I was doing the Proust questionnaire and one of the questions was ‘what is your favourite journey?’ I wrote ‘when you get the last bus and it is waiting with the engine off. My favourite moment is when the engine starts and you will know you will be on your way home in a minute.’ Buses can be bliss. Getting the bus after rush hour, about ten o’clock, with all the morning chaos out of the way and trundling through to your destination in the sunshine. At such moments the bus is a good friend to man.
There is another side to the bus story. When you are trying to get somewhere and the bus driver is in advance on his timetable and he keeps hanging around for an extra thirty seconds at every bus stop. That’s when the bus is early. It makes you late. Then when the bus is late it won’t go to its terminus but stops at some earlier provisional terminus and you are all turfed off to wait for the next bus. All the passengers are inconvenienced so that the bus company can pretend it’s running everything on time. Oh bus, you are no friend of mine!