Many years ago, dear readers, I was a naughty boy. Those of you who know me (until relatively recently) as a mature business professional, will never believe what I am about to disclose all these years later!
So here goes, as an eleven year old boy I regularly threw a “sickie” from school, persuading my poor father that I should be absent for the day while cunningly waiting for him to go to work.
One particular day is etched on my memory with guilt. It began as soon as he left when I triumphantly crept upstairs to the cupboard above the stairs where I’d guessed (correctly) that my birthday present was wrapped up & hidden waiting for the big day.
I carefully unwrapped the parcel and in there was my dream present, namely a Hornby model of the Flying Scotsman engine, along with matching coaches and an oval track to connect to an electrical transformer, it even had artificial smoke and I loved playing with it all day.
Until, that is, late afternoon when I carefully re-wrapped it up and placed it back in its hiding place & like the best of James Bond villains, putting on my best face of innocence ready for his return home.
Unfortunately my father was a dab hand at seeing the truth through my web of lies and soon I was sat outside my headmaster’s office at Bridlington School ready for my comeuppance!
Mr Coomber the headmaster at the time was to a young fellow an awe inspiring figure of authority like a latter-day Professor Dumbledore from Harry Potter. To complete the analogy he also had a habit of blinking continuously like an owl!
What transpired as the eventual outcome of this meeting came as a real surprise to me when I read a letter from him to my father many years later.
Paraphrasing somewhat, his advice to my father was that these things often happened when children went through the trauma of their parents divorcing and that I would eventually grow out of it. To be fair I guess he was right but in the short term I was glad just to get a stern telling off!
In any event this is a very long winded introduction to the fact that when Andy our neighbour knocked on our front door earlier today, he told Debbie & I that the real “Flying Scotsman” was passing through Abergavenny station around 5.35pm.
As a result Debbie and I decided to drive down to a parking space on the dual carriage way next to the railway line just outside Abergavenny and wait for a photo opportunity as can be seen below. The following videos will give you a flavour of our mission and the eventual outcome…
The Flying Scotsman finally passed us about 6.08pm, or just over half an hour late, with no warning and a rather unattractive diesel locomotive pushing from the rear…
Video one – the wrong train, in the wrong direction!
Video two – the right train, but too late!
Ah well, c’est la vie!