Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Steam, steam and more steam...

Angus probably didn't stand much chance of NOT being interested in steam engines. Anyone who has paid even a little attention to the development of Angus, will be aware by now that his current phase (one that has been going on for quite a long time now), is steam. He doesn't really mind what form his steam fix comes in - locomotives, traction engines, lorries, Old Glory magazine, books about steam, completely imaginary - but he does seem to require a regular supply. In fact, his interest has really morphed somewhat into obsession: he now spends a large part of his life being a steam engine. This does has its benefits as it can be a really useful tool for making Angus walk anywhere, an activity which he appears to find relentlessly dull. Permeated with steam fantasies, even a walk to the shops can become tolerable for him.

A couple of weeks ago, the extended family celebrated my Dad's 70th birthday, his brother's 65th birthday, and it would have been their Dad's 101st, all within a few weeks of each other. For various reasons we all (about 35 of us) descended on York. We had a wonderful weekend and York is a beautiful city, well worth a visit. Sadly I saw very little of York. I saw the hotel, the walk from the hotel to the National Railway Museum and from there to the railway station to go home. I saw very little else! Okay, I did see the inside of the NRM, in fact I got to spend two whole days there with Angus completely entranced by the place. You see, the NRM holds not only steam engines, but one in particular: Mallard. Mallard is no ordinary steam engine, it holds the record for the being the fastest one ever. Angus can direct you to several You Tube clips about Mallard which he has memorised. He quotes from them, acts them out, and from a few months ago, began imagining meeting Mallard in the NRM, driving it, turning its dials and leavers, checking its steam pressure and putting coal in its firebox. Seriously!
4.20 on Sunday evening and Mallard's footplate was opened to the public; Angus got to stand there, play, pretend and live out his dream with lots of phooshing noises and woops of whistles. He looked at me through the driver's window and said, "Mum, I'm happy." Fantastic.
York was all the more fun as Angus's cousin Frazer was there too - also somewhat steam saturated!

Is Isla smiling because Angus is with her, the pages are being turned and the movement is fascinating, or because she is being initiated into the family interest? Or all of the above?
In preparation for the trip, Angus decided he had to educate Isla. A few weeks ago while I was cooking dinner I heard the following conversation and snapped the above picture.  The conversation went something along the lines of, "This one's a road loco - look, it has a solid fly wheel. This one is a showman's - it has lots of lights. This one is red..."

Isla doesn't stand a chance, does she?

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