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Welcome to the the original, the one and only, Spiceislander Talkshop. The site remains Grenadian owned and hosted in the United States.

#1 Nov 27, 2017 8:03 pm

New Historian
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The Train Set

Timothy Dowling was a friend of mine at Fitzjohn’s Primary, a little rich kid who lived in this huge house off Finchley Road. Both of Timothy’s parents were busy lawyers and as happens in one-child families, they lavished him with toys to make up for the one thing they couldn’t give: their time. They had a nanny from Poland; one day I noticed a number tattooed on her forearm and I asked her what it meant. She quickly covered it up and hurried away in silence, leaving me perplexed: what did I do now?

Timothy’s pride and joy was his train set. Correction: his train room. There was every conceivable type and size of model train: engines, passenger carriages, freight cars, shunters, bowsers, stations, hills, valleys, mountains, tunnels: a whole train continent. He controlled it all from a central console in the middle of the room while the trains would go choo-chooing all around him. Being an only child he didn’t know how to play with other kids, so usually the most I got to do was look on in wonder, only occasionally would he relent and hand me the controls. I was hooked.

I wanted my own train set. I went down to Toys-Toys-Toys on Finchley Road and gawked at train sets in the window. They were awfully expensive, even for the starter kits, after which you added bits and pieces until you’d built up a whole city like Timothy. My birthday was coming up. A few days before, I put on my best smiley face and gently broached the subject with Dad.

“Daddy … (smile), can I have a train set for my birthday (bigger smile), pleeeease?” All I got was a grunt, and a “We’ll see,” which at least was better than an outright “Are you mad?”

At last, my birthday came. I wasn’t so silly as to expect a present waiting for me when I awoke, Dad would only ever get around to buying your present on the day itself. That evening, Dad came home with a box under his arm – a big box. And he was smiling; all good signs. I tore at the wrapping and before I could get it halfway off, Dad proudly announced:

“It’s a train set!”

Yaaaay!!! I ripped open the box, revealing my gleaming new train se …

Huh?

It wasn’t a train set – it was a train. A clockwork choo-choo train, with a big smiley face on the front and a key on the top. It wasn’t even electric, you wound it up and it would go for about half a lap of this tiny little track, and then huff and puff and die. It was, without doubt, the dinkiest little train anyone had ever seen. Have you ever want to cry so badly that you have to look skywards, to stop the tears from falling?

*Sniff* “Thanks, Daddy!”

I gathered up my train set and shuffled off to my room to “play” with it - to the background noise of my elder brothers falling over themselves laughing!

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#2 Nov 27, 2017 10:38 pm

gripe
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Re: The Train Set

Somehow I get the feeling that your previews here are in preparation for an eventual publication. Those snippets are encouraging. Keep writing . . .

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#3 Nov 28, 2017 9:00 am

Slice
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Re: The Train Set

That is all I can say is keep writing.

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#4 Nov 28, 2017 9:14 am

Expat
Active

Re: The Train Set

A disconnected Dad.

I fell foul of one of those when I started Secondary School and we had to play Footah. Off goes Dad to get the boots. Back he comes with a 1930's set of clunkers that to my inexperienced eye looked ok.

Until arriving at the playing field where everybody else had the "latest", similar to today's modern boots.

Shame, Embarrassment, Humiliation.  Thanks Dad, the store owner must have gone out of his way to unload his last pair of old boots on him.

I did however have a nice train set. Hornby 00. It was mine, but what I cannot recall is the chronology of it all. Did I get the train set, and then it was borrowed as part of a Great Western recruiting exhibition, or was there an exhibition and then I got the train set.

I still have much of the rolling stock.

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#5 Nov 29, 2017 8:39 pm

New Historian
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Re: The Train Set

Soon come to a Kindle near you.

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#6 Nov 29, 2017 10:27 pm

Real Distwalker
Active

Re: The Train Set

My dad disappeared for a couple of years.  When he came back, he gave me an HO scale starter kit.  It felt like a bribe.  I never much cared for it.

Good story, NH.

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#7 Nov 30, 2017 8:09 am

New Historian
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Re: The Train Set

As a single father bringing up three boys on a very tight budget, our father did his level best. Children live a charmed life, oblivious to the struggles our parents go through just to put food on the table and clothes on our backs - and presents on birthdays and Christmas. Even though we knew that times were tough, we had no idea exactly how tough they were.

Our father was a financial juggler, attempting to keep several balls in the air at once. In Trinidadian parlance this is known as scrunting. And as with all scrunters; balls will fall. It seemed like everyone wanted a piece of his hide – or at least his wallet. The creditor list was long and recalled many things that we took for granted, never dreaming how much of a struggle it was for our under-funded father to afford. North Thames Gas, London Borough of Harrow, Dartmouth Travel, Selfridges – to name but a few – they all had him in court at one time or other. I don’t know how he survived, but survive he did.

Thanks for the support guys, all will be revealed - soon-soon!

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#8 Nov 30, 2017 8:28 am

Slice
Active

Re: The Train Set

gripe wrote:

Somehow I get the feeling that your previews here are in preparation for an eventual publication. Those snippets are encouraging. Keep writing . . .

WOW! gripe you are right, as he just revealed.  I think we talkshoppers were privilege to something very special.

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#9 Nov 30, 2017 9:18 am

Dancer
Active

Re: The Train Set

New Historian wrote:

As a single father bringing up three boys on a very tight budget, our father did his level best. Children live a charmed life, oblivious to the struggles our parents go through just to put food on the table and clothes on our backs - and presents on birthdays and Christmas. Even though we knew that times were tough, we had no idea exactly how tough they were.

Our father was a financial juggler, attempting to keep several balls in the air at once. In Trinidadian parlance this is known as scrunting. And as with all scrunters; balls will fall. It seemed like everyone wanted a piece of his hide – or at least his wallet. The creditor list was long and recalled many things that we took for granted, never dreaming how much of a struggle it was for our under-funded father to afford. North Thames Gas, London Borough of Harrow, Dartmouth Travel, Selfridges – to name but a few – they all had him in court at one time or other. I don’t know how he survived, but survive he did.

Thanks for the support guys, all will be revealed - soon-soon!

....................
Troubling childhood  New Historian .   But still loving the old man , eh ? Cool.
Ahhh .. .  most of   us had  to walk  some of that   rocky road .
Revelations  coming soon, soon, Lawd.

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