Well, you’ll be pleased to know I have managed to not murder my mother, so far… In fact, we’re having a rather nice time, here at Camber Sands. The little cottage we’ve rented is turning out very well, everything works, and there are a few novelties. I am enjoying the Nespresso machine, Mum was unexpectedly taken by the spy-hole in the front door. I haven’t liked to ask how often she stands there spying on the neighbours. Even the dog is happy, as she simply adores the beach.
The beach is great, though we did have a near-disaster yesterday, as we hadn’t realised the tide was coming in, and we were walking along a sandbank, completely oblivious to the water rushing in between us and the beach. It wasn’t dangerous, just annoying, as I had to get my jeans wet wading across to the beach. Not helped by a particularly bouncy dog who thought it was great that I was finally joining her in the sea.
Today we had another disaster – not our fault – as we decided to go to Rye for the day. I hate driving, and find it particularly stressful driving through towns I don’t know, trying to find a carpark. And I know Rye has lots of one-way streets. There is a map in the cottage, but it doesn’t show the one-way streets AND it has South at the top. So it’s all backwards. (I find this completely irritating – who would draw a map with South at the top???)
Anyway, when Mum suggested that we could catch a bus into town, it seemed like an excellent plan. I took the dog for an early walk (ignoring her when she pulled desperately towards the beach path, as I didn’t want her to get wet, so she had to settle for the fields) and checked the timetable at the bus-stop. There are buses every hour, so we planned to catch the 11:13 bus, wander around Rye, have lunch, and catch a bus home early afternoon. Perfect – or so we thought.
We allowed plenty of time to walk to the bus-stop, so were there about 11:05. We stood at the shelter, and I worried they might not take notes or cards and I didn’t have enough change. At 11:13, there was no bus, but Mum, who catches a lot of buses, assured me they are often a few minutes late.
At 11:30, we made friends with the other lady waiting at the stop, who said the buses are often very late, and sometimes don’t arrive until about 50 minutes after their due time. She had been there before us, and had a very cute little dog, called Benjie. She said it was a new timetable, it began at the beginning of June, and previously there had been buses every 30 minutes rather than every hour. Mum then chatted to her (about the weather/her dog/what it’s like living in Camber/her political views/religion/her sex life, etc, you know what elderly ladies are like) and I moved slightly away and hid behind my sunglasses.
At 11:50 the bus arrived. Happy days. Chatty lady got on first, and was told: “You can’t bring the dog on, there are already 3 other dogs on, I’m not taking any more.”
Chatty lady said she’d been waiting nearly an hour, but the bus driver was adamant, he wasn’t taking any more dogs. Chatty lady got off the bus.
Mum and I stepped onto the bus. The driver said, “I can only take one of you.”
We stared at him. (I nearly asked which one – but decided it wouldn’t be polite.) Mum asked why. Driver said the bus was too full already (it was) and passengers weren’t allowed to stand beyond the blue line (a line – blue- painted on the floor). There were people standing almost up to it, though they could have all squashed back a bit. But Mum said she needed a seat, and I could see that there weren’t any, and I really couldn’t face the conversation with random strangers about which one was going to give up their seat for her, so we too got off. Bus then sped away, and we walked back to cottage. The dog was pleased to see us.
We ate in a pub in Camber instead, and had a nice time, and will take the dog on the beach later. But it was a bit of a shame, especially as until recently there had been more buses, so we’d have got a seat. It must be infuriating for chatty lady, who was local, to have the bus to Rye full of holiday-makers so she doesn’t fit on it. Perhaps the bus company will reconsider the cuts for the summer months. I hope so.
Thank you for reading.
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I have always written a diary on holiday, so last Christmas, I decided to find all my old diaries and blogs, and make a book for my children. However, several other people also asked for a copy, so I have written a public version – it’s available on Amazon and has been described as “The Durrells meet Bill Bryson”!
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