We visited quite a few times in the intervening period but stopped when the venue moved from a handy in-town site surrounded by top quality greasy spoon fish'n'chip shops (yum) to a sports centre, apart from a trip last year, we've not been back. This year however, we thought it would be fun to visit again.
While there may be free car parking on offer, this apparently comes with "security" which makes me wonder what sort of area the show is held in. It looks OK but since I'd prefer to go by train anyway, that's what we did.
Having enjoyed the trip, dropped into GeeDee Model shop and stuffed our faces with a Weatherspoons Brunch, we followed the instructions to find a bus. This was easy enough and we sat on the top deck gawping at some of the scruffier, but very interesting areas of the city. Sadly I hadn't spotted the instructions telling us where to get off so when the route diverged from the signs for cars, we hopped off and had a 40 minute stroll to the show itself. It might have worn off some of the lunch but I could have lived without it, especially as I recalled the previous years stop being opposite the hall.
One problem for the show organisers is that the hall used in the past is being renovated so they've had to move into a college next door. Initially this was for a year but now 3 years looks more likely.
The new venue is like most school based show - a nightmare. There is an assembly hall and sports centre offering descent floor space but the show is too big for these leading to exhibits dotted everywhere. This isn't the organisers fault, everyone who uses a similar venue has exactly the same problem. At least the Nottingham stewards were easily found and never less than helpful directing people around.
At this point I should provide a critique of the event but truth was that when we got there, it was difficult to see the layouts due to the crowds and even if we had been there for that, there were many old friends to catch up with so we spent a lot of time chatting.
I had brought a shopping list which I didn't think would be a problem, but in the event, didn't work out so well:
Clack valves (1 pair)
BR steam numbers
17A shed plate
OK, so the GWR numberplate might have been a challenge as would the shed plate but waterslide transfer numbers?
What's odd is that the trade was good. There were many specialists that you don't see at other shows and the hall certainly hadn't been filled with RTR box-shifters. I guess I was just unlucky.
Layout wise, things were good. I'll be honest and admit to not spending much time gawping but there was a cracking 2mm finescale branch line and some roundy-roundys that were providing much entertainment.
The walk back to the bus took 25 minutes and I'm glad we missed the rain. With a bit more pre-planning I think we can sort this. To be honest though, the venue isn't inviting although I'm sure lessons will have been learnt this year.
Photos taken at Nottingham 2013