Last weekend, we took a trip to the Great Central Railway for their wonderful wartime event.
We love this railway, wartime event or not! It boasts ?? miles of track, and they have an impressive collection of traction, of both the steam and diesel variety. With my Mr being a bit of a train buff, his enthusiasm for traction and a well run railway station has rubbed off on my girlies and me!!
Anyhow, our home for this most enjoyable weekend was the general waiting room on Quorn and Woodhouse station.
The space we have there is smaller than we are normally used to, so we aren’t able to take our full compliment of stock, but the space has so much character, that we don’t mind taking slightly less stuff with us. A major plus point of being in the waiting room is that it is clean. Coal dust and original ‘40s clothing don’t mix that well, so we are happy to have it all safely tucked inside, away from the smuts and smoke of the engines. The room also gets locked at the end of the day, so we can head back to the hotel, knowing that all is safely under lock and key!
The station staff at Quorn are absolutely brilliant. They were all helpful and friendly, and certainly made the weekend more enjoyable. What I didn’t realise, until late on Sunday, was that the station staff are all volunteers, which makes the job they do even more commendable, especially when they were faced with numpties who seemed not to understand that standing on the edge of the platform, with a considerable tonnage of engine heading towards them, wasn’t the most sensible thing in the world to do!! ;o)
As to the event itself, it is brilliantly run, and clearly has a dedicated team behind it. Every member of staff we met was nice, which sadly isn’t always the case at these events. There was plenty for the public to see, with battles and parades, static vehicles and displays, including a Spitfire on the Sunday. We felt that the re-enactors and traders were really well catered for, with great food outlets, good camping, and great facilities. And what’s more, there was evening entertainment and a bar, to help wile away the evening.
As is generally the case with such events, I tend not to get the chance to stray far from base, and this weekend was no exception, and I only made it into Quorn yard to have a look at what some of the other traders had on offer, as you do, so sadly my pictures aren’t the best.
There were lots of highs to the weekend. For the most part, the sun shone, which always seems to lift spirits. C got to dress up in her newly made dress. We sold lots of lovely forties goodies (which is what we do it for, after all), and I got to spend some much needed time away with my family.
Sadly, where there are ups, there are downs, and for some reason, we saw more than our fare share of idiots this weekend! Now I know that some people won’t think I’m being overly kind here, but bear with me.
There is no denying that the stuff we sell is expensive. It is original wartime clothing that has stood the test of time and survived, in the most part unscathed, for 70+ years, and that carries with it a degree of value. In a way we have never experienced before, we had people compare out stock to charity shop goods, and scoff at the prices of the jumpers which have taken me 50+ hours to knit. In my opinion, ignorance is no excuse for blatant rudeness.
We also had the jokers of the pack who thought our clothing offered a great fancy dress opportunity, a chance to shove (yes, with force) decade’s old homburgs and bowlers onto the heads of sticky fingered children so they could pose for granddad to take a picture. Ah, how sweet! I don’t think so.
There was the lady who tried, and failed, to squeeze herself into a petite 11011 utility coat which resulted in torn lining, brilliant! Then there was the person who thought one of our fur stoles was cute and cuddly, the perfect thing to play with, roughly, and promptly tore the skins apart. It was all topped off rather nicely with the theft of a rather exquisite 1930’s carved bone necklace. I’m hoping karma catches up with the light fingered foul fiend! Oh, I get to meet some charming folk!!
To be fair, 95% of the people I meet are wonderful, truly. They are respectful and gentle with the clothing, and understand that, in most cases, it is irreplaceable. These customers are lovely, and are welcome back anytime! :o)
The perfect ending to the event was the poppy drop, where 1000’s of paper poppies are dropped from a plane and flutter serenely, if a little off target, to the ground.
Although tired, and a little pinker for our time spent in the sun, we are already looking forward to June 6th and 7th 2015, when we can do it all again, if GCR will have us!! xx