This photo is copyright of Maggie May.
I found a good seat on the bus and looked forward to being on my own for the hour long journey to the sea. I had a delicious feeling of a pleasant day ahead, with the possibility of writing post or two while I travelled. One of the last days of the half term school holidays, the lull before the storm because I was having all the grandchildren for a sleep over and a weekend with my daughter and son. I could recharge my batteries before they came, especially following my roof alterations and the tensions that had been building up with the rat hunt.
However, my peace was to be shattered. What was that noise?
Two very large women climbed onto the bus followed by their sons, who I estimated to be aged 4 or 5 years of age. One of the women and her boy made a very noisy couple as they walked in my direction down the bus. The mother shouted to him, "You got your DS?" and she flopped into the seat directly behind me. This particular mother and son were the noisiest of the two families and the peace of the whole bus was shattered as she shouted out commands to the boy.
"Sit back, put your feet down. Get out your DS. What game do you want? No not that one. That's me brain training one."
She went on to say. "Try this one. You got to take exams on this one. Yes, you have to....... do you understand you got to?"
The child was immediately put off this game and wanted another. He started to fidget around my back and I felt his fingers on my shoulders.
"If you pick your nose, you'll get a wart on the end of your finger." She announced. I shuddered at the thought of the yucky fingers on my back, but reminded myself that I was quite used to children and I blanked it out.
From time to time the woman behind me talked loudly to her friend across the isle. I noticed the friend's son was fairly well behaved and sat quietly with his DS , sometimes nodding off.
The bus, being delayed by the traffic, stopped for some time beside a colourful poster on a board outside.
"What's that picture mean, mummy?" said the boy behind me.
"It's a picture," She said.
"But what does it mean?" He insisted.
She answered three times that it was a picture before the boy gave up and I felt quite sad for him.
His mother ranted on. "Sit back, feet down or I'll put you off the bus."
"Stop doing that, you're hurting mummy. I'm going to smack you." SLAP! I expected a reaction but he didn't flinch. He must be used to it, I reckoned.
"When you get to the beach, you can have chips with your sandwiches.
The child protested that he didn't want to eat on the beach.
"Well you got to," was the reply. "We will have ice cream too." More protesting.
"Well you got to try it. Yes, you got to."
"Can we go to the shops? the boy asked.
"You will go to the shops when I want to and not when you want to," She replied. "You will not throw sand. Sit back, feet down."
"Don't do that, you are hurting mummy." Slap!
And so it went on.
Well I mentally started writing a post so I suppose something positive came out of the tiresome journey, but the loud voices and the mother's behaviour did grate on my nerves a bit. It was almost painful having her shout so near to my ears. Yet I couldn't bring myself to move. It would look so obvious and it was a single decker bus with no where else to move to.
When we finally reached our destination, the boy got off the bus with the others and started to cry. "I'm bored," he said. Already, I thought?
I turned away and looked for a bench to sit on and made notes so that I wouldn't forget the conversation that everyone on the bus must have shared.
I looked around me. The sun was shining and the day stretched before me. I could do what I liked, go where I liked and be answerable to no one.
A sudden wave of contentment coursed through my veins as I forgot about the trying journey and the boy.