Thursday, March 4, 2010
There are two wonderful moments on this ride, back and forth.
The second is at Great Chart.
Many moons ago, as Ashford was becoming more and more built up with the addition of new housing estates in Singleton, it was decided to build a bypass where the road turned at Great Chart so that the great influx of new cars and trucks would not have to go through the tiny village and could enjoy greater space on a dual carriageway. That was all well and good for those people, however, the bus had to still travel through Great Chart so that the townsfolk could catch the bus to Ashford, presumably after spending all day boozing in The Swan. Great Chart is not a terribly long walk from Ashford, but the bus still thunders through there, even though the road is fairly narrow and one side of the street seems to be covered up with parked cars. Another white-knuckle moment.
Don't get me wrong, I love buses. I grew up riding buses. My Dad used to be a bus driver for Maidstone & District, the M&D as it was referred to. Before my Mum got her driver's licence, going for a day out meant a long bus ride to Maidstone or Hastings or Ashford or even Canterbury. Those were great times. Even when I was older, in my teens and early 20's I would still catch the bus to go somewhere rather than learn to drive. I love the smell of buses, that dirty, diesel smell. It somehow makes me think of those halcyon days of my youth when I had not a care in the world except where the nearest record shop was. (All the young'uns scratching their heads - what's a record shop?). I am a firm believer in public transportation. Always have been. When the buses were privatised I was a bit sad. We lost some of the more rural routes, and all these different companies were suddenly doing the buses rather than the M&D I had become used to. But it's good to know that if I want to sit up on the top deck of a bus and hurtle round a hairpin bend in a narrow country lane, that option will not cost me a plane fare to Florida.