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25th - 26th July 2015

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After visiting Holkham on the Saturday, Heckington Show beckoned on the Sunday. Well it sort of beckoned as we weren't very keen, given the weather forecast was decidingly wet from late morning onwards. After stopping for breakfast and a chat with Harold at the Anglia Motel, we arrived around 8.30am to be checked in at the visitors' car-park entrance to the show field, then in and find a space on the engine line. The only spaces left were up near the toilets so down comes the recently erected fence, carefully drive over and put the fence back up. We're here. What to do, put up the waterproof gazebo but then have to pack it up wet to go in the car, use the fishing umbrellas later if or when it starts to rain, or brainwave, turn the car around so we can sit in the car, yep, that's the one.

So out came the engine, wheeled over to the line, fuel up, add the coolant, clean the plug, all ready to start. Deckchairs out front of the car, cup of tea from the flask, sorted. Mindful if the weather forecast, I have a wander along the line taking pictures of the engines. Some of the owners are tinkering, some rush to get away from the camera, others are oblivious, no bother, I don't mind some human interest in the pictures I take, but if they're hiding the exhibit, don't expect to see them on here. Odd engines are still sheeted down, perhaps the owners having a lie-in back home, maybe he's waiting to see how long the rain will be. Soon, a few engines start to splutter into life so back to ours and crank up the Lister. Other engines on show include a large Jumbo (as opposed to the Little Jumbo very often seen on here), Petter, Ruston Hornsby, Wisconsin, Blackstone, Richard Hornsby, Wolseley, Amanco, Ingeco, International Harvester, Stuart-Turner plus a Witte or Teles drag saw.

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With Dad left in charge, off to the Bygones & Models tent. Here a recent influx of modellers mixes well with the Lincolnshire Oil Engine Club and Trent Valley Preservation Society bygone displays. A model railway layout sits alongside the hand-built old plough models, matchstick church, fairground models and large-scale threshing-set, plus the old 3-gallon colour petrol cans keep company with fire-service memorabilia, old oil cans, chemist & pharmaceutical stuff, plus the obligatory wartime memorabilia. Back outside and onto the next marquee, thinking to myself, why am I inside when it's fine? I know, everybody will be crammed in here when it's wet later. Through the crafts and out, then into the antique flea-market that caused Carol so much grief last year.

Skipping past the animal shelters up to the wood sawing presented by "Willie Cuttit", behind that the threshing display. Not sure why the Fowler VF crawler is in the compound, perhaps not too much faith in the old Fordson Major perhaps, who knows? Turning around, looking at the numbers of tractors and commercials, it becomes apparent there's only half here what there would normally be, oh well, perhaps a load of tractors are ploughing on the back field, we'll see shortly. We've got Allis-Chalmers, David Brown, Ransomes, Ford & Fordson, Ferguson & Massey Ferguson, John Deere, International Farmall & McCormick, Nuffield, Case, Doe & Singer Monarch on display, plus a few smaller horticultural machines and the unique locally-built Landfester. Through to the back field and half-a-dozen pairs of heavy horses are being prepared for the day, bearing in mind its till relatively early and the show has not been open long, so no ploughing yet in progress.

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The field is also bereft of tractors and looking at the low-loader park, there obviously not here. I later learn there's a Wolds Vintage Rally going on that same weekend, so maybe that's whre the others went. Back over the roadway into the main field, mopping up the few commercials as I go. I love the little Mk I Morris LD truck, and the Tattersall-based Leyland Steer is a new vehicle to me. Cutting across the field, time to visit the Boston Classic Car Club. Again, numbers a little down but still a half-decent turnout given the circumstances. You know you're getting older when you look at a car and think why is that in here, then look at the reg, count back and realise it's over 25 years old. More and more, I see the boxy Volvos coming out, a few years ago it was late-model Ford Cortinas & Granadas, now they're commonplace at rallies.

Vauxhall, Toyota, Ford, Austin, Nissan, Morris, MG, Mini, Triumph, Wolseley, Volvo & a Standard Avon Special were all in attendance. A quick spin around the horticultural & vegetable marquees followed, then back up past the food court to the main ring, and here was the biggest change of all, you could actually walk straight through the bottleneck behind the back of the main ring grandstand, rather than have to fight your way through. Public attendance must have been well down on Sunday, I trust it was well up on the Saturday to compensate, as advance tickets sales were at a record level apparently.

Back to the engine line, time for another cuppa and Dad to go and have a look around, but the black clouds are looming. Not long after the first spots of rain start to fall, time to retire the chairs to the back of the car. Steadily the rain increases and the rest of the afternoon drags on until our stewards think it's a respectable enough time to switch off and let us go. Souvenir plaque gratefully accepted, engine loaded up quickly and we're away off out almost an hour earlier than normal. Let's hope for better weather in 2016, dates to be confirmed.

2019: 28th July

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