Well yesterday was the day we’d all been waiting for, when Nathan became a train driver for the afternoon! Last year, for his birthday, his parents gave him a voucher to spend an afternoon on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, learning how to drive the trains and then having a ‘footplate ride’ all the way down the track. I think Edward was probably even more excited than Nathan at the thought of Daddy becoming a train driver. Unfortunately, the night before, in true Nathan style, he’d realised that he’d forgotten to bring any of the equipment they specified in the brochure! However, luckily for us this was all able to be bought from Screwfix in Folkestone (what holiday would be complete without a trip to Screwfix!?).
Nathan set off, attired in full boiler suit (Daddy you look very silly!), gloves, sunhat (!) and boots. It turns out that ‘Boiler suit’ was actually quite an appropriate name for his outfit as the temperature was about 26 degrees – and it was even hotter on the steam trains. Edward and I arrived at Hythe station a little while later, along with Ross and Cilla, so we could travel on one of the trains and meet Nathan at the end of his session. However, it turned out that due to the heat the rails had ‘buckled’ and many of the trains were delayed (it’s nice to know that it’s not only South West trains that have this problem!).
Edward didn’t mind spending some extra time in the railway shop. He passed the time pretending to be a steam train and also choosing a) his going home present, b) his Christmas present, c) another going home present, d) his next birthday present. Due to a freak of nature, I somehow managed to avoid buying any of this AND had no screaming. As the train journey was going to be about half an hour long, I quietly asked Edward if he needed the loo before we got on the train.
“No I don’t need a wee mummy, and NOT a poo!” he announced loudly to the entire shop, before chuffing away.
Luckily Ross and Cilla turned up then, as I’d run out of suitable distractions – and we were still waiting for the train to arrive!
At this point, the incoming train arrived, but then had to spend about 15 minutes turning round on the turntable (we were at the end of the line). By ‘tracking’ Nathan’s location using my iPhone (this useful piece of technology means I can keep my husband under surveillance 24-7!) I worked out that he was at the other end of the line at Dungeness. I then consulted my timetable to see if our train would arrive too late to meet Nathan’s train – while Edward made train noises and chuffed backwards and forwards along his own line, next to the turntable. I finally decided that it would be better to send Edward on the train with Ross and Cilla, while I drove the car to the station we’d agreed to meet at – just in case we couldn’t get a train back. Edward puffed onto the train and I raced along the coast road in Nathan’s car. I arrived after Nathan, but before the others, but when we did meet up we had a very interesting look at the trains in the engine shed before bundling ourselves back into the car. Nathan looked like he’d just been down a coal mine and somehow this managed to rub off on me and Edward by the time we got home – so it was hot baths/showers all round. Or washdowns for those of us who were still playing at being engines! Nathan had a great time…selected photos are below (including a very serious looking Nathan before he became too covered in coal!).