A Christmas time tradition for my family, when I and my siblings were younger was going on a steam train to see Father Christmas. So today my parents were all too happy to revive that tradition so that Marianna could go and see Santa on the train.
So this morning my parents, my sister, Marianna, her mother, myself and some family friends made the drive from my home in Cwmbran all the way to the Dean Forest Railway in Lydney (Gloucester) for Mariana to experience the wonders of meeting Father Christmas, coupled with the joy that a lot of little children experience in riding on an old school steam train.
From my point of view the whole thing was wonderfully nostalgic, as we used to go every year its also nice to see that not much has changed in the intervening years, as the little rail museum and gift shop remains unchanged. However there was a new cafe and the toilets had been refurbished. From Marianna’s point of view however it was a cafe and some trains.
However Marianna had been looking forward to going all week and was excited to see the “noisy train” and was enjoying the comfort of her own seat and the rhythmic click clack of the train slowly puffing along. Then Santa Clause appeared shouting HO!HO!HO! And I’ve never seen anything so funny in all my life, my daughter screamed with fear (she’s never been that loud in her life), she began crying and tried to burrow into her seat and hide behind me simultaneously, bearing in mind I was sat down too. I know its cruel to think so, but it really was funny. Santa gave me a look that said shes not the first and wont be the last, handed me a present and carried on down the train being trailed by a couple of elves.
After that Marianna was fine for most of the journey, except when Santa came back up the train at which point she hid under my coat, the grown ups were then given their presents (a miniature bottle of booze, rum in my case, and a mince pie) and that was the Santa Express. We had a look around the gift shop and then came home, although we did stop for dinner in the Two Rivers, In Chepstow, on the way home. Given the amount I had to eat whilst there I may slip into some sort of food induced coma soon, I ate half a chicken, a boat load of vegetables, some sweet potato chips, followed by a chocolate brownie sundae, washed down with two pints. So suffice to say today I will be having a very early night, probably not very long after I hit “publish” if I’m being completely honest.