Sunday, 14 February 2016

What A Thoroughly Enjoyable Day!

I am, as most of my acquaintances now, a truly cynical bastard, of the old cut. But, today I am bright, cheerful and full of love and kindness for my fellow man/woman/hamster.

I've just spent one of the most enjoyable hobby days in the last couple of decades, taking in the magnificent spectacle of the 'Festival Of British Railway Modelling' at Doncaster race course.

We were in the car at 8:55 and by 9:25 we were parked up, 100 yards from the main doors...

 ...and by 9:30, despite a considerable queue of a couple of hundred folk of all ages and both sexe,s we were inside enjoying the pleasure of having a 30 minute start on the 'pay on the door' crowd.

I confess, that I had forgotten just how large the venue is. Few wargames shows use this much space, nor fill them with as much eye and wallet candy. What's more the aisles were very generous, so that you didn't have people knocking you sideways with rucksacks etc.

I really do wish that wargames show organisers would get off their arses and go and take a look at how a railway show is run. AND LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCE.

Rant over...

Now, as the name of the show suggests, this is a British themed exhibition, and whilst there was a stunning array of layouts, I was there for the N gauge stuff, which was very well represented indeed. I confess, that having realised that I had left my varifocals at home, I was not able to spend as much time as I might have liked, just broswing. I did however get some nice little snaps such as these:

The traders were friendly, even when faced with my glaringly neophyte questions, and I only came across one miserable bastard, who I will allow the joy on anonymity, but after I heard how he responded to a question from a potential customer who made a very polite query, I simply turned around and walked away without even looking at his stock. For a moment it was like being at the Derby or Sheffield wargames shows, but a few yards away from the scene, the air cleared and reality reinstated itself once more.

It always amazes me just how different the atmosphere is between the two hobbies, despite both being about people playing with miniature worlds in one way or another.

Anyway, we were given a practical demonstration of a cyanoacrylate which is NOT a superglue, at the HAFIXS stand, and were so impressed that we spent £30 on two 50g bottles. If stored in the fridge, these glues will last 5 years! BONZA!

Breakfast for two people was £11... 2 large and fresh coffees and two VERY good breakfast sandwiches which in my cases, had twice as much sausage (of wonderfully high quality) as one would normally get in many venues.

Thence we made our way to the BRM magazine stand, where it was advertised that if you signed up for a 12 month subscription at £12.95 per quarter, you got a £40 voucher to spend at the Gaugemaster stand. No strings attached, it seemed.

Bloody hell, it was a genuine offer!

So, I signed up and then indeed, received a £40 voucher, there and then. Thus I was off to Gaugemaster where I purchased a selection of essentials, a few telegraph poles, a tunnel mouth and a decoder, and only having to stump up £7.95 of my own cash.

Next I purchased a Graham Farish, Coronation Class

Then, it was over to P & D Marsh for a few white metal bits...

Followed by a round of Mk1 purchasing at 3 traders...

Whilst Kayte took a breather, I then wobbled off to purchase a Farish Class 4 MT and a rather pretty 'Lyddle End' water tower...

Before rounding out my day of Mammonite frenzy with a few bags of static grass...

Grand total for the day £408.00 (plus £40 of freebies from Gaugemaster).

I really cannot emphasise enough, how enjoyable the day was. The show is a credit to the organisers and the traders are everything that you could ask for, in terms of stock, knowledge, helpfulness and mood.

A day that I am already planning to repeat this year.

And to round out the day, on the way home, my wife bought me a new hamster by the name of 'Lem' after the recent passing of my last hamster 'Vienna' who chalked up over 3 years, before checking into the big cage in the corner of Valhalla.




  1. Excellent write up, thank you. I am delighted to hear that hamsters go to Valhalla! :O)

    Kind regards, Chris

    1. Thank you.

      And yes, they do indeed go Valhalla, where they have a never ending water bottle and as much fresh vegetable matter as they can eat. Thence they retire to a massive pile of bedding to sleep it of, before starting all over again.


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