Forgive me if I seem a little edgy today. I’m still getting over the Thomas Take-Along “Thomas and Percy’s Carnival Adventure” set that I recently got at my friend MGK’s garage sale.
“What’s to get over?” those people uninitiated in All Things Thomas might ask.
“What’s not to get over,” would be my immediate response. After all, anyone who read my previous Thomas The Tank Engine rant “Tanks for Nothing” may recall that I have a few “issues” with the underlying messages of the Rev. Awdry’s classic children’s books.
And yet, this time my beef was with something much more specific. Some might suspect it was with the half an hour I spent trying to put the Carnival Adventure together before discovering the instructions. Or with the fact that every second piece I laid out was instantly removed and hidden by small hands. Or even that I’d had Dora The Explorer’s “We did it! We did it! We did it! Yeah!” song on permanent loop in my head for the entire time (I’ll save my Dora rant for another day).
But no, it was my discovery that there were New Generation Tracks in the Thomas Take-Along series which were completely incompatible with the old-style Take-Along tracks, of which we already have ample sufficiency, thank you kind sir. And it would appear that the only thing that might join the New with the Old was this small, unassuming and imminently losable connector piece:
And the more I looked at that piece, the more that I realised I should just Throw It Away Now and pretend that the Carnival Adventure was part of a “different” Thomas set altogether rather than waste the rest of my freakin’ life looking everywhere for it while small people looked on with Great Expectations.
“Now, what’s all this about ‘different’ Thomas sets, NDM?” those same people from before are probably asking now, making me realise how truly blessed these people’s lives must be to not already know the depressing answer to this question.
Why, they’re probably thinking it would be enough for the Estate of Rev. J. Awdry to whore the rights to the Thomas franchise to one toy manufacturing company. After all, there are well over 50 different engines to collect, not to mention Special Edition engines, such as “Thomas covered in paint” and “9 1/2 Weeks Percy dipped in chocolate” (there really is a chocolate covered Percy – I don’t make this shit up, you know).
But no, there are at least five different varieties of Thomas engines and tracks on the market: “Thomas Motor’n'Rail”, “Thomas Take-Along”, “Thomas Wooden Railway”, “Thomas Lego” and the “Thomas Electric Trainset” … and ne’er the twain shall meet.
So if you thought you could bung a Take-Along Annabel to a Wooden Railway Gordon, you would be wrong. Or that a Lego James might be able to go for a wee spin on the Motor’n'Rail tracks – but no. And you might even toy with the idea of putting an Electric Train Edward in a Take-Along roundhouse but THINK AGAIN, BUB.
But try explain that to an angry two year old boy who is at the throwing-die-cast-tender-engines-at-his-mother’s-head stage of frustration. “Sorry, darling. Skarloey won’t fit in the Sodor Saw Mill because there are GREEDY EVIL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WHO HATE ME AND WISH TO MAKE MY LIFE A LIVING HELL.”
It’s a wonder that I haven’t banned Thomas outright from this household, like I did “Barney & Friends” where just the words “Super Dee Dooper!” can send me into a muderous rage. Super Dee Dooper? Why, I’ll Super Dee Dooper your purple padded arse…
And yes, I think I’ll take myself off for a little lie-down right now…