I ask the driver on the 700 Coastliner bus if he could possibly give me a shout when we reach Palmeira Mansions in Hove. He responds that he won't be driving the bus by the time it reaches Hove. Which is unhelpful - but
Regular readers will not be the least bit surprised to learn that, as per usual, I don't know where I'm going. 'Twas, indeed, Ever Thus...
is the afternoon of our Questers' trip to the Hove Progressive Synagogue. Questers, you may recall, is a group which goes on "behind the scenes" visits to places near and far in search of enlightenment, education and enjoyment. Though not necessarily in that
I had been contemplating travelling by car, on account of being able to get there and back more speedily, thus not leaving Mr B Home Alone for too long. However when I explained my intentions to Joy,
at my weekly craft session, she warned me that parking in the vicinity of the synagogue was "very, very difficult." Now you all know me, she who will walk the best part of a quarter of a mile if it means I won't have to parallel park. I decided forthwith to
Take The Bus.
I didn't give it much more thought at the time as I was busily trying to scrub clean my fingers which were stained with ink of various different hues, testament to my rather unsuccessful endeavours
to produce at least a passable version of the attractive card designs produced by our estimable leader, the Lovely Linda. It wasn't my day. In fact, in terms of comparing results with my fellow Crafty People at the end of the afternoon, the only aspect in
which I came Top of the Class was in the State of Fingers. I didn't know it at the time but it would be two whole days before my finger nails looked clean enough to be on public display.
Be that as it may,
Thursday saw me boarding the Coastliner. I had planned my journey with military precision. My friend Google had informed me that the bus trip from start to finish (always provided, of course, I could work out where to alight from the bus, given I couldn't
rely on the driver) would take 46 minutes which seemed remarkably precise, all things considered. Factoring in a seven minute walk to my destination (always provided I walked in the right direction) then I should arrive a good ten minutes before the deadline
given us by the trip organiser. I know what you are thinking: two "always provided" in one sentence doesn't suggest certainty in any shape or form.
My grandson Jack, who is my Ever Present Help With Matters
Technological, would be proud of me: using the maps function on my IPhone I managed to track my progress, bus stop by bus stop. It turned out that the Palmeira Square bus stop was more or less unmissable, but it's always better to be safe than sorry, don't
It was a fascinating visit, with much to see, much to learn, much to understand. The day after the tragic events unfolding in Westminster, it was good to reflect on the diversity of our communities,
the acceptance of each other's beliefs and customs. I was glad to be there.
I'd promised myself that I would make the return journey on the upstairs deck of the Coastliner bus. I would sit in the very front
seat and pretend to be driving the bus, the way my Foursome used to do when they were littl'uns. Occasionally, when the excitement grew too much for them, they would drum their feet on the floor bringing loud complaints from the driver down below.
Several Questers boarded the same bus home as I did but they all stayed downstairs. I felt guilty that I wasn't joining them for a Jolly Gossip but a promise is a promise. Even if it was only a promise to myself.
How lovely it was, "driving" the bus homewards as the sun set over Worthing Pier.
It helped, of course, that being homeward bound, even I knew exactly where I was headed...