This week, there have been the first flutterings of the return of the model railway show. A couple of sizable events have said they plan to go ahead this year - and I'm not sure how I feel about that.
A few basics:
- I love going to shows. I really love turning up as either a punter or an exhibitor.Trains, boats, plastic kits, old cars - that's a good day out for me and has been for most of my life.
- Through a combination of ignorance and incompetence, I don't believe our government has a clue what it's doing or saying.
- This is a fluid situation and things can and will change over time. The science behind Covid will be better understood. Treatments will get better. Less people will become seriously ill.
- I like to look at the numbers rather than the click-bait stories in the popular press. Being told that we are about to have an apocalyptic "second wave" when hospitalisations are down, cases per 100,000 tests are down and calls to 111/999 are down is simply playing to the misery porn on social media.
Having said this, like everyone else, I need to decide how comfortable I am going to an event where there are crowds of people who won't social distance and think hand washing after using the toilet, never mind during the day, is for wimps.
One of the issues I suspect will be wearing masks. I don't like it, but have been covered up in shops etc. for weeks before Boris said it was a good idea. Half an hour in the supermarket is one thing. 6 hours plus at a show? I'm less keen. And yes, I know medical staff wear them for long shifts etc.
When I attend as a demonstrator, a requirement for at least one of the events, I'm going to need to sit there with people breathing at me. Statistically, even without a mask, I should be fine, but in my head, there is still a risk. I'm sure there will be plenty with spurious reasons they can't wear a face covering too, and suspect the overlap with those who don't see the point of showers and washing machines will be large.
We've spent months being told that trains and buses are dirty. That you should never venture outside. That everyone breathing on you means death. The drip-drip-drip of this sticks in your head. I've not rushed to the pub, booked a holiday or headed to the beach, and I still don't want to. Since the end of March, I've been in exactly 6 different shops, two supermarkets, two hardware shops, a model shop and a newsagent, and right now, that's plenty. Even when we were allowed a single stroll a day for exercise, I didn't bother because when I tried, everywhere was too quiet and horrible to stay out. Far better to hide indoors. In safety.
So, I look at the science and the statistics (except the PHE ones which it turns out are rubbish and they don't seem inclined or able to fix) and am uncomfortable with heading to a show. How many people who get their news from the Daily Doom are going to want to go anyway?
"Vaccine" I hear you cry. Well, we won't have one for months and then to be effective you need 80-85% of the population jabbed. Already the anti-vaxers are out in force and there will be many potential Andrew Wakefield's lining up with made up science to do for Covid vaccine what he did for MMR. We might do some good there, but it's a very long way off.
The shows that will be back first are trade events. Lower numbers, better separation because of this and people in clean clothes with washed hands make these a much more plausible idea. I hold out some hope for the London Toy Fair in January. Just a little.
Toy train shows with a scrum around layouts and trade stands? That's a very different prospect.
How's everyone else feeling?