A Bus Full of Irritated Passengers

I wonder if this absolutely true story will make you as cross as it made me?

I’d been shopping and was, for once, in a very chirpy frame of mind.  The bus was on time, the bus driver was smiling – all was well in my world.  I settled into my seat, an elderly couple sat behind me and an older lady with lots of bags (who I shall refer to as A) sat a couple of seats behind them.  On the other side of the aisle a lady (who I shall refer to as B) sat in the front seat.

As we pulled away, there was some ‘Hello, how are you?’ sort of chit chat.  Then A asked B how her son was – B answered that he was fine, she’d just left him ‘in that caff’ with his girlfriend.  A replied ‘That’s nice.  I like her.  How’s her baby – must be growing up now?’

B launched into a story about how he wasn’t with that girl now, and she’d been told by ‘the social’ that she had to get a job now her baby was full time at school.  No way was she going to work – she didn’t have time – so was going to have another baby instead! (I swear this is true!)  No, he wasn’t still living at home, he’d got a council flat!  She said he’d gone to the council with ‘his mate’s girl’ and her two children and told the council they were a family and homeless – it only took six months and he got a flat!

The others on the bus were a bit dumb-struck by this and new people got on and were also riveted by the revelations.

A asked if B was still living in the same place.  Yes she was, in her four bedroom house, which was lovely because it had a dining room and a nice kitchen that the council had renewed at the end of last year for her.  B asked if having such a large house just for her meant her benefits had been cut because of the empty bedrooms!  Much laughter from B.  No, of course not.  When they told her they were coming round, she got her brother, who owned his own ‘gaff’ in Copnor, to come up with some clothes and pretend he was in one room, and her lad came back and said another room was his, and she said the third empty room was her other son’s but he was in hospital (not to mention totally fictitious).

As she pointed out, ‘the council’ was always in a hurry and as long as you spread some clothes about the place, they ticked it off on their list!

She found the stairs wore her out these days so she’d spoke to a ‘really nice young girl’ ‘up the office’ and they were going to put a stair lift in for her too.

The lady behind me tapped me on the shoulder and whispered ‘how does she get away with it?’  Well I don’t know how she gets away with it, but I know who pays for it all and it is each and every one of us who pays our taxes!

When B is enjoying herself in Turkey in June, I bet she doesn’t give a thought to where the money comes from!

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There are a lot of things in life that I am a bit scared of – most of which would make me sound like an idiot!  However, I really value my books, read voraciously and enjoy my ability to write – one of my bigger fears is losing this ability.

On Thursday I went for a check up at the opticians.  I have one good eye and one which is quite feeble, meaning I’ve worn glasses since I was a small child and which has never got any better.  However, as the proud possessor of three pairs of glasses at the moment, I manage.

Imagine my shock to be told I have cataracts!  One in each eye but the one in my good eye is worse.  The optician told me this in a cheerful voice last heard when my dentist told me my teeth were fine and I didn’t need any work!!  What?  What do you mean?  What can I do about it?   Answers came there none except the reassurance that it is to be expected in people ‘of my age’.  Apparently it’s still small but is still the reason why I keep complaining that words are blurry and sometimes covered with a grey splodge.  I have to go back in another year when it will be measured again to see if it has got any worse.  I think I might know before they bother with that!

I’m really not enjoying this ‘getting old’ lark.

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This will probably only mean something to those of you familiar with our local ‘super hospital’ known as the QA.

The Main Man had an appointment this week at quarter to eight in the evening!  We gave ourselves plenty of time to find somewhere to park, as this is always the biggest issue there – but there were several ‘disabled’ places to choose from.  We strolled in past a group of patients in various stages of undress, some in wheelchairs and one with a bag of some sort of fluid on a stand, all chatting away as they smoked outside the door, totally ignoring the huge signs telling you NOT to smoke!

Along the quiet, empty corridors to the department where all was business as usual.  There were about a dozen or so people there, coming and going.  The Main Man was soon called and vanished but I was talking to a lady in a wheelchair who comes every three months for a check.  She lives at Gosport and has to have a taxi which costs her £14 each way – this is an agreed price and not on the meter because the traffic jams on the single road would bump it up.  There used to be a couple of hospitals at Gosport she could have gone to but the NHS decided the Super-hospital would serve the whole area and the others were closed as being uneconomic.

Long before I finished the first chapter of my book, the Main Man was back, finished and we were on our way.  Now we have to wait until 15 June for the results!

~ ~ ~ ~

The Senior Girl is, as I may have mentioned (cough, cough) a teacher.  She asked if I would ring the surgery and make her an appointment for sometime in May to see the doctor either before or after school or on Saturday.  Nothing urgent at all but she needed it to be before 24th , when she has another medical appointment that requires the results of her visit to the GP.

No chance of that!  No appointments before 8.30 or after 4.00 except with the nurse.  Only one Saturday morning a month and that is fully booked. The receptionist could only suggest that she take a morning off and have an appointment mid-morning – but she feels that she can’t just abandon her class for something that isn’t particularly urgent but that she needs to be sorted before another appointment elsewhere.

I know it’s not their fault – they are a bit understaffed with one doctor off on maternity leave and have several locums in and out but it is so frustrating.  They used to have at least one evening a week when they opened for appointments until 7.30 pm so that people who were working but had a non urgent reason for seeing the doctor could do so, but not now.

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I hope the sun shines for you over this Bank Holiday weekend and that you enjoy whatever you may be doing.  Take care and stay well.

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How Many Wives to Make a Family?

 

Recently I watched a short series on the television called One Man, Three Wives.  Did you see it?

It was about a group of Fundamentalist Mormons (not the regular ones!) who follow the original teaching of their church to have multiple wives and as many children as possible.  They lived in what might be called a village I suppose, in the wilds of the Utah desert, in the shelter of some enormous rocky hills (or mountains!).  It initially focussed on one man and his three wives, all of whom talked individually about their lives – and it made fascinating viewing.

They don’t all live in one big house – the man and his first wife live in their original home, then when they decided to add a wife to their family, a huge hole was blown in the base of a massive rock, and they built a home in there – and the homes were lovely.  The children all live with their own mother and the man spends an evening, night and morning with one wife, before moving onto the next one.  There appeared to be no doubt in the children’s mind about who was who – they clearly knew who their parents were and understood that they had a lot of brothers and sisters – and called the other ‘moms’ by their first names.

The sheer numbers of children was extraordinary – wives thought nothing of having 10 children or more.  I couldn’t establish where their income came from and yet they certainly weren’t living in poverty.  The homes were well furnished, there was plenty of food on the tables, they were all well dressed, drove cars and everyone had phones.

The brother of one of the men died, leaving two wives and nine children and his last request was that his brother would obey the biblical instruction to marry his wives and take care of them and their children.  Much heart searching as the three existing wives discussed whether this was what they would be comfortable with – but in the meantime one of the widows had found a boyfriend of her own.

I found the interaction between the wives fascinating!  There were no abducted teenage girls being forced into marriage against their will or anything – just ordinary, everyday women thinking they were doing the right thing and making good lives for themselves and their children.  They had an equal say in all decisions, including the most important – should there be an additional wife?

I found myself feeling sorry for the husbands, trying to keep everyone happy; turning up with flowers for each wife on Valentine’s Day, trying to remember the anniversary dates for each wife and to celebrate with them – and when he had an argument with one wife not running to another for some peace but sticking at it and working it out.

Strange concept but it appeared to be working for them

~ ~ ~ ~

Every now and again I read or hear a phrase and suddenly it’s everywhere.  The one I hear a lot at the moment which really irritates me is ‘First World Problem’ – which instantly indicates that it is not important and you should be grateful not to have anything more important to worry about.  Of course your problem is a First World problem, because that is where we live and the way we organise our lives and of course there are more serious problems elsewhere in the world.  However, at any particular time, whatever you are worrying about is important to you and therefore worthy of respect and perhaps help too.

If someone is talking about starving children in a war zone we wouldn’t dream of trying to put them down by saying ‘Third World Problem’!   Let’s please not try and diminish people who have any sort of problem, no matter how trivial it may seem to us.  To them at that moment it is important and even if all we can do is listen, they have honoured us by sharing and they deserve our acceptance.

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This weekend has been the Main Man’s annual Pilgrimage to Walsingham in Norfolk.  Every year I cherish these three days as time to myself to do exactly what I want, when I want.  As always I had a list as long as my arm of things I was going to accomplish in his absence – and how many of them have I actually finished?  Well, as you will be shocked to hear, the answer is none!  I’ve read, written, fiddled and pottered but not achieved one single thing on my list.

I’ve had visits from my brother as well as the Senior and Junior Girl, I’ve chatted a lot and laughed a lot too.  I had dinner with my oldest friend with more chatting and laughing.  I’ve gone to bed when I felt like it and got up when I wanted to – all in all a restful time.  But – I have missed him and will be glad when ten o’clock this evening arrives and I can pick him up from the coach!

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Today is St George’s Day, and a day I always think of as being a good time to slay your own personal dragons!  So far the sun is shining, so whatever you decide to do, enjoy yourselves and stay safe.

A Week of Fun

For many years I worked as an Admin Officer in a local school and I still keep in touch with the few people who are still there.  This week I was asked to go in and audit the books of the unofficial account for them, which I was happy to do.

Such a joy to see the lady who used to work with me and bailed me out with cups of tea at all the tricky times, and unfailingly supported me.  Lots of people stopped by to say ‘hello’ and there was a lot of laughter and talking in passing until a dragon lady appeared and told the staff members off, as if they were children!  I was appalled at her rudeness but apparently this is par for the course.  Thankfully my friend is leaving there in the summer – I shan’t be going back.

~ ~ ~ ~

On Wednesday my brother and my sister in law (D and E) invited us out for lunch.  We didn’t know where we were going but were advised to bring a jacket or cardigan in case it was a bit chilly.  We set out in glorious weather, heading towards Chichester.  However, this was not necessarily a clue as we could be going anywhere!

After a lot of red herrings, we ended up on board a canal boat called The Richmond on the Chichester Canal.  The boat has been restored and is run by a hardworking team of volunteers and travels as far along the canal as they can, then carries out a rather dodgy-looking three-point turn and comes back in to the Chichester Basin.

During the journey we were served fish and chips with a glass of wine, with tea or coffee afterwards.  It was just such a peaceful, relaxing way to travel and eat and we absolutely loved it.  There was a moment of hilarity as D drew our attention to an albino duck stuck in the reeds which turned out to be an abandoned plimsole!

Once we docked, we strolled back to the café at the edge of the basin, sat outside in the sun and enjoyed a cup of tea and some home-made cakes.

What a lovely day – doing nothing in particular with excellent company, some nice food and some wine!  Pretty perfect really.

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The Main Man and I have taken to doing odd coach trips to various places and yesterday we spent the day at Highclere Castle.  The coach was, as always, spotlessly clean and driven by a lovely driver who got us there exactly on time.  The price (£41 pp) included entrance tickets to the Castle and to an Egyptian Exhibition.  I can only say that the company must have struck a good deal, as the normal adult admission price is £22 and the Exhibition is £15.

What an excellent day.  The sun was shining, it was warm, the gardens were beautiful and there were plenty of places to buy a cup of tea!  Because there was a long queue for the house, we started with the exhibition – which was fascinating.  We have been to Egypt and visited Tutankhamun’s tomb, so we knew the story of the fifth Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter and were fascinated by the artefacts – both real and replicas.

The house seemed almost familiar (as a devotee of Downton abbey which was filmed here) and I would not have been surprised to see Carson arrive!  They had conveniently labelled rooms with useful notes like ‘used as Lady Syble’s Bedroom’ and so on!  Such beautiful art works everywhere – most of which you don’t notice when watching on television.

Even if you are not a fan of Downton you may have seen the castle used in things like Jeeves and Wooster or Miss Marple.  Letting it be used by film and television companies all helps provide a good source of income to maintain the building.

The MM and I went to the courtyard to have a look in the gift shop, but got waylaid when we noticed a large holdall type bag, standing unattended against the wall which looked to me like the sort of bag some mums carry full of baby bits and pieces.  I hung about for a while but no one appeared to claim it so, in the end, the MM went into the Gift Shop and reported it to a woman there.  Security swung into action with walkie talkies and so on.  Just as they were deciding to call in the police, a woman hurried up – it was hers.  She had left it with her husband while she went to the shop – and he had left it there and wandered off!  Wouldn’t like to be in his shoes!

We had lunch sitting in the sun shine and wandered around the grounds, particularly admiring the absolutely huge Cedars of Lebanon which were scattered around throughout the area.

Of course, things were going rather too well.  Arriving back at the coach, we boarded and waited until everyone was settled when there was a little disagreement behind us about someone being in the wrong seat.  Turned out to be worse than that – they were on the wrong coach!  Our coach was a pristine white one – they should have been on the bright red one parked next to us!

The journey home was slow with what I suppose is the normal Friday evening traffic – and only some pretty impressive driving saved us from being involved in a nasty accident with a lorry who obviously hadn’t seen us and tried to swing across into the lane where there was no room.  However we eventually got back safe and sound after a great day out.

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The world is so full of disasters of one sort or another that it can be overwhelming and the feeling of being powerless can be frightening so I refuse to dwell on the bad and concentrate on the small pleasures that make my life joyful – and this has been a joyful week!

Is it just me?

We usually go to Old Folks Cinema (technically known as Silver Screen!) on a Thursday afternoon.  Because the Main Man had a hospital appointment on Thursday last week we decided to go on Tuesday morning with a friend, because it was a film we really wanted to see.  We turned up only to discover that the pre-purchased tickets were actually for Thursday!  There were no seats available for the morning at all, fully sold old!

Apparently it is the most popular film they’ve shown in a long time (it was United Kingdom – but, of course, all of us over 60s remember the story of Seretse Khama well, so it would be bound to be something we would want to see.)  However, they had decided to extend it for another week so I asked them to change the tickets, which they did so we will be going today (Tuesday) and trying again.

Then we had a phone call from the hospital to say the Consultant was off sick so the appointment was cancelled –we could have gone on our original tickets anyway!  Story of my life!

~ ~ ~ ~

Like most people, I was saddened by the deaths in the attack in London last week.  I heard it initially on the local radio station, then switched on the television to watch the updates.

Am I the only one disturbed by the speed with which it was declared to be a ‘Terrorist Attack’ instead of just a dreadful incident.  How did they know even before there had been time for the police to investigate anything?  Might it not just have been a deranged man determined to kill?  I heard an ‘eye witness’ quoted as saying he was carrying ‘two of the largest knives I had ever seen’ – and I’ve seen the photos in the newspapers today, showing that at least one of the knives wasn’t even as large as the police officer’s foot.

I am as sorry as anyone else that five people died, including the perpetrator, but do think the mention of the word ‘Terrorist’ brings with it the knee-jerk reaction – we must have a candlelight vigil, we must have displays of public sorrow, we must have a huge display of bunches of flowers, we must have public buildings flying flags at half mast and being lit up at night with red, white and blue, we must have memories shared by people who once spoke to one of the victims, there will be condolences from foreign heads of state – there seems now to be a well trodden path.

But all this is justified by the word ‘Terrorist – if it was five people killed by a drunk driver, or by someone at the wheel of a car who suffered a heart attack or something equally random it would be just as sad for their families and friends but the country wouldn’t feel an obligation to indulge in sharing their grief.

~ ~ ~ ~

Not entirely unconnected with the above, but when I am out and about, particularly in a very busy area, I am always quite alert to what is going on around me – using my eyes and ears to be aware.  I would never, ever, walk along staring at a screen and/or listening to something on my headphones – how on earth do you know what is happening near by?  Hearing a yell or a scream or even, in some circumstances, running footsteps, could alert you and give you a vital few seconds to take action of your own.  Common sense?  (And it’s also how you see and hear all the interesting things to share with other people!)

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I had to go to the bank last week to inquire about something.  They were happy to talk to me – but I had to provide photographic ID.  This was a big problem – I didn’t have anything deemed acceptable by the computer.  I did have my passport – which had run out last month and not yet been renewed and I don’t have a photographic driving licence.  Nothing else would do.  I pointed out that the photo on my passport was only a month out of date and even I hadn’t changed much in that time – but no, computer says no!  I pointed out that I had held an account with them for donkey’s years, go in every week and surely the appropriate security questions would suffice.  No – it was photographic evidence or no conversation!

What’s the best thing to do about this increasing need to prove who you are with a photo?  Renew my passport at a cost of over £70 just for that purpose?  Not really driving at all now, so reluctant to apply and pay for a new licence when I shall have to re-think it next year when I turn 70 anyway.  I welcome any bright ideas – I do have photographic things like an NSU Card and Bus Pass but apparently that is not acceptable as there are only two permissible choices!

~ ~ ~ ~

The sun has been shining, the clocks have gone on an hour – pointers that summer is on the way!  I love looking around the garden at this time of year and seeing everything either in bud or starting to flower, and to see the trees moving through looking fuzzy around the edges to being clothed in full green – and so the year rolls on.  April arrives this week and we are already a quarter of the way through the year!

Enjoy the spring days and longer evenings.

Take care of yourselves – I’m off to the cinema!

Just this and that

 

I suspect my brain is wired a little differently to a lot of other people’s, as I get cross about things that don’t matter to most of you and really don’t worry about things that upset other people.  This is not news to those of you who know me well!

Today’s irritation is hearing twice on the radio ‘not a lot of people know……..’ and later ‘well, who knew?’ leaving me with the feeling that half the country would say something like ‘well I never knew that’ while the other half of us are shouting ‘surely everyone knows that’!

I suspect it’s an age thing, although this is a very broad generalisation and I except those who take part in University Challenge!  I find that a lot of older people know the most odd things and have retained pieces of non-important trivia for donkey’s years while some younger people know very little that they haven’t been taught in school (and sometimes that’s a bit iffy too.  Why else would someone think that Henry VIII’s first wife came from Scotland?)   I growl when I am watching a quiz programme (which I often do) and the contestant doesn’t know the answer because ‘it was before I was born’ – although I did love it when the question master on one show said that anyone thinking that was an excuse deserved a red card!

I wonder why this is?  I am inclined to believe it’s because we were brought up to talk to each other over meals and in the evenings and, above all, we were encouraged to read everything and anything.  I may well be wrong so am open to other suggestions!

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While I’m on this semi-moan, semi-confused post, why have people starting using ‘two times’ instead of twice?  It sounds so odd and I don’t know when it started but a phrase like ‘he held the post of Minister two times’ on the six o’clock BBC News just sounds peculiar!  I was informed by the news this week that the word fortnight is now unknown to a lot of younger people who always refer to ‘two weeks’ – I suppose the words sennight or thrice is out of the question then?

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On Tuesday I experienced a lovely bit of serendipity.  I went for a routine blood test and as I know the usual phlebotomist, M, it’s usually quite fun as we catch up on the news.  This week I was greeted by a man – who I knew as a teenager but we recognised each other instantly.  We used to both be part of a crowd of young people – late teens/early twenties – attached to the local church who enjoyed each other’s company and had fun together.  As we hugged each other, we couldn’t stop laughing and the memories all came flooding back – ‘do you remember’ and ‘what happened to’?

T had been a member of St John’s Ambulance and tended to serve as our first aider on our more adventurous pursuits.  During one summer we had all gone camping in the New Forest, with two of the local clergy nominally in charge of us.  We went out one night on a night-hike and were dropped off by a visiting adult who had come in a mini bus (and we didn’t even think that was odd).  It transpired we were dropped on a disused air-field but we didn’t realise that, and were soon hopelessly lost.  After some time, T announced that he knew the way and it was over there……the last word vanishing as he dropped down a hole.

Fortunately, fairly quickly a troop of scouts came along, also on a hike, and stopped to offer help.  T was unconscious and the Scout leader demanded to know where our first aider was.  ‘In the ‘ole’ came the succinct reply.  Help appeared and we were eventually taken back to the camp site where T was found to be none the worse for wear and we all enjoyed the rest of the week.  Health and Safety would have had a field day!

Eventually M came along and joined us and, as we knew some of the same people, the story swapping continued.  Eventually we realised that it wasn’t meant to be a social outing, I had my blood taken and left – apologising profusely to the waiting queue!

What a joyful experience – and I was thrilled to learn that T had been awarded the OBE for Services to St. John’s Ambulance after serving 60 years with them!

~ ~ ~ ~

Days of rain, days of fog – but still things are starting to grow in the garden.  The hyacinths are up and smelling beautiful, the plants are in bud – everywhere there are signs of new growth.  I love this time of year despite the weather!

Stay well and enjoy your coming week.

A Day of Bus Incidents

I know I’ve had this conversation with you before – but what is there about me and bus journeys?  This week’s blog is about not one but four separate journeys on the same day – and the people I met!

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Like many women, I had become used to my Hairdresser who was the manageress of a nice salon in Chichester.  She left there and I thought that was the last I’d see of her.  However, there was an article in the local paper about a new salon opening, and there she was.  She and her oldest friend were opening up a new business – much smaller and not very luxurious, but at least I knew where she was.

Appointment secured, off I went on Monday in the absolutely pouring rain (perfect if you are having your hair sorted out).

I caught the usual bus to Havant Bus Station and, probably because of the weather, I was the only passenger.  A couple of stops later, a girl got on who looked about the Junior Girl’s age.  She was talking on her phone and tears were pouring down her face as she sniffed and snuffled.  Once the phone was put away, I went across and asked her if she was OK or was there anything I could do, thinking that it was probably a boyfriend problem.  She smiled at me and said they were happy tears because her sister had just given birth to a little girl and all was well.  The sister had given birth to a stillborn baby boy just over a year ago and they so wanted this one to be a girl – and all was wonderful.

We both got off together and she set off for Mothercare and left me smiling broadly at her as she left.  I then got on the, by now, famous 700 where I have had many interesting encounters.  As we drew away, again with very few passengers, the bus was unable to leave as the traffic lights were red and there was a queue of traffic, with a car blocking the exit road.

A man I guess to be in his 30s leapt to his feet and started yelling at the driver to get a move on as he had an appointment.  This did not bode well!  In vain did the driver try to show him that moving was impossible but the man was furious.  He started yelling to the car driver to move out of the *** way (many expletives here!) who appeared completely oblivious that the tirade was directed at her and, almost certainly,  couldn’t hear anyway over distance and through glass. I admit the lights did seem to take ages, but while the driver was telling the man to sit down and shut up, he missed them change and by the time he noticed the car had gone on its way and the lights were red again.  I had a vision of this continuing for the rest of the morning but in the end after much more shouting the driver opened the door and told the man to get off.  As you might expect he refused.  The driver told him that he had never thrown anyone off before but if the chap didn’t get off, then he would help him on his way.  He got off and we continued our journey with much tutting and so on.

I got off at Southbourne Church, taking evasive action as a hearse was unloading a coffin at the same time and crossed the road to a welcome cup of tea and catch up with my hairdresser.

A while later, and after a visit to the neighbouring farm shop as the rain had stopped, I caught the next 700 back to Havant.  Again, a mostly empty bus (this is really unusual occurrence and made me wonder if there was some sort of underground organisation reporting my movements so people don’t find themselves on my blog).  Just a couple of stops further along and a woman got on, carrying a largish rucksack.  ‘Want the Funfair’ she said as she proffered her Bus Pass.  The driver explained he didn’t go there, but she could get off in Portsmouth and get another bus to take her there. ‘Not Portsmouth, idiot, Hayling Funfair’.  The driver tried to explain that he went nowhere near there either, but she could get off in Havant and get on the Hayling Bus from there.  Nope.  She announced she wasn’t getting off until she got to the funfair and the driver told her she was in for a long wait as they were going to Gunwharf (Portsmouth) and then back to Bognor!

After much huffing and puffing, she sat in front of me muttering to herself, with her arms folded.  Eventually we arrived at the Bus Station.  The driver turned to her and told her that the Hayling Bus was already in, waiting at the next bay across and she could get that one.  She refused and said she wanted him to take her to Hayling right now!  He sighed, looked at the rest of us and said in a loud voice, ‘Right folks, we are off to Gunwharf now then returning to Bognor with no diversions’.  Some tittering and I got off, only to be closely followed by the woman who did eventually get on the right bus.  I was a bit disappointed, truth be told, as I expected her to be going backwards and forwards to Bognor for the rest of the day!

I needed to visit the bank so wandered into town instead of catching my bus.  Outside a coffee shop I almost bumped into an elderly lady (by this I mean much older than me – I am still middle aged!).  As I apologised, I noticed tears running down her cheeks, so did as anyone would and asked if I could help her.  She shook her head and looked so very sad.  I led her to a handily placed table outside the shop and sat her down, holding her hand.  She told me her husband had been dead a month and she had no other close family.  They used to shop together and she suddenly missed him very much and she kept apologising for crying.  We talked for while until she felt able to carry on with her day, and I headed off for my bus home – totally forgetting to go to the bank on my travels!  What a disappointment – nothing happened on this journey except a smiling driver, very few people and I got off at the right stop.

~ ~ ~ ~

What an interesting day – life and death, elements of madness, bad temper and good humour.  It seemed to have its own sense of balance – and I had a decent hair cut to show for it all!

~ ~ ~ ~

Have a good week, and try to stay dry and warm.

Civil Partnerships

I have been much exercised this week over the issue of same-sex civil partnerships for heterosexual couples.  I suspect you will have all seen or heard in the news about a couple who took their case to court to get permission for this which was refused.

At this point I should perhaps make it clear that I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with same-sex civil partnerships – if a couple want to make a public declaration of their love for each other, then this is fine by me.  I do however have problems with same-sex marriage, which I find, after much soul searching and thought, that I cannot accept believing, as I do, that a marriage should be between a man and a woman.

In this day and age a man and a woman can marry almost anywhere, they can shape their ceremony to suit themselves, make what vows they like, have whatever music they like and so on, and it becomes a very personal event.  Long gone now are the days when a marriage had to take place in Church.

It is also now generally accepted that a woman can keep her own surname after getting married or sometimes link their surname with the man, so that you end up with a double-barrelled name.  Miss Smith married Mr. Jones and they end up being Mr and Mrs Smith-Jones or Jones-Smith.

Given all of this, I just cannot understand why a man and a woman would want a civil partnership, which grants them no additional benefits and also takes nothing away from them.  I know that I am obviously missing something here – but what, I just don’t know.

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Yesterday we received a letter each in a rather nice envelope from the House of Commons.  It was a letter from our MP with a survey about how he is doing!

There is no space for comments, just tick boxes, so I am also busy concocting a letter to accompany my reply.  This is the man who assured me face-to-face that the armed forces would be safe under his watch.  He told us all that he was voting ‘Out’ in the Brexit referendum – only to change his mind at the last moment and vote ‘Remain’, unlike the majority of his constituents(62.3%).  He voted No to having an investigation into the contrast between public statements and private actions in the run up to the Iraq war, and tragically he voted No to the Dubs amendment.

It might be quite a long letter.

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Half Term is now over and life will return to normal  – but I do love it when the schools are on holiday.  Roll on Easter.

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Have a good week everyone and stay safe.