September 8 – Set up in Oxford County Hall

A Six Hour Set Up

Hi from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

We were up at 5.30 am to make an early get away by 6.30. Fed Cosmo, Marshall and Sushi, the fish, packed the last of our stuff into the car and we were off. The traffic was very light but it was raining, at times very hard, so we were a bit worried about the prospect of moving the trailer and the Mosaic in the rain. Luckily by the time we crossed into Oxfordshire the weather was dry. We got to Burford Boarding Facility where we had left the trailer with the mosaic just after eight and met Rachael there. It had been my intention to get here earlier but just as well we hadn’t as now that the children are back on site this is a no drive zone until they are gone, so our timing was perfect. We quickly moved the exhibition stands to Rachael’s van from the trailer where they had been stored for the last week. We cannot move all of the mosaic and the stands in the trailer as it is way too heavy for the trailer or the car and would also need us to have a heavy traffic licence.

We set off to Oxford by about 8.30 am, Rachael making a slight detour to get some petrol. We got to the Oxfordshire County Hall by 9.15 am and were met by Tim Stimpson, Facilities Manager. Rachael arrived a few minutes later and two burly men helped us to empty both vehicles. The front doors were open so the gear just had to be lifted up a few steps onto a platform with wheels and then it was a straight, flat walk to the Grand Jury Room, where the exhibition was to be set up.

Mike and I started to set up the exhibition stands and were making good time when Chas Jones, our friend and creator of the Fulford Tapestry arrived to help us. With three of us we set a great pace and by about 11.30 had all 12 stands built and in place. It was a lot faster this time as we had only to put the cross beams into place and everything was packed and marked carefully to make the building easy. Then we started attaching the Mosaic panels, again finding an excellent rhythm. We had a quick stop for some lunch then back to work.

Rachael in the meantime had finished off the posters and flyers and got them to the printer by about 2 pm. The printer texted us about 4 pm to say that 500 flyers, 10 x A4, 10 x A3 and 2 x A2 posters were all ready for pick up. Excellent service from Kall Kwik.

Rachael arrived back just as we were putting the 3-metre curtains onto the stands and we worked in teams of two to put them up. Then the final thing was to use our super strong magnets to hold the curtains which is much easier than pinning them and to put up the magnetic backed explanation panels. Then hide the storage boxes, put out a table for the sales goods and generally tidy up. By 4.30 we were able to get away.

We took Chas in our car as Rachael had her cello in her passenger seat and we all drove in peak Oxford traffic to Bletchingdon where Chas had offered the three of us accommodation for a few nights now and even more later in September and October plus storage for the trailer for the whole three months of the exhibition in Oxford, which we really appreciate. After a look around the house and an explanation on how things work, Chas set off to his son’s place. Rachael, Michael and I had tea at a Greene King in Kidlington as we were barely able to stand from fatigue and we all had an early night.

A very productive day and we are all looking forward to the Oxford Open Doors in conjunction with the Heritage Open Days tomorrow and Sunday.