All being well, by the time some of you read this, I'll be stood behind Melbridge Dock at an exhibition. Hopefully, I will not be suffering something that annoys the heck out of me.
The photo above illustrates the problem - Punters who think your model is just something for them to lean on.
I've no idea if the owner of the layout above was bothered, he didn't say anything but might have just been being polite. The hand is gripping something that has taken many hours to construct but is now just considered to be there to support someone who can't stand up.
This is why I like barriers at shows. I don't have the inclination to build a model that is structurally sound enough to support the weight of a crowd. I expect them to make their own provision if they can't stand for any length of time if leaning facilities aren't provided.
I vividly remember one visitor to a York show with hands the size of shovels approaching every layout and almost falling on to the barrier in front. The great paws would land with a thump and I'm sure had barriers not been provided, the scenery would have born the brunt.
Don't blame the young either, it's oldsters who are the worse culprits. Of this subset, enthusiasts are the pinnacle. It's as though they thing reading a few magazines means that their paws on your model won't matter - after all, they know about modelling so they won't do any damage by gripping your miniature fences will they? A bit like BMW owners who think that sitting on double yellow lines with hazard lights on renders them invisible.
So, if you are watching my layout, hands in pockets please.