I haven't mentioned it, but I've been off work poorly for a week and a half now and the sight of the four walls are starting to drive me demented. In fact I've got into the habit of having a daily hoover challenge. Basically I empty the drum before I start, then I hoover the house from top to bottom, some days I do curtains, one day, interestingly I hoovered the walls!. Once I'm finished I spread news paper out in the utility room and empty the drum again. Then I decide whether its more or less than the day before. Then I realise how pointless this is and repeatedly hit myself in the face with the hoover pipe until I lose consciousness.
My mam has obviously noticed that I'm at a bit of a loose end so she phones me to tell me that her and my dad are taking me to town 'on the bus'
I should explain that since they gave my parents free bus passes they're never off the bus. I dread to think what they're costing the council in petrol. Every time I ring them they have to ring me back because they are 'just getting off the bus' or 'just getting on the bus'. I don't know where they go, I've stopped asking. Maybe they go nowhere, maybe they just sit on the bus and travel the region.
What I do know is that 90% of things my mother tells me start.....
'We saw (insert name of your choosing) on the bus and he/she was saying........'
Maybe the bus is just like some giant mobile social club for the over 60's. They never go anywhere, they just get on and off buses, passing on random bits of gossip about gout and bladder surgery and divorce.
Anyway I am being taken to town on 'the bus', so I drive to theirs (yes I know) and park behind their car (I know, I know). I knock on the door which opens immediately (this leads me to believe that they've been waiting behind the door). Apparently my dad is cross because I'm late so we've missed the 10.08 and will have to get the 10.18. I'm not sure what happens on the 10.08 that doesn't happen on the 10.18, perhaps they have a buffet service or on-board bingo or David Dickinson drives the bus but my Dad doesn't look happy about missing it so I keep quiet.
My Dad gives me my bus fare before the bus comes and I realise he's given me £1.50, so I try to give him some back and am utterly horrified to learn that he's given me the right money. They only live 3/4 mile from the town. I could have parked my car for that!!!
Anyway on the bus my mam makes us look ridiculous by making us sit on the 3 little pull down seats as you get on the bus, so I'm sandwiched between them. I feel about 7, I'm not sure if I should be holding their hands. I go to ring the bell when we're nearly at our stop and my mam stops me,
'Your Dad always rings the bell'
Jesus. I'm 36 and I'm not allowed to ring the bell. I feel like ringing it out of spite but I'm scared my mam will slap my legs, or I won't be allowed an ice cream in town!
So off the bus we get and we head to a hotel where my parents go to for coffee. I get wrong immediately off my mam for calling it 'gods waiting room' under my breath, but in we go. We find a seat and its lovely. The waitress delivers teas and coffee's to tables on a little trolley dressed up with doilies. There are white linen table cloths and when our tea comes, in comes in lovely little teapots, with an extra pot of boiling water and some lovely oatey, crumbly biscuits.
There are workmen milling about at the other side of the tearoom as the hotel its attached to is currently being renovated following a fire a few years back. I hear the waitress talking to another customer explaining that later on there's going to be a planned power outage while they do some testing, however I'm not really listening, as my mother is telling me something scandalous that she'd heard on the bus the day before.
We must literally have been in there for 5 minutes, I haven't even started my oatey biscuit when the entire place is plunged into pitch darkness. Now this bears testament to how British we really are. No body bats an eyelid (or if they do it's too dark to see), people just continue their conversations.
So here I am in a quaint tearoom with my parents drinking tea and chatting IN THE DARK!!!. This is not really how I saw my morning panning out. Why are they not alarmed, are they used to this? Is it just like the war? The waitress comes past, shouting merrily 'don't worry you can all see your cups'. Which is true I suppose. I half expect her to lead us into a rousing chorus of 'roll out the barrel'
A man gets up and feels his way to the toilet. I presume the toilet is also in pitch blackness as there is a loud crash and he comes back out muttering, I'm only pleased that its too dark to see the front of his trousers. Being drenched in urine is never attractive.
We finish our drinks and feel our way towards the exit where we pay the waitress by torch light. Just as we we are leaving an old gentleman starts singing a song about someone called Paddy, sitting in a dark corner with his tail hanging out. At this point my dad ushers us out into broad daylight and back to the bus stop.
I really need to get home anyway, I need to hoover our mattresses.