Here We Go…….

It took a whole lot of planning and more than a few sleepless nights, but I think I managed to pull it off and with more success than I could  have hoped for.  I am sitting at home back in Germany reflecting and taking stock of what we achieved and I feel fantastic.

I’m going to do a couple of posts covering the 17 days I have just had launching the Veterans Portrait Project in the UK.  Firstly though I need to thank a few individuals and organisations who have gone a long way in helping my dream become a reality:

Manfrotto UK supply our equipment cases and stands.  As a long time Manfrotto user I am incredibly grateful for their support.

Elinchrom who supply our studio lights.  Something that quickly became apparent to me was the difference quality lighting makes to and image.  These guys produce the best.  A personal thanks to Elinchrom president Chris Whittle for being so enthusiastic and supporting the Veterans Portrait Project UK.

Louise and the staff at The Flash Centre in London for being our post box and accepting our deliveries.  Also for allowing us leave you with all of the packaging.

Concept Building Services Ltd put a roof over our heads and took us out for dinner whilst we were in London.  These guys do a great deal for service charities and veterans.  I thank them for immediately seeing the worth in the Veterans Portrait Project UK.  My sincere thanks to Managing Director Joe Carty,  Steve Whitlock, Brian Stanley and Jan Powell.

We also have many other supporters whom I will point out over the next few posts.

My thanks and gratitude to you all.

——

After a dash across Europe, a ferry across the English Channel and a Hotel in Dover, I found myself at Heathrow airport waiting for an early flight to arrive.  Remember, Stacy and I had not yet met in person so I was a wee bit nervy. My thanks to the guy who had stepped off another long haul flight, sat down at the Grand Piano in the arrivals hall and banged out some of Coldplay’s finest.  You took my mind off things for a while.

Piano Man

Eventually my two American visitors appeared, hugs and introductions, Stacy and Trish were here.   Immediately I proceeded to make myself look like a muppet when we couldn’t find my car as we were on the wrong floor of the car park (loosing my sense  of direction was to become a recurring theme).

Heathrow airport is a mere 18 miles from our hotel which, according to Google maps, should take 40 minutes.  150 minutes (2.5 hours) later we arrived!!  On the plus side, we used the journey as a getting to know you kind of thing.  It didn’t take long to figure out that the sense of humour found in the military obviously knows no borders.  The Tracy and Trish roadshow was soon in full swing, they were like a tag team and I was put me at ease.

Hotel reached and car parked, rooms not ready (we were rather early).  No matter, the staff at the hotel took our bags in and we headed to see the wonderful folk at the Flash Centre who had the studio gear waiting for us to collect.

A 20 minute tube ride followed by a walk in a circle (Google maps this time) finally found us at Aladdin’s cave.  A quick introduction and thank you to Louise and a lot of boxes appeared.  Unpacked, repacked, taped and balanced, the 20 minute minute tube ride back looked slightly more daunting with all of this gear.  I think this was my first wrong turn on the tube system, so heading in the wrong direction we righted my wrong and eventually got back to the hotel where our luggage volume had now doubled.  Rooms still not ready we headed out for a walk around the City.

Having taken 2 flights from the US to arrive early in the morning and taking into account a 6 hour time difference, Stacy and Trish were surprisingly fresh.  I, on the other hand, had made the 100 mile drive from Dover that very morning and I was hanging out.  Well I do have a few more years on those two……..!!!

Phase 1 was complete with the minimal of fuss (save a few wrong turns).

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SP

The VPPUK Team

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web@veteransportraitproject.uk

www.veteransportraitproject.uk

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Here We Go…….

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