Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Choo Choo

The steam train passes our house every day at 11.30am. It is a highlight in the morning and choo-choo is one of my baby's first words. As soon as we hear the chugga-chagga-chugga-chugga we rush to the window in time to watch the engine and carriages pass by. The kids stand at the window pointing and waving and shouting choo-choo.

The other day we went out for a walk to watch the train coming over the viaduct. We walked along the single-track road behind the tourists rushing ahead, cameras at the ready. Up ahead we saw photographers setting up a shot and decided that would be the best place to watch. We left the road and squelched up a boggy hillside and waited surrounded by the mountains. As we waited we watched a pair of dragonflies dancing in the air, bees buzzed around wildflowers and the sun shone warmly. My baby pointed out birds flitting around. My girl needed a pee, urgently. We hid behind a bush and she giggled as the grass tickled her bum. I realised that should the train come now all the passengers would see her bum. It didn't, they didn't.

Then we heard the chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga and we saw the clouds of smoke and the baby chanted choo-choo choo-choo and my girl shouted as loud as she could choo-choo choo-choo. And there it was racing over the viaduct. The shiny black engine and red carriage after red carriage. We waved and waved. The driver waved and pulled his whistle several times Woo-Woo. And we kept waving and all the passengers waved and waved. The kids were so happy and I was so happy tears came to my eyes. It was something about old-fashionedness of it and the sheer joy of waving at people on a train and their joy at being on the train with people waving at them. A shared happiness with strangers on a train. We walked home to the sound of the baby chanting choo-choo all the way. 

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