It's Easter Sunday, and that can only mean one thing - getting up late and scoffing chocolate eggs.
Well, this year and last anyway. In days gone by, I'd have been in the car bright and early, heading to York for the model railway exhibition. Sometimes as a visitor, sometimes as an exhibitor.
Back in February, I posted that the show I missed most from the calendar was Stafford, as it was such a fun day out. This is closely followed by York, and only because thanks to the price of train tickets, it involves at least 5 hours on the motorway.
Those hours of tedium are always amply rewarded with a show I've been to for at least 3 decades on and off. I remember my first visit, when the event took place in the city centre. My pick of the layouts was a model of the Wisbeach Tramway. Ironically, it lived around the corner from me, built by modellers I came to know a few years later!
I miss those city centre days, especially as an exhibitor. Nipping out while on a break and being able to wander the streets to watch the buskers was such a special experience. I understand the reasons the show moved to the racecourse, and it has proved to be an excellent venue, but I do have a soft-spot for "in town" shows.
York has a special atmosphere. Those attending have, in the main, been doing so for years. As a punter, I can probably guess where each trader will be. What I know is that it's old-fashioned enough not to be filled with box-shifters. York is a modellers show with plenty of kit and bits stands.
Part of the atmosphere comes from it being a 3-day event. Exhibitors get to know each other more than shorter events and you get into a routine. This was even more the case in the days of the 3.5 or even 4 day show when the last day was Tuesday, for reasons I never understood. Losing that day was a shame, but the crowds never justified it for the trade.
As an exhibitor, it is my favourite event. My dad and I always felt privileged to be invited to a show with so much heritage, in such a lovely place. We did our best, and in return, they look after us. Years ago, there were several apres-show events and although the infamous barn dance never appealed, I used to enjoy the Saturday night sing-song at the Brown Cow. Ian Futers on the piano, and Timmy Taylors Landlord on draught. Brilliant. That ha dried up as the show evolved, but those three days in the racecourse were always enjoyable.
Anyway, York 2021 is another victim of Covid. 2022 is planned for the return. I hope to be there.