A Ride on the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway[First of all, a massive thank-you to everyone who’s signed up to my Patreon page so far: my first ‘secret’ blog post went live yesterday, and Patreon subscribers can read it here. If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, meanwhile, there’s a fuller explanation here…]
This post is called ‘A Ride on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway‘, but it would probably be more accurate to call it ‘A Sleep on the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway’ (Which, btw, I’m just going to go ahead and refer to as the RH&DR from now on, if that’s OK with you…), because, yes, folks, my child fell asleep on the train.
ON THE TRAIN.
Seriously, though: I know this probably seems totally unremarkable to most of you, but, for almost a year now, Max has point-blank refused to sleep anywhere other than in a cot – or, very, very, occasionally, in his car seat. And yet, there he is at the top of the page, still sleeping on my shoulder, minutes after disembarking the train. Honestly, for this reason alone, I would recommend the RH&DR to anyone with a toddler, really. It has magical, nap-inducing properties, and there have been moments in the last few weeks when I’d have quite happily driven back to Kent, just to make use of them, not even joking.
(Oh, maybe just a little bit joking…)
The RH&DR runs from Hythe to Dungeness, on the very edge of Kent. My in-laws own The Pilot Inn there, and, every time we’ve visited it (Which is another thing I highly recommend, by the way: and no, I’m not just being biased…), we’ve loved watching the little steam train go by. This year, however, we decided we should actually get round to taking a ride on the train, so, one fine day, we waited until Max was at his absolute crankiest, and set off.
Our nephew, George, and his girlfriend, Emma, live close to New Romney station, which is the headquarters of the railway (Emma’s brother is actually one of the train drivers), so we met up with them first, then the five of us boarded the train to Dymchurch:
(Also pictured: the purple ball we were forced to buy in the station gift shop, when it became apparent that Max was not going to put it down without a fight. It appears in every one of our ‘on the train’ photos, but has not been seen since. I feel almost like I could have predicted this outcome, somehow…)
The ride is a short one, but, although Max’s super-serious expression might suggest otherwise, it was really fun: the tracks cut through some gorgeous countryside, before arriving at the little coastal town of Dymchurch, where we were getting off:
Our destination here was Dymchurch Amusements, which we’d actually already visited a couple of days earlier, but which we knew we’d have to come back to, because Max enjoyed it so much. We’ve been to a few different fun fair/amusement park type places with him now, but I’d say this one was by far his favourite, purely because so many of the rides were pitched at exactly the right level for him: so, lots of little carousels and other child-friendly rides, and even a mini roller-coaster (Which, yes, even I was able to go on. Well, I figured if a toddler could do it, I probably could too, right?)
(Some of these photos were taken on our earlier visit, hence the different outfits and weather conditions: we didn’t all change clothes while we were out…)
By this point, Max was starting to get seriously cranky from lack of sleep, so we headed back to the train… which is where the miracle happened. Lulled by the gentle rocking motion of the little steam train, Max was asleep within minutes: and, to our utter amazement, he remained asleep even as we got off the train, and buckled him back into his car seat:
It had never happened before. It has not happened since. The only conclusion I can come to is that the RH&DR is made of magic, and you should all take your cranky toddlers there immediately. (Er, maybe not all at once, though: I mean, that would be no fun AT ALL, would it?)