So today I did the responsible thing, and bribed him! Actually, the important and valid point I made was that little boys who haven't had their lunch time nap are invariably too tired to do anything exciting the in the afternoon, and hence no nap means no fun. If there was any chance that we were going to enjoy the afternoon and do a fun activity, for example seeing trains, then a nap was going to be necessary. And fortunately, Nathaniel was brought around to my way of thinking.
So he had a nap and I devised a good train seeing activity. As residents of the city that hosts the free-entrance National Railway Museum, it should have been a no-brainer. But we visited the NRM a few weeks ago when Grandpa Beard visited, and although we had fun, it wasn't the ecstatic, giant smiles sort of fun. In fact Nathaniel wasn't very sure about a lot of the trains, couldn't work out what the other half were, and was most impressed by the ride-on London bus, which he climbed in and drove and greatly enjoyed despite his mean mother not telling him that if you put money in it it moved!
So instead, I decided on a much simpler, activity: a visit to the station. Fortunately York station is a wonderful period building. A visit to Didcot Parkway probably wouldn't have the same appeal to the accompanying adult. So we cycled down to the station and Nathaniel waved to all the buses that we passed and then got very excited and bouncy (not so great when you are cycling), when he realised that at the end of the car park we were riding across, there was a big, loud, steam-breathing train!
We had a wonderful afternoon looking at the trains. We found a good vantage point where we could sit in the dappled sun and look this way to see a train:
...and this way to see.....
We saw purple trains ("pur(p) tray") and blue trains ("blue tray") and big trains ("bi(g) trains") and little trains ("li tray"). They all made loud noises, and after the first one, we didn't have to cover our ears. Some of them bellowed stream out of their roofs when they started to move, and the best ones loaded trolleys laden with tea and coffee ("tee tro") when they stopped.
There were policemen to watch and old ladies to charm and dogs to misidentify ("baa, shee(p)" (it was a brown, short haired, curly dog!)). There were whistles to hear, and tracks to follow and arrival boards to check.
All in all, it was the best bribe ever! 2 hours passed in no time and I hardly had to do a thing.
Except provide "more tray, more tray, MORE TRAY!"