Might be rare in Trafalgar Square

Serving our remote West Highlands community is a single bus that runs the single roadway in and out to Inverness each day except Sunday. Sundays here still are days of rest when only the more careless of incomers will hang out their washing or display any other sign, or any sound of domestic work. Sunday, you see, follows Genesis in that it is a day for the worship of the Almighty.

The bus leaves after eight in the morning and arrives back after seven in the evening following a two hour drive across some of the most beautiful, unbuiltover landscapes in all of these islands. On alternate days the bus is driven by a young man and an old(er) man, Highlanders both and with the natural good manners, intelligence and strength of character peculiar to those of that heritage. Sometimes in the winter they need all of those qualities if they are to bring their charges home safely in the face - the teeth indeed - of the most appalling weather. True, the younger man is said to drive with more, let us say, bravado than the older, but both almost always manage to depart and arrive on scheduled time.

Some years ago I was to take the bus to Inverness, there to catch a train for York where was to be the funeral of a dearly loved relative.  Taking my seat I searched the pockets of my new coat - one of those multi-pocketted outdoor marvels - only to find no sign of my wallet. No money, no train tickets equals no way. I rushed in panic to the front as the bus pulled away. 'Stop, Dougie', I said. 'Let me off. I've left my wallet at home'. Dougie smiled his open, enigmatic, kindly smile, and with his usual quiet skill turned his bus around on the narrow road, just drove me home. Two and a half miles in the opposite direction up a single track road! And not a word of complaint from my fellow passengers, who were now sure to be late into Inverness! 

 I couldn't find the missing wallet at home even after much ransacking. More panic. 'Must have dropped it at the bus stop' I muttered. But in the safety and with the benefit of the years I can reveal that Delia is very, very good at finding things. She searched my coat. In a previously unsuspected pocket ... you can guess the rest. I think Dougie guessed at the time but I of course said nothing as I infomed him and the others that - well, let's just say I bent the facts.

Can't imagine anything like that in downtown New York city or London's Trafalgar Square. There's a lovely line I remember from an erotic poem familiar to most ex-servicemen (National Service in my own distantly remembered case). The multi-adventurous Dead eyed Dick and Mexican Pete had burst into Black Mike's saloon and demanded of the 'forty ladies of the night' therein that they at once divest themselves of their tops. I cannot repeat here the following two lines but the final line in that verse goes: It might be rare in Trafalgar Square but not on the Rio Grande'.

For Rio Grande read Wester-Ross in the case of my own incident on the bus.

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