My annual practise run, driving to Alexandra Palace. I'm going to have to do it in a couple of months and on a Friday, so it's good to have a go in the somewhat lighter traffic found on Sunday morning nice and early. So early that we got in the car park by 9 - right on top of the hill.
Inside the show, it was the usual eclectic mix of disciplines from plastic kits and Lego to great big lumps of metal. Quite how you summon up the courage to start work on a 7 1/4 "Big Boy" that will be 17 feet long is a mystery, but I'm sure it's going to look great when it's done, at least judging from the parts on show anyway.
I think my favourite loco was this little Lister. I could just imagine pottering around a miniature line on it. And there is a Lister D awaiting restoration under the workbench in the garage. But no...
Obviously, I spent quite a lot of time ogling the G, G1 and 16mm layouts. They are always very popular - that combination of movement and live steam always draws a crowd.
With my Dad in tow, we also spotted one of his "maturing" projects, an Ochre tram kit. You don't see many of these built up, but this one looked lovely and has inspired him to take another look at the Portuguese tram kit he was building before moving on to the LCC car.
Following their appearance in EiM, it was great to catch up with the Steam Apprentice Club and take a look at their fantastic Burrell as seen on the front cover of the magazine. Lovely friendly group - if you are under 21 and fancy getting involved, they will welcome you with open arms.
This wasn't an expensive show though. I picked up some steam oil and an gas tank filler from Polly Model Engineering but apart from lunch (£10ish a head inc. drinks), my wallet survived the trip largely unscathed. That might have been me remembering that I haven't even started the "quick to build" kit I came back with last year though...