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September on the UK Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015

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steve tt

Teletubbies say 'Eh-oh' to the UK Pavilion, where visitor numbers continue to climb


‘’Bleak September's mist and mud, is enough to chill the blood.’’

Ok it’s not actually been that bad, not here anyway and not at the start of the month, but as Expo moves into its final stages we have had some spectacular thunder storms and the temperatures have been noticeably cooling. In fact from the way our local staff have been reacting with scarves and extra layers, you would think the next ice age has started.

Of course from a British perspective, this is a very mild autumn and is actually giving delegations a genuine experience, a tour of the UK Pavilion with weather to match. Anyway at least I avoided this August in the UK, I remember missing summer last year, I was in the bathroom.

The weather hasn’t affected visitor numbers either, which continue to climb. There have been several days where we’ve had over 30,000 people in a single day and we understand from central Expo figures something like 12% of all visitors to the site have been to the UK Pavilion. An amazing achievement when you consider people are visiting around 5 Pavilions on average and there are over 140 to choose from.

We’ve also had our fair share of celebrities on the Pavilion, including one random cross over between the Teletubbies (above)  and Sir Paul Smith, which must go down as one of the most surreal to date. Not sure if the meeting had an affect on the future direction of British fashion. Maybe the next Paul Smith collection will see a lot of primary colours and be a bit less fitted.

Hosting ‘Scottish Week’ was a real delight, with a tasting of malt whiskies and craft beers, bagpipes and marching bands, award-winning chef Tom Lewis demonstrating Scottish cookery (including a real fusion dish: haggis pizza) and various exhibitions and performers (maybe the only time in Italian history that the Loch Ness Monster has made an appearance in Milan).

We were also very pleased to be able to celebrate HM The Queen becoming the longest reigning monarch in British history on the 9 September. Representatives from many countries turned out to wish HM well and we even turned the lights in the Hive to red, white and blue for one night only, so even the bees back in the UK could show their loyalty.

On one final and personal note, avid readers of this blog (of which I am sure are many, quite apart from my own family) will remember I complained in August about the drycleaners being shut. I’m sorry to tell you when I went back to collect some suits on Saturday just gone, it was (un)expectedly, still shut.

It’s getting to the stage where my remaining suits and jackets are clashing with my pocket handkerchiefs. It’s enough to make your stiff upper lip quiver.

Maybe I should have asked Sir Paul for a suit to tide me over.

Read more on UK innovation and creativity, highlighted at the Milan Expo's UK Pavilion

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