Mind the Gap

We had a rather nostalgic day yesterday as , for a change, we decided to take the train to a neighbouring seaside town rather than driving. I bought the rail tickets online and we set off for the station with our two dogs, feeling like we were on a big adventure. It was very sociable waiting on the platform as other dog owners all spoke to us and acknowledged and admired our elderly mongrel, Max. It was an old train of just two carriages when it arrived and I took the dogs on,  while my husband got the wheelchair onto the train. He stood with Joshua while I sat down with the dogs and watched the countryside flying by, seeing all the sights from a new angle and trying to work out where we were.

Judging from the use of wooden windows and the rickety rhythm of the train, I guessed that it was an old one, so as we disembarked, I asked the train guard for the train’s age and he thought that it was around 80 years old. This was exciting news to me as it meant that we had followed in my own footsteps as a girl, as well as those of both my father and grandfather, who used to arrive by train onto the island. This gave me a warm glow, even though Joshua was oblivious to this nostalgia. He was more interested in the cafe that we stopped in at the harbour, where we sat outside and he tucked into an orange juice. I had asked the waitress for some crisps as a snack to keep Joshua occupied and I laughed out loud when she offered me olives instead. Joshua settled for a piece of carrot cake which he quickly devoured.

We walked along the esplanade and the dogs played on the beach, where they were allowed access and Joshua enjoyed the long walk along the sea wall to the next town, where we enjoyed a pub lunch sitting outside. Today I had charged up my ipad so he happily sat and watched Shrek 2 while he waited for his bangers and mash, which he ignored when it arrived and he homed in on the shared fries that came with our sandwiches, so they were shared three-ways. Once the fries had all gone, he was happy to consume his own meal, which he enjoyed too. As the wasps took a liking to our sweet drinks and my cheese & pickle sandwich, I was again transported back to being a child and the busy wasps that plagued all of our meals outside. In fact it was here , on this holiday destination, that I was first painfully stung by a wasp, when I sat up from a lying position and trappped an unsuspecting on my tummy, so inevitably it took its revenge.

We walked back along the coast and lay on the rug on the beach where there was a quiet patch. Both ‘boys’ took up the full picnic rug so I threw the ball in the sea for the dogs , then bought some bottles of water, then found my own spot to lie down for a doze. Joshua woke up first and began to throw stones for Ruby to fetch back, both of them enjoyed the game. We walked back to the station to find out what time the return trains were. The guard jumped out of the train to lay a ramp down so that we could wheel Joshua onto the train, this was a modern invention for this old-fashioned train, I am not sure that such accessibility aids existed when these trains were newly running. My grandfather walked with two sticks all of the time that I knew him, and I am sure that he would have just struggled onto the train.

We enjoyed the view on the journey back, as the sun was still shining after 7pm when we travelled home. As we got out at the station, Joshua made his views clear , saying ” Back home!” He enjoys a trip out and this had been quite an adventure for us, but wherever he has been, there is nothing better for Joshua than to return to his familiar home, and the nearer we got, the more excited he appeared to get. Despite his enthusiasm for home, we all enjoyed our big day out.

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