My Bus Ride into Britain's History; PETERBOROUGH

Daily Mail (London), May 7, 2015 | Go to article overview

My Bus Ride into Britain's History; PETERBOROUGH


BREATHLESSLY, I stepped into the bus. I put my concessionary pass on the reader and stuttered out a 'thanks' to the driver for waiting. I made my way through a sea of weather-worn faces and sat down, and as the bus swayed on its way, old friends, from school, factories and the trials and tribulations of war talked of children and grandchildren. We stopped at street corners; ladies of a certain age tottered aboard with their trolleys, and the occasional older gent, in shirt, tie and three-button jacket, brandishing a walking sticks as if on parade, his warweary eyes telling tales of harder times, joined us. Stand silently on the corner, and you will be admitted into an exclusive club, the 'makers of history' brigade. For this is where I sit, among the people that shaped the history and destiny of these islands. I listen to the conversation -- 'I tell you it's true, she had a great war, all those Yank soldiers' 'The turrets we made ended up in the Western Desert, that's what Alf said' 'I don't understand it, I have to ask my grandson'. The chatter is interrupted to let off ladies who give a cheery smile as they walk to the shops. The volume level increases as a busload of elderly ladies exchange family tales, medical problems and the accumulated knowledge of decades. I feel privileged to share this journey with a generation that has no axe to grind; the world owes them nothing, just the ways and means to enjoy in peace their remaining years. We approach the village centre; the market stalls are a few seconds away, goodbyes are exchanged. I stay seated, I have a train to catch, and I'm heading into Birmingham to do the rounds of the employment agencies. I still have to earn a crust, but not for long. In five months, I will be admitted into an exclusive club -- the retired workers of Britain. And I look forward to my first bus journey with fellow members, and for the first time joining in, on an equal footing, the stories and conversations that shaped these now beleaguered islands.

Tony Levy, Wednesfield, Staffs.

Sign language

SEEING RED OVER GREEN?

There must be a few arguments going on in this household in Harrow! Spotted by Fiona Waller of Harrow, Middlesex.

Out of the mouths of babes

I HAD been to the hairdresser when I met my daughter and granddaughter, Abigail who was then aged five.

'What have you done to your hair, Nan?' Abigail asked. 'I've had it highlighted -- do you like it?' I replied.

'Hmm, it makes you look younger,' she said. Feeling pleased, I said: 'Thank you, Abi.' The swift response was: 'Grandmothers are not supposed to look young, they are supposed to have grey hair and look old!'

Mrs Sheila Clayton, Hastings, East Sussex. …

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