The Flying Train
written & illustrated by grandad


Nanny had won a competition and the prize was two tickets on the flying train. The flying train was a luxury train, that flew instead of travelling on rails. Over coffee with Roxanne, Nanny told her about winning the competition and went on to say, "I wonder who I can take with me?" Roxanne nearly spilt her coffee and said "me, me, me." They both giggled and were even more happier as they realised it meant they would have to go shopping. "oh, oh, new hat," said Roxanne giggling. True to their word, they spent the next 5 weeks shopping for new hats and outfits, right up to the day they departed.



When Roxanne saw her private compartment, she fell in love with it immediately, especially when she saw a hot cup of coffee waiting for her, as you know Roxanne loves coffee, lot's of it. Nanny had bought her a special box to put her hat in, but Roxanne loved her hat so much, she wanted to look at it, so left it on the bed. Being Roxanne, she wanted everyone to see her beautiful hat, so made sure it was on display.



Nanny also loved her private compartment, she was very excited about the flying train, it flew over water and also flew from country to country. The first stop on this trip was India and that was where Roxanne and Nanny were getting off and would catch the flying train back to London 10 days later. They were both very excited about visiting India, Nanny loved to read and had read a lot about India and knew Roxanne was going to be in for a surprise, a good surprise.



Roxanne had been working very hard on the farm for the past few months, so Nanny had a word with the chef on the flying train and he allowed her to bake a cake for Roxanne in his kitchen. While it was cooling, Nanny went for a sleep in her compartment and on her return to the kitchen she had a big surprise. Roxanne on passing the kitchen, had already found it and as it had a label by it saying "Roxanne's cake" she decided it would be rude not to have a piece. Nanny discovered Roxanne in the restaurant having a piece of the cake and a cup of coffee.

Roxanne looked up and giggled and said "Nanny it did have my name on it." Nanny could not do anything but giggle too and cut herself a slice of cake and joined Roxanne at the table.



The flying train landed in India at Mumbai station, people very quickly gathered around Roxanne to be near her and she said "my fame is here already." Nanny giggled and told Roxanne that in India millions respect, honour and adore cows and that a cow is a sacred animal, as it provides life sustaining milk. That a cow is seen as a maternal figure, a care taker of her people and is a symbol of the divine bounty of earth. This stopped Roxanne in her tracks and she actually sat on the floor and said "whoa, that's amazing." Then their luggage arrived and it took 3 porters to carry Roxanne's luggage, but she never took her eyes off her hat box, she so loved her hat.



Roxanne loved trains, especially steam trains, so Nanny knew she was going to have trouble getting Roxanne out of the station. She turned to tell Roxanne they could come back to the station another time, but Roxanne had already disappeared. She looked around and finally saw Roxanne standing by a very old steam engine, she giggled as she had never seen such a big smile on Roxanne's face. Roxanne looked up and "please just 10 minutes," Nanny nodded and went off to have a cup of tea and she discovered it was called "chaay."



Nanny knew that nothing would happen to Roxanne, as being a cow, everyone would look after her, apart from that when Roxanne was around trains, it was impossible to keep up with her. Nanny laughed as she thought about Roxanne, when it came to shopping and trains, no one could keep up with her and yet some days on the farm, Nanny knew that a snail could be faster. All Nanny could hear in the background was Roxanne going "oh look, oh look." Mind you, Nanny was beginning to wonder if they were going to spend their whole 10 days at the station, but she had no need to worry, as Roxanne appeared and said "where is our hotel, I need to have a rest and a shower."



The flying train had arranged for them to stay overnight in one of the luxury hotels in Mumbai, they were given a suite and Roxanne unpacked very quickly and headed to the bathroom. Roxanne loved having a bath and a shower, she could spend hours in them, but now she was hungry too, so she decided on a quick shower. She had to laugh at the size of the shower and said to Nanny, "you could get 4 cows in there" and Nanny replied "or one Roxanne." They both laughed and Roxanne jumped into the shower.



Roxanne came out of the shower and was in a silly mood, so she stood in the bathroom door and blew a raspberry. They both giggled and then she blew another and they just giggled and giggled. While Roxanne got dressed. Nanny had her shower and once she was dressed, they decided to call home. Afterwards they decided to take a short walk before having dinner.



Roxanne was very hungry by the time they arrived at the restaurant, as they entered the restaurant, she said to Nanny "all my stomachs are hungry." They both laughed and Nanny ordered dinner for both of them, when the waiter asked what they would like to drink, Nanny knew that Roxanne wanted milk and lot's of it. They really enjoyed their meal and on the way back to their suite, Roxanne said all her stomachs were full, which made them giggle again.




They made their way up to their hotel suite and spent some time looking at the wonderful view through the windows. Then, suddenly Roxanne got up and started to sing, trouble was, she could not sing. She only knew one song and that was "Dancing Queen" by Abba, the trouble was she did not know all the words and made them up. However, tonight, the singing was louder, because the singing was bouncing off the ceiling. Nanny asked Roxanne if she could stop singing as it was hurting her ears. Roxanne said nothing for a moment and then said "I am really pleased you asked me to stop, it was far too loud hehehehehehe."



Roxanne decided that she wanted to order a taxi for the next morning, from reception, so she got out her phrase book and ordered over the phone a local taxi. She was very proud of the fact she had ordered it, well she was until they checked out next morning and actually saw what she had ordered, it really was a local taxi. They had no time to order another one, as they had to meet their guide at the railway station and catch a train. Nanny could do nothing but giggle and said " see, they could not understand your accent."

Roxanne replied simply with "moo" and giggled and giggled. The thing that horrified them the most was their hat boxes hanging off the back, so they quickly grabbed them and held them tight on the whole journey.



Finally, they arrived at the station, where they met their guide for their stay in India, his name was Gurdeep, the flying train had recommended him and they both understood immediately why. He was very intelligent, he was like a walking library and had a great sense of humour and best of all had a great insight of life. Nanny told Gurdeep about Roxanne's mishap over ordering the wrong taxi, he roared with laughter and told Roxanne, he will look after all their transport needs now.

Roxanne looked at him for a moment, burst out laughing and said " thank you." Gurdeep also promised he would keep a eye on the hat boxes. he then took them for a cup chaay before they went to catch their train.



Roxanne and Nanny after booking into their hotel for the night, asked Gurdeep to take them for a walk in the evening and show them the Golden Temple, it was a place Nanny had read about and it was the most religious place for Sikhs. It was everything Nanny could have imagined and more. They just stood there and enjoyed the calm and peace and beauty of the temple. Afterwards Nanny told Gurdeep that she had never known Roxanne so quiet. Gurdeep asked Nanny "if Roxanne liked to talk?" Nanny replied "does Roxanne like to talk? Lol, she invented talking." All three of them giggled, in fact they giggled all the way back to the hotel.



Gurdeep asked Nanny where was Roxanne, Nanny told him, Roxanne had gone for a walk, "oh dear, the traffic here is very different, I will go and find her." said Gurdeep. He spent a good 30 minutes looking for Roxanne, then he saw her. She was dodging in and out of the traffic, trying to cross the road and was just about to be run down by an elephant. "This is not like the traffic in England, we don't have elephants trying to run you down." said Roxanne. Gurdeep grabbed her and made sure she was safe.

"I need a cold glass of milk, any idea where we can get a glass of milk.....oops I forgot I am a cow, anyone have a glass?" Within seconds she was surrounded by dozens of people with glasses.



Nanny and Roxanne where very surprised to discover that Gurdeep was 81 years old, he did not look his age. They asked him how he managed to stay so well and look so young. He told them he put it down to meditation and if they wanted, he will take them to two of his favourite places. Roxanne asked what was Meditation and Gurdeep replied "Meditation, is where you train your mind, to allow the mind to engage in peaceful thoughts."

When they arrived at Gurdeep's first favourite place, they tried to meditate, Roxanne tried a bit too hard and was fast asleep and snoring within 5 minutes. "That's my friend Roxanne," said Nanny giggling and even Gurdeep joined in and said, "yes she is a very special cow and I adore her."



Nanny and Gurdeep left Roxanne to sleep some more at the hotel and Gurdeep took Nanny to his other favourite place. Nanny instantly fell in love with the place, it was so calm and peaceful. Gurdeep promised to teach her how to meditate before she left India. He asked if Roxanne would like to learn too, Nanny told him that if Roxanne was any more relaxed, she would sleep night and day.



Gurdeep on hearing this, fell about laughing and said "In all my years, I have never met a cow like Roxanne, she is very different and very adorable." Nanny laughed and replied "yes she is very different and yes adorable, but never go shopping with her, especially in a sale, she is all hooves." This made Gurdeep laugh even more and he started to dance as he laughed.



When Nanny returned to the hotel, outside Roxanne's room was a crowd of people, entering the room, she found Roxanne being fanned with a huge fan and drinking cold milk. "What has happened Roxanne?" asked Nanny. "I had a bad dream, it started out good, they were reporting in the newspaper. that I was here in India, i thought I was going to be famous here too, then I read the article and it was about me being chased through the streets by elephants." replied Roxanne.

Nanny thought for a moment, looked around the room and said "have you eaten all the cheese we bought today?" Roxanne looked up and said "moo" and with that everyone burst out laughing.



Nanny had been looking forward to seeing the Taj Mahal and when she saw it, it was more beautiful then she imagined. Gurdeep was full of interesting facts about it and gave her and Roxanne a guided tour. He told them the love story behind the construction of the Taj Mahal and immediately it changed from being just another beautiful monument, to a beautiful monument full of love and life for Nanny.



Nanny had dreamed the whole trip about seeing Indian tigers and today Gurdeep had arranged for her to see them. Roxanne had decided to spend a day shopping, she was very excited about buying some jewellery and gifts for her friends on the farm. Gurdeep had a good friend who was a guide and worked with the tigers and on their arrival, he took Nanny to see the tiger cubs. Nanny wished she could take one or two home. Gurdeep giggled and said "let's go and see the adult tigers now, they tend to grow a bit." Nanny laughed and said "I know, but you can dream."



The guide knew the habits of the tigers and took Nanny to where the tigers would be. He had worked with the tigers for many years and there was a mutual respect and trust between them. Nanny wanted to get as close to the tigers as possible. So with the guide standing close by Nanny, she watched the tigers having a drink at a watering hole. Nanny had spent all her life with animals, but this was a very special moment, a dream come true.



They had had a busy day sightseeing and Roxanne just wanted a shower and sleep, Nanny however, was not tired and went for a walk with Gurdeep. She loved how peaceful it was and how polite and kind the people were. Gurdeep asked Nanny if she would like to meet his family, as they lived only 15 minutes away. He went onto to say they would need to take a tut tut to his house.

Nanny replied " Yes, I would love to meet your family and I have always wanted to go on a tut tut." Gurdeep smiled and he went in search of a tut tut.



Gurdeep arrived with a tut tut, Nanny was so excited to ride in one. The journey was only 15 minutes long, Gurdeep saw Nanny was sad the journey was over and he promised that when he took her back to her hotel later, they would go by tut tut again. Gurdeep's house was a very modest house and waiting outside, was his wife and their children and his elderly mother. Nanny said hello to his wife and children and then folded her arms and said "Namaste" to his mother.

Then before entering their house, Nanny took off her shoes, Nanny loved to read and had read all about India's customs and she loved everything about it. She had bought from England some little gifts, which she had in her handbag and everyone loved their gift.



Nanny loved the importance of the family in India and the way they looked after each other. While the women finished cooking the meal, Nanny sat with the children and it was not long, before the children asked about Roxanne. Nanny told them about Roxanne's life on the farm and all their adventures they had together. They asked if she was respected, honoured and adored, Nanny giggled and said "oh yes she is all of those things and so much more."

The food arrived and Nanny was offered a spoon, but she said no thank you as she wanted to eat with her hands, which was the custom. Gurdeep nodded his approval, which made Nanny very happy.



Next day, Roxanne was very excited as it was her birthday, mind you to make sure everyone knew, Roxanne had been dropping hints for the past month and not just small hints. At breakfast Nanny had given her a birthday card, but no present, Nanny could see Roxanne was bursting to ask where her present was. Nanny kept this up until the afternoon, then she gave Roxanne her present. A month earlier Nanny had sent an artist in India a photo of Roxanne and arranged for a painting to be done.

When Roxanne saw the painting, she was actually lost for words and Nanny was sure she saw a tear in her eyes. Sadly, it was the end of their Indian adventure and in 3 hours time they would be back on the flying train. They both knew they would come back to India, as they both had fallen in love with India, it's people and it's culture.