Last Saturday we went to Melbourne to do the grandparent thing with two year old Roo. It had taken several weeks to organize, what with various commitments and so on. Roo’s house is a two hour drive from our place.
These are exciting times just now. Roo is about to get a little sister. He knows but he is not quite sure what a sister is. Something is in the air, he thinks. Probably the new sister will be living with the new chickens in their brand spanking new accommodation that has just been installed in the back yard. Roo likes to check for eggs. But they, and the new sister, have not arrived.
Roo’s Mum is tired and there are times, like now, when she has a cold, when it is good to keep out of the way. Dad explained to Roo that he would be waiting at home when Roo came back from his adventure.
First we went to a cafe near the railway station where we could watch the trains gliding past. We could hear the bells at the railway crossing warning of the train’s arrival. Grandpa suggested that Roo could come with us on a train ride.
Roo could think of nothing better. Going for a train ride there and back would be the best thing ever. We had to leave now. It was frustrating waiting for everyone else to finish their coffee particularly when he had finished his babbachino. But we eventually departed from Northcote station all the way to Preston: about four stops in ten minutes. It was pretty magnificent.
Grandpa’s plan was that we could catch the return train back in five minutes. That was not to be. The platform was longer than we thought and the crossing, across the tracks to the opposite platform was even further away. We had never ventured as far as Preston on the train so it was all very new territory. It is either the inner suburbs or the bush. Nothing in between. We had twenty minutes to wait for the next train. We amused ourselves with a visit to the Preston Market, a colorful extravaganza selling anything and everything and not more than five minutes walk away.
The platform was crowded with Saturday morning shoppers. We like to catch the front carriage. Most people congregate in the middle of the train but with a child in a stroller, much more room is needed. In the front carriages it is possible to get a window seat from where we can spot trucks, diggers and cars as well as the odd cat.
While we were waiting we saw a young girl a busy with an ipad. She was young, tattooed and dressed funkily enough. A man came by: drunk, disorderly and swearing. At her. Calling her names. Did he know her? I think not. She yelled back. Maybe he did. She was shaking. We decided to move closer to her, so that we stood between her and the drunk man. A railway employee walked by, oblivious to the drama unfolding there and then. He was on his way to assist a passenger in a wheelchair.
The train arrived. The young girl stood and walked to a spot some distance away. The man, behind us forgotten and quiet now, found his spot on the train and we clambered aboard with stroller and Roo in tow. On the way back home we spotted cars, cats, another digger and a truck. We arrived at Roo’s house just in time to help clean up the back yard before lunch.