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Toot Toot

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I'm sure it's an Aussie Icon, well maybe a Victorian Icon...OK, it's definitely the biggest tourist attraction in Belgrave. When I was a kid it was a big deal, you had to ride Puffing Billy because, well because Brad and Adam did and they were the coolest cats of grade one.

HopeGreeniesDontSeeThisOneI have to admit that riding Puffing Billy has never been high on my parenting roadmap. Enter Greensborough Plaza who posted a giveaway on Facebook. Cha Ching! I had a free family ticket, a free Saturday, and a new second-hand car that Q and I were hanging to test out. I might add that on discovering the cost of riding Ol' Bill ($83 for the family, return trip) I'm damn glad I won the Greensy Plaza giveaway!!!.

We approached this adventure strategically too, selecting a weekend when we were already in the area. We will arrive the night before basing ourselves at nannies who will babysit the youngest munchkin when we visit Ol' Puff. We will pack early so that we don't forget anything, and so that we can leave Friday night straight after school.

And of course it worked just like that....we left after dinner rather than after school, we forget Kid A's shoes and we packed her uncomfy trackie pants instead of her favourite pair, we grabbed Kid A's socksNoStandingOnTrack for Kid B (a big deal in our house if Kid B wears Kid A's clothes), and we packed Kid B's t-shirt thinking it was Kid A's. Oh, and I forgot to complete a long-standing weekly task for a long-term client...yeah well done Bucky, you certainly 'got this'! To make matters worse, Chubba advises me on Friday night that we've chosen the weekend when Ol' Toot Toot has a Thomas the Tank Engine special event...fan-freakin-tastic!

We made it to Belgrave Saturday morning, finally found somewhere to park, and cashed in our freebie. We zoomed through the giftshop....whack, I come to a screaming halt, anchored by Kid A who is standing in front of a $10 necklace display...not now darling, maybe after the trip...

We had 10 minutes to spare so we reserved our seat on a relatively empty carriage next to the perfect Japanese tourist stereotype. Kid A and I walked to the front of the the train where I, standing on the tracks, took the typical photo of the steam engine. Kid A asks whether I'm supposed to stand on the tracks and I point to the A-Frame sign reading "No Standing on Railway Track". She gives me that kinda-confused "If I did that I'd be in big trouble" look.
Mr Choo Choo
Back on the carriage the excited little people wait anxiously for the train to start...either that or they wanted to open the potato chips seductively revealing themselves out of the top of our backpack. Ol' Bill sluggishly lurks forward and the kids jump up and down. Kid A actually remarked that she would give up TV forever if she could ride Ol' Choo Chho again.

The ride was mostly enjoyable. The kids pointed out rabbit holes, tried to grab leaves from low hanging trees, kept standing on the feet of our fellow passengers, kept photo-bombing Mr Japanese Tourist's photos...etc. Of course, being the geek I am I checked into FourSquare from every station, adding a crappy pic of some old derelict carriage or station sign. With two hungry little chickadees in tow we decided not to stay at Lakeside for two hours and grabbed the next train back.

Now if I can give you one tip, it's this. Pack either sunglasses or Clear Eyes...you either prevent the soot, dirt and smoke from entering your eyes, or you treat your eyes accordingly afterwards. I did find it kind of ironic to see a No Smoking sign attached to the inside of the carraige.

If I can give you a second tip, it's to try and win tickets to the Ol' Smokey Bill as $83 smackaroos for this trip is a little steep.

Regardless of how you get there though your kids will enjoy the experience.

Oh and the new car, it's beautiful, and it will carry us camping later this year no worries.

Last modified on Monday, 19 November 2012 22:22
Bucky

Bucky is a proud triple dad to three girls aged eight and under (Bookworm, Foghorn and Boo). He left the full time corporate world in late 2012 and he's not sure whether he's a SAHD or a WAHD, but either way he's spenidng more time at home with his family. Once upon a time Bucky played guitar for a garage band, now he can only play nursery rhymes.

Bucky would like to be an official chocolate, beer and scotch tester - please contact him here if you can help with this.Aussie Daddy Blogger Member

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Website: www.tacklenappy.com/dads-diaries/buckys-trophy-cabinet

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