The next few weeks are bound to be exceptionally busy for everyone connected with the stone trade. Whether by design or sheer serendipity, we'll probably never know, but two stone trade fairs are being staged in our capital cities over the next four weeks. The fun and games start in London on 14th March with the Natural Stone Show, followed a week later by the Dublin Stone Show in...err...Dublin! And if that's not satisfied your appetite for all things petrological, there's always the London Stone Show in June, if you can wait that long.
So - first up is the Natural Stone Show , a bi-annual event that will celebrate its seventh incarnation at ExCel in London's Docklands for three days, March 14th-16th.
This show is well-supported by such august bodies as RIBA, the Stone Federation of Great Britain, and English Heritage, and although I've not seen an exhibitor list, it's no secret that Marshalls, Formpave Forest Pennant, and Stancliffe Stone will be displaying stone for hard-landscaping, in amongst all the usual worktops, cladding and masonry units.
There's also a very, very full program of seminars that will be presented over all three days of the show. A brief perusal of the agenda reveals none that are directly relevant to the hardscape industry, but there are several of peripheral interest, especially for those of use with an enthusiasm for heritage projects, and there's a demonstration area that will be staging "live events" including jointing and bedding for paving.
Entry is free via online registration and you can read more at the Natural Stone Show website.
The Natural Stone Show finishes late on Thursday afternoon, leaving just enough time to nip home, re-introduce oneself to the offspring, have a quick wash and brush-up before heading off west to the National Show Centre at Swords, just north of Dublin. This location could hardly be closer to the airport without risking one of Aer Lingus' finest dropping-in unexpectedly, and is only a couple of miles from the M50 orbital motorway.
The Dublin Stone Show , the second of that ilk, was originally scheduled for early February but for reasons that have not been explained, both the venue and the date have been changed. There's no published exhibitor list, either, although I know from private discussions with some of Ireland's more respected stone companies, many of the biggest names will be there in one form or another.
As with the Natural show, entry is free, via online registraion (sic) and there's a token amount of information on the website. I'm surprised that there's not more info available, but I know via one of the exhibitors that the chief organiser has been unwell and maybe that is why they are running late with their News page and email updates.
All being well, and assuming my health holds out, I'm planning to be at both events, so if anyone fancies meeting up and treating me to a medicinal pint, let me know.