Ever been hit behind the ear with a sock of wet sand? Let me tell you about what happened to me yesterday. North Wales weather gave us a bonus warm and sunny weekend, perfect for me to take my 3 year-old grandson Logan to the Ffestiniog Railway Vintage celebration as Logan loves trains – only second to tractors. As this blog is about honesty, I now have to confess that I was indulging my own interest with Logan as my handy excuse.
As we walked across Pont Britannia at the estuary of the Glaslyn River, we saw 30 or 40 people with cameras and tripods ready to photograph a vintage steam train hauling a train of slate wagons across the road, along the bridge and up towards Aberglaslyn, protected by the brand new level crossing. Recalling those glory days of the slate industry, I became part of a most odd group. One man was in headmaster’s robes complete with mortar board, another had a full morning suit with top hat, a couple even had genuine train spotter anoraks and all carried cameras, notebooks and a specially produced Working Timetable to which I sneaked a look from a kind gent in a frock-coat. I decided not to buy one as a map of the human genome would have been easier to understand.
I felt quite smug as I surveyed this sad bunch that needed to get a life. That was when I felt the aforesaid sock of (fortunately metaphorical) wet sand hit me with a thud. What was I doing? This was a group of people indulging their hobby, having a great time with like-minded enthusiasts.
Just the previous day I had joined a group called Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook and have been involved for many years in campaigning against discrimination in any form. I am opposed to injustice, discrimination, hate and even laughing at people who are different. I was deeply ashamed of my attitude yesterday – ironic, because I have a bunch of esoteric interests which would lead parts of society to put me firmly into a ‘loser’ category. I read a quote today, ‘If only closed minds came with closed mouths’. I’m glad my mind was opened yesterday and maybe I’ve earned the right to open my mouth, even if it is just to apologise!
By the way, both Logan and his Taid (Welsh Grandpa) had a great time being train spotters for a day!