Monday, 19 July 2010
Taking the train along the learning curve
Things I've learned from an adventure by rail.
You will always hear things you didn't expect to. "Shania, push Beyonce over here now. And you, Chardonnay, sit still." Imagine my frustration that, as Boy Three was snoring gently on my chest, I couldn't have a look at this splendidly named family further down the carriage.
Bakugan will be a force for union. Boy One - not celebrated for his social skills - fell into conversation (yes proper you-speak-I-listen-and-respond-appropriately conversation) with a boy from a family sitting opposite us. Both boys had Bakugans - folding plastic creature thingies - and seemed keen to compare notes. I was very proud of him.
Nothing will be secret when children talk. Boy One talking to the boy from the family opposite offered: "We're going to see Auntie L and Nephews C and N. She's on her own because Uncle N passed away. By the way, this is my mother Ellen, my step-dad, the Panther, my real brother Boy Two and my half brother Boy Three. My real dad is in Wales. He's called R." Crikey.
Train journeys are surprisingly painless. It was with some trepidation that we decided to travel from Renfrewshire to Hampshire by rail - a decision arrived at after falling off my chair at how much British Airways thought was a reasonable fare for a family of five to fly from Glasgow to Southampton and back. However, it's not that bad. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's actually quite fun to go by rail.
Trains need to improve their pram/buggy storage. There isn't really anywhere to put prams and buggies on trains. Folded up they stick out of anywhere designed for suitcases and erect they just get in the way, everywhere. Maybe they could put hooks up like they have for bikes.
It is not possible to arrive clean. Grubbiness is just part of the deal and must, therefore, be dressed for. I think there's a gap in the market for a travelling mum's garment. You know how photographers, for example, have special waistcoats with lots of pockets for keeping whatever it is they consider essential. How about one that has slits through which tissues and wet wipes are dispensed, has a movable pad to cushion sleeping babies' heads, pockets for fascinating toys, tickets, glasses, a music synthesiser to soothe exhausted children, a scent squirter to cover nasty niffs and a fold-up book holder with integral page turner for when the baby finally falls asleep rendering you paralysed?
Astonishment will suppress outrage. When the car-hire lady says "We have no cars just now. The transporter hasn't come so you'll just have to wait til we see if anyone brings one back" amazement will be so great that the appropriate response will not be forthcoming.
A scrunching encounter between car and gate post doesn't always signal gloom. Not when you decided to take the excess insurance waiver option (at £10 a day) on the hire car that eventually turned up.