I love the smell of methylated spirits in the morning.
Which is handy because I spent Saturday getting right good nostril full. We had been asked to cover the Mercian Model stand at the G1 Association AGM thanks to a clash with the O gauge show at Reading. Being just up the road and a veteran of 3 G1 kits, I was the right man for the job.
Our pitch was opposite the text track which was handy as we could watch live steam chuff-chuffs (and the odd diesel) powering around all day. I've always liked the way that owners have to book a slot on the timetable to run and this is displayed on a big board for the crowd to see. Some well disciplined work means that there are no times when something isn't chonking around the track.
The first crowds pretty quickly headed for any potential bargains but they soon worked their way around all of us. As well as a selection of kits we had a few ready made items to sell and during the day, most of these found new owners. Despite the recession, there was plenty of money about. Ready to run coaches from the stand next door were selling well despite being around 500 quid each. Mind you, they were very nice indeed and even I could have taken away a rake of Mk 1's in blood & custard livery had I not been short of both cash, space and excuses !
I hadn't expected quite so much trade. In fact what I thought we'd find would be half a dozen stands and several layouts. The reverse was true, with a large hall full of sales and only one track in the middle. For a minority scale, this is pretty impressive.
Discipline was the order of the day for me and apart from a couple of books, our car went home emptier than it arrived. This doesn't mean I can't spend money in my head and I've seen a project I really want to start next year. Barratt Engineering produce some rather nice live steam Gauge 1 locos that are supplied fully machined in installments. Think of those part-work magazines that appear after Christmas every year and you get the idea. Their J38 tender engine always looked pretty good but next year they are also releasing a couple of tanks. The B4 looks nice but the one for me would be a J65. 6 wheels, nice and simple, not too big and if I say £750 quickly enough, not too expensive. Maybe. I mean, I've never really wanted a live steam loco. Well not much anyway, but this does look soooo tempting.
Or maybe it's the effect of the meths !
More photos on Flickr