Friday, 14 August 2009

A Childrens' Story.

Today's Train Adventure is in the form a of childrens' story - sorry folks - but I shall be back to normal next week (whatever normal is) and after today I have a set of five pieces I can present to our Writers' Group - all about railways. This is not a competition, merely trying to write stuff suitable for a little booklet to go in the railway shop. I am trying to recreate the first holiday I remember. Those of you who have children young enough for this story - I would appreciate any comments you have or any alterations you think would improve it. Thanks.

Daisy's First Holiday.

It was Trip Week in Lincolnshire and all the Dads in the village were at home for the whole week. Some Dads were going to work in the garden. Some Dads were going to go fishing in the river. But Daisy's Dad was going to take Daisy and her Mum on holiday.

Daisy was three years old and had never been on holiday before.

They were going to Skegness - to the seaside - on the train!

Daisy knew about trains. If she stood in her bedroom window at eleven o'clock in the morning she could watch the Skegness train go past on the railway line at the bottom of her garden.

Sometimes she would go to the fence and stand and wave at the train. Sometimes the engine driver would wave back to her.

Mum packed a big suitcase for her and Dad and a little suitcase for Daisy. Then Daisy found her new bucket and spade. She was going to carry those. She had a packet of paper flags too but Mum had put them in the suitcase so that they didn't get lost.

The train stopped at the station in the village. At a quarter to eleven Dad locked the door picked up the big suitcase, gave the little suitcase to Mum and made sure that Daisy had her bucket and spade. They were off.

It was exciting waiting on the platform. Then she saw the Station Master walk out on to the line and open the big gates to let the train through. Then the signal went "plop" and Dad said,

"Here comes the train!"

It chuffed into the station and stopped right by where they were standing. Dad opened the carriage door and they climbed in. It was a very high step and Mum had to help Daisy. But when she got inside she saw two long seats and some pictures on the walls. One of the pictures was of a jolly sailorman jumping up in the air and it said "Skegness is so bracing." Daisy didn't know what bracing meant but Mum said it meant they were going to get plenty of fresh air.

The next stop was at Bardney, where Daisy's Grandpa lived, and he was joining them for the holiday. When the train got near to Bardney Dad got up and went to the window. There was a big brown strap to open the window with. Dad pulled in out and let the window down. A very smoky smell came into the carriage. "Pooh," she said. But by then they were in the station and Daisy could lean out and look for Grandpa. There he was with his suitcase. She waved -

"Here we are, Grandpa!" In a moment he was in the carriage and sitting beside her.

They were off again. She could hear the wheels making a funny noise on the track. She listened. They were saying "Diddle-de-dot, diddle-de-dot, diddle-de-dot." Soon she joined in.

"Diddle-de-dot, diddle-de-dot, diddle-de-dot," she said. And then, just when she had got it -r ight in time with the wheels it changed and went, "Diddle -de-dot, diddle-de-dot, diddle-de-diddle-de-diddle-de-diddle-de-dot.!" Dad said the wheels were going over the points.

"Are we nearly there?" Daisy asked. But Dad was pointing out of the window. There was Tattershall Castle - a big red castle in the middle of the fields. She asked who lived there but Mum said nobody had lived there for ages and ages.

In no time at all they were there. Suddenly the train stopped and when Daisy got out on to the platform the railway line had stopped too.

Dad said this was because the train couldn't go any further - they had reached the sea.

They had their tickets ready for the ticket collector as they left the station.

And there was the sea. Right in front of where they were standing there were waves and seagulls and ice cream carts and - best of all - sand. Daisy could not wait to use her bucket and spade.
##The view of Tattershall Castle in Lincolnshire is painted by Malcolm Rivron. The river in the foreground is the River Witham.


Dave King said...

I think you have a real gift for this. I wouldn't mind if such a treat was to become a regular occurrence. Thoughts?

Sylvia Ballerini Jewellery said...

Very appealing, Weaver. Wishing you every success.

Mark Kreider said...

I see a children's book authored by you in your future.. Embrace it!

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

Beautifully written - now you just have to find a children's book illustrator and start planning your sequels!

Totalfeckineejit said...

I agree with Dave,your writing talent shines here, Weaver.

Titus said...

I shall read it to a test audience of 6-year-old boys in the morning and report back! Mummy loved it.

Leilani Schuck Weatherington said...

Wonderful story. My boy was obsessed with trains when he was little. I took him for a short train ride for his 4th birthday. He also would have loved this story.

steven said...

oh weaver, i just bought an old (but in perfect shape) copy of to the seaside with uncle mac. do you remember those books (ladybirds)? when i read your story i was right inside it because it's as much an experience as it is an emotional touchpoint for so many of us who remember times like this. you are such a talented writer!!! thanks for this. steven

Unknown said...

When your story is published, let me know and I will get all my teacher friends to ask for copies in Canada.
It is a wonderful story.
I have a couple of suggestions. When Mum packed a little suitcase for Daisy, perhaps you can ask what do you think she put in it?
Ask again about the castle, what do you think you would find inside a red castle?
Finally, when they arrive at the sea, what would you do if you visited the seaside? it allows the listeners a chance to participate in the story. I was trying to imagine these things as I read along.

Hildred said...

A tender little story, Weaver, that I'm sure would appeal to children's sense of adventure, I think it is one that the small great grands would ask for over and over.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks to you all for the nice comments and also suggestions. There is no likelihood of this becoming a book (even if a publisher were to be interested) - life is too short at my age to be bothered with all that hard work. But it may be part of the writers' booklet - that is my intention.
Your suggestions were helpful.
Sylvia suggested I make the sentences shorter. I have gone through and done that where I can - she is quite right - short sentences are better for young readers.
Linda's suggestions are interesting and very valid I think. I could make it longer and put what was in the suitcase (I did originally put about the bathing costume but then thought the words were so archaic that no small child would know what I was talking about) but on reflection I think those are the sort of questions which a good teacher/parent would ask the child anyway if they were reading together. In a publishable form I suppose there could be a list of possible questions at the back of the book. Having taught young readers for years I find that these sorts of questions come easily to mind when reading any story. In fact a whole lesson could be planned around what was it that suitcase - thank you for the thought Linda.
Now let's all wait and see what Titus's 6 year olds think to it.
Thanks so much for reading it and commenting.

Heather said...

This is just perfect Weaver, a delightful story and a little social history lesson rolled into one. I can remember the pictures and posters in railway carriages and the leather straps to raise or lower the windows. I still love the smell of steam trains even if you do get filthy travelling on them.

Titus said...

J said "I think it's good, my favourite bit was when the train was making the noises and the noises were funny."

L said "That's just what I was thinking. Diddle-de-dot, diddle-de-dot"

Above verbatim, Weaver.

Unknown said...

Glad I didn't miss the train, Weaver! Such excitement! The only comment I would make is that we never got our paper flags until we were at the seaside!

And what are you talking about - not having time to write a book at "your" age?!

Pat Posner said...

Oh, Weaver
I love it!

Acornmoon said...

Great story, great talent!