Riding on a Steam Train


This old postcard comes from the early 1900s when our town was fairly young.

Steam trains always had a magical appeal to me in my childhood. I grew up alongside the railway yards that separated our railway station and my street. I loved the size of the big black engines spurting out their whooshes of steam and listening to their haunting whistle announcing their arrival and departure at the station. From my home I could hear the whistle and the creaking and groaning as the trains moved from stationary to activity.

We lived on the Main Trunk Line and the railway track ran through the centre of our town back then and so were a familiar sight to most people. Traffic came to a standstill and pedestrians stood and stared as they train moved in and out of the station carrying the passenger carriages behind them.

I couldn’t help wondering who those lucky people were, where they had come from and where they were going. I longed to have such an adventure myself.

I was ten years old before I came to ride on a train for the first time. As a treat once school holidays my mother took me on a train to visit my aunty in a nearby town. I remember very little about that trip, other than arriving at the station at the other end. It seemed so small compared with the big old wooden structure I was so familiar with.

That train trip not only satisfied my curiosity but also established my urge for adventure. There were many subsequent steam train journeys, and whilst they were never the height of travel comfort I never tired of the magic of travelling by train.


Waking Up Surrounded by Ocean


There’s something exciting about waking up in a hotel room, or somewhere other than your own bed. As I write so many past wakings come to mind, all offering excitement and anticipation of the day ahead.

My memory scampers back several years to our first cruise from Auckland, New Zealand, venturing into the South Pacific. We sailed from Auckland late afternoon and by the time we headed to dinner darkness blotted out the last view of land. We were leaving New Zealand.

Waking the next morning we found ourselves in a different world, totally surrounded by bright blue ocean for as far as we could see. The cliche ‘a mere drop in the ocean’ came to mind. There we were miles from anywhere experiencing the vastness of the ocean for the first time.

My imagination went into overdrive, wondering what creatures lay beneath us and thinking ahead to the adventures we’d experience.

That view from our cabin altered from day to day as we continued our journey. Small pieces of land, atolls, jutted up close to the ship sometimes, advising us that land was close.

First impressions are lasting, and that morning the sight on waking up left a powerful impression on this first time cruiser.

Being away from home, in a strange bed, in a strange room, offers so many possibilities.