The coach pulled up, and the grey candy floss-haired people with their luggage shuffled toward it, apparently not realising that time is not on their side. Their faces were gaunt and their eyes expressionless – I suspected this was most certainly not their first time on a coach holiday.
“Is this the coach to the Lake District?” I asked the bus driver with an excited grin, making sure my fear of getting on the wrong bus didn’t come true.
He rolled his eyes. “Name.”
“Uh. Jodie Hart.”
He crossed my name off the list and took my small black suitcase to pile into the coach’s locker.
Then he froze.
“No bag tag.”
“Bag tag? Do I need one?”
He rolled his eyes and huffed. “Well you’ll be changing coaches, how are we going to know where your bag goes!?”
“Look it up on your typewriter, old man!”
…I didn’t really say that. In fact, the changing of coaches was news to me.
“I booked it online, I didn’t know I needed a bag tag. Where would I have got one from?”
My eyes were getting damp from pure frustration and shock. The driver was being so rude!
SIGH. “Hop on, I’ll sort it once we get there.”
I turned to my uncle who had dropped me off and pulled a face. “Welcome!” He said with a grin.
So, finally on the coach and I looked around to find myself in Fifty Shades of Grey – thankfully no nudity or whips were lying about, but there were grey-haired passengers, walking frames, canes and a quick glance proved the only person with a spring in their step was me.
Arriving at the coach station to catch my adjoining coach to Windermere, I made my way to the help desk where a sweet elder sorted me out with bag tags and told me which coach to catch next if I wanted to make it to the Lake District today.
Thanking him for his help, he pointed me in the direction of the food court. I turned, but realised I was boxed in by ladies and their mobility stands, who had caught up with me. Almost clipping their heels I was trying to get around them.
They were none the wiser of my presence, and they continued to creep down the middle of the hallway, weaving from side to side, mirroring my every move as they tried to find the bathrooms.
Becoming increasingly frustrated with this roadblock, I took my chances and darted around them, almost kicking their sticks from under them as I skipped by, and powered off to the loos before the masses got there.
I sat down in the waiting area and began to read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. JK Rowling has become something of an inspiration to me since I began writing children’s books.
I got my first rejection letter from a publisher the other day, which JK Rowling says is a great thing because it means that you’ve got something in common with your favourite author!
(Although I was just excited because it meant somebody had read my story. Yay!)
So I was reading my wizarding book, and drinking burnt coffee when I lost all track of time, and I looked up to find myself surrounded by liver spots, receding hairlines and a plume of saggy skin musk, masked by the heavy scent of talcum powder – which made me sneeze.
Within half an hour all I could see was an ocean of wispy hair, beige slacks, socks with sandals and peaked tourist caps as we waited to be dispatched to our linking coaches.
Another half hour went by and the sweet elder at the help desk began speaking into a microphone.
His voice hushed the whistles of denture-wearing travel companions, and silenced the wet coughs.
“This is a passenger announcement. Please listen carefully. All passengers off to Windermere, please make your way to bay 5…”
I dashed to the coach – I was on my way! But not before hitting a bottle neck as the elders bunched up around the zebra crossing
I found my coach, and within minutes the soft hum of snoring filled the coach in amongst the sound of hooligan elders who occupied the back seats – they were showing off their best jokes to their hard-of-hearing friends. I could hear their false teeth clamouring at every chortle.
After a mere hour, it was time for a 45 minute rest stop. These 45 minutes were filled with the sound of my thoughts, evaluating my life choices.
This coach trip wasn’t exactly what I expected. The sense of community spirit and energy was lacking somewhat, and – without being ageist – the 70+ age range was a bit of a shock.
I had another three hours of this coach ride to endure with the excessive pit stops dragging it out…
Next stop, the Lake District, and all it offers. I hope dementia isn’t catching…
Next stop, the Lake District, and all it offers!