Good morning and welcome back to the ‘X4’. It’s been a week or so since I was last aboard this rickety old bus and you’ll be as pleased as me to hear there’s been little change: the regular bus dwellers are all still here and we’re all ignoring each other as per the norm.
The reason for my absence? I’ve been on a lovely holiday away. Before you think ‘it’s alright for some’ or ‘bloody rich author away in tropical climate!’ I should point out the week was on the Isle of Wight. I do hope one day to be an internationally-recognised bestselling author with more money than sense, but for now a week off work in the coastal town of Shanklin is how far my pennies will stretch (I should point out that we’ve just enjoyed a week of 20•C heat while we’ve been away, so I’m not complaining!)
It was a fantastic trip in which we’ve been to the IOW zoo, the Seaview wildlife park (my daughter just loves animals) as well as garlic tasting, chilli sauce tasting, cider tasting, wine tasting and ice cream tasting (if you’ve never been to the Garlic Farm and tasted their garlic beer or garlic ice cream, I highly recommend it). It’s been a week where I have not thought about books or writing and have focused on my family and I’ve loved every second of it.
But alas, all good things must come to an end and now I’m back on the bus bound for the office and the ‘day job’.
While away I met 3 different types of people. One night when I was out walking the dog, my wife discovered a purse strewn on the floor. It was open and contained a debit card and a membership card for the local Conservative Club. Being a good sport I located the club and handed the item in. One of the members overheard what happened and gratefully shook my hand, thanking me on behalf of the purse-owner. I’d been happy to oblige but appreciated his gratitude.
The next day I was trying to get my daughter to sleep in her pram and was boarding the Shanklin lift (which takes you from the top of the town straight down to the beach and vice versa). The journey was only £1 but the lad operating the lift waived the fee as I had a pushchair. What a thoroughly nice thing to do I thought.
On our final day we were sat at our cottage having lunch when the doorbell rang. I opened it to find a man and woman looking troubled. I asked how I could help and they immediately started laying in to me because our car, whilst parked on the driveway, was partially obscuring the pavement. I tried to explain to him that we had been unable to park correctly as somebody else had parked their car too close to the property (not in a designated bay, I added) so we had done what we could. ‘Well it’s not good enough,’ he declared, ‘we were trying to get a wheelchair down the pavement and couldn’t. I expect you to move it.’ I said I would see what I could do but felt angered by his attitude (not prepared to listen to reason) and his bluntness (interrupting our lunch).
The road our house was on was very narrow and had some parking bays marked on our side of the road with double yellow lines the other. I could have pointed out to him that he and his wheelchair (not sure there was one as I couldn’t see it) could have easily used the pavement across the 1-lane road. I could have pointed out that it is extremely bad mannered to make demands on a stranger without understanding the bigger picture. I could have told him how much of a struggle it had been to park the car where it was because of the other vehicle, but he refused to listen. As far as he was concerned, we were wrong and he was going to take pleasure in pointing it out and judging us. That kind of character is the type which leaves bogus reviews of books, films and other products without appreciating the amount of time, effort and love that has gone into its production. I wish I had pointed out to him that he should have been wearing a hat to protect his bald head from getting burned, or that he should wear sunglasses to stop UV damage to his eyes. I wish I had told him that his blue polo shirt did not complement his green shorts and that his wife might burn more calories if she smiled once in awhile.
But I’m not like that.
I don’t take pleasure in picking out others’ flaws. I’m the sort of person who hairs off into an unfamiliar town to return a lost (or maybe stolen) purse.
Which of the 3 strangers are you?
Until the next time, happy reading,