Monday, 9 March 2015
The pensioners' big dipper
Last Wednesday I had an eye appointment (dreary, boring) in Kendal involving drops thereby prohibiting driving.
I've lived in Arnside for nearly fifteen years now and I went to Kendal on the bus for the first time - quite an adventure.
Five minutes walk from home took me to the bus stop for the 9:35 and a chat with a neighbour who lives not far from me but we have never previously spoken. The bus arrived on time empty. I had to be instructed by the driver on the ritual of using my bus pass - he seemed quite resigned to dealing with yet another geriatric befuddled pensioner.
By the time we got to Milnthorpe (about three miles) the bus was full - full of greys, and there was a strong whiff of Vick camphor rub and mint humbugs, and a cacophony of chattery-chatter. I never saw a single person who paid. I got the impression that many of the passengers just came for the ride and the social occasion - it was all very period, like a scene from Dr. Finlay's Casebook. I felt a bit guilty, and possibly anachronistic sneaking a quick photo down the bus with my iPhone.
From Milnthorpe a left turn took us on a network of country roads only about a foot wider than the bus, and through tiny villages. The driver seemed to be up against a tight schedule scything along much faster than I do in the car, and the closeness to hedges, lampposts and walls on the lefthand side demonstrated astonishing skill; I wondered at our avoidance of major contact with anything other than twigs and branches. There were occasions when cars were met coming the other way, and it was invariably our driver who did the backing up showing another facet of his mastery of bus handling.
We landed in Kendal on time at 10.21 after 56 minutes exhilarating travelling time that would have been much longer due to caution if I had been driving my car. My direct route to Kendal would normally take about twenty minutes. I returned on the 12.45 docking back at 13:40, so it doesn't have to be an all day event as I had anticipated.
Would I do it again? Oh yes!