Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bananas and steam locomotives

By Andrew Culture


My kids always used to complain about steam locomotives.  Well not so much about the trains themselves, the moaning was more at me for ‘dragging’ them onto whatever steam railway that happened to be near wherever I took them on holiday.  Of course there was always a steam railway within a few miles of any holiday cottage I booked when they were small; I considered a perk of being the one to plan our family holidays.

The phrase ‘family holiday’ makes me sigh, not just because my children have grown up and now have children of their own (hell, one of my girls will soon have grandchildren of her own), but because from when the girls were very young their mum was no longer with us, so the family holidays were just for me and the girls.

I hope the girls remember that their mum used to complain about my insistence on riding the trains as much as they did.  I also hope they remember the funny little things about my wife, their mother.

Just like how I remember the day my mum put me on a train to Suffolk with a banana in my lunchbox, I remember being very excited that I had a banana, none of the other kids on this special train had a banana.  I also remember that when I ate my lunch (twenty minutes out of London Liverpool street) everything in the box tasted of banana.

Even although I was very little at the time, if I had of known it was the last time I’d see my mum I’d have tried desperately to remember every tiny detail of her face as she drifted away from me, pulled from my life by the jolting, noisy smokey train as it lurched out of the station.