More years than I care to recall ago I sat poolside with youngest son at some Menorcan resort or other reading aloud to each other passages from children's books. The readings were meant to speed up his reading and add to his vocabulary which indeed they did rather well. We did page about for a couple of hours each day over the 10 day holiday and he has never looked back since. I hasten to add that he has promised to look after me in my old age in return. I am trusting that he will not shoot me.
I really wish though that I could remember the title of one particular author's contribution to the process. It was a book of short stories about an English schoolboy aged about ten. One tale described a railway trip on a steam train to the coast and aside from that all I can recall is that the station tannoy announcement was featured in the departure as saying "the train warple platform warple will warple calling at warple warple warple" or words to that effect. It was a source of considerable amusement at the time although we rarely travelled by rail and had only once suffered from undecipherable tannoy rasp at the time, that being at Glasgow Airport where we almost missed our flight to Iraklion.
Today I missed the light, so took an image of the Inverurie to Edinburgh Waverley Scotrail Express. Despite its rather grand title, it is as nothing when compared to the steam trains of old. Comfy plastic seats with soft upholstery, a heating system to rival an Aga and even a Mobile Railway Catering Unit serving egg and watercress sandwiches. It does lack magic of steam of course, but the nicely designed go faster transfers on the front more than make up for that.
As the train left from Inverurie for the Scottish capital the tannoy announcement advised that "the Scotrail warple to warple is now warple from warple three ...". Not much has changed really.