Early this morning, clutching my FREE Bus Pass, I wandered down to the bus station go shopping in the big town. I had the choice of two towns to visit and against my better judgement I went into Camoludunum. There I planned to visit Waterstones, a second hand bookshop, a Christian bookshop, a shop selling almost every odd thing you need but don't have, and acquire a couple of T-shirts to replace dying stock.
From the off there were problems. For a start the driver did not want to let me on.
"Is that your dad's pass?" He asked brusquely.
Tempting as it was to agree with him the woman behind me, whom I once delivered mail to, intervened.
"Nah! He's a miserable old git right enough!" She said somewhat too eagerly.
As I climbed the stairs I mused on how willingly the driver accepted her opinion! Bah!
Ah, upstairs on a bus! An unusual experience these days for me. Useful for looking into passing gardens and people's windows, seeing life hidden from normal view and giving a new outlook on the world. Few others joined us, half term means kids are out and about but few joined us today I'm glad to say. Two grans brought two primary school kids to the front seats and almost immediately a chinky bloke sat alongside them. Seconds later the male child was sitting on his knee as a joke, and I noticed the grans holding their handbags cudgel fashion. When I next looked one gran was quietly sitting behind him. Subtle. He was no danger, the man was just socially unaware, as he would soon be made aware if the women misunderstood.
Passing through a village I noticed once again the quaintness of the ancient houses, the narrowness of the road compared to the size of a double decker bus, and recalled that while this place looked interesting the people were, somewhat insular! English you see, they are not egalitarian like what we are. During the plague this village blocked the road with barriers to stop the plague getting in! I must go back there, when the sun shines, and have a browse at the prices in the shop windows. Sadly the day remained overcast until I was heading home again, and wee villages require sunshine. The quaint houses compared badly to the shopping centre some miles further on, in particular the new 'Sainsburys' that surprised me by its size! It was as big as a football stadium! On the other side stood a 'Boots' with a 'Drive Thru Prescription' service! Now excuse me but who uses that? Do you phone up and order the bottle of 'embarrassing stuff' and drive in the side door so no-one can see you? Typically it is spelt badly, must be Yank inspired.
As we neared town I cleaned my glasses for the third time. Vision had been quite misty up till then. It was as I cleaned I realised it was the sleep in my eye, not the film on the glass! In the town stood a field, several trees, planted a few years ago, stood knee deep in long grass. Behind them stood goalposts, just the one set, surrounded by a deep layer of brown mud. No accompanying set of goals were to be seen. This reminded me of the difference between the British Isles attitude to the beautiful game, and Johnny foreigners approach. The proper approach is the one we took when young. A couple of jumpers were deposited as goals, I would take my usual place as goalkeeper, and the rest would spend time crossing the ball in or playing a kind of defence v attack format with one goal only. However in places like Spain and Italy, where the sun shine most of the year, young men get a ball, meet in a park and do not set up goals. Instead they pass the ball, dribble, experiment on fancy ball control, and the like. Technique is all, while getting on with the game was our idea! The result is the better control of foreign players, and their goalies constant struggle while dealing with crosses. The British drive is missing although in the south high temperatures mitigate against that. The cold means we need to run about quick! A simple thing those posts, but they speak loudly about our game.
I alighted the bus as we entered the centre, a mistake I was to discover later. Heading straight for 'Waterson's' I clutched tightly my Book Token given to me at Christmas by a sensible, intelligent young lady, and began to search for something worthwhile, educational,
One place I did find was the Priory, a ruin that stands in the middle of town, and was erected around 1100. That's not eleven in the morning, I mean the year 1100. An interesting ruin which I must read up on and I will mention this later as my dinner is burning as I write. Nothing new there either.
The journey home began badly. The bus station was not there! Someone had closed it down and moved it elsewhere. I should not have got off where I did. Eventually a nice man told me where to go, as opposed to less nice men who have told me where to go willingly in times past. Once at the new station I boarded after a short wait, again accompanied by the socially unaware chink who chose to sit behind the adolescent brat in the front seat even though the bus was empty. Brats mother ignored his placing his feet on the window ledge, something my folks would have never allowed, and her desire to phone a friend and allow us all to enjoy her loud conversation gave cause for concern. The concern being I had forgotten my chainsaw! However I sat happily as the sun shone brightly in the window, indicating the soon return of Spring, hooray! Being upstairs I noticed all those small items, names, carvings, (I canny mind the word) found between windows on Victorian homes, and there were many. Some were painted, some not, many were intricate and while copied from a pattern book were worth a look. So were the 80 or so Mercedes Benz parked awaiting customers during these austerity days. However I suspect that austerity or not they will not be there long. As the bus began the journey home I also noticed the Oxfam bookshop. I had walked past the new, larger shop twice.
I will have to visit boring Chelmsford now, bah!