Jaqui's Daily Blog

All Human Life Is Here - On The Buses

Whenever I feel short on inspiration for the Daily Blog I head off for the bus stop. There is nothing like a bus journey, I have found, for blog-worthy material.

Bill Bryson obviously had the same idea when drafting Chapter One of his new book "The Road to Little Dribbling" which Mr B (as in my Mr B not the venerable Mr Bryson) and I have just started reading together. Our Bill recounts his experience on the 700 Coastliner bus, travelling between Bognor Regis and Hove. It is a slightly jaundiced account, to be honest. I rather think he could take a tip out of my book which is not to worry too much about the scenery outside but to concentrate on the human dramas being played out on the bus itself. Though obviously Bill has a public to please, while I can witter away to my heart's content on the Daily Blog without worrying too much, as long as my own loyal readers stick with me.

Today, therefore, I caught the Pulse bus outside Waitrose where I had distinguished myself by first proffering my Sainsbury's Nectar card to the cashier. This is proof, if proof were needed, that while Unfailingly Loyal where personal relationships are concerned, I am Positively Disloyal when it comes to supermarket shopping. My purse is bursting with so-called loyalty cards from every supermarket you care to name and my choice of store on any particular occasion is completely governed by which company has sent me a 20% off voucher.

My supermarket of choice on this bright October morning is Waitrose where I manage to find a packet of Puffed Wheat. This is possibly The Most Boring Cereal Known to Man but I happened to know that Mr B has been hankering after it for weeks. "Close your eyes!" I commanded him when I arrived home, "I have a surprise for you!" He was so grateful that I wished I'd bought two packets. Off he went into the kitchen to find a bowl, a spoon and a carton of milk. He couldn't wait till next morning's breakfast.

I am, however, getting ahead of myself. First I need to tell you about my bus journey home. At the front of the bus, a young lass in floods of tears as she speaks on her mobile phone to Someone Unknown. As in, unknown to me, you understand, I am assuming she knows who she is sobbing to. She is speaking in a language I don't understand. It can't be French or German, I surmise, as my O Level language studies enable me at least to recognise the spoken language, even if I can't translate. Nor can it be Italian, of which I have a smattering based on "O sole mio" and "Just one cornetto." I don't think it is Arabic as my Algerian son-in-law has, over the course of the last eleven years, introduced me, while travelling as a passenger in his black cab, to various phrases, none of which I would actually repeat in case they are Road Rage Related. I wonder what has happened. Has my fellow passenger lost the Love of her Life? I will never know - which is, of course, one of the tragedies of Bus Travel.


I haven't travelled too far down the bus, on account of the heaviness of my shopping bags. This is not the fault of the Puffed Wheat which is (as it says on the packet) deliciously airy, but the rest of my shopping is less, well, buoyant. A young lad aged about eight tells me, in a peremptory tone, that I need to move as a mum with buggy is about to board. Obedient as ever, I move back a seat. "Cheeky monkey!" remonstrates a woman behind me, in sympathy. I nod but "He is right, of course," I admit. The boy's Dad tells everyone on the bus that his son has "behavioural problems." Everyone pretends not to have heard.

The fearless lad is now questioning the Love-lorn One about her problems. His Dad advises her to ignore his son. Obviously the youngster is asking all the questions the rest of us would like to ask but are prevented from doing so by natural reticence and a Sense of Propriety.


The bus stops on the Promenade, near the pier, and the driver turns off the engine. A short wait is clearly called for. On the beach an androgynous figure in jeans and a grey hoodie is feeding the sea-gulls which are swooping around him / her in a frantic ferocity of feathers. Then I notice that the Hooded One has an ulterior motive. He / she has a camera on a long stick and is capturing the Feeding Frenzy, possibly for a remake of Hitchcock's "The Birds". But with sea gulls. If Hitchcock had thought of that first he might have been down there on the beach at Worthing with a film crew all those years ago.

The bus starts up again. The Lovelorn One has stopped weeping and is tapping away on her phone. Dad and Outspoken Son alight, Dad warning son that he may have his tablet confiscated for bad behaviour.

Mr Bryson, come on a journey with me sometime.

All human life is here on the Pulse bus. Believe me.

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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