I just added an article about Thomas the Tank Engine to the “Writing” section over there on the left. The article first appeared in The Reader magazine, issue 25. Here’s a snippet:
Growing up near to a railway line, trains were as much a part of my childhood as conkers in the autumn and frogspawn in the spring. The volcanic rumble of the 100-tonne Class-55 Deltic pulling out of the station on its way to London was our alarm clock on school days. In the holidays a favourite activity was persuading train crews to let us into the cab for a few minutes while they waited at the platform. Even now I have a working, if not encyclopedic, knowledge of the diesel locomotives of that era. And naturally Thomas the Tank Engine was big in our house.
What I didn’t realise then, but know only too well now, is that Thomas exerts a tyranny over small children and their parents.
Here’s the direct link to the whole article.