Oddy's day out to Blackburn show

7am and I've overslept. So quick dash through the shower, throw on clothes and swallow pills before ringing for taxi to take me to Preston as I've missed the Southport to Wigan train. Arrive there at 8.10 am and dash to platform 2 for the train to Colne. At 8.22 the train arrives but as I board, the station announcer says 'This train terminates here', so I alight red-faced. Finally few moments later the Colne train arrives - a ‘bouncy castle’ complete with ripped seats and a distinct odour of last night’s beer. Surrounded by strange people talking in strange accents since this train goes past my stop I must not fall asleep and try to stay alert (I am carry my shopping money and hubby's bank card).

Oswaldtwistle and Church station arrives and I disembark on to a clean platform at a nice little station. Going down the steps to a busy dusty road but there are no signs where to go. I ask several people if they know the way to but draw blank stares. Fortunately I had picked up my mobile during my disordered dash earlier this morning and punch in Peter’s number to elicit his help and although laughing at my predicament, he duly obliges with the appropriate information. But as a quid pro quo he asks me to watch out for cheap German stock which I should purchase on his behalf.
I am thus soon on my way at a leisurely pace to the sports centre where ‘The 47th annual exhibition of Blackburn and East Lancs Model Railway Society's Exhibition' is proudly proclaimed. Time for a quick fresh air break (euphemism for a cigarette) before I join the queue to enter the hallowed halls.

Upon payment, I am admitted into a very generous space filled with dealers, layouts of all shapes and sizes and the ever increasing crowd of onlookers. First stop is at Castle Trains whose stall is packed with goodies but I resist temptation. Heading off to Loco Shed to peruse his wares, here I bump into Allan, a friendly Glaswegian, and receive a hug saying that he is on a display along with big Peter, David and accompanied by Andersonville. This is a cute little American layout made by David and has some good stock and plenty of interest for the public.
After depositing some of our own exhibition leaflets with these fine upright fellows, I continue my exploration of the show. After making several purchases, I proceed to examine the layouts starting with Stan Williams Festiniog based 009 layout. Next up was 00 gauge Roundtree Halt run by Jim Whitehead from York, then on to Stoney Lane Depot in N gauge by John Holroyd of Shipley. This is based on Southwark in the period 1986- 2000 with most building scratch built and based on those around south London. Bradford’s Oxenhope 0 gauge layout was delightful and had Dingham couplings (ed. Never heard of these before). Goose Lake, an American HO layout, was quite impressive, particularly as this layout was completed from start to finish in just 5 weeks.

After visiting several other layouts in all gauges, I finally came to Dewsbury Midland, which in my opinion should get best in show. Buildings were superb and the stock ran like a real railway used to be, efficient and smooth.

All too soon it was time to make my way home. See you all on my next day out.