Marchday - Welcome to Marchday - National BCO Award Winners!

Hello, we're Marchday, a refreshingly different property company.

We're a team who dare to dream, who work in our own developments, who love design, architecture and art as much as we love doing deals and providing exceptional customer service. That may sound a little eccentric but that’s alright – we aim to be different, do things better and be more involved than most other property companies.

We take the time and trouble to be a little more thoughtful, interested and available to our customers and partners. We get a lot back by putting more in. Our schemes are successful and our customers are happy and that creates a landscape that’s a joy to work in.

Our developments tend to be large in scale and our vision for what’s possible, in regenerative terms, is equally bold. We keep on trying to do things better, greener and happier. It feels good and does good too. We hope you enjoy our site.

General - Festival of Thrift – Are we Mad?

Marchday pride themselves on being different from the majority of commercial property companies in the UK. They love to do things differently and better.

Hulahooping

Never was this unique approach more clearly illustrated than when Marchday staged the world’s first Festival of Thrift last summer at their regeneration site Lingfield Point in Darlington. With the date for this year’s Festival of Thrift fast approaching  (27/28 September, put it in your diary now) we caught up with Marchday Director and Festival of Thrift  Co-Founder John Orchard to ask him about the thinking behind the event and how he became involved in the first place;

So John, starting at the beginning tell us about why Marchday ended up hosting the Festival of Thrift.

“People ask me all the time why we did it. Some see it as frivolous and irrelevant to the world of commercial property. They think we’re mad! We see it as a valuable showcase for everything we’re doing at Lingfield Point ….and it’s a great opportunity to have some fun. We met designers Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway some time ago and they loved the fact that we’d ‘up-cycled’ the original 1950′s wool factory buildings into award winning office space. We took time to weave the heritage of the site (a heritage that is fondly regarded locally) into each building we recreated. Wayne runs The Vintage Festival which is hugely successful and between us we came up with the concept of the Festival of Thrift which chimes with the mood of the time and feels very much at home at Lingfield Point, a great example of up cycling on a grand scale.

We originally thought it would appeal to a niche audience of ‘thrifters’ (makers, re-makers, up-cyclers, growers etc) but when over 27,000 visitors turned up we realised just how strong the desire to live differently is. These people had come because it was a ‘cool’ event but also because they wanted to learn how to make this, reinvent things and grow things. The night before the event we had a hiccup with the online booking system and all the workshops and seminars ended up being booked out twice – and still some people didn’t get in! The demand was huge.”

And what did people think about coming to an ex industrial site for the festival?

“Well, lots of local people have a notion of Lingfield Point. As the Patons & Baldwins wool factory it was Darlington’s biggest employer in the 1950′s. As a result most local people’s lives have been touched by it in some way; their Grandma worked here, or their Mum or Dad. And now of course a whole new generation are working here for companies like Student Loans and AMEC. Despite this ‘notion’ people were amazed by what’s going on at Lingfield Point these days and were knocked out by all the on site activities and amenities.”

Like what?

“Again, it’s not the sort of stuff that most commercial property companies get into but we have a lot of what I call Art around the site. Some of it, like Futurescope (a series of 8 enormous circular images by artists Vista Projects and commissioned by Marchday between 2011 and 2013) is visible from the surrounding roads but there’s a lot of stuff ‘hidden’ around the site. It makes people smile and we like that. 5 years ago we installed beehives and have produced our own honey every year since, we have allotments, cafes, a knitting circle, book club and cycling group. We recently replaced our bikes (free for all to use) with beautiful Dutch bikes with baskets to encourage more people to use them, all this stuff adds up to a very different work environment.”

But where’s the value in that stuff? Does it really make money for you? It must take a huge amount of time and effort.

“Yes it does. What you have to realise is that you don’t succeed in a town like Darlington without making a huge amount of effort and doing things better. If you don’t you may as well go home. All our customers (Orchard calls tenants ‘customers’ without a hint of irony) expect a great deal and a great building; we have to give them both, but then it’s, ‘what else’. I don’t know of another commercial scheme that goes so far to help people enjoy their work experience.”

Do your customers tell you what they think of what you’re doing?

“They do because we ask them on a regular basis. All our amenities have been created as a result of direct customer feedback. We ask them what they want and do our very best to give it to them and keep giving it to them. We realise how hard we work to attract a new customer and once here we want them to stay and grow. Luckily that has happened in a number of cases. Our customers appreciate the stuff we do and we know it helps with their staff retention and helps make their staff happier more productive.

So tell us about this year’s festival.

“It’s incredibly exciting – it’s going to be even bigger and better than last year. There’s a fantastic arts programme, delivered by our excellent director Stella Hall, with a the return of the ‘Alternative Village Fete, international arts including a giant inflatable pig which also acts as a small theatre, a Scrap Yard Orchestra made up of professional musicians, community groups and local school children, The Jamalot jam-making factory, Shed Town, a Fix it Café, a new main stage with a music programme including Ida Barr the rapping granny, Bistro Du Van is back, vintage and sustainable fashion, workshops, talks – and loads more. Basically it’s going to be a huge amount of fun and put a smile on a lot of people’s faces!

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General - Have you seen the new Festival of Thrift Web-site?

 

Festival of Thrift – 27 & 28 September

Festival of Thrift – 27 & 28 September 2014

Have you seen the new and improved Festival of Thrift web-site?  Why not take a look at all the fabulous things that are planned for this years spectacular event.

The line up includes some of last years favourites…….like the very popular Bistro du Van where you can have a dinning experience in one of our camper vans, the Charity Shop DJ - go and choose your cheese!  Back by popular demand are the hilarious Jean & Morag the Tea Ladies.  And as you’d expect the festival is introducing some amazing new acts, including an inflatable pig…I think this is one to experience first hand!  Car boot disco bingo which will be fun for all the family and a fix it café advising and assisting on how best to fix house hold items rather then replace them with new…..and many, many more!

For those crafters among you there’s plenty to keep you interested……the Craftimation Factory where adults and children alike are encouraged to make puppets and bring them to life through animation.  We also have Thrift Jack Press where visitors will be invited to make their own printing blocks using scrap materials.  Jamallot will encourage visitors to bring excess fruit and veg to the festival where it will be turned into delicious jams, pickles and chutneys over the course of each day.

So with many more activities to get involved in take a look at the web-site for full listings of the weekends exciting events. http://www.festivalofthrift.co.uk/.

We hope to see you there!

John Orchard with Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway at the Festival of Thrift.

John Orchard with Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway at the Festival of Thrift 2013.

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General - We’re fighting back…….against the Gulls!

Many of the residents of Lingfield Point will know, we’ve had an on-going battle on our hands over the years…..who with I hear you ask……’SEAGULLS’!!  Hundreds of them enjoying the benefits of the acres of roofing available on our Warehouse space.  I won’t go into detail, but I’m sure you can imagine they leave quite a sizable mess on people’s cars!!  Annoying to say the least.

This year we have pulled out all the stops and are fighting back even harder than before, we have our resident hawk Freya (pictured below) who takes a daily prowl around the site, you may also have seen ‘scary inflatable men’ pop up on the warehousing roofs that let off an alarm at pre-determined intervals, kite hawks and terror kites are doted around the perimeter of the cark parks and flashing hawk eyes are on the grass verges and roof tops.  We’ve also places ‘spikes’ on as many of the landing surface as possible!

In addition to all this we have employed a pest control company to visit site at regular intervals during the nesting season resulting in over 800 fewer chicks hatching.

So although the problem hasn’t fully gone away we are fighting back, and we hope to see continued improvement over the next couple of years.

IMG_5063

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General - Tales of the Chamois – Stage 4; Beauvais to Paris.

Assassin No.1 thanks M. Moustache

Assassin No.1 thanks M. Moustache in the traditional way!

Now back home, Marchday Director brings you the final instalment of his adventures on the road from London to Paris.

One thing I have not fully shared with you (for fear of alienating you) is that on this ride we have been supported by a team of 7 masseurs who await our arrival after every leg of our journey.
We arrive sweating and broken and emerge, God like as a result of their attentions. We lie like lizards soaking up the sun’s energy and listening to Sigma’s ‘Nobody to Love’ while they work their magic. Due to my unparalleled attendance (I’m proud to say I returned a 100% record – 12 massages in total) I found myself on first name terms with all of them by the time we rolled into Paris. Thus we start each day, oiled, limber and ready for the road.

By now we had earned our place in the ‘fast’ group and had become accepted by the craggy rouleurs in the bunch. Not even the Ride Captains laughed at us any longer. Life was good.
I chatting to our old mate Ned Boulting as we barrelled along the winding, sundrenched roads. He said that he’d started giving various members of the peloton nicknames in his head, according to the pro who’s riding style the person reminded him of.

‘Him’ he said, jabbing a finger in the direction of Assassin No.3, ‘He’s Simon Gerrans, the least popular man in the peloton.”
“He’ll be pleased with that.” I said.
“What about him?” I asked, gesturing towards Assassin No.1 who had assumed his usual position alongside ‘The Medic’ (one of the fast young Ride Captains), at the front of the group. He paused, brain whirring through his mental index of riders, then, bang – Eddy Merckx. Perfect.

(I was Lars Boom and was more than happy with that.) Thank you Ned.

What is it with the French and Mutton? After 3 days of eating cakes and gels, a man’s thoughts naturally turn to Meat. On arriving at last night’s dinner, ravenous, I became very excited when I glimpsed what I took to be ‘Boeuf Bourguignon’ being served to my fellow diners. However, on delivery I established that it was actually Mutton Stew, a particular local delicacy.
It seems to me that the gristlier and fattier the Mutton, the more the French like it. Unfortunately, this was top notch (by French standards) and I simply couldn’t keep it in my mouth.

As the peloton swept towards Paris, M. Moustache delivered another immaculately timed aural treat which raised the morale of the flagging riders.
As we ground our way up the final climb of the day he cruised slowly by, a French language rendition of ‘God Save the Queen’ blaring from his sound system. As he passed he delivered a crisp salute to all.

The pace and heat of the day had taken their toll. I had learned a painful lesson on the first day and now, a seasoned rider I vowed never to make such a silly mistake; never again would I cramp through lack of proper hydration.
With this in mind, I quickly finished beer No.6 as we stood in the shadow of the Tour d’Eiffel and accepted another.

“Just in case,’ I thought, ‘Better safe than sorry.’

Fin.

Postscript; Having checked the ride stats on dbmax.com I can confirm the following;

1. As expected, I finished the timed sections of the ride comfortable behind Assassins No’s 1,2 & 3.
2. I am now classified as a ‘Super Veteran’ rider. That means old, not good.
3. My status as a ‘decidedly average’ cyclist has been officially confirmed.

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General - Tales of the Chamois – Stage 3; Abbeville to Beauvais.

With a happy Ned Boulting before the foot stamping incident.

With a happy Ned Boulting before the foot stamping incident.

Not quite enough sleep and up at 6 for an early breakfast and onto the bus to pick up the bikes. Had a nice chat with Ned Boulting, the face of itv’s coverage of the TdF who is also riding the London Paris and who was slightly put out that Helen had no idea who he was, even though he has presented the last 12 TdF’s and she claims to have watched them all. To add insult to injury (actually the other way ‘round) Assassin No.2 ground his cycling cleats hard into Ned’s bare foot while he was kindly posing for a photograph with Team Hill. Strangely he was loath to go anywhere near us for the rest of the day.

Spending 3 days cycling together has given us lots of time to talk nonsense. I’ve particularly enjoyed a train of thought Assassin No.3 and I have been exploring together, i.e., anyone could be a pro cyclist if only they didn’t have a day job and could train all day just like the pros. We came up with a definitive list of criteria which, if Assassin No.3 would only follow would make him a Pro. These are;

1. Buy a very expensive bike. Clearly, his bike was very expensive but nowhere near expensive enough to make him a Pro.
2. Shave your legs. Who cares why they do it but shaving your legs will make you a Pro.
3. Maintain a total ignorance of how a bike works or how to service/adjust one. If somebody starts telling you how they work, block your ears.
4. Be fickle, not because you can but because you must. It is your duty.
5. You must have a team car. Without one who will carry your bottles? Pros never carry bottles. No sooner are they handed one (from their team car) than they throw it away.
6. Employ your own Masseuse. If you have 3 massages a day you will be a Pro.

On the way into Beauvais, our old friend Ms Moustache (apparently he is a high ranking officer in the Parisian Police and uses this ride to practice his skills for the TdF) serenaded us with The Kingsmen’s 1963 classic ‘Louie Louie’. On the edge of town our arrival delayed an enormous wedding procession of twenty or so cars. Instead of hurling abuse at us (as might happen in the UK) all the cars honked their horns, waved and cheered their support. Amazing.

Another early start tomorrow will see us arriving in Paris for a sprint down the Champs Elysee and the Grand Gala Dinner.

Allez!

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