Welcome to Mike's World; emerge to Post-hibernation!

As I write this our weatherpersons regard it as a Great Truth that Spring began on the First of March, when anyone like m, who's concerned with the relevant equinox knows that it's on the twenty-first; a possible exception could be made for modellers at the slightly less cold end of Our Islands who know with equal certitude tht the season's arrival is signalled by the traditional Southern Expo at Hornchurch, the exact date of which is only a little less flexible than that of successive Easters. Other shows have already been available of course and even resulted in reports in magazines; the two that I'm well aware of are those at Bolton and Huddersfield. I've never ventured an expedition to the first, but I used to enjoy the Yorkshire event and catching up with my modelling chums from t'North; but a couple of years ago I decided it was beyond the range of me and my Cruiser. The Met Office's Spring weather resulted in the timely cancellation of the East of England show at Peterborough, which has recently become my First Modelling Footing, and at which I had hoped to meet up with some of the What If? SIG and devise another cunning design or two; but that is now scheduled for the Shropshire show st Cosford, providing of course that the mule trains can make it through the passes.

A show that's alleviated some of the effects of winter for me, before I'm glad to say the arrival of the Great White Blanket, was at Hanslope, a village on the northern fringe of Milton Keynes; you didn't know that MK had a fringe, did you, but this particular bit is a survivor from before the Days of Planning and still has its village hall. It now hosts four small modelling events a year under the collective title of Hamex; they're organised by Mat Irvine, sci-fi guru and always associated with K-9 (who still follows him around occasionally), and Paul Fitzmaurice of Little-Cars, who can be found at many shows with nis stand of Useful Accessories and paints. There's always two or three other traders, including at least one dipsposing of other peoples' stash, and the odd individual and club stand; this is my local club/branch, the New City Model Club. There are always some of the friendly faces that make these events an integral part of the hobby. And these days, while I still rely to some extent on mail order especially for kits where - I think at least - I know what I'm about to get, I find that events like these have filled a gap left by the gradual loss of model shops and the consequent difficulty of browsing shelves, especially for odds and ends; as on my visits to Waitrose (other supermarkets are available), how do I know what I want until I see it?




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