Monday, 11 July 2011

What Today Meant

 
I really enjoyed Josie’s blog post about finding beauty in two snails nearly kissing. (I tried to leave a comment but my net connection conspired against me yet again – can’t wait to get a Three MiFi, humph!) Her thoughts reminded me of a post I once wrote about finding tiny fragments of beauty in the ugly ‘new town’ of Harlow. This morning the pushchair had two flat tyres, so I dragged a three year old and a one year old down the towpath at 7 am and once more mused over the contradictory juxtaposition that my narrowboat life continually presents. Parenting on a narrowboat is a struggle: fact. But when Big Sister suddenly ran ahead down the towpath exclaiming,
“Wild strawberries!” I was reminded that it is the tiny fragments of beauty that make it all worthwhile.  
Yesterday I left work in London at 3.45pm. I walked to the station and got a train to The Countryside. Then I got a bus to nursery and collected the girls. I then had to safely contain and entertain two tiny children at the bus stop for half an hour while two buses failed to turn up. I furiously started formulating a complaint email to the bus company in my mind. Eventually the same bus driver who had dropped me off at nursery came back around again. 
“We don’t usually stop at this stop on the way back,” he explained to me. “If there’s no one on board to drop off we just miss out this stop and head straight back to the station.”
I was indignant and confident that the timetable on the bus stop decreed that the bus should stop at this stop, despite it being the last stop at the remote end of town it was still a bus stop!
“But what if there is someone waiting at the stop?!” Someone like me. The bus driver smiled a relaxed and knowing smile and said quietly,
“But there never is.”
Something about his laid-back logic dispelled my frustration. I sat the kids down on the bus and was relieved to now be heading quickly back towards the station and our mooring. We finally got home at about 6.30pm. 
So, this morning after Big Sister’s quick snack on wild strawberries I thought that a taxi would be best. I walked with both children up the road to the station and headed straight to the taxi office. The door was closed; there was nobody there. Then, the bus pulled onto the station forecourt with the same familiar driver. I was now delighted to see him and pay a bus fare that was a fraction of the price of a taxi. He smiled as he greeted my children and they clambered up the steps of the bus. After a quick discussion about return bus times and the fact that I had to get to work in London afterwards he told me that he would take me and the girls straight to nursery, wait for me outside and bring me straight back to the station. He would not even accept a return fare but did the round trip for the price of a single ticket.
At the nursery door I gave a quick kiss to both of the girls as I explained to the nursery teacher,
“I’ve got to head off, I’ve actually got the bus driver waiting for me!”
I made it to work in central London in record time.
The point of this story is that fragments of beauty, kindness and nice surprises can happen to you when you least expect it. The nursery drop-off, which I expected to be difficult was made quick and easy with the help of a stranger. It’s just one thing that made me different because of it. Something that felt significant; even beautiful. 
Head over to Josie’s blog, ‘Sleep is for the Weak’, to see what other bloggers wrote about in the writing workshop this week.


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