It doesn’t take a weather forecast to tell me that it’s getting colder day by day. I just look around the bus taking me into town and note the change in our collective outer wear.
Not so very long ago we were all wearing summer dresses, sandals and shorts, sun-glasses and floppy sun-hats. Now most everyone on the bus has a coat on, a few are even wearing woolly hats. Someone
is actually wearing gloves. After our glorious summer, it must – finally - be Autumn.
For my part, I have unearthed my long boots from the back of
the wardrobe. Now that really is what you call making a Serious Statement. I did wonder if I was going a Step Too Far – but then the bus turned up two minutes early, at 9.28 a.m. and the grumpy bus driver told me I was “twirly”
and would have to wait for the next bus, my bus pass not being valid for travel until 9.30 a.m. It was pretty chilly, standing there at the bus stop for quarter of an hour so I was rather grateful for my long boots.
I passed the time in conversation with a fellow would-be passenger who, like me, had turned up twirly. I only understood about a third of his chatter, as he had a very strong accent, but I did learn
quite a lot from him about the timetable of the Number 7 bus, which only comes once an hour, meaning if the bus is twirly, or you are too late, you are – not to put too fine a point on it – in trouble. My companion had, indeed, suffered much
in the past. I couldn’t exactly work out the route of the Number 7 bus but I am pretty sure I am never likely to have to use it, which is a Good Thing, especially if it keeps turning up twirly. Having said that, this is the important thing
about conversations – you never know when you might need the information you glean, so it pays to develop your listening skills. It is one of the joys of retirement, I believe, that there is so much more time to listen and learn. One day, maybe,
someone will ask me about the Number 7 bus and I will respond, knowledgeably: “It only comes once an hour, you know...” They will think I am an expert on buses in general and the Number 7 in particular. They would never imagine that I might, on
occasion, turn up twirly.
When the next bus finally turned up it was, as expected, jam packed with passengers who, like me, would have hoped to catch the earlier
bus if we (or it) hadn’t been twirly. It also had to stop at every single bus stop on the way to town to load up with more passengers so the journey took a lot longer than usual. Fortunately our driver – perhaps to make up for his colleague
Mr Grumpy Pants – was a cheerful chappie, quite prepared to wait until the frailer passengers were safely seated before lurching off and to patiently answer queries about timetables, routes, fares and all the other mysteries associated with bus travel.
Along with several other passengers, I disembarked outside the Library, where a man with a machine appropriately called “Glutton” was hoovering up leaves from
the pavement. Now there’s another sign of Autumn – leaves changing colour on the trees, drifting in the breeze and decorating our pavements. My younger sister Maggie always says that she knows when her mid-November birthday is approaching
because she can swish her way through the fallen leaves. When she tells me that, I visualise her in outsize Paddington Bear wellington boots. I don’t know why, I just do.
I have said it before and I will doubtless say it again – I love the changing seasons. It would be so boring to live in a country where it was always hot, or always cold. I’m delighted to welcome my long boots back from their sojourn
in the back of the wardrobe. “Welcome back, good and faithful servants!” I tell them (obviously out of Mr B’s hearing because he will only laugh at me) “Come and swish through the Autumn leaves with me!”
It’s definitely not twirly for a bit of swishing.