There are trains, in a park, it’s brilliant

29 Sep
Since I don’t know where the last week’s gone, I’ve let everyone down, I’ve let myself down etc (debris of my early education rise to the surface) by being unable to state the precise breakdown of my spare time activities. But on the plus side, I have bought a spray carpet cleaner that promises ‘immediate deodorisation of pet stains’ which I feel has the potential to change my life. So I hope it’s fair to say that in the past week failure has been balanced out by effective discovery.

Anyway, that was an excuse-making digression and not the main reason for putting key strokes to screen (as it were).   I wanted to write about trains. Last week M was away so I took two children and a dog to L1’s trampolining session. It was one of those ‘work it out as you go along’ events, where my brain was only a single step ahead of actuality at all times. As we pulled into the car park I realised the dog couldn’t go into the leisure centre (‘Why not?’ asked L2, outraged), so I left the dog in the car, but then of course the windows can’t be fully closed (DOGS DIE IN HOT CARS, I know my advertising slogans, even in the middle of an erratically-weathered September) and the doors only locked, not alarmed (or ‘armed’, according to the Zafira handbook, which as a phrase thoroughly endorses how I feel about the Zafira), so this had to take place.

And so on.

But eventually L2 and I secured the hound on the extendable lead with L1 safely bouncing away at her new ‘routine’ (trampoline gymnastics is brilliant), so we headed to Swanley Park, a God-sent swathe of green cornering a large part of Swanley and its surroundings.  It’s a great park, made even greater, in my children’s estimation, by the existence of the New Barn Railway, which mini-gauges itself round the park perimeter, with two stations (‘STATIONS!’), one at either end.  L2 is obsessed with trains; we’ve always known that, but this really brought it home to me.  He walked round the rails explaining to me that on a real railway line that wasn’t possible (I was glad to hear that this fundamental piece of safety advice had sunk in) and stood staring at the trains in the shed for about 10 minutes, while the dog snuffled and shuffled around us.  Leaving the train area to collect his sister from trampolining prompted a full-on classic tantrum, which rather spoilt the enjoyment of watching him be fascinated, but some residual enjoyment remained.

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