Showing off for forty years

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Last weekend saw another milestone in the club's history, namely our fortieth exhibition. Now it is also the fortieth anniversary of the club's foundation this year, which leads me to conclude that we have, on average, held one exhibition every year for the last four decades. A university education is never wasted. This year's exhibition was by no means average, with Tony pulling out all the stops, not to mention the odd start or two, to produce something special. A big anniversary needs big layouts, so the reasoning went, and so Liverpool Lime Street, Kirkby Stephen West and The Great American Railroad all put in an appearance, and all took home cups for their trouble.

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One of the games we play before, during and after an exhibition is to predict the effect of the weather on the attendance. Classical climate theory suggests that good weather is not good for numbers, as the public head for the sea front, whilst a certain coolness makes them look indoors for entertainment, such as we just happen to provide. And a deluge is very bad for business, as potential customers take one look through the net curtains at the water bouncing off the Astra Sport XLS, and stay indoors to watch the footy on the telly. However this year revisionist global warming surprised all the pundits, as despite a warm, sunny weekend the footfall stood up remarkably well.

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Mention must be made of the party, or more properly The Party, which went off remarkably well considering Ford Mansions was two-thirds of the way through an almost total knock-down and rebuild. Fortunately the proprietors had ensured that the beer cellar, the food kitchen and the railway garden were in full running order, so all the essential elements were in place, and much appreciated by a discerning clientele.

The only potential downside to report was how close my neighbour's garage came to being filled with a large quantity of wooden barriers on the Monday after the show. Certainly leaving the door up was a good an invitation as one might wish for, but the magical disappearance of a large quantity of railway clutter might just have rung some alarm bells…