Well it’s been 3 days since the Uckfield show and my knees have finally recovered from standing for two days and grubbing around under baseboards during set up The layout behaved it’s self and despite the fact that I can either talk to the public or operate the layout, but can’t do both at the same time everything went to plan!
I collected the hire van at 10.00am on the Friday morning and with the help of my pal and master fiddleyard operator Roger the van was loaded with the layout by 11.30 am. The new extension board fitted in the van without any problems, we’re obviously getting better at this packing lark
We were on the road before midday and arrived in East Sussex by about 3.30pm, it was a pretty uneventful journey despite the rigours of the dreaded M25! Set up in the exhibition hall started at 6.00pm, so with a couple of hours to kill and being so close we decided it would be rude not to pop in and visit the Bluebell Railway
The station building is delightful, with an ornate half timbered porch and tiled upper storey, I particularly liked the ornate chimney stacks.
The ticket office and waiting rooms were equally lovely, all they needed was a roaring coal fire in the grate to add to the ambiance
We were greeted in the platform by a rake of magnificent wood finished Metropolitan coaches, Sherton Abbas definitely needs an excuse for a model of one of these!
Maunsell’s splendid S15 class number 847 was in steam, so we spent a happy hour or so on the platform watching it run round and depart with an excursion.
The couple of hours at Sheffield Park passed all to quickly, but we left by 5.30pm to make our way to the Civic Centre at Uckfield and get the layout set up.
We met my other pal Al at the hall and had the layout set up in about an hour and a half. The new extension board fitted into place without any problems, which was a relief as there’s insufficient space in my workshop to set the layout up in its entirety!
After a good night’s sleep at the local Premier Inn, we arrived at the exhibition hall for 8.00am to get the stock set up and get the layout ready for the public. An excellent breakfast was provided by the Uckfield club, as were copious amounts of tea, coffee and biscuits during the day, I can honestly say I’ve never been to such a well organised show
10 minutes before the show opened Roger thought it might be a good plan to run a passenger train through the layout. It departed the fiddle yard and then abruptly came to a sudden halt as it entered the new scenic board!
Although I’d tested the new board by pushing a few wagons and running some locos, I hadn’t considered that my brake third coaches have duckets and were consequently too wide to enter the layout Some frantic adjustments were made with a hacksaw and although the aperture now looks like a dogs chewed it trains passed through all weekend without any further problems!
We had an excellent evening meal on Saturday evening hosted by the club at the Hare & Hounds in Framfied.
After the meal our host Adrian had organised an excellent quiz, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. There was then a presentation of the cup for the best layout as voted for by the exhibitors and traders and I’m delighted to say that Sherton Abbas won! There were some truly excellent other layouts at the show, so being awarded this award was a huge surprise and made the whole weekend even more special.
The show was a little quieter on Sunday which gave me chance to have a better look at the rest of the show and chat to other exhibitors. Ian Smith’s Modbury is quite exceptional, the locos are like pieces of jewellery and the despite the small size of 2mm the level of detail is remarkable! Martin Finley’s Newton Heath Works was also fabulous and a perfect example of how to do a cameo layout properly.
I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the cup on the layout, as you can see it’s a pretty magnificent trophy!
The show finished at 5.00 pm on Sunday and the layout was unassembled and back in the van by ten past six, which I think is probably our best break down time ever The M3 / M25 was a delightful experience as always, but we got back to Cardiff and had the layout unloaded and back in the workshop before 11.30 pm.
Huge thanks to both Roger and Al for all their help during the weekend and to Adrian for inviting us to such a rewarding well organised event.
Best wishes to all, particularly those that came to the exhibition and came for a chat!
Edited by wenlock