Three weeks since crashing the car, I’ve had a fair bit of time to reflect on what it’s like getting public transport to work.
And whether it’s 6 o clock in the morning or 10 o’clock at night, the quirks and joys of commuting are easy to see.
First of all, there’s the timetable. Within a week I’d ditched the train in favour of the tram purely because of the inconvenient times and frustrating platform waiting.
I don’t mind walking a fair trek out of my way if it at least keeps me vaguely in charge of my own destiny.
The tickets are a bit of minefield. Peak v off peak. Travelcards. Bonus excess cards. We’ve got it all. And none of it seems to save me any money.
Then there’s what to do when on the tram. Heaven forbid you speak on the phone – although silence is not quite as expected as on the tube, it’s still a heavy unwritten rule.
Anyone who breaks it is a trailblazer. I found myself unwittingly fascinated by the yarn a girl was spinning on the phone the other day to a friend who’d broken the heart of some guy. A real life soap opera.
Speaking of people, public transport is an amazing snapshot of city life. All ages, including the kids who climb on the handrails, shapes and nationalities. It’s pretty interesting watching them actually.
That is when I’m not checking out my phone like everybody else. My data has almost run out for this month already with three weeks to go thanks to public transport. Ouch.
I’ve even seen two former pupils. Naturally I kept my head down and didn’t acknowledge I’d seen them. They can’t find out I’m a real person outside school obviously.
(And to be fair I’d have no doubt embarrassed them in front of their friends. It’s better for everyone this way).
And the worst of all is when the service stops working. What do you do? Last weekend the trams simply stopped running and I found myself stranded six miles from home in the rain at 10 o’clock at night.
I did what any self respecting person would do…and inadvertently ran/walked the six miles home emerging like a drowned rat into our house about 11 o’clock.
So now we’re actively exploring a replacement car and I’ve got to say I can’t wait. Sitting in your own space, with the radio on, getting from a to b with the minimum of fuss.
Apart from the traffic. Urgh. Life as a commuter is perennially frustrating.
When you think rock ‘n’ roll, maybe you think of Memphis and Elvis Presley? Or other huge American artists like Buddy Holly and Little Richard?
Or perhaps you look at urban centres in the UK like Liverpool, birthplace of the Beatles, or London, and groups like The Rolling Stones.
I doubt you think of Huddersfield.
But, in the heady summer of 2006, on June 1, that was precisely where my JMB rock ‘n’ roll tour began.
O, what a night!
So, my chances of leaving on the motorhome with the others were in ruins.
But we did have a backup plan up our sleeve.
I went to bed on the 20th July worrying about it, but also desperately hoping we could make it work.
For the last ten years, I have always known when my passport was going to expire.
21 July 2015 has been etched indelibly on my mind ever since I last renewed it – the pain and relief I associate with the last time I renewed it a permanent reminder of when my occasionally haphazard organisation caused me (and various very gracious others!) a whole lot of grief!
Here’s what happened ten years ago…
It was the worst holiday ever. Screaming infant spends whole time throwing up and in excruciating pain, making life a misery not only for the rest of their weary family but also anyone within a 25m radius.
The searing intense heat meant going outside in the sunshine for anything longer than ten minutes was a trial and the resort was so tacky anyway that you wouldn’t want to leave the relative calm of the apartment.
Things got so bad that the family packed up their bags, headed for the airport and jumped on the next possible flight home, forsaking the rest of their scheduled vacation.
The Christmas period is wonderful for all sorts of things – time with friends and family, amazing food and celebrations, great opportunities for worshipping God etc.
One thing it’s not quite so renowned for is exploring the great outdoors.
But hey, we’re intrepid and so, armed with a borrowed back baby carrier, we took up our nine month old daughter and headed into the wilderness…
Getting in a lift used to be so mesmerising.
I can remember being younger and finding the whole idea of shutting myself into a steel box and shooting up and down between floors to be one of the most exciting events imaginable.
Fast forward the clock and now they are the most annoying shop accessory ever.
With a buggy in tow, lifts are our only option of navigating safely from one part of a shop to the other. And it’s always easier said than done.
I remember when British holidays used to be relaxing.
Playing on the beach, eating fish and chips, exploring a new part of the country I’d never visited before. Even the sleeping arrangements in a slightly cramped caravan seemed exciting and adventurous.
When you’ve got a small child, everything’s different.
Travelling with a young child is not the easiest.
I had been assured that children get less portable the older they get. Indeed, I’d been told that if we were planning a crazy driving holiday to Europe then to do it this year “while they still sleep easily in the car.”
Once she hits a year old, that’s it. Car journeys will be dominated by repetitive, irritating nursery rhymes and hundreds of miles of screaming and endless “Whys?”