trains, travel & terminology

Many years ago I had a colleague who told me that she was concerned about her daughter’s English, as the family didn’t speak English at home. Without a second thought, I told her she should encourage the girl to read.

I didn’t think it mattered whether she was reading Jane Austen, Dickens, Woman’s Weekly, or simply the next Mills and Boone bodice ripper: my idea was that she’d learn grammar and assimilate new vocabulary from seeing language in context.
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train of thought

Trains were a major feature of my childhood. I don’t know how many times I’d actually been on a train before my first birthday, but I do know that I had already travelled from the south east of England all the way to the Highlands, a journey that, even today, would be likely to take the best part of a day.

Even when we returned to live in the south a few years later we didn’t own a car so my father commuted to London by train and underground each day, and any holiday we took tended to feature traditional black cabs and card games played in waiting rooms at railway junctions.
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plum loco

Perhaps it was more of a steam engine than a locomotive but, from the angle that top photo was taken from, it was certainly plum-coloured.

Its trimmings were in other shades, though, including the most glorious scarlet wheels with black and yellow detailing:
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