There was a definite festive spirit on board the Dial a Ride bus this morning.
Every side of the inside of the bus was festooned
with glittery silver tinsel and fairy lights. A Mickey Mouse toy which has swung awkwardly above the driver’s cab for as long as I can remember, was wearing a Santa hat and a Christmassy scarf. Pinned somewhat menacingly on the screen separating the
driver from his passengers was no other than the Elf on the Shelf.
Our driver, having loaded Mr B and wheelchair onto the bus, explained that the festive decorations
were mainly for the benefit of pupils from the local special schools who need transport to school every day. Because it is barely light for the early morning journey and growing dark for the drive home, the fairy lights make the journeys extra magical for
the littl’uns while the Naughty Elf helps keep order, just in case the excitement gets just too much for everyone on board.
It is a pity that Mr B doesn’t
understand the principles of the Elf on the Shelf (or, in this case, the Elf on the Driver’s Screen) as it means its presence won’t influence his behaviour. Or, to be fair, mine - and we are both feeling a little harassed. We have had to rise early,
dress, eat breakfast and get ourselves all prepared for a trip to the special care dentist where Mr B is to have his Troublesome Tooth extracted. It will be a case of “Grin and Bear It”, I tell him, with as much conviction as I can muster: “By
lunchtime we will be back home and it will all be over and done with.”
So much for conviction. Owing to reasons beyond our control - and far too complicated
to go into here - the dentist decided she couldn’t carry out the required procedure. You could call it an Epic Fail. We have to go back at the beginning of February. Which seems quite a long time away, given we haven’t even reached Christmas yet,
despite the festively decorated Dial a Ride bus.
It didn’t help that, in anticipation of an appointment due to last an hour and a half, I had booked
our return trip on the festive bus for 11.45 which meant a wait of well over an hour in the dentist’s waiting room. I was longing for a mug of restorative coffee - a yearning not helped when a member of staff disappeared into what I assume must have
been the kitchen and returned with steaming mugs for all her colleagues. I messaged the Lovely Kay who was back at ours, trying to bring some kind of order to my house, and put in a special request for two coffees as soon as we arrived home. “Or even
something stronger?” she enquired, on hearing of our predicament. Oh, I so nearly said yes, please…
I did manage to while away some of the time chatting
to another patient, a sweet girl in a wheelchair. She was keen to show me her bright pink nails, her purple trainers and the transfers of horses decorating her leg splints. I told her about the Middle of the Darling Daughters who loved horses as a child, spending
every Saturday morning mucking out the stables at a local riding school in return for the lessons we couldn’t afford. Where there’s a will, as I have always tried to impress on my Foursome, there is usually a way. We were still waiting for the
bus when my new friend emerged from the dental surgery, boasting on the front of her jumper a large sticker depicting a smiling Minion with a caption about her bravery. I took the decision not to point out this adornment to Mr B as it felt a bit like rubbing
it in. If you know what I mean.
Just as I was getting bored with reading all the warning notices about the threat of COVID-19 (there is never any cheerful
reading in waiting rooms these days) who should turn up but our friendly Dial-a-Ride driver, a good fifteen minutes earlier than expected. I am always pleased to see him, but never more so than this morning. In no time at all we were back home, with our hands
wrapped around the promised mugs of coffee, telling ourselves to put it all behind us and move on.
Our next trip on the Dial a Ride bus in two days time will be
much more fun. We will be transported to Worthing Football Club for our Sporting Memories Christmas celebrations. I have already bought our contribution of sausage rolls and chocolates, and stored them away in the kitchen fridge. I haven’t told Mr B
because otherwise he will be sure to want to sample them beforehand and would probably have eaten his way through every sausage roll and every chocolate by Thursday morning.
I need an Elf on the Shelf like the one on the Dial a Ride bus…