Trains at the bottom of the garden metal dragons breathing out smoke and steam huffing and puffing, waiting for the signal some compact with tanks affixed others larger, more grand pulling colour matched tenders sometimes bearing shields and names beginning with 'Duchess' or 'City' mostly black, some rusty deep reds or greens with contrasting lines edged in gold
Once one came in matt pink and I wondered why it didn't gleam like the others, perhaps pink was a colour not to be given it's equal due with other less feminine shades it had to be denied vibrancy yet I loved the pink one best later I learned somehow that the colour was that of the primer used to inhibit the rust and my pink engine was just an unfinished paint job pressed into service prematurely to give cover for another that was broken
I wrote down the numbers regardless it was a ritual that one performed though I didn't understand why yet it was exciting to record a new one that hadn't passed before
Behind the business end came carriages laden heavy with the visitors of summer come to fill our beaches and our town with their loudness their raucous laughter with strange accents brummie, scouse, mancunian faces pressed against glass expectant, excited, impatient almost there now anxious that this last delay pass quickly and the half mile remaining be completed
We would lurk beneath the bridge like adopted troll children it was cool there in the summer heat darting out from behind pillars or in my case watchfully, cautiously edging my way forward to place pennies on the track or sometimes nails then to retrieve them flattened, thinned, squashed once the train had passed sometimes we'd wait hours or so it seemed sometimes no train would come and we would trail home for tea and bath and bed leaving our offerings to the gods of the rail for rediscovery and inspection the following day.