Spending time with our friends R and D in Italy is also an opportunity to catch up with their kids’ special phrases.Â Their youngest, T (now 2), is fully conversant with Thomas the Tank Engine stories, and these are the phrases we came back with from our October visit this year:
1) “Chicken in a school…” For use when sounding a note of caution.Â (Thomas the Tank Engine gets his deliveries wrong one day: the children are delivered to the farm, the chickens to the school etc.) Particularly useful for when grownups are continuing to talk for far too long at the dinner table, and you wish to gain attention.
2) “James happy again!”Â When you want to bring a happy ending to a situation.Â This is T’s own invention.Â It mostly relates to the character James the red engine in the Thomas the Tank Engine stories.Â Given that Dan also has a colleague, James, there is potential for expanding its use, particularly if bringing James hot chocolate.
3) “Cinders and ashes!” cried Thomas.Â When words fail, it’s good to know that Thomas the Tank Engine has given us an acceptable way out for expressing strong emotion.
4) “What’s that?” (repeat at 10 second intervals) Mainly used when reading a book together.Â T knows full well what it is: Thomas a Train, Bertie a Bus, Terence a Tractor etc.Â But you volunteered to read to him, after all – he has to let you feel included.
We’ll probably need to devote a separate post to all those great phrases we’ve picked up on previous visits – and from other kids we’ve met.Â But at least you can speak fluent Thomas the Tank Engine after reading this.
We have to reassure readers that the name of Dan’s company, Inigo, was not in fact taken from this film.Â It makes for fun reading though (thanks to Dan’s colleague Colin for lending us the book).
The Princess BrideÂ has joined the collection of books or articles that we read to each other from time to time.Â The other main contender at the moment is a book about a man who chose to read his way through the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.
We’re up to ‘n’ now.Â Perfect for long winter nights.Â However, have to confess that The Princess Bride has taken the lead for now.
Here’s some of the pictures we took last year with Dan’s snazzy camera.Â They are of our Christmas tree decorations, and were intended to become the images on cards.Â We felt a bit like studio photographers setting them up – it’s useful having plain white chairs as backdrops.Â Thankfully all the subjects were well behaved, and have agreed to waive fees for appearing this year.
A friend of mine once said that everything in the future was in the landscape of the imagination.Â I always loved that phrase and thought it might be a good title for a book one day.Â For now it has to make do with being the title of this post.
Why blog?Â Well, we’ve been humming and hah-ing about putting together our Christmas newsletter  and I suggested that we do it bit-by-bit, let it evolve in the run up to Christmas.Â So here we are and you never know, we might continue this after the big day too.
Being people who like to make a good impression, this blog is likely to change in style [both visually and in terms of tone] over time, but this is it for now.