Train of thought

‘The train of thought refers to the interconnection in the sequence of ideas expressed during a connected discourse or thought, as well as the sequence itself, especially in discussion; and how this sequence leads from one idea to another.’

Our capacity to misunderstand each other (or indeed ‘misunderestimate’ as a former colleague of mine was wont to say) is legendary, in our house. 

Often considered obtuse by the other family members; we have recently realised that our problem is we don’t adequately ‘show our workings‘ as every maths teacher recommends. The result is: no-one else knows why on earth we’ve just come out with what we’ve just said; at least 90% of the time.

A recent classic was at a friend’s wedding. I spotted Manchester’s premier Chinese restauranteur arriving and taking his seat (just as the bride and father began the walk to the altar). I whispered as much. 

My other and better half, who was looking at the studiously understated vicar, whispered back “He’s a Chinese restauranteur??” I said “Yes!”. When she asked again, and then for a third time I slightly exasperatedly hissed: “For God’s sake honey, yes, he is…” (myself now looking firmly at the vicar, in full sermon). She looked non-plussed.

All became clear some time later at the end of the service, as the flamboyantly kilted, bald – and indeed only Chinese man in the congregation stood up – having been largely obscured by my head, to our left… 

Following the Vicar/Chinese restauranteur incident, we have realised: sharing a bit more of what we’ve been thinking sometimes helps. We’ve come to call it sharing the ‘train of thought’. 

Our family problem, we now realise is we’re a bit Channel Tunnel or indeed the new Swiss ‘Gotthard Base’: deep underground, thinking our private thoughts; then briefly appearing with a comment or conclusion giving no clue as to the ‘train of thought’ we’ve been journeying on. 


A day in our heads is like a day on the London Underground – popping above ground with a thought or statement – before buzzing off down a completely different line, to appear again, unexpectedly, somewhere else altogether.


Revealing a little of the ‘train of thought’ certainly helps the family dynamic – and is making us laugh out loud too. We all go on some hilariously roundabout routes in our heads.

It could be worse; describing the ‘train of thought‘ to a colleague at work, she said: “It’s like Clapham Junction in our family… everyone talks; and all at the same time!” 


I like our family’s underground ‘train of thought’; for all we’re often in the dark, it’s never dull.

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