It's not snowing. That is a good thing. Stafford is a show I have visited many times with the white stuff on the ground. Instead the ground is wet, but since I travelled by train and then vintage bus service, it's not something to worry me.
Public transport worked perfectly. My train got me to the station in time to get a good seat on the 1973 (same age as my Beetle, that's how I know) Leyland Bus. We trundle though the countryside and are deposited at the showground just before opening time. A couple of chaps left their seats and were standing on the stairs as we entered the showground site. Not sure how much time this was to save them but I suppose they were in a hurry.
I wasn't. There was a healthy queue and so I repaired to the excellent cafe beside the queue to have tea and since I didn't fancy a cream cake at 10am, a paddling pool sized custard tart which was delicious. It lasted me until the back end of the crowd was level with the window I could see out of. After this, 5 minutes saw me inside.
Heading for the back hall to avoid the crowd, I perused the second hand stall but there wasn't anything I fancied adding to my collection of unstarted projects so I moved on the trade and layouts.
Or at least I tried. Truth is, I spent the entire day talking to people. In fact this was the first time I've wished a show went on longer as I left at 4:30pm (didn't want to risk aiming for the last bus) and could have done with another hour. There was at least 2 people I wanted to chat to who I didn't get the chance and I think quite a lot of layouts that didn't receive the attention they deserved.
Of those I saw, I loved the micro layout selection. It's my sort of thing. I mean, I've seen Gresley Beat (surely and deservedly the favourite layout of most visitors) but it's not what I want to build. I can't say there was a duff layout there either. In fact the balance seemed more varied than some years with something for everyone.
My shopping list was the only disappointment. I went with one item on it, a diesel loco crew and came away empty handed. Well, not so much empty handed as I didn't find one to buy. I still managed to fill my bag with other stuff though. You'd have thought that with so many diesels models out there, crews would be ten-a-penny but obviously not.
If you decide to fill that gap in the market, you owe me 10% for pointing it out. Or the price of another custard tart. Mmmmmm.
My photos of the show on Flickr