I was about 8 years old, on holiday in Germany and my uncle Horst led me up to their sparkly dusty attic space where a beam of sunlight shone through a skylight down on to a model train set.
I was privileged because he kept the attic locked and didn’t let any of his five children any where near his train set.
I would play for hours with my ear and cheek on the floor watching the steam engine and carriages go round and round, imagining it to be in a real landscape, watching a real train.
Eventually I think my uncle got fed up with me asking to go up to the locked attic, so that was that until my mum decided to get me and my brother one.
My brother Robert and I would imagine train crashes and cranes loading the coal carriages with crates, the crates were dolly mixtures and my mum would make special trips to the sweet shop.
Over time and because of my dad’s bodging skills, the mains power plug was held together with an elastic band; one day after deciding to put the train set away, I crawled under the record player sideboard to remove the plug, the plug cover pulled forward and my little 8 year old fingers touched both mains contacts. I screamed like a girl and told my dad that my sister Rita had kicked me !
I’ve hated electrics ever since.
We were also blessed with getting a scalectric racing set, I would imagine my mums hard earned money paid for it as my dad didn’t appear to like the idea of working for a living.
The train set wasn’t played with very much after we moved to Walthamstow and in my twenties I asked my mum, “could I have the train set” she said she had given it to my brother in law, Steve, as a birthday present. Why is life so unfair ?