So as I'm about to depart at early o'clock the peaked cap says hot, the bag says not! The inclusion of a wide brimmed hat was a useful addition which helped to shed the precipitation nicely during the day.
Fast forward to the BBC weather forecast promising rain on Saturday but sun on Sunday, I thought I'd cocked up royally but in the end had a perverse mindset towards a shower dodging day. Having arrived in good time for the 9:30 start through biblical rain I clocked the in/ out for the day visitor car park looking a tad chewed up early on...Still, on with the show.
I saw fellow Scouters Mark and Ray who do the Urban bushcraft podcast as soon as I walked in and had a quick chat with them. They happened to be near the legendary 'Lofty' Wiseman and Mark offered to take a snap...Rude not to say 'Yes'. Lofty is a gent and very amenable to such requests. Mark and Ray were hosting the guest speakers on and off and did a fine job.
About 20 minutes into the show I noticed this van being pulled in and started to wonder if there may be a more suitable method of getting around being displayed at the show!
After the magazine's award ceremony I saw Lofty do a talk about surviving which had good content and not a little army style humour. The shot on the right (above) is just after he's answered a question for me. I made fun of my son's weather mishap at a Scout camp that weekend for my chat with Lofty.
Soon after this I had a reminder text from my wife to source a Father's Day which was sorted by a visit to the Shark Tinderbox stand. I got a crook knife strop and it was fun watching my wife guess what it was when I got home! Also by this stage I'd caught up with all those I knew and most of those who I wanted to meet for the first time which helps the Facebook percentage of friends I've met.
And to the irrepressible Cody Lundin, he did a long talk which I saw both in the flesh and on the big screen erected outside the impressive main marquee and was full of energy, very much like his TV delivery. I could list all the shops and school stands that I went to but it would probably just read as a who's who of those that were therebut I will just sneak a mention for Woodlife Trails and Greenman knives though. I think the guide was essential to maximise the show and what it had to offer. Whilst perhaps a tad expensive at £2.50 it had all you needed to know. Suffice to say that over the course of the show there were 6 pages of (or about 300) talks and demos, over 45 different exhibitor stands.
Whilst admiring the mud by the main display tipi I chanced upon Steve Backshall, Lofty and Simon Ellar (the magazine editor).
I noticed a tarp tent set up at the DD Hammocks stall and had a little chuckle to myself because it was this very design that gave my son his camp site misfortune..He should have accepted my offer to oversee his efforts rather than pushing his 'embarrassing' parent to go and leave him to it.
Misfortune was to befall Lofty too, this is his car that got stuck in the mud. This got me thinking that a mid afternoon departure may be a good idea, it was. The way out of the day visitors car park was one level above being liquid and a hats off to the show volunteers who tirelessly got cars out. Another soaking on the way home cleaned a lot of the mud off as it goes.
When I got home I said to my wife that I had issues with self control and managed to resist the temptation not to buy a hot off the press coat that was a special price at the show, she said that it surely could have formed the basis of my birthday present in August-D'oh! But through the magic that is Facebook messaging and texting, Urban Bushcraft's Mark saw Woodland Way's Jason and he's put one aside. I owe both a beer...
As I arrived back a little sooner on the Saturday than planned I delved into social media as I was still buzzing. I had only a small snap shot of the multi day show but whilst accepting the old adage 'Each to their own', I was rather disappointed to see a lot of what I felt were very harsh criticisms of the show/ organisers. The rain had been unbelievable and I really felt for for Simon, Olivia and the team. Good show on a good show I say. Things do go wrong sometimes but here's to a sunny 2015.