Saturday, October 02, 2010

Defeated by the M25

If you are going to Folkestone show and are particularly observant you'll notice that we aren't there and neither is Flockburgh. Sorry about this. I wanted to be there. I'd taken the day off work, a move not exactly popular since I'm supposed to be bailing out a project that has gone pretty badly wrong. The layout was loaded in the car and we set off.

I wish the motorway had looked
like this when we were on it.
After a couple of hours the mileometer read 100. Most of these had been done on the M40. The M25 was being a car park. I was in the middle of 6 lanes and the temperature gauge on our Berlingo was going skyward. Rain was hammering down and the only good thing about the lack of progress was that it saved us from the blinding spray that had dogged the early part of the trip.

Looking at the time I concluded that if we carried on, the trip was going to take at least as long again and judging by the reports on the radio, considerably longer. More of a concern was that we were several lanes of stationary traffic from a hard shoulder. Probably no more than 30 feet but it might as well be 30 light years if you have a poorly car.

In the end the sensible decision had to be taken. Neither of us wanted to let the exhibition down but things seemed to be against us so we headed off at the next junction and babied the engine back home. 230 miles, about 6 gallons of diesel, nearly 8 hours of travelling later we got back to where we had started.

Why do we do this ?

I suppose there is a bit of ego involved. My last few weeks have involved lots of whinging people and some nightmare deadlines. A weekend of people saying nice things about something I'm proud of would have been just what I needed.

There's also the fun of being part of an event. Wandering around behind the barrier line is fun. You feel special. There are bits of the show like the exhibitors tea facilities open to you that normal mortals cannot hope to enter. A bit like the VIP area in certain nightclubs I suppose but with less champagne and a complete absence of scantily clad nubile women. :-(

And at the end of the day it's a model railway show. The sort of thing I have paid to go to. There will be other peoples layouts to look at and traders to charm the cash out of the wallet. Being out of my normal area, there are probably all sorts of goodies I'm missing out on.

Of course sitting on a motorway staring at the same car in front for hours on end has provoked some soul searching. Do we actually want or need to do shows any more ? Maybe I'm just not thinking straight because of the week I've had but at the moment I'm not sure. Mostly it's the driving - I don't enjoy it like other people. Not for me boasts about taking 8 hours to travel between a couple of motorway junctions. That is my idea of hell.

Maybe we need to reign in the distances travelled. The number of events has been cut down in recent years and perhaps we need to accept a smaller radius to accept. If you are the sort of person who will travel from one end of the country to another, good luck to you. I can see us being a bit more exclusive in future. If that means disappointing another exhibition manager, only the second time we've had to do this, then that can only be a good thing.

In the meantime, visit the Folkestone show website. Better still, visit the show.


Anonymous said...

Phil, if you are missing people at a show saying nice things to you about your work, let me say that I enjoy your blog tremendously and never miss a post.


David Smith said...

Travelling such distances is probably beyond the call of duty these days. Perhaps focus on your local region shows to exhibit and exploit the web to show off your models to more distant enthusiasts. (Not forgetting your favourite mag.)