Last Sunday, a bunch of my friends and family dressed up and rode a steam train (built in 1903).
The ride was similar to any other train ride, except for the clouds of smoke and steam through the windows. The windows themselves, being antiques, would sometimes slam shut with no warning. This only added to the thrill.
My nephew is six years old now, and is a charming (and effervescent) gentleman. He regaled us with a long story about a kangaroo that had wandered into his front yard (plausible) and cleaned the windows (not so much).
That’s a paper plane in his hand, with which he grew more closely aquainted with everyone else in our carriage.
The train took us to Bungendore (a classy antiquing and craft-oriented small town) and back again, through three tunnels (all unlit). We discovered that burning coal smells precisely like dirty nappies – so much so that, even after the ride up to Bungendore, everyone in the carriage checked their children’s nappies when the wind changed.
The smell was strongest in the tunnels, as the smoke had nowhere to go but inside our carriage, casting lines of visible sunshine across the air.
At Bungendore we were allowed inside the locomotive (I smelled the unburnt coal, and it was a lot like burnt toast).
Just as I stood outside for yet another classic author photo. . . the whistle blew.