Saturday 28 October 2023

Saturday Ramble: Exhibitions and inspirations

 It's been quiet here for a month. Not deliberate, but just busy getting out there as well as juggling two layout builds. Despite me saying that shows had decreased, I've managed to pop (literally in some cases) to four in the last couple of weeks. The fist was Farnham at Aldershot. Quality general show with medium to high exhibits. Arun Quay being one where I always find a detail that I'd not noticed before. 

Parking 10

Show 10

Rucksacks 2

Catering 7

The oddball out of the quartet was not quite an exhibition, but an 009 group open day which I popped into en-route to Gt Yarmouth. Half a dozen NG layouts of various scales shown by the Norfolk and Suffolk Group in a very bijou hall west of Beccles. Super friendly with lots of chat and banter. 

Show 10

Catering 10

Parking 10

Uckfield. The premier club show in the south-east by a country mile. Very finescale and yet gets a very local family audience mixed with the anoraks. Apparently I hit it just right at 3.45 on the Sunday when it was reasonably quiet. I wasn't going due to time constraints, but Adrian had managed to gather most of the Iain Rice layouts in one place, so I wasn't going to miss Butley Mills. This has been EM'd and slightly extended and is in the middle of being refurbed. It was the stand out layout for me as well as the ex-Tregarrick and East Suffolk Light stock that was displayed.

Hard to give anything but tens for Uckfield, but it does suffer from being too popular and can get uncomfortably crowded.

I'd not been to the Newhaven club show before, largely as it has always clashed with the now defunct ExpoNG. Without being derogatory, it is very typical of many club shows in the south and has a very 'club' feel. This isn't a bad thing and judging by the crowded rooms at 11.00 many think it's worth a visit. Much more there that I'd expected and there were a couple of stand outs, notably the LBSCR O gauge and the club's Fencehouses NCB layout. Parking is street and a bit hit and miss especially on a wet day. It's hard to mark following the ultra finescale Uckfield bash, but I'd certainly make a return visit. I like club shows and the joyous club stand rummage.

Show 9

Catering 8

Parking 6

What this all adds up to is a very different experience at each and I wonder what you might take away if you only visited just one. Would it encourage you into the hobby? For the newby, Newhaven and Beccles would be hard to beat. Uckfield is less chatty and while not snooty, may feel unachievable. Knowing your audience is key and all four get it spot on in this respect. If I could would I change anything? Nope, loved them all.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I've been to the Farnham show...though I did go to a very good 009 open day organised by the club a couple of years ago.
    The various N&S open days I've been to have all been excellent, far enough away to see some very different content and always very friendly.
    I didn't go to Uckfield, shame to have missed the Ian Rice layouts but there was too much to do at home and I didn't want to be around that many people. The one layout I really wanted to see will be at Canterbury in January...
    Newhaven sounds good, I really like smaller club shows as they often reveal hidden gems. I think it used to be at a school in Seaford, nice bike ride there and back.
    Whether a particular show would get you into the hobby perhaps depends on the people at the you might see a layout which inspires you, and get chatting to the owner/operator...but what then? If it's in one of the RTR scales, you might go home with some items bought at the show, provided a trader has things you want. It might be that a bigger show is more likely to have a range of traders...but as it's busy, operators may be less likely to chat. Dunno.
    Hoping to get to the Gravesend show next weekend and Tolworth the weekend after. The former is very much an "old fashioned" club show in a school, but I find I always really enjoy it. Showtrain is pretty much a fixture on my exhibition calendar and has been for years.
    Talking of RTR, I seem to have bought quite a bit lately, H0 European. At least I'll hopefully be able to play trains a bit in the interim while we have the house on the market and move.