Some may call it excessive. Others may call it compensation for 3 months of inactivity. Others still may call it boredom. In any case, this is my third blog post in the last half hour. And yes, it’s about something else that’s shiny and new.
Today was my first proper day out with Samuel. Without Ellie. Yes, I was let loose with our 15 month old son, equipped with little more than a changing bag and a packed lunch. And it was lots of fun!
We first had to call in at Matalan in Yeovil to exchange a shirt that I’d bought on Saturday for one that wasn’t 2 sizes too big (my bad). Samuel slept in the car on the way there, and pointed out imaginary cows most of the way back. But finally we arrived at our exciting destination – the East Somerset Steam Railway! Despite being just outside Shepton Mallet, we’ve never actually been there before, but now Samuel is old enough to appreciate it I decided it would be a good use of a bank holiday.
This weekend happened to be a Thomas the Tank Engine special, so the place was packed. They had three small steam engines fired up, each with a different face on the front, and one of them was even painted to look like Thomas – and unlike some other attempts I’ve seen, this particular model of engine did actually roughly resemble the Thomas of the books! This was Samuel’s first encounter with steam engines, so I deliberately took it nice and gently. He wasn’t too keen on being in the carriage to begin with, but he soon settled in and started pointing at things out of the window. We shared our compartment with an old couple, who seemed to love having Samuel’s attention.
The track is actually only 2.5 miles long, so the journey there and back only took about half an hour. But that was ideal for Samuel. We were sat in the rearmost carriage on the way out, but that meant we were at the front going back, so we could hear all the chuffs and whooshes. And of course it smelt heavenly. It was wonderful. I think Samuel may have enjoyed it too, although I was perfectly happy being excited for both of us.
After the train ride we popped back to the car to pick up our lunch, then went back to the station, saw off the next train (Samuel was by now getting the hang of saying “choo-choo”, which was very cute), and found a picnic bench. We timed it well, because the train came back into the station just as we finished our lunch, so we waved at it again. Then we wandered round to the engine shed, where there were various engines and wagons in varying states of repair. There was also a little tank engine on a short bit of track that members of the public could drive – advertised as a “Driver for a Fiver” experience. Sadly, having Samuel with me meant I couldn’t take up that offer, although to be honest it was such a small stretch of track it would hardly have been worth it anyway.
And after all that, Samuel was exhausted, so we came home. As it happens, I’m shattered too. But it’s been a fun day out, full of new experiences for Samuel, meeting shiny old steam engines.