Four days at an exhibition might sound like a long time but in my capacity as Engineering in Miniature editor, I knew it would make sense for me to be around as much as possible. The show being 10 minutes down the road helps of course, especially as while I wanted to be there every day, I couldn't be there all of every day. I was in the middle of editing the next issue for a start!
As it was though, I managed to have some useful meetings with contributors and even persuade a few more people to write for the magazine. There was plenty of feedback from readers, some good, some bad, but that's how it goes. Of the two magazines I'm now responsible for, EiM is going to take longer to polish as it's a different market to anything I've done before. Related, but with it's own set of preferences as to what appears on the page. That's why you go and talk to people.
One novel feature of ME shows are the lectures. I dropped in on ones covering metal forming and painting. Both taught me things I didn't know already, although I think in metal forming, the speaker was a bit surprised the audience were more interested in the Araldite filled with steel dust mould forming material than anything else. After four explanations of what was in the black block, he could have wondered if some people had been asleep when it was explained the first time. The trouble is, it was interesting - who knew you could make press tools suitable for bending steel from metal filled glue?
There was also an excellent talk by a group of young engineers covering their wide variety of projects. Not only had they done the work, they managed to stand up in front of a gratifyingly full room and explain things. Not easy, as anyone who has done any public speaking will know.
You will, of course, be expecting me to talk about cake. Well, as usual, the food at the WEC was excellent - easily the best exhibition centre catering in the country. For the ME show, the restaurant is augmented with posh burger vans, one of whom served me a cranberry and brie burger I'd be happy to eat anytime. Outside, there was a cake seller with quality products and decent sized portions. Both carrot and chocolate cakes were welcome (I was there 4 days remember, and only 2 cakes!).
Anyway, more photos on Flickr and look out for full reports in future issues of EiM.