Sunday arrived bright again and after breakfast steam was being raised as more visitors arrived and more and more laps of the track were completed before, as the afternoon drew on, we started to take down the marquee, which had not been used, and visitors began to pack up for the journey home.
Stev a drive on another engine.
DREAMING SPIRES RALLY 2011
Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th July
Report from the Chairman
Once again, on the last weekend in July, we threw open our track and site to anyone in our hobby who wanted to come along. We had not had many bookings come through, but the model engineering grapevine was telling us that we could expect a good number of visitors.
Arriving at around 09-30 on the Friday morning with caravan in tow the site was well advanced in what was needed to be completed. Always, for this event, the first task, after a cup of tea, is to erect the marquee and the gazebos for cover if any rain should fall. After more tea the site was being tidied in readiness for any visitors that would arrive.
Soon after midday any thoughts that no one was coming were quickly laid to rest as a steady stream of caravans, motor homes and campers started to fill the camping area as we finished the last remaining tasks with important things like getting coal, stocking the clubhouse up with food and most importantly putting the beer on tap.
Before long Pete Lawson steamed his K2 loco and was running around the ground level track, whilst we unloaded locos of all types for storage in the new carriage sheds which were greatly admired by all who had the guided tour. Into the evening and after the 15 or so campers had settled in we began to congregate in and around the clubhouse to enjoy a couple of pints of "Loose Canon" bitter from the local brewery in Abingdon, well you need something to clear the dust from your throat.
Saturday morning arrived bright and warm and soon many were sampling the delights of a full English breakfast from the catering team as more visitors arrived and locos were being steamed ready for a day's running. Soon both the raised and the ground level tracks were in heavy use and we were vey close to doing what we do not like to do and that is ask people to come off the track, as we feel that you should be able to run for as long as you like, but with the decision to turn off the signals and run line of sight this was avoided. Whilst all this was going on the ladies of the society were busy dispensing endless cups of tea, sandwiches, cakes etc from the clubhouse as the men on the barbeque were serving up burgers, hot dogs, etc. What a difference the new clubhouse makes. Life is so much easier now.
During the weekend we had the following trade stands showing and selling their goodies: G & S supplies, The Shiny Metal men, P.N.P and Phoenix locomotives.
Before long our thoughts turned to the evening meal and I with Sam Weller riding shotgun, were sent off to collect the 76 portions of fish, sausage or chicken with chips from our favourite chippie. This had been a worry as about 2 months before they had had a fire and had only just started trading again. Back at the site they were dished out and a silence fell over the site as all tucked into their meals followed by fruit salad and cream with wine or a beer, or two, as locomotives continued to run well into the night on what was a beautiful evening, weatherwise.
As the last of the day visitors left for home, those staying enjoyed an evening chatting until the early hours over another beer or two before retiring for the night.
We had had some superb models attending over the weekend. All sorts, all gauges and it was especially nice to see main line 7 1/4” like Pete's K2 and John Cousins B.R. Standard Class 5 (sorry if wrong), as we do not get many on our track. On the raised track was a rather nice 5" gauge "Granville Manor" owned by Rex Mountfield and a 5" "Maid of Kent" by Colin Walton all the way from Norfolk. I am not singling these locomotives out as all who intended in my eyes were superb. Commiserations must go to George and Stephen Dandy who came from the Polegate Society with 2 locos, both of which failed, but we did get Steve a drive on another engine. So that's it for another year and the same again in 2012. Dates are to be confirmed as we may be competing against the Olympics but many have booked in already. My thanks go to:
All the visitors who came along; we did not hear many moans so we must be doing something right.
All the COSME members who did their bit in helping in any way from steaming bay staff, track stewards, fire marshals, general dogsbodies and especially the ladies and the burger men slaving away over hot stoves on hot days.
All the traders for coming along. Please support those who support these events.
The guys in the chippie and the Brewers at the Brewery in Abingdon.
Finally to the person in charge of the weather for 3 glorious days.