Nine-year-old me, and I’m going to see my dad at Richmond railway station where he worked. Part of the draw was that he’d often buy me a coke and a packet of Smokey Bacon or Roast Chicken Smiths Crisps (#bestcrispsever!) His work colleagues were always really friendly and most were Irish like him, apart from the lovely English inspector called Frank.
And that was where the problem started: my dad’s name was Frank too. He was never known as Francis and that would have sounded so out of place in his work environment. Some of his colleagues were real characters and I knew all their names. I remember them lifting me up onto a big seat, so I could announce an approaching train – “Fast train for Clapham Junction and Waterloo only”! However, I preferred to announce the down line trains to places like Egham and Virginia Water – they sounded so much more intriguing.
Then, one day an incident happened and a number of my dad’s workmates called for “Mike!” – whoever that was?