KIERAN HOWARD: My Thomas The Tank Engine knowledge is not what it was

Kieran Howard
Kieran Howard

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So it turns out my Thomas The Tank Engine knowledge isn’t quite what it was. But, in my defence, I am now 33.

I used to adore it as a child too. Who didn’t?

If I’d been allowed on the junior version of Mastermind when I was seven, it’d have almost certainly been my chosen specialist subject. Well, that or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I’m not ashamed to say I was a member of their fanclub.

I’ll leave you to judge whether I should be ashamed or not.

I’m clearly a bit rusty on Thomas these days though.

At least, that’s the conclusion I reached on a recent family outing in Portsmouth.

It happened when we popped along to Southsea Model Village over the Easter break.

We’d never been before, but I thoroughly recommend it for an afternoon out with the kids.

While there, I encountered a dad whose know-how on the popular railway series was vastly superior to mine.

As we meandered round the village, en route to some rabbits and guinea pigs which the visiting children, and adults, could stroke, brush and generally annoy, Thomas occasionally shot past us on the miniature track.

Now at this point, I was more than confident in identifying him to Louie.

But then a green train flew past us in the other direction and I found myself more than a little stumped.

It was going backwards as well, which also confused me.

Struggling for a name, I excitedly remarked: ‘Oh look Louie, it’s one of Thomas’ friends’.

Thankfully, his vocabulary isn’t yet advanced enough to have embarrassed me by asking exactly who he was.

Then, as if from nowhere, a miracle appeared in the form of a dad who was following behind us.

I happened to eavesdrop a conversation he was having with his little boy and finally I could cease searching my shocking memory for the identity of this locomotive.

It was Percy of course. Thank you to that father for bailing me out. I believe I owe you a beer.

So, when Thomas’ best friend returned a couple of minutes later, I was able to proudly point him out to Louie, and this time by name.

Rest assured, I shall be revising my Thomas trivia in the very near future.

And it may also be worth my while tuning into the children’s channels which actually broadcast it in the first place.

MORE WILL SPRING UP IN THE FUTURE

I wasn’t shocked to read the other day that children in the US are being treated for mobile device addiction.

My only real surprise was that I hadn’t heard of something similar before now.

The reSTART Life Centre in Seattle is the only rehabilitation unit of its kind in the western world.

I imagine they’ll be more springing up in the future though.

Kerrie and I do make a point of trying not to use our phones around Louie. We’re keen to avoid him becoming obsessed with technology, although that is fairly difficult in a world where technology dominates.

Sometimes we’re quite successful with our mobile-less approach, and other times not so accomplished.

Mind you, our worry is probably for another time, when he gets a little older and more aware.

I think my bigger concern at the moment is that he considers every object, including his own socks, to constitute a phone.

He floats around the house picking up all imaginable items, holding them up to his ear and chattering away to himself.