Embarrassing story alert...

I was enjoying a rare evening out with Mark and without kids, celebrating a friend's birthday. Imagine the scene: Prosecco, laughter and conversation...until I suddenly announce, “TRAIN!!” in an extremely excitable and rather loud voice - I'd seen one pass along a bridge over the Thames.

The group suddenly became silent - before erupting in laughter. “Typical mum of boys,” one person said; “Abi, you actually sound like you are excited!” said another.

Let me give you a glimpse into my daily life...

Since being on maternity leave with my second child, I'm enjoying West Ealing train station.

I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I walk there almost every day with the boys. We watch the trains from the bridge as they pass underneath us.

Fast trains, slow trains, noisy trains, quiet trains, diesel trains, electric trains, airport trains, Paddington trains, cargo trains...and best of all, trains with cars on!

My two year old has had this obsession for a while and I am loving every minute of it.

When I was a child, I wanted to be a train driver when I grew up. I even had a train simulator game on a floppy disc for my computer!

My husband is the biggest Crossrail geek I know. He likes to drop it into conversation daily!

But it's not just about trains...

I never realised how much an excitable toddler, waiting for daddy at commuter time, would open the door to so many conversations with people in our surrounding neighbourhood.

  • Many people have asked if I'd like a hand carrying my pram down the steps to get on the train.
  • The man who works at the station gives me a polite nod and waves at us most days.
  • I've had the opportunity in the last month to meet other mums of boys who live on my road - we find ourselves talking about the trains and the best viewing spots (Waitrose car park Crossrail access gate being a favourite).

Through these conversations, I've loved inviting these families into my home for a parent and toddler group.

I'll summarise my ramblings in 5 easy steps...

  1. Enjoy the simple things - In this case, trains have led to friendships being formed and community being built.

  2. Love being local - Enjoy your surroundings, the people around you and what Ealing has to offer.

  3. Talk to your neighbours! Or at least start with a smile and see where it leads.

  4. Invite people into your home - Make the first move.

  5. Make new friendships - Everyone loves a new friend.