Last time I visited Bournville show was in 1997. I know this because my driving licence still carries the souvenir 3 points I acquired for the back half of my camper van going through a red traffic light. Since then, I've preferred to stay away.
Last weekend though I decided that as I knew one of the layouts (Broom) and could get there by public transport, I'd have another go.
A train ride to Birmingham was followed by an interesting trip on a bus until the entry sign hoved into view. I'd like to say that anyone who upon climbing the stairs of a double deker bus doesn't look to sit in the front seats is weird.
The show is held in an old asylum, but I'll talk about this on Wednesday. Suffice to say, this made the trip worthwhile on its own.
If you've ever been to a show held in a school, you'll be familiar with the set-up. Small layouts in different rooms, plus others strung down a corridor. Not perfect but it works. Maybe the rooms could have done with a little more ventilation on such a hot day, but there's not much the organisers could do about that!
As a small layout fan, the lack of massive tail-chasers doesn't bother me in the slightest. My favourite was actually 3 layouts - Reely Grate, The Muckworks and Primrose Hill. Each a minimum space O gauge scene connected to the next via a short fiddle yard.
Loads of detail, typically industrial higgledy piggledy buildings, it all looked great fun. OK, operation was limited but I'd have enjoyed building it.
Broom struggled a bit as the owner had picked up the wrong stock box, the contents having the wrong couplings for the locos.
Next door was a nice modern image layout with a night time theme. Despite the open front, the lights and top cover made it look like night time, even though you could easily see everything.
In the corridor, there was something I haven't seen for years - a"rabbit warren" layout. Half a dozen identical 009 locos appearing and disappearing through tunnel mouths in a mountain. Great fun to watch even if totally unrealistic.
My final favourite was non-operational, a Lone Star diecast display. The range of models on show was far greater than I knew existed. Talking to the owner, the full history shows dozens of variations on each model.
Trade was what you'd expect for a local show. I came away with some electrical bits, laser cut wooden bridge kit and an American locomotive. I was very tempted by Severn Models etched toolboxes too.
Finally, cake. Superb. Loads of choice, home made and very cheap. My only complaint was the the gooey chocolate I chose didn't come with a fork for eating, fortunately I carry a spork for such crises!
More photos on Flickr.