Last year we took Monkey to Didcot Railway Centre on a Days Out with Thomas event. Having his birthday so close to Christmas meant we could turn it into a birthday treat. He loved every minute of it. What to do for his birthday this year? He still loves Thomas, he definitely still loves trains so I checked the dates for this year. Bingo, the weekend before his birthday. Tickets booked – for Monkey’s 5th birthday treat he would be meeting Thomas and Father Christmas at Didcot again.
I didn’t tell him anything about it. The night before we went I asked him, if he could go anywhere for a treat where would he like to go? Without getting on a plane that is (to avoid the no I’m sorry we can’t go to Granny’s disappointment). I’d like to go to Didcot Mummy. Really? Yes Mummy, phew! Bless him, when I showed him the tickets he didn’t believe me. Honestly Monkey, that’s where we’re going in the morning.
So off we went with our very excited soon to be 5 year old son.
We’d booked a morning time slot this time and I was surprised that the massive car park was as empty as it was. It’s pay and display which is a bit of a pain, but once we’d sorted our ticket, Monkey was off. He knew we had to go over a big bridge to cross the mainline railway and right on cue a train went zooming past.
We had a bit of time before our timed Thomas ride so we had a ride on the Steam Railmotor to start the day off.
Then the boys were off in search of the engine sheds.
But who should we spot along the way!
We walked through the engine shed and saw some carriages being renovated – it was quite fascinating.
Monkey was hungry so we decided a quick trip to the cafe was in order before our train ride. It was quite early so Daddy P and I opted for a mince-pie and hot drink, whilst Monkey had a cheese sandwich. Apparently it was heaving by lunchtime proper so I’m glad we went early.
Then it was time to queue for our Thomas train ride. We were at the front with another family and the children were all very excited.
I love the fact that Monkey was just as excited this year as he was last year, even though he knew what to expect. Just lovely.
We got in our carriage and off we went, we were heading for a meeting with the big man himself! Father Christmas and the Fat Controller were waiting for us.
I wondered how Monkey would react to meeting Father Christmas a year on. Last year he wouldn’t go near him or talk to him, let alone have his photo taken with him by himself.
This year Monkey was so excited as we waited for our turn to meet Father Christmas. Is he in there Daddy?
Before we knew it, it was our turn. What a difference a year makes. Monkey was very quietly spoken, but there were high fives exchanged and a little chatter.
Then this happened and I nearly cried. For my little, shy Monkey to sit with Father Christmas by himself – wow and SMILE! That’s a big step forward. It was magic, just magic.
The Father Christmas was wonderful, I was really impressed and when I bumped into Emma and N from Bubbablueandme, she said the same thing.
It marked the start of a magical birthday week for my Monkey son, and that picture will stay with me for a very long time.
After our visit with Father Christmas it was time for some more train action obviously.
We’d had an action packed day, another great visit to Didcot Railway Centre and a fab time meeting Thomas and Father Christmas. It’s not the cheapest day out, but I figure you see Thomas, Father Christmas and there are lots of trains and activities, so for us it’s a bargain. Monkey loved every minute.