Sunday, 24 February 2008

N.E.C Boat, Caravan and Outdoor Show. Wow!

Now moored at Shenton Aqueduct, Ashby Canal

This morning we were up and away by 9.15 as we had a date with Lisa at 9.30 at the roadside under the aqueduct. In return for Derek's labour Lisa (of Nb Pickles 2) kindly offered to drive us into the NEC Birmingham. The trip in via this motorway and that was uneventful until we got to within about 2 miles of the centre when we hit, not literately, the tail back.  It took us just as long to do the final stage as it had the previous 15 miles or so. In the end we got Lisa to drop us off at the entrance to the fire station where we could see the queue of people walking from the carpark to the centre and we just joined the flow.

Once inside the show it was a case of OK where do we start, 5 huge halls bulging at the seams with lot's and lot's to see. We decided on the motorhome section where we found the Auto-trail stand and the Cheyenne 840D which we had seen previously and thought that we liked. However as we wandered around all the other manufacturers stands we found  the Autocruise Gleneagle and the Bessacarr E700 series or the Lunar Roadstar 900 series newly released for the show.  The latter 3 were unknown to us up until now but are all on a par with the Cheyenne and are all built on Fiat AL-KO chassis's. The Lunar is also available on a Renault chassis. Well that has certainly given us plenty to think about.

Our only purchase's were some Infinite Aloe skin care, good for rough hands which boaters tend to get from ropes and being out in all weather's and a new gas auto change over valve as our's is on the blink. We went to 2 stands for the gas valve which retails for £44,95, the first was £42.95 and the 2nd was £39.75 so guess which one we bought? After spending 3 hours or so in the motorhome section we headed back to the boat section where there was only 7 narrowboats on display. By this time the queue's to inspect the boats had decreased and we didn't have to wait too long to get aboard. We Inspected the MCC boats, Sea Otter's boats and Aqualine's offerings but nothing got either of us very excited. Amber Boats had 2 boats on display but one was sold and closed to visitors and the 2nd had a very long queue so we didn't get to see them.

We were very impressed with the N.E.C, its covered connection with Birmingham railway station,buses, and airport rail connection. The latter was a real buzz as it is fully automated similar to the Docklands Light Rail but with only small 2 cars in each train. While we watched it the service was operating about every 3 minutes. At 6pm our trusty chauffeur (Lisa) arrived at the railway station to take us us back to the boat. We are eternally grateful to Lisa for driving us around especially as she is busy packing up her home to move aboard Nb Pickles 2 in a weeks time. All the best guys for next week, we know how stressful that packing up is. We hope to meet up again before we leave the Ashby at the end of next week.

No sign of Andy from Nb Khayamanzi who was reported to be visiting today too.

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