Through October, in collaboration with R-U here? we’ve been taking to the bus, journeying and chatting with passengers. Recording images on http://www.R-U.org.uk and the instagram link.
I used to commute daily by bus, up to an hour and a half each way on a good day, involving two buses and some walking. My circumstances changed and I needed that time to be spent elsewhere so took to the car. It is hard to get back to the bus after cocooning myself with my choice of temperature control and sound; but it was not long before got back into the routine and being able to read on the commute.
Office space changed and the car returned to main mode of commute as the number of buses was severely cut, and my hours would not fit with the revised diminished timetable.
Now this route has been cut entirely.
It was not without a sigh that on the first working day after the removal of the bus the main road route had it’s bigger smarter buses diverted past our abandoned stops! It felt like salt was being rubbed into our collective wound of disconnection.
Now a few months on, the time table frames have been removed from telegraph poles, green mossy, lichen patches are the tell tale remains, stenciled in place by those frames.
Lonely bus shelters along the route, maybe useful for the school coach queue, but most of the day useless in the layby, awaiting a new life as a notice board, perhaps.
In recognition of the lost route, the invitation is out – join us and walk a section of the route, 2 November 2019, Saturday morning circular route. How many former bus stops do you spot? Can we come up with alternative ways to share lifts?
Not a thing that I know of…. but probably exists … what type of categories …. largest smallest generating the most profit providing the most services? All possible. What about the category best situation? Even that may need subsections:
Rural ,urban, suburban, private , totally enclosed, subterranean , multistorey …
Well in the public park and ride category I would like to nominate the park and ride for the City of Bath. It does need you to look beyond the immediate car park provision. And in fact in the pouring rain on Monday the ground was a sloppy sandy mess, and the week before the failure of the public unisex toilets to open despite piling in the money. But beyond those the car park sits sheilding a playing field and beautiful views across the valley . Not an obvious attraction though when parking . Because mostly thoughts are on getting to the City.
Leaving Bath the road takes me along a minor road twisty and relatively narrow with banks and hedges on either side . Not single track . But if I were walking one I would be worried about quick escape routes from oncoming traffic.. no verges.
Leaving Bath early evening I was just in a slow trail . One of those where you can be stopped and wind down the window and take in the sights, sounds and smells of the place. I was so close to the hedge I could have taken the hawthorn for tea… the bread and cheese leaf. The traffic line was mostly so slow it was stopped for ages between moving just a car’s length so with the window down I could take a picture … to be loaded up and shared
Image to come … Close up of hedge .. Hawthorn leaves at close quarters ..
The morning drive on Thursday
Well not the actual drive but the opportunity to be out in that beauty.
Frost on the ground and whiteflowers not sure if these are early hawthorn or later blackthorn , but small white clusters in the hedgerows .. Set against amazing blue sky. This white cloaking against the vivid green of the new unfurling leaves was really breathtaking.
Late April, Gleaming sparkling and cold and yet behind the windscreen the sun quickly warming up the car space.
Driving into the sun feels warm and eyes all squinty
When I parked and got out to meet the real day it felt very foreign. The sun warm on my face yet I could see my breath. We don’t often get there around here at eight thirty in the morning that mixture of cold and warmth at the same time that I could sense and feel. A real engagement of sense
The hedge along the parking area is almost entirely transformed too. Last week considerable patches still held onto their shaky rattling winter leaves while slender spindles of new buds grew amongst them. This week the new bright green is almost complete, but not entirely. Such a difference too in listening to the hedge in the breeze. These new leaves are still so young and soft they barely sound as they move in the wind, while those remaining dry old things scrape and grate and complain.
And over this that skylark hidden takes the lead.
And I hope it is not a breach of the ethical standards if I share the prescription.
I am not sure that I mentioned the car art park blog or project .. Fairly certain I did not which makes the prescribed poem even more remarkable.
For everyone stuck in their car and considering the view and the what ifs or even dipping occasionally into my commuter journeys
then perhaps the shared prescription may be useful too. Look up
Postscript by Seamus Heaney
I am told to take this with tea and birdsong but sitting at lunch time in the works canteen, chattering burble and cutlery scraping plates around seems to work too.. Catching ‘the heart off guard and blow it open’ hits a nerve here now .
Ok, it is right that on Friday I was not taking the longer journey by car, but just getting down to the main road, I had to question ‘what is happening?’ Is it a Sunday? There was so little traffic, had the day been declared suddenly a national holiday. (Yes, to add fuel to another debate probably happening somewhere else, we should have an autumn bank holiday)
Anyway this was a time when it is ‘good’ to drive, there was no queue, no distractions just the getting from A to B .. and because of the conditions I made B a lot further away and the journey was the thing. Because the present was the actual journey in the car, and it went so quickly, it was easy to miss (disregard) entirely what was being driven through. Because this was so unusual – no holdups, so I did continue rather than parking sooner to catch the bus, and yet. This made the Friday event the drive, because there was no time to stop and stare at anything else.
Again though if the roads were always clear, then using the bus would be more straightforward – they would keep to timetable because of the reduced number of blocked roads – more people could use them – more bus routes opened, because that would be the transport of choice and opportunity.
Getting off the point … because the journey was quick, no queues, no delays the attention did not wander, and the places passed through did just disappear, insignificant.
But yes warm and sunny in between those start and end positions of the week days
Walking across the car park this evening , 7 pigeons, 2 magpies also scouring the ground for treasures. I found a 5p coin, not sure what their pickings were. Perhaps crumbs after lunch remains now most of the cars had departed. Also screeching gulls in the distance. Looking around to locate them I spotted instead the geese flying formation strung across the sky to the south.
The formation in the distance though was quite fluid, not sticking to the arrow shape. If I had had the camera .. (First time in ages without it.. ) The stills shots might have looked like join up the dots puzzles each attempting to make a letter as the shape changed as the group made its way across the sky.
Homewards for me too.
from inside the personal travel bubble, parked up and the world outside dissolves
The long queue of traffic winding into the workplaces through the mist but the heat is on in my bubble. At the car park it looks like the holiday time is still continuing there are lots of gaps. Parked up though, windscreen wipers off the view is restricted the internal space appears to contract, and the outside colours muted and run into each other. Watercolour stories from the car? Happy Monday .