You Could Say It's A Decent Track Record
Thomas the Tank Engine was a major part of our home when the Authorbloglets were growing up. When one of them was two years old and we set off on a long overseas trip, several Thomas engines made the trip as well – in a backpack, under a special deal that ensured they would be carried through every airport (and there were several) that we visited on the trip.
When we moved into a home that we built, there were several metres of track and several dozen engines that were permanently laid out on the carpeted expanse of one of the play rooms.
No, I’m serious. The track was carefully put down and the engines installed – and they were only put away four or five years later. So yes, Thomas and the other Really Useful Engines played a fairly significant part in our lives.
At one stage, the collection had built up to the point where one of the Authorbloglets had only one engine remaining – Boco, the diesel. But we could not find Boco anywhere. Not even at the ABC shop, where we ventured in an attempt to try and order Boco from overseas. Eventually, a childhood friend visited us from England and before she flew out she asked if there was anything special that we needed.
Yes, there was. Could she possibly duck into a toy shop and buy a miniature Boco? Because she lived in the UK, this was not a problem and when she arrived and handed over the gift to the little Authorbloglet, it was as if the Promised Day had arrived.
Maybe a couple of years later, we struck a similar problem. The twin coaches known as The Old Coaches could not be found in Australia, or any other country we tried to scour. After all, this was in pre-eBay days. Eventually, I phoned someone I had interviewed once, about five years earlier.
Would he perhaps be able to buy the coaches and mail them to me if I paid him the costs? Absolutely, he said, assuring me he would be delighted to do so.
About ten days later the Old Coaches arrived in the mail and it was – as you would expect – akin to the Second Coming. I kept in touch with this person whom I had once interviewed and a few months later he told me he and his wife would be in Australia on a very brief visit, on a very tight schedule.
We asked if they would possibly be able to have dinner with us and they said yes, they would possibly be able to squeeze us into their hectic schedule.
And that was the evening the Authorbloglets finally got to meet Christopher Awdry, the man for whom the Thomas stories were first told before they were printed in book form – and the man who took over the stories after his father, the Reverend Wilbert Awdry, died.
Yes, he signed every Thomas book under our roof. And yes, it took him a long time!
For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.