Back at the NEC

This afternoon I’ll be up at the NEC where the organisation is formidable.  The task is to get hundreds of exhibitors, arriving by numerous means including huge vans into one hall on one day.  Every exhibitor has already received instructions which are detailed down to which door to arrive at and the time from which they may do so.

Large numbers of Miniatura staff, in contact with each other by radio are exactly briefed on who to put where and when. Several major thinkers, who have the floor plan in their heads, know where all the exhibitors should be but everyone has documentation.

At the car park marshals organise the traffic, each vehicle bearing its pass, into lines which are allowed down to the rear of the hall when radio information is received that the previous line has been accommodated, unloaded and removed to a car park.  When it’s your turn, the job is to get in and out as quickly as you can and then, with your vehicle elsewhere, you embark on the task of  building a shop on a table for the weekend.

All the exhibitors are keen miniaturists, very few have pre-loaded stands, so the general rule is that numerous tiny items are placed one at a time on to a table until it looks lovely, a pastime that can easily occupy hours.  I have never managed to set up in less than two and a half hours.  One or two brave souls fly in and set up tomorrow morning, which is nail-bitingly exciting.

If I get set up myself in time, I’ll try to show you others doing the same and, if they can spare time to talk to me, I’ll ask them how long it takes to build a shop on a table for the weekend.

Meanwhile, don’t forget if you are coming and you do read this column and you haven’t got a free badge that says ‘I read’ to come and get one from me during the show.

If I have pictures to show you I’ll post tonight, otherwise – see you there! – back at the NEC car park, you don’t know how lucky you are, boy, back at the, back at the, back at the NEC!

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