First impressions - what a posh exhibition centre ! The venue was a very easy to get to conference centre on the edge of Hartlepool. Normally home to PowerPoint warriors, last weekend it was filled with model railways. Bet there's many a person stuck at the back of yet another dull presentation who wishes it still was.
My stand, Number 10, was a couple of tables giving me around 8 feet to fill. My job was to show how you build plastic wagon kits so all I'd needed to pack was a modelling board and some tools. To add to the display the Melbridge Box Company came along as well as everything I'd built to appear in the magazine. Oh, and the railcar just for the sake of it.
As it turns out the desk lamp was superfluous thanks to the glass roof. The Box Company went down a storm though with the visitors. I explained my reasoning behind the model many, many times over the two days. But then that is why I was there and people seemed to enjoy it.
I'd like to be able to give you lots more information about the show contents but the truth is I didn't get to see anything. Breaking my cardinal rule, I'd done this event on my own and that meant from the start of the day until pretty much the very end, I was stuck behind the stand. Interest in most demos can be a bit patchy, people prefer the trade and then layouts in that order, but there was very little time when I didn't have someone in the seats in front of the modelling board and frequently a few more perusing the other items on display. My total output was less then one van. By Saturday I'd only managed to cut the sides and one solebar from the sprue. That means things were good, after all I make models at home but I was there to talk.
There was lots of chat too. I hope a few people have gone away inspired to have a go at making some wagon kits. If you are reading this blog as a result of picking up one of my flyers then welcome. Feel free to fire questions at me or just enjoy digging back through the archive on the right hand side.
One item that attracted a lot of attention was my model of 10203 the early Southern Diesel. I had to borrow a copy of the Hornby Yearbook from the Ian Allan stand next door, where they sold shop soiled copies for a very reasonable discount, so people could see the construction pictures. Since handing the model over to Mike for Bay Street, he has dirtied it with weathering powders and it really looks the business. I was under strict instructions not to let people handle it to avoid cleaning it up again !
Other than that, my only complain was that the cheese sandwiches were of the poncey conference centre variety with more mayonnaise than cheese - Yuk !
My accommodation was in nearby Seaton Carew. Not the most salubrious location but I could be on the beach in 3 minutes, eating ice cream in 5 and should I feel the need, was home to a really impressive little railway that I think I might be building a model of one day...