Lee's Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends
Nadia the Know-all
The history of the Island of Sodor is much cherished by all that live on it. There are museums, tours, books and festivals that all celebrate the wonderful back story the Island has had and the one that is yet to come too. One historian, Nadia Jones, is Sodor's best regarded on the Island and her popularity with people of all ages meant the Sodor Historical Society agreed to allow her to give an historical tour on the rails. It would be the first of its kind on the Island and one the board, the engines, and most of all Nadia were looking forward to.
"It is an extreme pleasure and honour to do this," said Nadia proudly to the society upon hearing the news. "I am sure that we will make our history most entertaining."
It was early one morning on the Island and James was snoozing in his shed dreaming of being important and grand.
"Sodor's finest," he mumbled through his sleep. He wanted to be the most important he had ever been and with the announcement of Nadia Jones historical train tours, James knew this was his moment to shine. Admittedly, he'd never been overly interested in the history of Sodor but an important job nonetheless meant it was for him. His dream got even grander and he could see himself with ribbons and rosettes and a new royal red paint scheme all across him. This was one of the best dreams he had ever had.
"JAMES!" then interrupted a voice loudly. James startled and woke up immediately. His eyes were widen in the suddenness of it all and stayed that way when he saw the Fat Controller waiting in front of him. "Ahem," the Fat Controller then sighed. "Are we awake yet?"
"Yes, sir…" said James in an embarrassed tone. He felt bad and he could see Edward next to him smiling widely. Edward was trying to hide the smile but he couldn't do it.
"Ahem," the Fat Controller then interrupted again. "As you know, Miss Nadia Jones will be starting her new train tours within the next couple of days. I've been told by Miss Jones to select the train for the tour and seeing as work has dictated you two being the only options, I think it is only fair that on balance, James has the right flare for an entertaining history tour."
"Well done, James…" congratulated Edward. He was rather glad to have not got the duty as he was already swamped with enough work as it was. James though wasn't inundated but was still very shocked at the announcement.
"Sir!" he said in shock. "I can't believe it. I'm going to pull the history train?"
"Indeed," smiled the Fat Controller. "Now, come Friday the tour will be ready for its maiden trip, so I'll leave this copy of the route for you and your crew to observe. Miss Jones is very much looking forward to this."
"I am too!" beamed James as the Fat Controller left. Edward began to give his congratulations again but James couldn't hear him as he was day-dreaming again and saw himself as Sodor's finest once more…
James still couldn't believe things even on the morning of the first history tour. He'd been smartened up by workmen upon the orders of Miss Jones and a Sodor Historical Society crest was adorned on his footplate for the journey. James felt more special than he had for many years and loved the attention he was getting. There were photographers taking his photo and news reporters talking to him about the tour. This was the life for James, but soon he had to set off to join his open-topped carriages for the day. The sun was shining and everything was lovely; Nadia was dressed smartly in a yellow dress and summer hat and her hair was bunched nicely in a lovely intricate plait.
"James!" she smiled as James backed up to the carriages. "My, it is wonderful to see you."
"The same for you," James replied. He could see passengers eagerly waiting and soon they boarded in great anticipation of the trip. There were people young and old all aboard and James couldn't wait. Soon, he heard a guard's whistle and then they were off. Steam hissed everywhere and the tour was underway. Nadia was standing up and held a microphone to amplify her historical observations. The passengers oohed and arred and looked on in wonder at what they were seeing.
"This," began Nadia as James slowed down to a halt. "Is the old ruins of Sodor's first manor. This is where an ancestor of Sir Topham Hatt lived here and worked wonders for all around." The passengers were impressed and the tour carried on in the same vein for much of the journey. James had been enjoying it but was getting more and more annoyed with Miss Jones knowledge of seemingly everything.
"Does she know everything there is to know?" he thought. "It's a bit….arrogant…" he added as Nadia pointed out the latest landmark of the tour. They were soon approaching the halfway point of the journey and James brought the tour into Maron station for a rest while passengers stretched their legs and had a snack. Nadia departed with them for tea and scones but James wasn't overly pleased. Miss Jones' knowledge of everything was getting on his nerves and he told his crew just as much.
"Well, she did have to prepare for this tour," said the driver. "It's all been rehearsed."
"Yes, but even when people ask her something completely unrelated she has an answer for it, and it's the right one too." countered James. "She's a know-all. She's showing off…" James driver and fireman just chuckled and then left to get their snacks. James wanted the tour to be over soon as he'd simply had enough of Nadia's know-it-all ways. He could see Edward coming in the distance and Edward saw he was glum.
"What's the matter?" asked Edward kindly. "Aren't you enjoying the tour?"
"Yes and no," said James. "Seeing all the sights is wonderful and this crest on my footplate is marvellous, but I don't like Nadia. She knows everything and is showing off. I don't particularly feel important."
"Nonsense," retorted Edward. "You're being really useful. Without you, this tour wouldn't be happening would it?"
"I suppose," said James. "But I just want Miss Jones to stop knowing everything. The next time she answers something perfectly, I just don't know how I'll react."
"Well from what I've heard," began Edward. "She only deals with facts. She doesn't like to think of stories and tales that have supposedly happened, it's not her way. She knows all the facts there are to know, but if you or someone mentioned something about a myth, fable or fantasy, I doubt she'd know all about them."
"So, if I brought up something like the Ogre of Sodor, she'd be stumped?"
"It's very likely." replied Edward. "But only use it when appropriate. She's a nice lady, don't upset her just because she's annoying you slightly." he then advised before setting off. James took it all in and prepared his plan before the second part of the tour was due to start.
"All aboard!" called the guard as the tour resumed and set off again. Nadia was still clearly enjoying herself and so were the passengers. The tour was looking to be a great success but James was still looking to stop Miss Jones' know-it-all ways. He'd taken onboard everything Edward had said and was just biding his time. His chance soon came when he came to his next halt point on the tour. It was a little through line that had recently been reopened. It overlooked hills and valleys and in the far distance was a little old stone ruin that was the area's key historical focus.
"As you can see," began Nadia. "The ruin is hundreds of years old, thousands possibly."
"Who lived there?" a child eagerly asked.
"Currently, it isn't known. I would divulge in some guesswork but it just simply isn't my way at all." she replied. James then took his chance.
"Er, Miss Jones?" he asked.
"Do you think something like the Ogre of Sodor could have lived there?" he asked. "I mean, it is spooky looking."
"The Ogre isn't exactly real," Nadia then stumbled. "It's…a….story."
"But it's one of Edward's, he doesn't lie. All his stories are true. It's the same with Duke; the pair of them do not lie." he added with a grin etched across his face. The passengers agreed and began to mutter amongst themselves.
"James is right," said one.
"There's nothing to disprove the Ogre…" mumbled another. Nadia just looked on in shock. She knew about the supposed Ogre of Sodor and other odd tales the Island had but she couldn't believe people were actually discussing them as if they were fact. She looked horrified at the thought.
"Right," she stuttered. "Any other questions?" "
"Do you think the old ghost King lived there?" asked a man. "No-one knows where the ruins of the castle are. That could be them?"
"The ghost King is just another story," said Nadia. "And please if people are going to ask about fables, works of fiction or just plain old wives tales, refrain from it." she then ordered. James was secretly smiling to himself and loved the fact she had stumbled her way through the last few questions. She had dithered and dodged like he'd never seen her do before, it was great. The passengers were not listening to Miss Jones' demands and children and adults alike were asking all sorts of questions about myths and tales they had all been brought up on. Nadia looked more horrified with each question and pulled at her bunched up hair. She clearly wasn't happy at all. "PLEASE BE QUIET!" she then shouted. She was shocked at the outburst herself as silence fell among the passengers. "I just said do not ask any more about such things. I deal in facts and facts alone."
"You don't know a lot then, do you?" one child then said. Nadia was stopped in her tracks by the comment. "These stories are just a part of Sodor as the facts." they added. Others agreed and then muttered amongst themselves about it. James hadn't anticipated anything like this to happen at all and soon his crew decided it was best to get going again and best to head back home. Nadia just sat down quietly on her seat alone and for the rest of the journey all she could hear was people talking about things that weren't really there. The child had summed it up; she didn't know everything, and that shocked her.
It wasn't long before the tour arrived back where it had begun and even though the tour had ended a bit abruptly, the passengers were generally pleased. Nadia was last to get off the train and looked incredibly glum. James felt a bit sorry for her.
"Miss Jones!" he called out. "I'm sorry if I caused any problems."
"Oh, it's no problem," she smiled. "You were right and so were the passengers. Knowing all the facts in an odd sort of way has narrowed down my knowledge. I'm not open to these stories and possibilities, and you are right about Edward and Duke. They don't lie. I think the next tour might have to wait a little yet…I think I need to brush up on my Ogres and strange things before then."
"I didn't think you'd take it this well if I'm honest," admitted James. "I thought you'd have been angry."
"I was a first," said Nadia. "But I'm not now. I'm glad it happened because I don't know everything; it's a new challenge for me. I got things to learn and to embrace. The next tour will be even better because of this, and it's all down to you, James!" she then congratulated.
"Thank you Miss Jones…" said James.
"Nadia," corrected Miss Jones. "Nadia who doesn't quite know it all…" she then smiled as she and James just laughed.