Friday, 8 March 2013

(just for the record)

The celebrity speaker and the GeogSoc

The GeogSoc are making map bunting.

do I have scissors? Yes
and glue? Yes
and card? Yes
and string? Yes

The student who organised it
is walking around the Department
with his suit in a bag,
white with fright.

Two students who make cakes
have been drafted in to help.
Tiny cup cakes, lemon tarts,
raspberry and white chocolate brownies
All with map labels.

@OrdnanceSurvey tweets
"What about map cakes?"
No pressure then.

The celebrity speaker arrives.
She is immaculate in tailored tweed
but  immediately sees the map cake labels
and asks if she can take one home.

The student who organised it
is breathless with excitement
as he introduces
"Dr Vanessa Lawrence,
Chief Executive and Director General
of the Ordnance Survey"

The celebrity speaker starts.
"When I was an undergraduate
I was President of the GeogSoc
and so when my people told me
about your invitation to speak
I said 'I would like to do that'."

She talks about the role of maps
in development in China,
flood compensation in Australia,
land tenure in Rwanda
and her role in the United Nations.

There is an endearing habit
of prefacing her anecdotes
about extraordinary achievements
with the phrase
"I was very lucky because..."

"I was very lucky because I was asked
to provide all the mapping information
for London 2012.
It was the sort of opportunity
that only comes once in a lifetime."

Detailed mapping of each location
down to the nearest centimetre
sounds like a huge amount of work to me.

When the celebrity speaker mentions
new developments in the Ordnance Survey
MrsM feels that she should stand up and testify
for the half of her Christmas list
which was personalised maps.
An inspired idea.

The Head of Department thanks her
not just for a fascinating speech,
but also for her commitment
to the next generation of Geographers.
She responds with a delightful modesty.

The student who organised it is glowing.
"It was just as I imagined it.
She was amazing.

This one is for Lovely Jenny
who is not very well.
Get better quickly - it's quiet without you!


  1. Do you have any idea how much I love that map bunting? And the fact that your department has students who bake. And the sound of your wonderful guest speaker.

  2. Just for the record I am starting to wish I had studied geography.

  3. oh the bunting, and the cakes, and the wonderful speaker, and the labels. Get well soon Jenny.

  4. Yes, we hear about your workplace and Bb's workplace and the world is a better place.

  5. Goodness, such erudition!

  6. The celebrity speaker sounds like the perfect guest. And I'm not surprised she wanted to take a cake label home. Did she snaffle some bunting too?

    Get better soon Jenny x

  7. Saw this today and thought of you:


  8. Sorry that last comment was from me, at work.

  9. Oh, Alice, your post makes me nostalgic. If I had a pound for all the scissors, glue etc. I've provided in my time.
    Sounds as if the visiting speaker was a real star.


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