At the weekend, Master A and I hopped on an overhead from London Victoria and headed to see some friends in Brighton.
We jumped in a Quiet Zone carriage. I had to smile when there were a few raised eyeballs, and a couple of sighs from passengers who expected the worst from an eight-year-old boy.
As regular readers will know I’m not one of those mums who think it’s a violation of a child’s human rights to chastise high-spirited and or creative (read loud and obnoxious) behaviour.
Nor, too, do I expect the world to coo and fawn over my son, to find everything he does charming and amusing. I find him annoying and way-too-loud at times so why shouldn’t anyone else.
He was given strict instructions to wear headphones, and to lower the sound while playing on the iPad. A couple of times, at the start of the journey, he got a tad excited when he managed to capture illusive Pokémon.
These minor outbursts were hastily met with a foot nudge, and look of disapproval from me that reminded him to keep a low profile. My reproach appeared to alleviate the fears of our fellow passengers.
The carriage quiet, everyone relaxed into the journey… that was until we pulled into Gatwick, the one other stop on our journey, where a Joules-clad mum, with her three children – one boy around the same age as Master A, another about six, and a girl of about four – boarded.
Our Zen-like carriage was suddenly shattered, with the mum making it her business to let everyone know she and her brood – Ivo, Zander and Immy, I’m guessing – were on board and would not be taking note of it being a Quiet Zone.
While the children proceeded to cause havoc, running up and down the carriage, she chatted loudly on her mobile: “They’ve installed an inflatable hot tub in the garden ... I agree it gives out entirely the wrong message.”
Indian budget carrier IndiGo recently introduced a ban on under-12s from travelling in its premium seats, acknowledging that young children can be an annoyance to other passengers.
Here’s a thought: Can we extend that ban to smug middle-class parents? Period!