The Hainault Hangout Online 2020

Saturday 5 December 2020

With both the North and South East London Meccano Club exhibitions cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the clubs decided to team up to take the NELMC Hainault Hangout online.

Twelve club members met online via Google Meet: Les Chatfield, Greg Clarke, Alan Esplen, Brian Leach, Paul Leech, Roger Little, Richard Marsden, Santiago Plicio, Frank Pycroft, Chris Warrell, Alan Wenbourne and me.

The Hangout was open to everyone, so four guests from all over the world joined in too: Tim Gant (Hampshire), Andrew Jardine (Ohio), David Parrott (Switzerland) and Richard Payne (Kent).

Andrew Couzens and Brian Elvidge were unable to ‘attend’ the Hangout, but sent in photos and videos of their models for presentation.

Watermill by Alan Esplen
Watermill by Alan Esplen

We managed to run one of our usual ‘guess the number of parts in the model’ competitions — Chris Warrell’s Heath Robinson Christmas Pudding Stirring contraption was the subject, comprising 343 parts. David Parrott won with the closest guess (350), and was so surprised that he later signed up as a member of NELMC ‘in the spirit of fairness and supporting my fellow spanners!’

There were the usual technical problems with video dropping out quite frequently, and dogs and cats making themselves heard, but we spent around two and a half hours discussing each other’s models and demonstrating them live where possible.

Cletrac tractor by Alan Wenbourne
Cletrac tractor by Alan Wenbourne

I had several appreciative e-mails from attendees hoping we could do something similar again in the future — while this is highly likely, I have also been considering live-steaming our real-life meetings (when we return to them) so that members not present can watch online. To gauge demand, if you are interested in this please do let me know.

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