The driver on the Pulse bus this morning welcomed each and every passenger on board with a cheery "Good morning!" It really made a difference to my day.
It's all about
putting a smile on people's face, don't you agree? Everyone on the bus appeared to be happy to be going about their business; I'm sure it was all down to our driver.
I love travelling by bus. You see so much
more than when driving and trying to keep your eyes on (i) the road and (ii) the somewhat wayward driver of the car in front who doesn't know his (or, psd kg, her) right hand from the left. I want to yell: "Watch hand! Watch hand!" which is the way I always
taught my own children the difference between right and left.
From my seat sitting sideways at the very front of the bus, I can see that there is a new sign in the plate glass window of Shafiques, our favourite
Indian restaurant. The sign is celebrating thirty years in business and thanking locals for their support. I make a mental note to tell Mr B when I get home; should we, perhaps, buy a celebratory card? We always feel a certain kinship with the restaurant owner
because he moved into Worthing to set up his business at exactly the same time that we moved into the town. Thirty years! A lifetime for some.
I have lost count of the number of family meals out we have enjoyed
at Shafiques. When the older grandchildren came to stay, a meal out at Shafiques was a Must Be Done event. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters and I still laugh to remember our Hazel Bagel, when still a littl'un, being asked what she wanted to drink and
asking, in her most grown-up voice: "Could I have a sparkling mineral water, please?" Okay, it may not sound so funny now but, believe me, the request was so totally out of character that her mother and I were creased up with helpless laughter.
It was at Shafiques, too, that we celebrated Mr B's 70th birthday - a meal just for our immediate family, before everyone arrived for an evening party. And who could forget Eleanor, studying the dessert menu for simply
ages before saying - as always - "I think I'll have an Egg Man!" Yes, I definitely think a congratulatory card is in order.
From my seat on the bus, I can also check progress on a building site where, unusually,
the builders have chosen not to raze several beautiful old houses to the ground but have converted them to flats while sympathetically restoring their facades, at the same time making full use of the former gardens for blocks of attractive apartments. I like
to check up on such developments - this is my town, after all, so I need to know what's going on.
Mr B and I are reading Bill Bryson's book "The Lost Continent" and today he was explaining his quest to find
the "perfect town" - as in, the one featured in many a film or TV series, where the opening sequence invariably has a paper boy sweeping on his bicycle along a broad, neat road with pristine green verges, hurling each newspaper onto front porch where a rocking
chair or two swung. You must have seen it for yourself.
We are looking forward to finding out if Our Bill (as we like to call him) ever finds his perfect town. I shall be sure to let you know. But it makes
us realise why he loved Britain so much because, around every bend in the road is yet another town or village of character
Our town may not be perfect - but it's our town. It has businesses which have existed
for thirty years because they have given their customers what they were looking for. Be that a sparkling mineral water or an Egg Man.
Plus it has bus drivers who say "Good morning!" to each and every passenger
who boards the Pulse bus into Worthing town centre.
My town. Love it!