Thomas and Lady headed off to their jujitsu class on Saturday with my dad. Duncan and I picked them up when it ended. Duncan was attired in his over-sized 'Duplo train' T-shirt, Gordon's sunglasses, a top hat and carrying an umbrella. He looked very dapper. He'd not wanted to wear any trousers under the T-shirt, but I'd managed to persuade him that he'd feel too cold without them.
On arrival at the leisure centre, I saw a sign advertising an American model railway exhibition. Well, we had to check that out. We piled into the hall, and it was like a dream come true to a train fan like Duncan. There were maybe 10 different model railways, all very elaborate and detailed. Loads of engines, track and carriages were on sale also. These were mostly the Hornby type; proper model stock, and costly too. Duncan managed to find a small Ziploc bag of Thomas the Tank stuff, little mini trains each only a couple of cm long. I bought them, but not the Percy engine he found later, which cost £30! He had a bit of a tantrum at that, but it didn't last and we got back to watching the trains soon enough.
We all enjoyed the trains and Duncan was very good about keeping his hands off, more so than the last time we'd seen a model railway display. I did keep reminding him to just look, use his eyes, keep hands off. About 3 times, a little hand darted out to gently touch an engine or a minuscule sheep, but he knew he wasn't supposed to really. Lady and Thomas enjoyed the displays too. They stuck together while I stayed close to Duncan.
Duncan got lots of compliments on his hat. He did stand out! It seemed to be older men who were running the railways, and there were little groups proudly presenting their latest acquisitions. Then there was this oddly dressed little boy, his face shining with delight, following a particular engine round the track, his face level with the engine, his eyes squinting a bit (to see more detail, I think) and squirming past them to stay with his favoured engine. I apologised a few times when he bumped someone a bit, but they weren't bothered. They said it was nice to see children enjoying it all. One fellow was so kind. He let Duncan come in behind and sit on his high stool and press a few buttons, flip the switches and turn the dials. Oh how Duncan loved that!
We went to an adjoining room for a drink and snack, and Duncan brought out his bag of engines and started playing with them on the floor. A boy came up and started talking to him about them. Duncan ignored him so the boy spoke to me instead. He told me how he loves Thomas trains even though he is 10. He also told me about all his other trains in great detail, and about his sister and many other things beside, and asked me lots of questions. He was such a sweetheart. As we went out, I said goodbye and told him I'd enjoyed our conversation. His mum and I smiled at each other. We knew our boys had something in common.
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