The 2016 Euston Rural PasTimes event seemed to have a more spacious feel to it this year as far as the vintage exhibits were concerned and one could see some developments ideas taking shape. The tractors occupied six or seven rows from the vintage Grafton ring up towards the church and continued to have adequate room to manoeuvre on and off their pegs. The area in front of them was largely open apart from The Sheep Show and a few farm machinery stands, one from the local farming company showing off the vegetable produce they grow alongside John Deere machinery from 1952 & 2016.
The stationary engine compound started lower down the hill near the exhibitors' entrance and this time went around a newly-formed corner near the public entrance. Some of the early bird entries seemed a little put out by this as they thought they wouldn't see much public, as in the last few years everybody has had come past the engines and the facing row of trade stands to get into the show proper. However, with over 100 engines this year, and continuing to grow year-on-year, extra room will be needed and if the plan comes together, another row of traders across the top of the site will build a bridge out towards the motorcycles, on to the cars and beyond.
That "beyond" could well be the new food court area which extended up and away from the corner of the Norfolk ring towards the top edge of the site near the far edge of cars. With a bit of realignment this could link up with a new avenue leading down towards the main ring in years to come. The car section had a record entry with nine or ten rows of cars and several car clubs in residence, the best supported being the Triumph Stag club who had 18 cars within their group alone.
The motorcycle display next to the cars was laid out as two rows of machines heading up the hill, parked nose in to a rope barrier left and right. There's plenty of room right of the middle of the compound, yet some owners park their machines with the front wheels right under the rope so taking a photo from the front is difficult. However, with no rope closing off the downhill entrance, most punters just wander in at will so the rope could be replaced with a couple of mowed lines to mark out where to park and be done with it.
The commercial vehicle section was very strong this year with several new entries including Abel Removals Bedford MLD with pantechnicon body. The Leyland fire engine ex Kesteven District Council in Lincolnshire made the trip from Bressingham and there were several immaculately presented gypsy-style Bedford dropside trucks on show. Several of Cooper's of Red Lodge preserved fleet also appeared for the first time, and as only one of the four I recognised was in their own colours, I take it not everything was sold at the auction sale at Peterborough in late April! There were also several classic horseboxes around the Suffolk ring where the heavy horse show was in full swing.
Like Woolpit last week, my impression was that the steam section was a little reduced but still more than half-a-dozen full size and a few smaller miniatures made their privileged way up to the main Norfolk ring for their parade. Also as for Woolpit, the vintage collections were also fewer in number, and to be honest, I didn't think there were as many craft demonstrations as normal. However, with the engine to mind and 2-3 hours spent photographing the vintage exhibits and heavy horse carts and drays etc. I'm unable to spend too much time in this area and watching any main ring entertainment just isn't possible.
There were a few showers during the afternoon, and part of the time was spent under the umbrella, but the last heavy shower sent most of the public and some car exhibitors home early. For once there was no queue to get off the show field but then when we get to the main gate, it's closed, and we have to wend our way through the woods, filtering in with the last of the public until we exit onto a B-road on the outskirts of the village. On a better day, this bringing together of exhibitor and public vehicles will be a right bind if the organisers or officials insist on this being the only way off the site, which is not practical for the heavier units in any case due to a hairpin turn; I guess we'll find out next year.