The Bolton Wanderers

Tidying up after an exhibition can be a bit of a chore, with the adrenalin all gone and a whole year yawning ahead in which to finish the model promised for the next one. However three days ago we combined business with pleasure, to return the barriers to our friends at Bolton MRC. Their clubrooms are in Gilnow Mill, an impressive renovated cotton mill in Halliwell. Also impressive was its security system, which was clearly designed to deter potential thieves, vandals and Southern Railway enthusiasts alike. And when I agreed to help unload, no-one told me there would be steps... Fortunately not only additional manpower appeared to lend assistance, but manual handling equipment, in the form of supersized DIY-store trolleys, materialised to help negotiate the barrier sections through a long corridor stretching back into the bowels of the building.

The barriers were soon skilfully stacked in a complex and no-doubt secret pattern, with only a muffled complaint that perhaps they had bred additional of their number whilst enjoying their brief seaside holiday. Tea and biscuits were produced and a guided tour of the premises and their layouts provided, showing evidence of both industry and innovation. SMRS usually only manages either one or the other. The beginnings of a deal to enhance next year’s Southport exhibition with at least one more layout started to coalesce. Mindful of our exhibition manager’s ability to continue such discussions more-or-less indefinitely, I made our excuses and we departed, grateful both for Bolton’s contribution to our cause and for at least a temporary respite in the autumnal rains while we drove back. Next month several of our number will return the compliment by pretending to be stewards at Bolton’s exhibition. And so the wheels go round...