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The secret Diary of an exhibition exhibitor/ Demonstrator



HI all,


well its been a while, a long while since i posted my last entry on here, now this is due to many factors but one of the main ones it's now show season again and as some of you know may know i do a DCC demo at some shows in the north of the country and the past couple of weekends have been taken up with shows so i thought seeing as we have had a thread on here about how start exhibiting your layout, i would explain what you may face in the joys of taking your trainset/ demo on the road.


All the views and thoughts are my own and in no way should be intented to be taken as complaints in any form towards the shows mentioned.


So where to start ( that is if you are still reading this), the weekend of the 22nd of October was the warrington show and at the show i had a DCC demo and my brother and i had our joint layout Shift'tem Sidings also attending. So after finishing work at 5pm on the friday night it was a quick stop at the petrol station to get so fuel, a second quick stop to pick up my girlfriend and then a 2hr drive to my Brothers house.


The reason for going to my brothers house was to collect the layout and also transfer some of my Demo gear to my mums car. I only have a little clio so fitting a 5ft long layout and all the bits needed for that, all my Demo gear and my brother in was a no go so. Also not forgetting my girlfriend. So once arriving at my brothers, i took over the whole of the turn around area with crates of dcc, stock and bags of clothes. This all going on at 7.30ish atnight in the dark as there is no street lights in the close near his house.


A quick repack, layout and as much stock, dcc demo bits that i could fit in, bags of clothes, and left over railway bits in to my mums car, including brother, mum and girlfriend.


A quick 20 min drive to the warrington venue, to arrive after going round the roadworks on the main road outside the grounds of the collage. Pulling up in the car park to see a group of people stood outside chatting, nothing unusal about that. Walked inside to try and find where we were ment to be, helped by another exhibitor as we where unable to find any warrington members and dropped a couple of bits off then back out to the car for the rest and then set up the layout....or so I thought, as im pulling a couple of crates out of the back of the car a couple of people come out to say that the caretaker is closing up. The time being 8.25pm


WHAT, the paper work says set up till 9pm. A quick trip inside and a chat with the caretaker to be told that his job finishes at 9pm and he is locking up now, explain that i have two cars full of stuff and if said stuff was left in car and stolen it would be a big bill for the collage as i have paper work that says 9pm.


I was then informed that i could bring the bits in and not set anything up. Fine by me i just want the £6000+ worth of kit inside the venue for the night.


An early start the next morning, collect brother and get to venue for 8am and then a made rush to set up layout and demo stand before 10 when the doors open.


Layout up in 20mins and a quick clean of the track, brother putting stock on mean i could then start on the demo. At this point i realised that i had left some bit for the demo at home, nothing major just a couple of signs but it was all done by 9.30am


A quick test of the layout was suggested after a small problem at Exeter with heat last year and that resulted in a dead layout, loco checked, working fine, wiring checked working fine.....after frantic a 20min's it turn out to be the green connector on the front of the Lenz 100 unit not transfering the power to the track feeds. Once that was changed all systems ahead for the rest of the day with no problems and a possible show invite. We don't get may for this layoutso that was a bonus. With a long day over with a trip back to my brothers for food and recharge for day two.


Sunday went well apart from the main point trowing one of the switch rails so a quick 5mins work and back up and running. No other mishaps and another peerson asking for layout details for a show, brother not remebering what sow it was for and a repeat of the friday night to take the bits back home.


As i had a another the following weekend i thought i would have aweek away from everything and stay at my mums with the girlfirend who was on half term (shes a teacher so that was handy).


A nice quite week and then a change on thursday night as we went to sty at her friends near blackpool. Now of course its not much point going up the country a bit to come back down to get demo bits and then travel to Rawntenstall for the LYDCC show on the 29th. So taking all the bits with us, off to stay and take over the firneds hall with all the contents of the car. When she found out the cost of it all her mouth hit the floor.


Friday dawns and a chilled out day, visiting Blackpool. Trip to Tower models to get a part for someone, a trip on a tram, and lunch sat on the benches reading the comedy pavemtn on the prom. Setting off for the LYDCC show at 4.30ish. Good plan as it turned out as it was the last weekend of the lights so the traffic was building up already in the town.


Arriving at the school, a trip in side to find Peter who was busy sorting bits out and fining out where my demo table was to be found. Unload the car of al the bits and then procced to set up the demo with the girlfriends help.


Then off the the B&B, and this is where the real tale begins.


I'm not going to mention the name or location of the said B&B but its as Enterprisingwestern (see the LYDCC thread) has mentioned it is a quant little place, an old farmhouse built on the side of the hill. Arriving on the drive to be greeted by the owner and take us in. Upon entering and from the front door which is on a 10' angle everything is uphill. the corridor is on an angle and then once you enter the bedroom you are almost running to the otherside of the room. All the floor boards creaked so there was no chance to sneeking out at any point. Filling in the breakfast sheet and a quick unpack and some directions to a pub doing a cavery for £3.95, off we go for a meal.


Back in the B&B by 9pm and a chill out watching tv to hear other exhibitors arrive and be show to thier rooms.


Waking up the next moring to be greated with a nice view out of the window, off for a wash & shave in the bathroom. Easy you may say but let me explain, the roof in the bathroom slops from top left to bottom right with a woodern beam running its length at head height, only hit my head a few times on sunday after noticing it. The wash basin was on one wall and the mirror on another near the door so a bit of excerise whilst having a shave. The toilet handle took about 4 presses to work. One of the best things was the taps, if some one else put the same tap on as you you may loose you running water which was quite funny. Also the tvs where a bit hit and miss but in our room we had a digital box so i think we got the better deal for watching the tv. Sorry guys.


Opening the door to go to breakfast we are greeted by the DEFINE/Shawplan team also heading for breakfast. Whilst chatting at breakfast after some one who shall remain nameless ordered kippers!! we found out that the same person had been travelling around the shower in his room to get wet. I did say this was qaunt.


At this point Brian remarked that he felt the room moving, this we worked out to be the chair that he was sitting in slowly sliding down the floor towards the cornder of the room, at the same time as this was remarked on Mike lifted his arms off the table to start sliding too. This brought much laughter to the breakfast room and lots of Fawlty towers lines. The food served was good and plenty of it all being cooked fresh.


Again noticing that most of the plates and cups had bits chipped of the bases a few more jokes, bit of model railway chat and then off to the show via asda to get a couple of bits.


The day passed ok, no problems to be had apart from the sound locos from another demo being to loud and a few people stopped by for a bit of help. Mike also brought some locos through for the CV's to be tweaked. I fitted a 4mt with a zimo chip for peter and was able to try a suger cube speaker, i had bought one a while ago for a project of mine but not had chance to use it. Andy at DCC supplies had said that is was good and the sound emitted was got too. Well he wasnt wrong. The only place i could put the speaker and chip was right in the centre of the bolier and i thought it would struggle but is sounded great and with the sound turned up you really did struggle to think that the speaker was where it was.


The organisers had during the day been round and asked if we would like to attend the meal that they where having in the pub that night, eaiser than fidning our own place to eat and a chance to chat to friends. A little later the same person pops back to the demo to say as there is 30+ of us going to the meal the pub had asked us to pop by and order so they could prep for the meal time of 7.30. Fine, we decided to go along and stay for a couple of drinks rather than travel back to the B&B and then to the pub again. a few others had decided the same thing.


So at the end of show on saturday, we set off to the aformentioned pub to be greeted with a queue outside the door as fellow exhibitors where ordering food at the bar. A few drinks later and the pub is filling up nicely with other exhibitors and the public. When the call for us to go to the table we all get up and the bar emptys very quickly as we all head for the back room. The night was a great laugh and we all had a great time, great food and it was nice to chat and get to know people who you may not have met before. I was told the real ale was up to standard but that may need another source to veryfiy that clame.


Sunday was more of the same, breakfast was a comedy routine again, more jokes and one liners. We did all comment that people wouldn't belive it if we told them ( half the reason for me writing this entry). The trick to eating at the table was to anchor yourself to a table leg and hold on. Mike did comment at one point that we may need to collect him from the road down the hill.


Sunday at the show was good, loads of people asking questions, hopefully i was able to help a few of you with your problems, if you stopped for help. A few chats with a couple of traders and ordering a few parts from Shawplan (can't wait to get the bits Brian) and DCC supplies, great service from them both as always and soon te time had come to pack up and head home. A long weekend(s) but all good fun.



So there you have it a tale from the road and don't let this put you off building a layout and exhibiting it. Its all part of the fun and its a chance to meet and make some good friends and i am looking forward to doing both shows again next year (that is if i am invited back.)


As we disscussed on sunday morning, the reason we do this, is a chance to show your work, meet and catch up with freinds and most of all and i mean most of all


HAVE SOME FUN!!!!!!!! :D


Hopefully you havent been to bored reading through all this and im off to get ready for the Rochdale show

bye for now


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Definitely not bored, I like the story format, more please!


I also like the idea of referring a specialist model railway supplier's team as "the Shawplan Massive" :D

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That tickled me Simon; very good! I don't forget that you've travelled an awful lot further for certain events too, purely on the promise of a pasty.

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Ah, the wonderful world of exhibiting model railways. I'm sure you enjoyed yourselves. It's a bit like a drug; if you don't do a show, after a little while you get withdrawal symptoms. The digs read like a Brian Rix stage production, very amusing.....! (or am I giving my age away here)



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