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Tuesday, 13 April 2010

An unexpected journey

It hasn't really been a very interesting few days since I last blogged. The weather was fabulous on Sunday and Monday, so that I had the French doors open to all the sounds of riverside Peebles - As I wrote to Mary yesterday: "There's an incessant burglar alarm going, lots of kids screaming and shouting on the Green, swings in the playpark squeaking, as the metal chains need some oil, gulls - yes, gulls, squawking, dogs barking, people chattering, cars going over the bridge... " Then the phone joined in! It was Morag. "Are you in? Can I come down for a cup of tea?" The answer of course was Yes, to both questions, so before long we were both ensconced in the garden drinking tea. She was on her way up to Edinburgh to visit her son and meet Mike. After a meal later, they were going to the cinema.

When it was time for Morag to set off for the bus, I decided I'd chum her along to the bus stop at the other end of the street, - just for a spot of exercise, I said! On with the socks and Crocs, and we were off at a reasonable saunter, calling in at the paper shop so she could buy a magazine to read on the hour-long journey up the road.

The bus shelter is a rather imposing glass edifice outside the Post Office, with bars acting as seating along the long sides. As we were waiting - the bus was late - I said I could go up to Edinburgh too, just for the ride. It was a spur of the moment thought, but having my free bus pass and also a free afternoon, I thought Why not? So the bus came along and both of us climbed on the bus. Well, there was quite a crowd waiting, including just in front of us, a mum with two children and some travel bags. When it was their turn to get on and pay the driver, mum said she'd pay in just a moment but could she get the children settled with their bags first. He seemed to be agreeable and she set off up the bus to drop her bag. Not thinking much about it, I continued to go and put my card on the scanner in the driver's cab. He blocked the machine with his hand and waved me away, so I took it that the machine maybe wasn't working, and that he was waving me on to the bus. One step forward into the bus and suddenly he roared "Step back! Get off the bus!" Excuse me? "Get off the bus!" What was the problem? Morag hadn't a clue what was going on either, but we got off again, pretty annoyed at the way we'd been spoken to. Others standing behind us were equally mystified! However, it turned out he wasn't going to check anyone else on to the bus till Mum had come back and paid their fares!!! Honestly! Even she couldn't believe it! We did get on the bus eventually, but I was furious, fit to be tied, as my old friend Gladys in Yorkshire used to say, and was all for writing to the bus company complaining. Of course I haven't done it yet, but can you believe that treatment? All he needed to have said was "Hang on a moment till she comes back." but more to the point he could have just checked my card through the scanner without the fuss. What did it matter who went first?

Well, we got settled, and eventually were trundling up the road to Edinburgh. It's lovely travelling higher up than in the car as you can see much more. I pointed out to Morag where the old road had wound round the edges of woodlands when I was a youngster coming to Peebles with my parents - and later when I was driving myself. In fact the road was only modernised while I was living in Yorkshire, so that when I would drive up home and sometimes detour through Peebles to visit former flatmate, Norma, I didn't know where I was going! Used to it now though!

We met Mike at Straiton, drove through town to fetch Rory from his city centre flat and continued down to the shopping mall, Ocean Terminal at burgeoning Leith. What an amount of apartment building is going on there! There are several cinema screens in the mall, and several eating places too, so that's where we had tea. (I had the most gorgeous chicken and pesto ciabetta with chips!) There was still plenty of time before their film began so we browsed the shops on a couple of levels, and looked down at the former royal yacht Britannia, that is now permanently moored alongside the building, and visited by hundreds of tourists. (Photo by Alex Morrice) That's a blog for another day!

At last it was time for the film goers to head for the cinema, but I, not being a big film fan, was just heading back home again. We said our goodbyes and off we went in our respective directions, me for the two buses that would take mme back to Peebles.

Quite an unexpected afternoon out, and very enjoyable it was too!

Talk again soon.

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