Before the cars went kaput, we’d got into a routine of going swimming every Sunday. It had been a long time coming – we’d tried various local swimming pools with little success (too dirty, too inconvenient, too crowded, too small changing rooms) and had finally discovered a brand new leisure centre with family changing rooms and free family swimming on Sundays. Brilliant. But a 15 minute drive away.
Harry was keen to keep going and we didn’t want to disappoint him, so it would have to be the bus. I decided to stay at home with Joe (who was usually at the end of his tether post-swim anyway, without adding two bus trips to the schedule – and what would we do with the pram?) and David and Harry set off on the 15 minute walk to the correct bus stop. It was a great success, but between walking to and from the bus stop, waiting for the buses and then the journeys, they were away for four hours. That’s a pretty big chunk out of a weekend that we like to spend as a family.
Another family routine is Kids AM at Vue Cinema. We don’t go every week, but we do love it. That was one thing that’s totally doable on the bus. Harry is actually a very entertaining bus companion. He chatters away and actually enjoys the novelty of a bus journey. It was that novelty that made me think going without a car could actually be a good thing, for Harry at least. New experiences and all that. And when he’s complained about the car situation, I’ve done the ‘you’re very lucky to have had a car! Lots of families don’t have cars!’ thing. I got a bus when I was his age, what’s the problem?
Well one problem is the other people on the bus. On the way there, a man started talking to us about the next town along and made a racist remark, which thankfully went over Harry’s head, but which I could still do without him being subjected to. On the way back – bearing in mind it was about noon – there was an extremely drunk bloke yelling and telling dodgy stories.
“He’s very loud,” Harry said. “I hope he gets off soon.”
He did. He got off at the pub.
I resisted the urge to join him.
(you can read more in the Carless Whispers series by clickety clicking on the image above)
Debut novel DELLA SAYS: OMG! out now
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