It’s never a good idea to wander through a writer’s mind, especially on a Monday.
Do you rush round cleaning and tidying when the in laws are coming, are you nervous when important visitors are expected? Spare a thought for President Macron who had to cancel the visit of King Charles III as the place was in too much of a mess…
Most of us worry about the cost of running our homes. This is nothing new. We are reading Jude the Obscure for our book club. Jude and Sue are going for a very long walk on the wild heathlands of Wessex and with no coffee shops in sight and poor Sue getting weary, they call at the only cottage for miles around. They end up sharing the mother and son’s dinner and staying the night. In conversation the cottager complained she will never get her roof fixed because the price of thatch has gone up so much.
Yes, I’ve been to the Giant gallery again.
I’ll leave readers to comment… while I take a wander down to the beach.
It is that time of year when Bournemouth council, or more accurately BCP Council now ( Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole ) tells us by how much our beach hut rent has gone up, with various explanations as to why. We were on the waiting list for six years and I guess most beach hut people will pay up rather than lose the six foot by six foot piece of concrete they rent. It’s best not to calculate the cost per minute of sitting in the sun, making a cup of tea or having your own private changing room. There are people who go every day, but most of us have other things to do, places to go and gardens looking accusingly at us. I had not visited since last year, though I have walked past to make sure it was still there. The council does not own our huts and how ever much we have paid, the hut is worth nothing if you can’t unlock it. Weather and salty air play havoc with padlocks, whether they have keys or a combination lock and pulling the shackle out can be as impossible as pulling Excalibur from the stone if you are not the future King Arthur.
Luckily I brought WD 40 from home. I have never known what WD 40 is actually made of, but I love the scent and apparently WD and duct tape are all you need to solve most DIY problems. There is a can of WD 40 in the beach hut, but that is not much use if you can’t get in… I used a lot of WD 40 and had to resort to going away to wash half a can of it off my hands then sneaking back, when the second padlock wasn’t looking, to open it.
When you walk down here it feels like being on holiday.
When you see your patch of sea you know it was worth the money and the struggles with the padlocks.
As the padlocks soak up WD 40 and you soak up the winter sun and eat your sandwiches you know it was worth it.
Then after two bites of your sandwich the weather changes, your tea gets cold and you wonder if your friends will regret saying they would ‘pop in’ for a cup of tea.This is why you keep blankets at the beach hut…
…but the sun will probably come out again before it goes down.
When I was lying on the couch having biopsies taken, the doctor said ‘Do you want to be treated at Bournemouth or Poole hospital?’ My immediate response was Poole, to her surprise. I explained that though I lived in Bournemouth and the hospital is nearer as the crow flies, my local buses both stop right outside Poole hospital, while Bournemouth hospital involves two buses, waiting and stress or perhaps one that only goes once an hour. After this discussion on buses it dawned on me she must have been certain, with all the tests I was having that morning at the Dorset Breast Screening Unit ( at Poole hospital ) , that I did have breast cancer.
I didn’t actually come back on the bus after my operation, but there were numerous routine visits and breast cancer patients are under the hospital for five years, so my decision was wise. Perhaps I should add that this bus journey does take an hour, which would horrify car drivers, but you can relax and catch up with blogs on your phone or people/passenger watch/eavesdrop. The hospital is also a short walk from the main town with shops? – well modern shopping is for another blog – museum, eateries and Poole Harbour, so if you have only been to the hospital for a quick blood test you can at least make an outing out of it.
I have been using buses since before I was born, everywhere I have lived, except for an Australian country town; so I have earned my bus pass. If you don’t drive, walking, cycling, buses and trains are essential and we non drivers are good for the environment, not that anyone thanks us. But I totally understand that lots of people have no reliable public transport or just think we are insane. The typical new bus passenger gets on board explaining to everyone that he doesn’t normally go on buses, but his car is at the garage getting fixed. He then looks round for an empty seat or the least weird looking person to sit next to. If, when you go on a bus for the first time, you have waited a long time at the bus stop, the driver is rude, there are some very odd people on board plus the local drunk, the bus is packed with noisy school children and you are squashed standing in the aisle I can understand that you would vow never to go on a bus again.
But part of the fun of buses is you can never be sure what will happen! Sometimes something worse happens, such as hearing that your local bus company has suddenly gone into liquidation… That happened to our yellow buses, just as they were celebrating their 120th birthday. Luckily for me we have another bus company, suitably called More Buses, already running my favourite blue bus, M2, going frequently back and forth between Southbourne and Poole bus station with heating, on board Wi Fi, phone chargers and electronic boards and speaker messages telling you which bus stop is coming up. They stepped into the breach within days ( far more efficiently than governments run countries ) offering jobs to yellow bus drivers and bringing in More buses from all over the place. This has made local trips interesting as buses of all colours and ages have turned up, so you have to be very careful to check the numbers. Don’t get on the green bus covered in pictures of trees and ponies and highlighting the delights of the New Forest and expect to go to this fantastic National Park if it says 1a on the front. There have also been drivers who have to ask the passengers which way they are supposed to be going.
Hey Ho, all part of the fun of buses and then there are the passengers, can you even be a writer if you don’t take buses? Hearing people’s life stories, missing your stop because you have got so involved in the phone conversation going on behind you. One early evening I got on the bus at Poole and a chap at the front had a homemade guitar, literally made of bits of wood nailed together and string tied on. It did actually make notes and he was telling everyone about it, in fact he talked non stop till he got off in Bournemouth, at times like these I love buses.
Do you go by bus? If so, have you had any strange trips?