It was the last of these that Squeaky & I, along with PirateGirl, MiniMe and Mummy Mandy found ourselves last week. We had planned to go fruit picking, but sadly the farm had a bad crop last year & don't do pick your own any more, so instead we had a happy hour sitting in a vineyard drinking coffee & eating ice cream.
It was, however, a good opportunity to teach the girls about Level Crossing safety, and what an opportunity. The crossing is a properly manual one, with gates you have to open and close yourself (and I'm too scared to drive over), and the line is really quite busy, with around 12 trains per hour going through. That meant that there was every chance of a train being due while we were at the crossing, giving the girls a real understanding of the crossing, what to do, and why. And the trains came through, as if we'd planned it. Standing at the crossing gates, checking the lights, and waiting as they has turned to red, along comes a train, whistling through (ok, honking his diesel horn) while we watched from yards away. And then we waited, as the light stayed red, and a second train passed through in the opposite direction. Once the lights changed to green, the girls behaved beautifully, held our hands and walked quickly and carefully across to the other side where we'd parked our cars.
It's not something I would necessarily have thought about, but the increasing rarity of level crossings means that people are less aware of their correct use, putting them at more risk of injury or death. Hopefully this impromptu lesson will be one our girls retain for the future. Is this something you've done with your children?