Adrian at Fatman Photos recently posted a picture taken while “Driving into town” from the upstairs front window of a double-decker bus, this is most definitely the best seat in the bus and reminded me of more than a few rides I’d taken when the girls were small, many moons ago.
The pennies were scarce then and even the price of a bus ride would add up when you needed four tickets so we used to walk a lot. Little Sister lived just within walking distance – as long as we took the short cut, climbing over a style or two and following the path across the fields, a quite nice walk on a good day, but not always welcome to the mother duck with three little ducklings in tow.
We devised a day out where we could take our six little monsters out for a treat with almost no threat to the pocket at all.
Before the supermarkets decided to limit the number you could use, we used to collect the money off coupons from everywhere we could find them, family and friends were in on the collecting too and about once a month we used to hitch a ride on the free supermarket bus which came through our town and we would clamber up the stairs to the top of the bus and sit in the “cinema seats” of the front row upstairs.
I remember the ride well, the field full of cows, shortly followed by the more exciting field where if we were lucky we would see deer as we headed over the “mountain”. The motorway section where we would pick a colour and count how many cars of our chosen colour we could see and then eventually the arrival at the out-of-town supermarket. Little sister would catch the corresponding free bus from her area too and the early arrivals would watch for the other busses and wave to cousins in their “cinema seats” as they arrived.
Next the collection of money off coupons would play their part, I would put mine together with Little Sister’s coupons, work out the total and then go shopping for a picnic lunch, very often just a couple of packs of value sausage rolls and a bottle of lemonade to share out, but a picnic never the less, and almost always a free one as we paid with our collection of coupons at the till, much to the annoyance of the cashier and often the amusement of other customers. Then we’d head off to one of the quieter grass areas for our picnic.
Depending on who’s turn it was, we would either take the free bus back to Little Sister’s house, or she to ours and all six children would spend the afternoon playing together before one set of tired ducklings would set off across the field for the walk home, after a happy day out.
I’ve no photo taken from the top of a bus to share with you, but a dip into the archives from a visit to “Lyme Regis” pulled up this picture of a style similar to the ones we used to climb over to enter the fields and beyond.