I was there in the unusual role of exhibitor, in my capacity as a member of the project team for Milton Camel. Despite feverish and intensive efforts earlier in the week the layout was exhibited as 'work in progress'. Spectators were able to watch repairs to the track and application of scatter to the landscape [none of that electric grass stuff for us!] and we answered lots of questions. As an exhibitor I was able to enjoy a fine salad lunch followed by trifle and sufficient cuppas to make me function as normal, whatever that is.
Fortunately there was time to enjoy the show in the normal manner. As usual I travelled to and from Biggleswade on the bus. I could do it in a third of the time by car but I've got a bus pass and I'm gonna use it. My first stop was the second-hand stall which at this show is always worth a look. I let the Airfix auto trailer go but at £5 it was keenly priced and I know where it went. My haul comprised several little packets of odds and sods, one of which contained enough etched grab handles from PC to do up all my Mk 1s. [I should live so long ...]
Of the layouts, I was pleased to see two in P4, which is two more than many a larger show would offer. Robin Gay's Rolvenden is a firm favourite on the circuit, with its distinctive hop poles, working windmill and eclectic mix of Colonel Stephens rolling stock. The other, Richmond, was new to me. I'm no aficionado of the London and South Western but I do know the present day Richmond and I would rather see the pre-electric station than today's brash and busy concrete edifice. I deduce from the clues available to me that Richmond is a cousin of Clarendon, a firm favourite of mine, and when it makes some more progress it will be even more worth watching.
Elsewhere in the hall Alan Paley's LMS themed Loughborough Road was in good form, with some familiar faces at the controls. What I like most but this layout is its gentle arc where far too many would have chosen a straight line. The home club showed its ambitious new project, Finchley Road. Based on what was on show this layout will score very highly on the buildings. It is far from inevitable that faithful reproductions of real buildings are arranged in a natural way but these guys have cracked it. I hope that the same attention is given to the stock. The milk train had been weathered very convincingly, so that augurs well. One to watch, for sure.
The venue is configured in such a way that it is convenient to put the trade in the corridor and the layouts in the hall. I am surprised that other shows do not keep the two separate. The trade section was well balanced and was able to supply kits and tools, books and new and pre-owned models with space still available for society stands.
All in all, another good show. I will, said he with trepidation, be interested to learn what others thought of Milton Camel. Gulp ...