After a good nights sleep and excellent breakfast at our hotel, we trundled off to the show. Finding a parking space was a challenge – Sudbury has a one way system that is harder to navigate than the deepest jungle. Thankfully, one of the members showed me where to go. For future reference, head down to the station and you’ll find a free all day spot.
Anyway we wandered around before the show opened and discovered some superb chocolate cake in the tea bar. A couple of slices joined the rolling stock in the fiddle yard as we doubted that the supply would last the day.
The show itself was fine. Amazingly there was another 3mm scale model – Petton by Mark Haynes showing. I must admit it won the “Layout Phil would like to build” prize for this show too being a minimum space, cleverly constructed model. The St Neotts N gauge was very nice too as was Vauxhall Road, an old favourite of mine. Generally the layouts were a good mix of scales and gauges. Nothing really outstanding but all worth a look.
Exhibitions are a good place to catch up with old friends. In this case, Ian Futers who was showing Loch Lochy and John (whose surname escapes me as I type) responsible for some excellent Colchester exhibitions in the past.
The visitors tended toward the general public end of the spectrum making for lots of chat and some interesting questions. Generally people liked the model and thanks to the dour hotel at the end, many even thought the location was Scotland. I’ve never been too happy with the effect of “place” the layout gives off so this was heartening.
Everything worked well too. All the rolling stock was a bit sticky but generally wore in OK. One of the points needed a bit of flicking over after early on but wore in after a few uses. The only breakage was a blade coming off a tie-bar and even this was quickly fixed with a soldering iron.
Lunch was good, back in the White Horse very nice bangers & mash was served up. I followed this with more choccie cake since I’d not read the information sheet properly and didn’t know desert could be collected from the tea bar. If I had the choice I’d have gone for the cake as it really was good…
Missing pudding seemed to be the theme though as a check was made later in the day as to who had missed out. Apparently I wasn’t the only one and they were worried how much was left over. Reluctantly I had to agree to eat a nice apple crumble and custard which would have been easier if I hadn’t been operating on my own at the time.
The trade didn’t take much off me, a second hand book, some bolts and a Hornby Christmas wagon costing me all of a tenner all day. I’m not looking for anything and will spend next weekend at the model engineer show anyway.
Once 5 o’clock arrived we packed up and that’s when it went wrong. Everything came apart OK but as I removed the cliff board, the other one fell off the legs and landed face down on the floor. Beech huts were scattered and a quick look revealed a squashed building and missing roofs from the engine shed and water tower. We didn’t look too hard as the crash was a bit sickening and nether of us could face the results by this point in the day. Instead, everything was quickly gathered together and loaded into the car for the trip home.
Two and a half hour later we got back after a good run interrupted by an idiot pulling out from a service station on the A14 causing some heavy breaking. The traffic was light at the time so no harm was done but if you see a fat middle aged business man type in a blue Peaugot 206 then don’t let him out of any side roads will you.
I must admit to enjoying this type of show. I particularly like the town centre location as you can go for a wander during breaks and get away from all the toy trains. The venue was interesting too. However the drive reminded me why we don’t do many 1-day events. It’s hard work even if you get accommodation on one of the nights. It’s probably just me though, as at least one person had travelled there and back in the day, but I’m afraid his 5 hours on the road sound like a whole load of no fun.