I blame myself entirely of course. My problem is, I’m far too trusting. Its always been one of my problems. Too trusting. Particularly of so-called “mates”. Cos everyone knows mates are not to be trusted. Stitch you up at the least opportunity they will… and then treat it all as a huge joke. Me now, I’d never dream of doing something like that. Cos its just not nice, is it?
Ok, there may have been the odd occasion in the past when I’ve sort of… well… inadvertently almost, sort of caused a mate a spot of inconvenience you might say. Or even actual physical pain sometimes. And then I may, just briefly, have… um… sniggered a little bit about it. Discreetly. But that’s not the same thing at all, is it? Definitely not. Cos by and large the thought of doing something like that… well… I just wouldn’t. Not very often at least.
But “mates”? Pah. Don’t know why I bother with ’em really.
It all started innocently enough, as these things do.
Y’see, there’s this gorgeously picturesque little town named Olney, in the neighbouring county of Buckinghamshire. Well, it would be gorgeously picturesque if it weren’t for the damned traffic. Cos there’s just far too much of it. Probably on account of its being on one of the principal routes between Northampton and Milton Keynes. But we hadn’t thought of that. Not to begin with.
Anyway, being gorgeously picturesque Norfolk Oaf and I have mumbled before about visiting it, exploring a bit, taking a few pics kind of thing. Like wot we do. We even nearly managed to get there one time… but Oaf screwed it up. That should have warned me. But it didn’t. I just never learn, that’s my problem.
So, t’other day Oaf sez to me, “How’d you fancy exploring Olney?”
“Ok,” sez I.
“What about next Tuesday?” sez Oaf.
“Ok,” sez I.
“Weather permitting,” sez Oaf.
“Ok,” sez I.
“I’ll already be there, so I’ll meet you off the bus,” sez Oaf.
“Ok,” sez I.
“The bus leaves Bedford at 10.30,” sez Oaf.
“Ok,” sez I.
You can tell I’m a bit of a wiz at this conversation lark, can’t you? But not too much of a wiz though, cos that’s the point at which I should have been warned. For it was mighty helpful of him to find out the bus departure time for me. Suspiciously helpful.
So, Tuesday arrived and I made an extra special effort to get up real early. Early enough to get meself into town in plenty of time to catch the bus to Olney. The 10.30 bus to Olney. And I really do need to catch that bus if I’m to get into Olney in time to give us a chance to fully investigate the place.
Cos the buses from Bedford to Olney only run once every two hours. (Yes, I know, its ridiculous.) So I don’t want to miss the 10.30 one and end up having to catch the one that’s two hours later for if I did that then by the time I’d arrived there (“The journey takes about 30-40 minutes,” sez Oaf; “Ok,” sez I) and given that there’s less daylight this time of year, there wouldn’t be much time left to do any real exploring. Not enough to make it worthwhile, sort of thing.
But getting into Bedford for 10.30 is horrendously early. For me at least. Cos it means I need to get up ridiculously early to get meself ready to get into town in time. It means I have to get up early enough to catch the 09.20 bus. I daren’t wait for the next one (at 09.50) that theoretically could get me there on time cos buses hereabouts are not exactly known for their reliability. They’ve been known to turn up late. Far too often. Or not to turn up at all even.
So, the 09.20 it’ll have to be then. To make sure I arrive in plenty of time to catch the bus to Olney. The 10.30 bus to Olney. If the village bus turns up on time it’ll mean I’ll have about 50 minutes to kill once I get to Bedford, but I can cope with that. At least it’ll be better than missing the Olney bus. The 10.30 Olney bus.
However, to catch the 09.20 bus from my little village into Bedford means I’ll have to get up at… um… about seven o’clock! Bloody hell! Bloody bloody hell! That’s the middle of the sodding night!
But I need to get up that early if I’m to get myself ready in time…
Drag myself out of bed (obviously). Check everything’s working all right (legs, arms, fingers, toes, etc… cos at my time of life you can never be too sure. Brain? Well, I tend to give that a miss most mornings). Cup of coffee, fag. Wash. Cup of coffee, fag. Check emails. Dress. Cup of coffee, fag. Check emails. Check camera kit. Cup of coffee, fag. Check emails. Slob around a bit. Cup of coffee, fag. Check emails. That kind of thing. It fair wears me out just thinking about all the stuff I have to do first. And then I have to walk to the bus stop.
Yep. An 07.00 start should just about give me enough time. If I make a real effort. Get a bit of a move on, so to speak. Don’t hang around too much.
That’s what I do then. And about nineish, as I’m setting out for the bus stop, phone Oaf for a quick weather check. After about five or six attempts I finally manage to get a connection (damned useless mobile phones), by which time I’m at the bus stop. Weather check then; a bit grey, mild, possible rain later. But not too bad, so its a go.
Bus into town was only ten minutes late. Wow! That’ll still give me 40 minutes or so for a leisurely coffee and a fag before catching the bus to Olney. The 10.30 bus to Olney. That’s not too bad. I can cope with that. If it were much longer it could be a bit of a problem, cos I do so hate hanging around waiting for buses. The ten minutes extra waiting for the bus into town was bad enough. I really don’t need another unexpected wait. So I’m hoping the bus to Olney, the 10.30 bus to Olney, won’t be late as well.
Here we are then, in town, at the bus station. Now me, being a bit clueless and easily confused, haven’t a clue where to catch the bus to Olney from. Which bay it’ll likely depart from, so to speak. And its pointless me studying all the destination boards and stuff cos they’ll only confuse me even more. They do you know. And I really should find out cos otherwise I’d likely wait at the wrong bay and miss it completely. Typical of my luck, that’d be.
Best I toddle into the Enquiry Office then and… um… enquire. And whilst there I may as well confirm the departure time. Just to be sure, sort of thing. So I do.
“Hello, what time does the next bus to Olney leave please? And which bay will it depart from?”
“11.30, bay one.”
“11.30? Eleven thirty?”
“Not 10.30 then?”
“No sir. 11.30, bay one.”
“Um. Ok. Thankyou very much.”
(Notice how polite I am? I’m always polite. Except where “mates” are concerned… cos they don’t deserve it. As this little episode proves.)
Bastard! Lying toerag scumbag bastard! He’s stitched me up! I can’t believe it. Unfortunately I can. Only too well. Clearly a quick phone call to Oaf is in order.
Continuing in my customary polite manner…
“Oi, you ’orrible lying little shit you, the bus doesn’t leave until 11.30!”
Acting all surprised like (lying little sod), Oaf suggests I check the timetable at the actual bay itself as the lass in the Enquiry Office may have made a mistake. Its not been totally unknown, he suggests. I suggest he’s a bit of a shitbag. But I do. And sure enough, it definitely leaves at 11.30. Except it didn’t. It was 15 minutes late. 15 bloody minutes! On top of that extra unexpected hour! It seems everyone lies nowadays. You just can’t trust anyone.
I could have had a few more cups of coffee at home. I could have checked some more emails. I could have had an extra hour in bed! Instead I have to hang around with nothing to do in a smelly bus station in a town that surely qualifies as the boil on the backside of the Universe. For nearly two whole hours! Bloody hell. See what I mean? Mates? You just can’t trust ’em.
I know where Oaf will be ending up when I’ve finished with him. And I’ve half a mind to chuck the sodding bus in on top of him!
The full set of Olney pics is here.