The Liverpool show a couple of weeks back was an absolute cracker of a weekend. Definitely the most unusual venue Ive ever exhibited at – an old church!
Whilst it was a tad chilly (and apparently it was even colder last year) the building oozed atmosphere and Liverpool is a really good show not only to do as an exhibitor, but to visit. It does have its downsides – due to a few logistics problem it ended up with just two of us (Myself and Martin Edmondson) out of the 6 of us being available for setting up on Friday evening and on a 24 x 12 layout that’s no mean feat. We found that the floor was just about the furthest from level that you could get. If you are going to get good running then you need to level off the baseboards as best as you can get but at this venue the floor is up, down, back up even further, and then somewhere in the basement. I built New Hey with adjustable legs to overcome these problems but here we were needing packing pieces even where the legs were screwed out to full extent! We didn’t get the layout stocked until Saturday morning as a consequence, and the first hour was the usual sort out of the gremlins after 3 months of storage in the garage, plus adjust heights as appropriate. After that though things settled down and we ran all weekend without any hitches, which is what we have become used to with the layout. The joys of not having DCC – we kept things moving all the time and avoided the comments made about neighbouring layouts on RM Web.
The show itself is also unique for having as one of its trade stands a real ale bar and as we are not adverse to a pint or three the show, especially on the Saturday was lets just say relaxed. Some good layouts were on display, and whilst the only thing I bought from the trade stands was beer, there were quite a few interesting stands in addition to the usual box merchants.
As usual there was some good craic amongst the exhibitors in our layout pen, including the lads from the Wirral Finescale group with Widnes Vine Yard who were in fine form. (Mike Turner visible in supervisory mode in the above photo at the back of our fiddleyard). Mike did offer me the opportunity of operating Widnes first thing on Saturday but he couldn’t conjure up a stepladder to do it from, apparently they had been left somewhere in the East of England. It was all very relaxed, and a thoroughly pleasant weekend. To top it I won a trophy. Now I always love shows which have an irreverent edge to them, not taking this hobby over seriously myself, and Liverpool is no exception with a couple of awards which ain’t strictly kosher in the accepted sense of model railways – there’s the bowl of Scouse award for the worst put on Scouse accent, and the Hubcap Award for the best piss taking out of Scousers over the weekend. This is a nicked hubcap mounted on a marble plinth, which would appear to have had at one time someones graveside bowl of flowers resting on it.
Sheer class, Essex couldnt do better. I was quite chuffed (or tattyfilarious as Ken Dodd would have it) to win this. I’m back at this show next year operating “Eskmuir”. I intend to go for the double – something both Liverpool football clubs can only dream about. See – Ive started my bid for it already!
nb. Mention of Ken Dodd brings to mind how good scouse humour is – During Dodds trial for tax fraud in the 90’s I was doing a job at Walton – some wag had written on Walton Jail’s walls “Appearing soon – Ken Dodd”