above went very boogly eyed at the idea of a new Beagle sailing the world and asked how they might get their kids aboard either in science or sail training berths. Are you listening Mr Balls and Lord Drayson? This stuff inspired and excited people. Then drop in the NASA space/sailing/science connection and people walked away with minds blown.
Thanks too to those who dropped a few pounds into the collection jar and took away a card with the website on and promised to keep an interested eye on our activities. When the new Beagle sails into Plymouth, up the Thames to her birthplace at Woolwich and into the Galapagos you'll be able to think that a bit her is there because of your donation.